Goatriders of the Apocalypse

Kevin Hart

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Just another day in the life of Kevin Hart

There's a knock on Lou Piniella's door.


HART - Hey Skip, d'ya have a min?


LOU - aaaah, sure kid, come on in...


HART - Thanks, Skip.  I was thinking, y'know, I know that Ted's coming back soon and that me an' Wellsy are both rookies filling in the rotation, and everyone's talking about him being a Rookie of the Year, and he's good and all, but I've won three starts in a row, too...


LOU - aaaah, yep, yep, you have.


HART - ...and I'm thinkin' that I've earned a spot in the rotation, too.


LOU - aaahhh, yep, yep, sure, yer right.  Aahh, I agree with you one hunner percent...


HART - (brightening) REAL-ly?  Hey, great, thanks!


LOU - yep, aaaahh, sure, you've earned it, especially since you got a 1-and-oh record with 4 strikeouts in your home park...


HART - (confused, wondering to himself if some of the other guys were right, that the old man really is getting senile) Skip, you know, I've won the last two starts on this homestand...


LOU - I know, son.  I meant PNC Park.  Aaahh...yer a Pirate now.


HART - WHAT?!?  Yer kiddin', right?  A PIRATE?


LOU - Aaaah, nope, Jim traded you just a minute ago.


HART - A PIRATE?  They SUCK!!  Traded?  Who for?


LOU - aaaaah, um, the Grabow kid for one...


HART - As WHAT?  Your LOOGY?  Lefties have a higher batting average against (.275 to .235) than righties!  Who else?


LOU - and, aaah, the Gorzellany kid.


HART - JEEEZ!  He's from Evergreen Park - he's a GAT-DAM Sox fan!!


LOU - Nah, aaah, he's the happiest human being in the world right now...


HART - well HELL yes he is, he's getting out of Pissburgh...


LOU - aaaah, well, it's more like Indianapolis for him.  And he's going to Iowa.


HART - Sounds like an lateral for him.  You can't get a decent pizza in either place.


LOU - ummm, well, aaah, I wouldn't know.  I generally eat at Harry Caray's, and when I'm back home, ummm, in Tampa, generally we eat fish.


HART - yeah, well?  I sincerely hope I make you guys HURT for this!


LOU - aaah, umm, well, son, this ain't "Little Big League".  And I'm not your biggest fan,  Uuuh, you're not going to get me to slump over in my chair in despair.  It's nothin' personal, son.  It's business.


GRABOW - (rushes into office) Hey, Skip?  Hope I'm not too late gettin' here.


LOU - ummm, aaah, hello, son.  We, umm, just traded for you like, aaah, seven minutes ago? 


GRABOW - No prob, Skip.  Pirates were off today.  Me and Gorz were, um, just in town for some wings at Yak-Zies.  He had to stop in the head first.


HART - I can't believe anyone here thinks this is a good thing for me, when Grabow gets here seven minutes after the trade was made.  How bad could it be...?


GORZELLANY - Howdy, Skip!  (Holds out hand to shake)


LOU - aaah, well hello, son.  I, uhhh, hope you washed first?  Since Moises Alou passed through here, we always, aah, ask.


HART - Well I, uh, gotta go, I guess.  Sorry to bother you, Skip.


LOU - aaahh, umm, well, no bother at all, Hill.  Good luck in Pittsburgh!  (smiles) Hey, say hi to Jack Wilson for me?


GRABOW - he's in Seattle now, Skip.


LOU - well, aaahh, then Dirty Sanchez?


GORZELLANY - Frisco.


LOU - aaah, jeez, well...


BLANCO - (peeks head in crowded manager's office) Ay, Skip, Dempster y Harden se tira de los demás camisas sobre sus cabezas de nuevo!

Game Recap: Cubs 5, Reds 3 -- Quasiblowout


The Story:

This game looked like it was going to be a complete and utter thrashing during the bottom of the first inning. The team had hit for the cycle within the inning, and the bases were loaded with one out for Koyie "Iron Man" Hill.

Stupidly, Koyie swung at the first pitch. Arguably, the rout was over.

Regardless, the Cubs continued to battle, and good pitching kept the Reds in check throughout the game. Nice win!

The Star:

Fortunately for the Cubs, Kevin Hart was able to settle in after a mildly shaky top of the first. Hart's final line: 6 IP in 94 pitches, 5H, 1BB, 4SO, 1ER. Smashing!

The Other Stuff:

If not for the gutty performance from our starting pitcher, Alfonso Soriano might have to have been named the Player of the Game for today. The Fonz went 3-for-4, including a solo shot to deep left on a low breaking ball. I don't know what's gotten into him, but I am very much in favor of it. Whatever it is. (Common sense? Nah.)

Also adding on to the late Cub lead was Milton "The Rumors Are False!" Bradley (Note: despite rumors that stated otherwise, it appears that Milton will remain a Cub this season). It's encouraging to see him go deep every once in a while; he and Aramis Ramirez now have the same number of homers.

Also, speaking of A-Ram, Clutchy McClutcherson continued to rack up RBIs today, driving home two runs on a first inning homer. God, it's good to have him back.

The starting pitching and offense were solid, and for the most part, the bullpen was too. Aaron Heilman had a rare bad outing, serving up two jacks to Reds hitters before KG came in for the one out save. But Marmol struck out the side, and Guzman was super kewl.

Now let's sit back and enjoy the Phillies' drubbing of the Cardinals. Ladies and gentlemen, it appears as though tomorrow may present the Cubs with an opportunity to assume first place in the Division.

As in, OMGWTF?!?!?!?!?!?!?

Go Cubs!

Introducing Jeff Stevens

To keep the 'pen fresh as we approach the All-Star Break, the Cubs have sent Kevin Hart back to Iowa, and will put Jeff Stevens on the major league roster in his place.

Jeff Stevens is one of the three pitchers the Cubs received in the DeRosa deal, and by the looks of how he's been pitching lately, it seems like he should see at least moderate success in the majors. In his last 14.1 innings pitched in Triple A, he's struck out 21 batters, and allowed just four walks. Cool!

From what I can gather from across the interwebs, he primarily uses his low-to-mid nineties fastball, a decent change-up, and a curveball with a lot of break. As a complete sucker for K/9 rates and K/BB ratios, I'm interested in seeing what this kid has to offer for the major league club.

Game and Series Recap: Cubs 1, Braves 4 (1-2) -- That sucked.

RecRap

I'm a little late with today's recap because I don't really know what to say. And even if I did know what to say, I'm pretty sure it wouldn't be fun to write. This is one of those pivotal games, and pivotal series, that you don't really want to talk about.

The month was starting off really nicely.That series against the Brewers? Clutch! We were gaining ground, playing well, scored eight runs in one of the games--it was all coming together, it seemed, for a push towards the top of the standings heading into the All-Star Break.

Then Ryan Dempster broke his toe. Then Javy Vasquez shut us down. Then Geo Soto strained his oblique (oblique injuries SUCK, by the way). Then Kenshin Kawakami shut us down.

In the last recap, I said I expected better results if our top two guys could get on. Boy, was I wrong! A lot of good it was for Kosuke and Ryan to get four base hits in front of Lee, Rami and MB.

Guh.

I don't know what to tell you. What's reasonable to expect from this team going forward? Is it really all that doom-and-gloomish to expect offensive mediocrity throughout the remainder of the season? Is it overly optimistic to expect that they'll be able to flip a switch and turn it around at some point? Frankly, I can't blame either side of the debate after this past week of games.

(Un)fortunately, because this team CONTINUES to be in the thick of the division race, with a ton of baseball to go, we can't not pay attention. They'll just keep stringing us along, until something gives.

Oh, by the way--ready for a four-gamer with the Cardinals?

Go Cubs.

Hoffpauir and Patterson Up, Hart Down; And A Look At Our Second Base Options

Well, here it is. Hoffpauir and Patterson are up. Kevin Hart is shipped out. And Patterson is playing left and leading off today. You could push me over with a feather after hearing that last one.

I’ll hopefully update this post in a little while, but in the meantime, here’s a table showing our options at second base, should DeRosa see playing time in left:

Mark DeRosa
AB
R
H
2B
3B
HR
RBI
BB
SO
SB
CS
AVG
OBP
SLG
OPS
MLB
208
40
65
13
0
8
35
29
46
3
0
.313
.398
.490
.888
Projected
263
40
76
15
1
7
40
30
54
2
1
.289
.362
.433
.795
Eric Patterson
AB
R
H
2B
3B
HR
RBI
BB
SO
SB
CS
AVG
OBP
SLG
OPS
AAA
181
27
59
13
3
5
26
10
41
10
0
.326
.361
.514
.875
Translated
184
20
50
9
2
4
19
7
44
8
0
.273
.301
.408
.709
MLB
6
0
0
0
0
0
1
0
3
1
0
.000
.000
.000
.000
Total
190
20
50
9
2
4
20
7
47
9
0
.263
.289
.395
.684
Projected
325
40
85
15
3
8
37
22
64
13
6
.262
.308
.400
.708
Mike Fontenot
AB
R
H
2B
3B
HR
RBI
BB
SO
SB
CS
AVG
OBP
SLG
OPS
MLB
88
16
21
7
0
2
12
12
16
2
0
.239
.337
.386
.723
Projected
229
34
60
15
2
5
26
23
43
4
2
.262
.329
.410
.740
Ronny Cedeno
AB
R
H
2B
3B
HR
RBI
BB
SO
SB
CS
AVG
OBP
SLG
OPS
MLB
95
19
28
7
0
1
19
10
16
3
1
.295
.368
.400
.768
Projected
234
30
65
12
1
5
30
15
43
5
3
.278
.321
.402
.723

Patterson can run the bases, no question. Projections for defense: DeRosa +4, Cedeno +2, Fontenot -3. DeRosa's played worse than that so far this season, while Cedeno and Fontenot have played better. I don't have projections for Patterson. I’ll leave Patterson at a zero, then, and I’ll leave the other numbers unadjusted for now.

wOBA
Defense
Offense/112
Defense/112
Runs/112
DeRosa
0.352
4
1.36
0.69
2.05
Cedeno
0.318
2
-1.95
0.34
-1.60
Fontenot
0.326
-3
-1.17
-0.52
-1.69
Patterson
0.311
0
-2.63
0.00
-2.63

This isn't giving Patterson any credit for his baserunning, which is a plus. And I’m not entirely behind those defensive estimates. Cedeno looks like the best option of the three, although I think Murton is probably a better left fielder than any of them are second basemen. (These, unlike my full WAR numbers, are not adjusted by position.)

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