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Addison Russell is Ripping the Ball More Than Anyone and Other Bullets

Analysis and Commentary, Chicago Cubs News

About all these comeback wins: they are thrilling and fun, but, yes, it is a fair reminder of the issues the Cubs are currently facing. The starting pitching isn’t quite doing what you’d expect, and the bats have not been consistently effective with runners in scoring position.

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But the nice thing is that these wins all count. The wins are locked in. The Cubs could have performed nearly identically and netted losses in the last three games. In the end, it’s only the wins and losses that matter, so banking as many wins as you can early – however you get ’em – is good, whether it portends future doom or not.

  • I did not see this stat coming (Cubs.com): “According to Statcast™, [Addison] Russell was leading all Major League players with 26 batted balls with an exit velocity of 95 mph or more through Wednesday and was leading the Cubs with an average exit velocity of 92 mph per batted ball.” Don’t get me wrong, we’ve been talking about the great signals for Russell and the looming power surge for a while, it’s just that, on a team like this, I wouldn’t have pegged him as THE guy hitting the ball with the most authority right now (and the most 95mph contact in all of baseball? WOW).
  • Ben Zobrist has been experience back tightness (Cubs.com), and could be out until Sunday. Although Tommy La Stella officially returned from the bereavement list and was optioned to Iowa earlier today, it is fair to wonder if Zobrist’s back issue could lead to an open spot at some point in the next few days. To be quite clear, it doesn’t sound like Zobrist’s back is in serious trouble, but with the DL now just a minimum 10-day stay, if Zobrist doesn’t play today, he’s already three days into that ten (you can backdate a stay to the last time a player appeared in a game, which, for Zobrist, was Wednesday). Thus, a DL move would need only be for a week, and the Cubs could get back La Stella’s lefty bat and infield glove, while Zobrist rests up. Just thinking out loud.
  • From the sound of things, though, a DL trip is not currently in consideration for Zobrist (Sun-Times).

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  • Michael Lorenzen on the homer he gave up to Anthony Rizzo last night (Cubs.com): “Just to challenge him and throw every pitch with conviction, just like every single hitter, just like every single other pitch that I throw. With that, I threw it with conviction. He got me. Just tip your cap to him. He’s a good hitter. It’s Anthony Rizzo for a reason.”
  • That homer also extended a quiet 10-game hitting streak for Rizzo. Given the volume of walks and HBP he takes, Rizzo is not a great bet for long hitting streaks, so 10 games is pretty cool.
  • After another scoreless inning yesterday, Carl Edwards Jr. is up to seven appearances on the year without allowing an earned run. An .071 BABIP will help that (and will increase eventually), but it’s not as if Edwards is giving up hard contact. To the contrary: he’s just so darn hard to square up.
  • The improbability of the Cubs’ comeback last night will focus – understandably – on the Anthony Rizzo homer with two outs in the 9th inning, but the winning run scored by Albert Almora was set up by a Kyle Schwarber single. An insane Kyle Schwarber single:

  • Schwarber had no business touching that pitch, let alone PULLING it at 106mph! But I guess if you get yourself in a count where you have to throw Schwarber a fastball, you’re in trouble no matter what you do.

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  • A stat to blow your mind, per ESPN: the Cubs are now 4-0 in games they’ve trailed by 3 or more going into the 6th inning. The rest of baseball is 5-72!!!
  • (That stat, by the way, also confirms that the Cubs have pretty much exclusively been in close games this year. They’ve lost a lot, yes, but they’ve been in basically all of them.)

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  • After the win, we can finally, officially say hello to the first place Chicago Cubs again:

Ah. And once again, all is right with the world.

Posted by Bleacher Nation on Friday, April 21, 2017

  • Looks like there will be some news out of Oakland at some point this year, which is good news for that city, especially with all the Las Vegas talk popping up (and coming to fruition with respect to the football team):


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  • This probably works better at ballparks without a lot of people in them:

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Brett Taylor

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

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