I’ve decided that I want to be employed by Cubs fandom. Over the last few days there has been an outpouring of support for David Ross to keep his job. A whole lot of people are seeing something that I’m not. I understand what the product is and what it is capable of. I’m just floored that there is so much passion for keeping Ross. That in turn makes me feel like a heel for banging the drum for change.
Our own work experiences are our own work experiences and the overwhelming majority of us, myself included, don’t work even adjacent to the sports world. But I think my feelings are colored by one of my own experiences. I remember once more than 10 years ago, our company hired a new assistant vice president over the unit that I worked in at the time. New AVP called a select meeting and the message of that meeting was that we weren’t getting the job done. He pointed out that we were literally spending $1.00 for every $0.50 budgeted. Things were going to change or people were going to be gone.
The thing was, the select group was the best couple of people from each group. This was the message that the best were getting. Lord knows what was said to everyone else. And the thing was, people did go. Some couldn’t handle the stress, some were walked out. The rest of us got better. Amusingly, most of us that survived that period of time are still with the company and are thriving.
I think I expect the world to be one where tough love is the norm. I know there is a whole younger generation out there telling us older folks that you just can’t treat people like that and expect to have a workforce. My only problem is that I can’t argue that we went from being ordinary to being exceptional after feet were held to the fire. Certainly, that one meeting didn’t occur in a vacuum.
Checking my notes, David Ross managed the team to a 29-58 record after the no-hitter in Los Angeles last year. He’s at 20-43 this year. That’s a 49-101 season. I don’t need to spend any time with winning percentage math to say that this is a well in excess of a 100-loss pace. Every team should win games at better than a one win in three pace. There have been only a handful of teams in major league history that have lost more than 108 games. This team is drifting in that direction. And no, I don’t believe that this team is talentless. And yes, I recognize that they’ve experienced a ton of injuries.
I have to say, I’m perplexed by this one. I don’t particularly care how wide the axe swings when the day comes. But I do believe that David Ross should go. I don’t believe he has done anything to make this team better and I don’t particularly want him making it worse by the time the talent level materially rises.
I’ll descend off of the soapbox and we’ll take a look at the positives from a game that was at least closer than most of them have been lately.
- Christopher Morel. It is a shame that this man isn’t getting more support, because he has been on some kind of fire to start his career. He had two more hits including his second homer in as many games. He also stole a base.
- Jonathan Villar is one of the guys I’ve been hard on. But he did have a triple and scored a run. I imagine if this had been a very good team and he’d be the 10th or 11th bat, I’d appreciate him. But as a guy who has gotten more exposure than that on a bad team, it’s been tough to watch at times.
- Daniel Norris. I could repeat much of what I said above. If Norris was the mop-up guy on this team, I probably wouldn’t be bothered. But with injuries, he’s gotten a much larger look than that and it has often been tough to watch. But, he threw a perfect inning on Thursday afternoon, helping to keep the Cubs within striking distance.
And now, we turn our attention to the Heroes and Goats from Thursday afternoon’s game.
Game 63, June 16: Padres 6 at Cubs 4 (23-40)
Reminder: Heroes and Goats are determined by WPA scores and are in no way subjective.
- Superhero: Christopher Morel (.104). 2-4, HR, RBI, R, 2K, SB
- Hero: Andrelton Simmons (.051). 1-3, RBI, K
- Sidekick: Mychal Givens (.028). 1⅓ IP (6 batters), 3H, K
- Billy Goat: Matt Swarmer (.156). 3⅔ IP (20 batters), 4H, 5BB, 4R, 4K (L 1-2)
- Goat: Rafael Ortega (.079). 0-4, 2K
- Kid: Patrick Wisdom (.077). 1-4, 2K
WPA Play of the Game: In the second inning, Nomar Mazara batted with no outs and a runner on first, the Padres trailing 1-0. He took a Matt Swarmer pitch out of the park for a two-run homer. (.167)
*Cubs Play of the Game: Christopher Morel got things started for the Cubs with a leadoff homer for an early 1-0 lead. (.097)
Who was the Cubs Player of the Day?
This poll is closed
Someone else (leave your suggestion in the comments)
Rizzo Award Cumulative Standings: (Top 3/Bottom 3)
The award is named for Anthony Rizzo, who finished first in this category three of the first four years it was in existence and four times overall. He also recorded the highest season total ever at +65.5. The point scale is three points for a Superhero down to negative three points for a Billy Goat.
- Christopher Morel +14
- Nico Hoerner +12
- Willson Contreras +11.5
- Kyle Hendricks/Daniel Norris -7
- Jason Heyward/Patrick Wisdom -10.5
Up Next: When a team is steamrolling the opposition, we say clever things heading into the next series like “next victim.” Is it then appropriate to say something akin to “next perpetrator?” Doesn’t have the same ring. I’ll have to think on that one.
At any rate, the Braves come to town for three games. Some time ago, these two teams met in Atlanta and the Cubs dropped two out of three. But the games were relatively well played and pretty close. Keegan Thompson (6-2, 3.67) is on the mound for the Cubs. Keegan has struggled a little bit lately and was hit very hard in New York in his last start. Braves starter Charlie Morton (4-3, 5.67) has also struggled lately. He’ll look to right that ship a bit this afternoon. This is a rare matchup that looks favorable, maybe the Cubs can snap their losing streak.