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Epstein’s Homecoming, Angry Lackey, Pitcher Velocity, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs News, MLB News and Rumors

I have for more than a week now labored under the impression that The Wife used my sunglasses at some point while driving my car, and then continued wearing them wherever it was that she was going, only to lose them. I had no proof of this, of course, other than a past history that has – in her defense, only rarely – included similar scenarios. I wasn’t made, mind you. I just kept reaching over to put them on, finding them missing, only to utter under my breath a reminder to myself to ask her where she put my dang sunglasses.

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Thankfully I never got a chance to get accusatory, because I found them today … in the car. Basically in the exact spot where I keep them, just pushed a little further back in the center console than I had been looking.

Oops. The lesson? Always assume first that you are being an idiot before suggesting that your spouse did something wrong.

On to the Bullets …

  • When you come home, as Cubs President Theo Epstein has this weekend in Boston, old friends are probably gonna tell some stories. For example? Epstein’s long-time friend and now Red Sox President Sam Kennedy tells the story at ESPN of how the duo were being studious young gentlemen in New Orleans in 1997 when Kennedy accidentally dropped Epstein from his shoulders, leading to an Epstein head injury that Kennedy figures was probably a serious concussion. Maybe that’s what opened up his mind to new possibilities in baseball …
  • I joke, kids. Don’t smash your head hoping to get super intelligence powers. (The radioactive spider bite thing is true, though, so if you see one of those, go for it.) The entire ESPN piece is a great read on Epstein’s homecoming in Boston – he missed the Cubs’ trip there in 2014 for the birth of his son. Oh, and as for talk that Epstein could be a big-time politician if he wanted, Epstein’s response is perfect: “I think I need to go do something really ill-advised or commit a felony or something. I can put a stop to it in a hurry.”
  • Earlier, I got into a lot of the fun game-specific stuff from yesterday’s win, so check that all out if you haven’t already (especially Koji Uehara going high-five-nuts on his teammates – I will never, ever get tired of that).

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  • Among the bits in there was John Lackey’s frustrated interaction with the home plate ump, which you can read more about here at Cubs.com. Miguel Montero had to run a little interference after Lackey asked the ump if he called a pitch in, and, getting a yes, he said, “Then you missed it.” You know I can’t help myself, right? I had to check. The pitch in question, a first inning fastball to Mookie Betts, was actually just a touch inside, per PitchFX. (Please don’t come yell at me, John.)
(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
  • That interaction, by the way – where a catcher has to cool down a pitcher, and tell him what he needs in that moment to continue throwing a certain pitch with conviction – is an example of how a veteran catcher can make a difference in ways that are not all that perceptible on the outside.
  • If you’re going to be at the game tonight at Fenway, you can post with the two curse-busting World Series trophies for a suggested $20 donation to the Red Sox Foundation/Cubs Charities. Pretty great use of the hardware.
  • The Boston iteration of the Hot Stove Cool Music event was last night, supporting Theo Epstein’s Foundation to Be Named Later:

  • This is probably going to be one of those storylines about which we grow tired long before it resolves itself, but it is still very important to follow, especially as the starting pitching struggles for reasons we’re still working to pin down:

  • There’s certainly a personnel element to that, as the Cubs now have one of the older rotations in the game, and their two “younger” starters are not guys who throw hard (Kyle Hendricks and Brett Anderson). But, as we’ve discussed, all of the starters are also still down a tick from last year. Hangover from a long season last year? Intentional slow-playing the ramp up process? Natural aging/degradation happening to all five for individual reasons? I kind of lean toward a mix of all three of those explanations, but we’re going to know a whole lot more as we move into May and the consistently warm weather arrives.

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  • Given that, and Anthony Rizzo’s suspicious experience with “random” drug testing, it’s becoming difficult to believe that MLB isn’t intentionally trying to “gotcha” certain players. Don’t get me wrong: if a guy is cheating, then it’s only reasonable for MLB (and the players) to want that guy busted. But something about this just feels off.
  • If you missed it last night, the Nationals were dealt a serious blow, as Adam Eaton tore his ACL is probably lost for the year. I think the Nats are still going to win the NL East, but but there are obviously longer-term playoff implications when a top team loses a key player.
  • This is nuts:


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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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