Today is the last day of June, which means tomorrow is the first day of July. That’s usually how that works. I suppose what I mean is: the 2016 BN Trade Deadline Blogathon is coming. Details soon.
- Three cheers for Kyle Hendricks, who gave the Cubs a much-needed 6.2 innings yesterday on a career-high 117 pitches. You wouldn’t normally want to see him get that extended, but (1) the Cubs had a big lead, (2) Hendricks was pitching well, and (3) the bullpen was completely drained. The performance held Hendricks’ ERA steady at 2.76, 11th best in the NL. His 1.9 WAR is tied for 15th, though it’s interesting to note that FanGraphs WAR (which is what I use, primarily) is tied to FIP, which we are increasingly finding does not fully capture the performance of guys like Hendricks, who are elite at limiting hard contact.
- And how about another great outing from Carl Edwards Jr., giving the Cubs two innings of run-less, hit-less, one-walk work. He struck out two and looked very much like a guy who could, at a minimum, stick in the big league pen for the foreseeable future. We’ll see how he looks going forward, especially if he’s tasked with more high-leverage opportunities, but I’m just saying that, the last two games, he looked the part. And since we already know that the scouting and minor league performance indicates he can be this guy, it’s completely reasonable dream on him emerging as a late-inning option for the Cubs as soon as, like, this weekend.
- That first inning inside-the-park homer was the first of Anthony Rizzo’s career, and he joked after the game that he was able to get his heart rate back down by the third inning (Cubs.com).
- No one was willing to discuss it after the game – Reds manager Bryan Price said only that “different managers have different philosophies about what is a comfortable lead” (Cubs.com) – but it seemed pretty obvious that the Reds had Jumbo Diaz hit Kris Bryant in the top of the 8th inning because the Cubs executed a squeeze bunt in the 7th inning to score an additional run while up 8-2. Not only do I think it’s abhorrent to hit players with a rock thrown 90+ mph, I think the Reds should be flat embarrassed that they view a six-run lead with three innings to go as so comfortable that it’s over, and the other team should stop trying to score. With their lineup and in that ballpark, with nine outs to go, and with a completely taxed Cubs bullpen, a six-run lead is plainly not so comfortable that a team should stop trying to score. That’s actually a really ridiculous position. But, then, we know Price’s position on things that don’t help the Reds.
- Paired with a Cardinals loss last night, the Cubs’ lead in the NL Central is back up to 11.0 games.
- Joe Maddon shared some of his thoughts on the unwritten rules (now written down, apparently), and you’ll be unsurprised to learn that Maddon is flexible, appreciating both the head-down-run-to-first guys and the guy who celebrate the big moments. He just wants to make sure players are respectful and making a real effort.
- At the end of yesterday’s game, Willson Contreras took a foul ball below the waist, which would normally just make you cringe and want to move on quickly and not watch that highlight. But, the thing is, what he did after getting hit made it impossible not to laugh and want to watch several times.
- Careful, young man! That guy’s recovering from a hamstring injury:
- This is pretty much the most adorable thing ever, and will melt you, and I want to high five that kid, and I would also react this way:
— Louie Hillenmeyer (@LHillenmeyer) June 29, 2016
- If you missed it earlier this morning, we looked at Albert Almora Jr.’s first career homer, and his potential future.