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A Different Perspective on Game Seven, Russell’s Looming Breakout, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs News

Busy morning already, eh? I was trying to enjoy a fond Jon-Lester-homer memory when I remembered that single game tickets went on sale today. And then, when I was half-way through the Bullets, the Cubs posted their two lineups for tomorrow’s split squad games.

Plus, I’ve been keeping tabs from a distance on the World Series rally that’s going on in Mesa:


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Is it safe to head into the Bullets now?

  • Let’s think back today about Game Seven of the World Series. I know. Been there, done that so many times you can’t possibly read about it again, right? Well, first of all, that will *NEVER* be true. Second of all, this time, I want you to think about the game from the Indians‘ perspective. Imagine, for a moment, being an Indians player or fan. Think about that game. About the unbelievable high of the comeback and the Rajai Davis homer … and then the unbelievable low of giving it right back. And then starting a rally in the bottom of the 10th! And then … not enough. And then think about how you’d look back on the whole series with frustration. A 3-1 series lead, and a 90% chance of winning it all. Gone. A 68-year championship-less streak intact. Eventually, the joy of reaching the World Series would be a fond enough memory, but you’d never fully get over just how close it was …
  • Ken Rosenthal writes about the game today, specifically the 10th inning, featuring interviews with Cleveland players. It’s interesting to see their perspective on how close they were to getting out of that 10th inning without allowing a run. The Ben Zobrist double was, of course, not a matter of divine fate – it was a grounder that Jose Ramirez juuuuust barely couldn’t reach. And if he does?

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  • You’ll definitely want to read Mike Petriello’s article, but I wanted to include the tweet version so you could see the obviously awesome chart:

  • Contact rate has not typically been something we worried about in specific reference to Addison Russell. No, strikeout rate and contact rate are not the same thing, but the former is often highly-influenced by the latter, and Russell’s strikeout rate in the upper levels of the minors was downright tiny. As a rookie in the big leagues, it shot up to 28.5% (very high, but shy of troubling), and plummeted this past season to a barely-worse-than-average 22.6%. As Petriello’s piece notes, Russell improved through from 2015 to 2016, and then throughout the 2016 season – not only in contact rate and strikeouts, but in the type of contact he was making. We say this about a lot of Cubs youngsters (well, because it’s true), but Russell, 23, seems primed for a breakout one of these years.
  • Like, a big-time offensive breakout. Remember how we recently talked about how incredible it was that Kris Bryant dropped his strikeout rate at the same time he was increasing his power? Well, not quite on the same scale, but Russell did it in the second half of 2016: cutting his strikeout rate 4.5 percentage points from the first half, and increasing his ISO by 42 points.

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  • I was on Neal McCready’s podcast this week to talk about the Cubs’ seasons behind and ahead, and how our fandom necessarily shifts this year.
  • Heads up for those of you wanting new Cubs gear but waiting for a sale – today is a sale:

  • Literal LOL on this one:


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If you missed anything yesterday, give this list a skim:


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Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation.