I’ll be headed to Chicago tomorrow, and will be at the game in the bleachers on Friday. If you see me in right field, come say hello. Or join me. I like friends. Michael is also going to Friday’s game, I do believe, though I realize now as I’m typing that I don’t know if he’s going to be in the bleachers. Hey, Michael, where are you sitting Friday? Wanna split some nachos?
- Joe Maddon went with an atypical bullpen usage last night, calling on Pedro Strop in the 7th inning after starter John Lackey, who’d been fantastic, allowed the first two batters of the inning to reach second and third. Strop got out of the jam with some nasty pitches, allowing only a sac fly. From there, Travis Wood started the 8th inning, and some wondered why Maddon didn’t just stick with Strop – but Maddon explained after the game that, in his experience, going back out there after an emotionally intense inning like Strop had “almost never works” (Tribune). Hector Rondon took over for Wood with one out in the 8th, allowing a single and a sac fly before shutting the Nationals down the rest of the way.
- Strop, though, deserves special mention as, like the nominal hero of the game Albert Almora, he came through when the moment was the biggest. It’s no surprise, then, that Strop and Almora had the largest Win Probability Added on the night, at .223 and .299, respectively. For Strop, that was his 28th appearance of the year, and while he sports an excellent 2.66/2.41/2.07 pitching slash line, it’s all the more impressive to consider that he’s allowed an earned run in just 4 of those 28 appearances. Indeed, virtually all of the “bad” in his numbers come from a single outing – the absolute disaster of an appearance against the Padres in which he faced five batters, retired none of them, allowing two walks and three hits, including a homer. It’s not like you get to take that appearance out of the mix, because it still counted, but Strop has basically been perfect outside of that. He deserves some love. Love now given.
- I really enjoyed this read from Patrick Mooney on Jon Lester, the front office, and last year’s pursuit-ish of Jonathan Papelbon, who was ultimately traded by the Phillies to the Nationals. There’s so much in there about how the front office relates to and with players like Lester, so you should read it. One Lester quote that I want to share, though, with no other context, because it’s just awesome on its face: “We get our asses powdered enough – I don’t need my teammates to do it.”
- Studly young Pirates pitcher Jameson Taillon was once again summoned from AAA to make a start at the big league level with Gerrit Cole going on the disabled list (triceps strain), and all he did was take a no-hitter into the seventh inning as he dominated the Mets. Conveniently for the Pirates, they saved five days of service time on Taillon by sending him down after his last start and then calling him back up to make his next start in place of Cole (normally, you can’t recall a player who has been sent to the minors for at least 10 days, but the exception is if he’s replacing someone going on the DL). The Pirates’ rotation is in flux now, but if Taillon stays in the rotation on normal rest, he’ll face the Cubs in Chicago on Sunday night on ESPN.
- Pete Rose had some thoughts on the Cubs’ chances of winning it all this year, he said something silly, and people said the things they say about Pete Rose when he says something silly.
- If you’ve been thinking about getting a Kindle, they are $20 off today.
- The Minor League Daily today included Jeimer Candelario’s first AAA homer, another diving Jacob Hannemann catch, and word of the Cubs extending their stay in Eugene, Oregon.
- If you found yourself, like Len Kasper did, desiring to call the Cubs’ win last night “pretty, pretty, prettaaaaay good,” it’s probably because you saw the news that HBO and Larry David’s ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ will be coming back for another season. Not only did that result in a fun end-of-game call by Kasper, but it also will probably yield a Joe Maddon cameo on the season, when it is finally made. Cubs fan Jeff Garlin, who also stars on the show, promised Maddon a spot on the show if it ever came back, and Maddon is ready (CSN). Maddon, who says the show is “the best,” doesn’t want to play himself, though – he wants to play Larry David or Bernie Sanders (who has been parodied not infrequently this election season by David, so this is all getting extremely meta – and so I’ll turn to a meta topic).
- META: A little net neutrality news for those who’ve been following that issue, and its impact on the future of the web. An appeals court upheld the rules put in place last year designed to protect net neutrality (i.e., service providers can’t favor some sites/apps/traffic over others (the long-term fear is that Verizon, for example, could slow down connections to some sites/apps in order to preserve better speed to preferred (paying) sites/apps)). In my view, this is good news for the future of smaller, innovative sites and services, though it’s important to note this is only one decision. The rules can still be changed at the administrative and legislative levels, and the decision can also be appealed to the Supreme Court.
- And, in closing, two Bryzzo moments:
Rizzo excited dot gif. pic.twitter.com/QWdGQFCfLK
— Brett Taylor (@BleacherNation) June 15, 2016
— Brett Taylor (@BleacherNation) June 14, 2016