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How Quickly Baseball Spins You Around, Heyward’s Baserunning, and Other Bullets

Analysis and Commentary, Chicago Cubs News

The Wife and The Kiddos are home for the summer, starting today. In theory, my job doesn’t change, but the sounds that constantly reverberate through the erstwhile silent house certainly do. It’s an adjustment I make with a smile.


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  • Baseball, man. I don’t think it’s a stretch to suggest that the Wednesday loss in San Diego, capping off an 0-fer road trip with a sweep at the hands of arguably the worst team in baseball, was the lowest point for the Cubs since some point in early 2014. Maybe even earlier than that. The Cubs dropped to two games below .500 as the calendar flipped to June, despite maintaining a core of players that had just won the World Series. Obviously that part was a saving grace, but it was clear that the team had massively underperformed, and the threat of not making the playoffs stood at it’s most significant so far this year. It was a dark time.
  • … and then the Cubs immediately swept the Cardinals at Wrigley Field for the first time since 2006, came back in all three games to do it, pulled back over .500, passed the Cardinals in the standings, and everything was hunky dory again! Heh. That’s an oversimplification, of course, but it does underscore just how wildly this sport can flip you. Even now, going forward, we could wind up looking back at this series as the moment everything turned for the Cubs … or just a nice series sweep in the sea of an otherwise forgettable season. Time will tell.
  • Turns out – meaningful or not – the Cubs had a team meeting on that Wednesday, the final day of the winless road trip (Daily Herald).

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  • On the Jon Jay hit that gave the Cubs the lead last night, I still can’t decide, visually, if Jason Heyward definitely baited Dexter Fowler into the throw to third base to ensure Anthony Rizzo would score, or if he just got a little too aggressive. You can watch the play here, and he did a good job of extending the rundown long enough to ensure Rizzo could score, but if Fowler’s throw was a little bit later and Heyward were tagged out immediately, I’m not sure Rizzo would have scored – that is to say, if Heyward did that on purpose, it was an awfully risky strategy. But then again, letting Fowler get fully behind a throw coming to the plate with Rizzo running might have been risky, too. On the whole, I think Heyward probably figured being aggressive was the best bet either way: he likely ensures Rizzo scores, and if the throw goes home, he winds up on third base if Rizzo is safe.
(Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
  • Ian Happ crushed two bombs yesterday, and Joe Maddon discussed the adjustments the young switch-hitter is working through (Cubs.com): “He’s going to continue to do a better job of knowing what to not swing at. He doesn’t have to do mechanical adjustments, he doesn’t have to spend 1,000 hours in the batting cage. It’s a focus thing. He has a good idea of the strike zone. When he really refines it here, heads up.” I am #NotAScout, clearly, because to me it does look like there’s a little bit of a mechanical adjustment needed for him to catch up to high heat, but I’m the first to admit I could be wrong about that.
  • The lack of playing time for Albert Almora is on Joe Maddon’s radar (Tribune), but the arrival of Happ and the need to put him in center field obviously changed the equation for Almora.

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  • Deadspin ranked the top sports mascots because why not, and Clark the Cub shows up at 29 out of 70. Fred Bird, the Cardinals’ mascot, was last. Mr. Met took the top spot, either in spite of, or because of, his recent one-digit salute.
  • I would say this was at least 80% self-protection, but that remaining 20% was a heckuva a nice catch:

  • It’s all that dancing Edwards does. It keeps him loose, flexible, and agile!
  • Watch for 100 years, and you might never see this again:


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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.