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Hendricks and Anderson Injuries, Montgomery Strike Zone Tendencies, and Other Bullets

Analysis and Commentary, Chicago Cubs News
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The Cubs really need a win today, lest I start thinking irrational things like “oh man, they can only win and lose in long streaks! now they’re gonna lose three more in a row!”

  • The Cubs say that the move of Brett Anderson from the 10-day DL to the 60-day DL was procedural as opposed to a setback, as he was already over 30 days on the DL (Sharma). In other words, there wasn’t an expectation that he would be back before another month anyway. This was always a strong possibility with Anderson – hence him having to settle for a cheap, one-year, incentive-laden deal – but it’s still a bummer that it hasn’t worked out so far. When he was healthy, throughout his career, Anderson had always been effective. Cubs could have used that.
  • As it stands, Mike Montgomery will get a shot to show what he can do as a starter today, though I don’t anticipate he’ll be able to go more than 70 or so pitches. Since he tends not to be super economical by nature, that might net the Cubs only about four innings or so. If they’re good innings, though, you’ll take it. Montgomery has been extremely effective this year in contact management (teams have found it virtually impossible to hit him hard), but his strikeout (17.6%) and walk (13.5%) rates are flat-out terrible.

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  • I also had an instinct about Montgomery that he was probably one of the pitchers least in the strike zone this year, and sure enough: at just 38.9%, Montgomery is in the strike zone less often than all pitchers with at least 30 IP this year except for five other pitchers. That’s a shift for him from last year, when he was in the zone 3.5 percentage points more often. Unfortunately for him so far this year, guys are actually swinging much less often at his pitches out of the zone. It’s kind of an untenable balance that I hope will not be exposed today. Perhaps he’ll pitch a little differently as a starter. The guy has really good stuff.
(Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
  • Montgomery is, of course, taking the spot of Kyle Hendricks, who went on the DL yesterday with tendinitis (aka inflammation of a tendon) in his right middle finger. Tentatively, this sounds like a situation where the Cubs are being overly cautious and simultaneously using it as an opportunity to get Montgomery a start. In other words, hopefully, this is but the first example of the Cubs finally taking advantage of the new, shorter DL, and Hendricks will miss only one start (Cubs.com).
  • Not-so-fun-fact: per ESPN’s Home Run tracker, D.J. LeMahieu’s decisive homer into the basket last night was the shortest (368 feet) and softest hit (97.3 mph) homer in baseball yesterday.

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  • Circling back to the Montgomery strike zone stuff: while searching out that information at FanGraphs, I couldn’t help but notice the extreme opposite being true for so many Rockies pitchers, including today’s starter, German Marquez. They are among the most in the strike zone pitchers in all of baseball. Gonna have to swing today.
  • Awesome moment yesterday:

  • A blast from the past for a former third overall pick by the Cubs:

  • Kris Bryant gettin’ wild:

  • Legit recommendation for Bryant or anyone else who likes coffee: cold brew. It’s easy, can still be drunk hot if that’s what you prefer (but is ideal for iced coffees, which I prefer), and tastes about 300% better than traditional coffee because it lacks almost all of the bitterness. The brewer I use is on sale at Amazon today, too, for just $18.99. It’s so cheap and good!

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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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