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John Lackey’s Strong Outing and Above-Average Run, the Loaded Bullpen, and Other Bullets

Analysis and Commentary, Chicago Cubs News

Gotta power through these Bullets to then get the mindset back on the Blogathon. In my sleep-deprived state, my brain gets sidetracked so easily that the Bullets – what with their necessarily-built-in sidetracking – are a serious landmine for me.


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  • You wouldn’t let a single start, or two or even three, change your mindset with respect to something you wanted to do in the rotation at the Trade Deadline. But the way John Lackey has pitched lately has undoubtedly given the Cubs’ front office plenty of comfort that they don’t have to be out there searching for another arm. He looked especially good yesterday, with his vintage slider generating 10(!) whiffs, and he got 5 other swings-and-misses on the day. He had 7 strikeouts in his 6.0 innings of work, and just 2 walks and 5 hits. The only runs he gave up came on a just-barely-out homer that was not especially well-struck, and bounced off the top of the outfield wall.

  • That’s now four straight starts Lackey’s made that were perfectly acceptable, and six of his last seven. Even including the eight-run blowup in Washington, Lackey has a 4.12 ERA in his last seven starts, better than the NL ERA average of 4.32. To be sure, though, the peripherals are much worse, as Lackey still sports an unnerving 1.60 HR/9 ratio in that span, an unimpressive 43.1% groundball rate, and an extremely modest 15.2% K rate. But, hey, again: fifth starter. You only expect so much.
(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
  • For all the weeping we do, the Brewers did not have a single hit with a runner in scoring position in that entire series.

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  • Brewers youngster Lewis Brinson had this to say about the atmosphere at Miller Park this weekend (Cubs.com): “This was intense. This was definitely the loudest crowd I think I’ve played in front of. It’s one of the biggest crowds I’ve played in front of – a lot of Cub fans and a lot of Brewers fans. It’s a heated rivalry, and we’re fighting for first place.”
  • Fun fact:

  • Another trade related set of points:

  • Joe Maddon talked about it after Saturday night’s game, when the Cubs struck out 17 times, and he got into it more yesterday – he doesn’t like the approaches he was seeing, particularly with respect to the team’s young hitters expanding the strike zone (CSN). It’s a bit of a natural issue for young hitters as they ebb and flow in their development, but you know the instruction, practice, and desire are there. Hopefully all that is necessary from here are reminders about their individual cues, and time.
  • So, that’s a weird thing that happened at the Cubs-Brewers game yesterday:

  • Enshrined:

  • Just eliminate the balk rule, man. None of us knows nothin’ anyway:


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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.