There are a lot of Cubs blogs. There’s one that mostly focuses on why the Cubs are terrible even when they’re good, there’s one that focuses on why the Cubs are good even when they’re terrible, there’s some good ones in between, and there’s some really funny ones. Why start a new one? Because I think I spend too much time reading other people’s thoughts on the Cubs, and I’d like to cut down. I’m starting a blog to decrease the amount of time I spend reading blogs. This may seem counterintuitive, and it probably will be.

I plan on devoting a lot of space in this blog to my thoughts/reactions to “stathead” arguments. I’m a physics graduate student, and have a lot experience with practical applications of math ideas to a variety of problems, and I feel that the good folks at Baseball Prospectus, The Hardball Times, etc., while often very insightful, tend to draw the wrong conclusions sometimes. To use a phrase from physics, they too often take a “mean field” approach to stats, ignoring context on the (somewhat shaky) grounds that context is sufficiently averaged over the course of a season. I don’t think it is, and I think a more nuanced approach that respects contextual differences is necessary (WPA does this, though imperfectly). I’ll write a lot more about this later.

Of course, I’ll also give my reactions to game results, trades, etc.  Last night’s 4-2 loss was somewhat tough to swallow, especially given that Bonds was out of the lineup for the Giants.  I don’t understand the Cubs’ struggles against lefties–their three best hitters are all righties!–and I suspect that the team doesn’t, either.  Kendall–who will probably neither aid nor hurt the Cubs over the course of the next few months–made two key defensive mistakes in the game that led to three of the four Giants runs, and also went 0-3 at the plate; not a good night.  Marshall was OK, though I’m a little concerned that he’s not striking people out more often in his last few starts–only 18 in his last seven starts, covering 37.2 innings pitched–after striking out 22 in his first 20 innings this year.  I have to believe that starting after Hill can’t be helping him, as they’re the same type of pitcher, and a team that faces Hill one night should have no problem adjusting to Marshall the next night.  Maybe Lou can rework the rotation so that Marquis pitches between them, but if the Cubs keep winning, I doubt that will happen.  At any rate, I’m happy with him as a fifth starter.  In 2003, the fifth starter was this guy.  Ouch.  (I should note that Marshall could very well end up having a similar career to Shawn Estes; I hope not, though).

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