9/29 Final notebook

* Anthony Rizzo doubled in his first at-bat in the first to become the first Cubs left-handed hitter to reach 40 doubles since Mark Grace had 41 doubles in 2000. Rizzo finished with 65 extra-base hits this season, the most by a Cubs left-handed hitter since Mark Grace had that many in 1999.

“I’m going to take a lot of positives out of this year,” Rizzo said. “The only thing people are going to ride me on is the average but things could’ve been different there. Things didn’t go my way sometimes but that’s the game of baseball. I’m not happy about that at all but I’m going into the offseason pretty confident I can hit .300 and do all the other things as well.”

Rizzo, who finished with a .233 average in his first full season, and Nate Schierholtz (32 doubles) are the first Cubs left-handed hitting teammates to each reach 30 doubles in the same season since Jacque Jones (32 doubles) and Juan Pierre (31 doubles) in 2006.

In May, Rizzo signed a seven-year, $41 million contract extension. That didn’t affect his hitting.

“One of the goals at the beginning of this year and it was the same last year was to be the starting first baseman for the Cubs,” Rizzo said. “Obviously, now it’ll be for a few more years. Like I said when I signed it, it’s security. I get to play baseball and don’t have to worry about anything else except playing baseball.”

* Shortstop Starlin Castro totaled 666 at-bats, tops in the National League. Baltimore’s Manny Machado led the Majors with 667 at-bats.

* The Cubs finished 25-51 against the NL Central, matching the Astros for the lowest winning percentage by any team in its own division. Chicago went 7-12 against St. Louis, 5-14 against Cincinnati, 6-13 against Milwaukee, and 7-12 against Pittsburgh. It’s the first time they’ve finished with double-digit losses against four teams since 2002.

– Carrie Muskat

29 Comments

Thanks, Carrie, for your professionalism and perspective in yet another very tough year for Cubs fans. — David

Thanks Carrie for providing a wonderful forum for us to vent. Sometimes good, sometimes bad. Adversity is supposed to make one better and we’re all hopeful that the Cubs will rise to the occasion.

I have no doubt Rizzo will be much better next year, if Management can find someone to hit behind him. His AVG, walks and power all took a huge hit when Soriano was traded.
Castro would be much better at the plate, if the hitting coach would just leave him alone. However when playing the field, he needs something to keep him alert. Like am electric shocker on his buttocks, with a remote in the dugout.
Castillo did much better towards the end of the year, I also hope Sveum took note of how Castillo hit on the RARE ocassions he batted him 4th & 5th in the line up.
Lake started out very hot, we all knew that would not last. He did finish very well AVG wise. You must factor in that he looked overmatched alot, especially with the number of strikeouts.
A few of us were on Sveums case for not giving Watkins a chance, I was one of them. But looking at the STATS, Watkins was really over matched at the Major League level. He struck out 14 times in only 38 At Bats. Maybe a very wise decision on Sveums part.
Barney was just awful all year. I kinda wish they would have tried Lake at 2B, he was a SS in the Minors. But with the OF the Cubs had this year?? Barney is weak at the plate, hoping he can be replaced next year.
The Cubs had a bunch of veterans hanging on this year, I think mostly to get them through the season waiting for the youth movement. Most will probably be gone next year. On the roster at the end: Sweeney, Bogusvic, Boscan, McDonald, Navarro, Murphy, Valbuena. During the course of the year: DeJesus, Ransom, Gillespie, A Gonsalez, Hairston, Lillibridge, Really not alot there, except DeJesus, at least he kept a decent OBP last year.
You just cannot compete with guys hanging on, but you can get by.

38 AB’s ….. really? HARDLY enough to judge Watkins being OVERMATCHED. He was UNDERUSED by Sveum considering 2B was a perfect situation to get him at least 100 AB’s. Sveum should have had NO issue with replacing Barney with Watkins for a considerable stretch of time. 38 AB’s?, please. Sandberg had a God awful start to his Cubs career, didn’t he go something like 0 for 33…or worse?? (long time ago, I know….) PLEASE don’t think I am comparing Watkins to Sandberg, JUST the amount of AB’s given a young unknown player. Hell, Sandberg was the “throw-in” for the Bowa/Dejesus trade. If Sveum was managing and not Elia…..who knows….Sandberg would have been relegated to the bench in favor of a steady diet of….Pat Tabler

Pitching, I think Bosio has done a really decent job. The only coach I would give positve marks on. He has taken what management has given him and they improved.
Speaking of, Arrieta, Grimm, Strop and Guerrier. Guys that came up and had success, Rondon, Rosscup and Parker.
Travis Wood was a hero this year, on this team keeping his mouth shut, performing with no complaints. He would be my vote for team MVP.

I agree regarding STARTING pitcher with Bos. But not with the bullpen. Their approach is horrible, and no one is improving. Even the stallion of the pen in Russell clearly isn’t improving.

I have to disagree with you Kampoc, if a relief pitcher is over used or under used, that is not on the Pitching coach.
Also if you look at the STATS of the pitchers mentioned, I think you will find a huge difference with the Cubs from their prior teams.
Bosio has been very impressive, at least in my opinion.

Actually your very wrong. To say that relief appearances is on the Pitching coach may be true in certain scenerios, but first you have to have a manager that listens. The decision is over use or under use is on the manager.

Would you go as far as saying: Wood = Cubs #1 pitcher END OF STORY? (sorry, had to do it)

Actually overusing the pen is very much on the PC. In theory he strategizes the use of the pen with the manager. And with two starters over 200 IP, it’s only by choice if the pen was overused because they didn’t need to be. I’ll give you Strop, he showed signs. But Rondon?? Terrible. High ERA and 25 BB in 45 IP. Overall, too many walks by the relief pitchers and they never got fixed. Same issue last year. You can’t argue with Grimm & Guerrier, they pitched 9 and 12 IP respectively for us.

Bos is the one piece of the staff I would be OK with coming back. Maybe he’s bad with the pen because he was a starter. :)

Reasons Dale got fired….
“Shortstop Starlin Castro totaled 666 at-bats, tops in the National League”
Why in the world would this guy be at the top of the lineup with the horrible season he was having? Ranked 137th in the league in OBP, but you hit #1 to give him more ABs???

Diamondjim will be happy to hear that the Cubs will recieve the 4th Round Draft Pick next June. :)

Reasons Dale got fired….
Cubs had 9th MOST Save opportunities in baseball. But finished 23rd in saves.

Lest we forget Marmol!!

Lest we forget WHO ran Marmol out to the mound!!!

Reasons Dale got fired….
Pitching staff tied for 6th for lowest “batting avg against” (opponents batting avg against Cubs). The top 12 teams in that stat made the playoffs, everyone except the Cubs. And not only did the Cubs not make playoffs, finished 30 games under .500.

KampOC, dont know if your new here or not? However, my opinion has been voiced a few times over the last couple months why Sveum was fired, in a nice way.
Decisions during the game, as I suggest above, overuse and underuse of the Bullpen. No Hit & Runs, no Sacs, not making productive outs. moving the runner along.
The fact that Rizzo, Barney, Castro all have, lost points in AVG, OBP. The fact the youth did not develop, but got worse. These are all things that we have discussed for two months and some points longer.
I think that Sveums biggest mistakes were hiring friends as coach’s. Your staff makes you successful or makes you look bad. I would forget friends and hire the best person for the job. Like I stated above, Bosio is the only coach I would give a passing grade too.
Sveum may have been fired for the simple reason, he chose a very poor coaching staff to assist him.

Oh, and agreed completely regarding his hiring of friends. The team is run by a bunch of guys from the 80s-90s Brewers teams that were HORRIBLE!

Nope, not new here but that’s irrelevant. I agree completely with you on your points about why Sveum should have been, and was, fired. I would add the refusal to ever squeeze to your list. I’m certain the biggest issue leading to his firing was the lack of improvement with the young players. Our only disagreement seems to be around the pen and who’s responsible. I can’t give the PC a pass on that. And the Cubs actually were well under the league average regarding IP by relief pitchers so I don’t believe the pen was overused. But as i stated, I’m also OK with Bos coming back. (my “Reasons Dale got fired” posts aren’t aimed at you, they’re just my compilings of irritations with Dale).

Not looking for a pass or your approval of my opinion!! The Any ultimate decision during the course of a game, is the ultimate respnsability od the manager. If he decides to listen to a coach, he is resposible, if he makes his own decision, he is responsible.
Just the way it is on the field, in Management, even if your a forman in a condom factory. Managers & Supervisors are responsible for their decisions.

Sveum made too many questionable decisions regarding MANAGING THE GAME. Pretty much what did him in more so than the trio of Castro, Rizzo and Barney having “down” years. Rizzo actually had some respectable numbers as far as run production. Barney may have just been finally exposed as a no hit all field middle infielder and Castro had his sophomore jinx year happen a year later. It’s Sveum’s strategy that was his most blatant handicap and he fortunately was held accountable by Epstein who has the humility to deal with acknowledging his error when evaluating Sveum for the job two years ago. It’s very refreshing having someone like Epstein in charge that will not let his ego get in the way of doing the right thing. In this case firing HIS OWN pick as manger before his contract expired. Takes guts.

Absolutely. In-game decisions were not Dale’s strong suit, that’s for sure!

For those of you who admired :)) David DeJesus wife, Kim, she is appearing on the TV show “Amazing Race” on Sunday nights. Just thought some of you would like to know! :))

She was definitely more “admirable” than David! :)

What kind motorsports is she involved in?

I have never seen the show, Jasper, but it involves a race around the world with teams of two. Kim DeJesus and another baseballer’s wife are a team. It is one of those “reality” type shows.

Maybe its a Potato Sack race, winner gets an autographed baseball.

Jasper, did White send you some of her brownies??? I love the no fact, no baseball casual and jovial bantering. NICE JOB!

Reasons Dale got fired……”We accomplished a lot,” Sveum said of his coaching staff. “Obviously, it wasn’t good enough.”

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