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Reliever Volatility, Bunting Desire, Stanton History, and Other Bullets

Analysis and Commentary, Chicago Cubs News

I’m not sure why last night’s game, specifically, really seemed to set people off, but I suppose it was the combination of a close loss with so many late missed opportunities, the fact that it came against a crummy team, the fact that it came a night after an offensive explosion, and the fact that the explosion came after feeling like the Cubs were turning yet another ever-elusive corner. Looking back, I guess I see it. But man, people were kind of over the top in the comments and on Twitter.


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Not to make things more important than they are, but after some other national events of recent days, and after yesterday in particular, I just feel like exuding a little more positivity today. I think we could all stand to accept a little more of it.

The Cubs lost a crummy game that they had a number of chances to win. Most one-run losses feel like that, and all teams suffer one-run losses every year. Moving on.

  • As for the loss, I have seen Joe Maddon’s comments on why he had Javy Baez bunt in the 9th inning with two on and no outs, but I haven’t seen anything yet on why he elected not to have Tommy La Stella or Ian Happ bunt in the same situation the inning before. I am definitely not a pro-bunt guy, but Reds closer Raisel Iglesias is so brutal on righties that it changes the complexion of how you proceed in a one-run (and then two-run) game. So I was very much good with the Baez bunt, but I don’t understand why the bunt didn’t take place in the earlier inning, which could have set up much better matchups against Iglesias. Who am I? Asking for more bunts? I feel so dirty.

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  • Well, it doesn’t sound like Addison Russell (strained muscle in foot, plantar fasciitis) will be back in time for the end of this home stand (CSN), which means he will have been out some three weeks before he might possibly return. And even that is not a sure thing.
  • Not to be lost in the loss, Carl Edwards Jr. was fire again:

  • Since his meltdown against the Nationals, when the cries to send him to AAA had grown nearly deafening, Edwards has thrown 3.2 perfect innings with six strikeouts. Maaaaaaybe relievers just go through ups and downs like every player, but the downs are magnified by the small samples and big moments?
  • As for Edwards, he admits that he lost his confidence during his bad stretch, even though he knew he was fine physically and felt good mentally (CSN). He just had to stick with it, keep going out there and being himself, and the results would follow.

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(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
  • Speaking of which, there can be no argument that Justin Wilson has been quite bad so far with the Cubs, but the guy has a long track record of high-level success stacked against five – FIVE – bad innings with the Cubs. I’m willing to give him just a little more leash before I call that one a disaster. Last night’s outing typifies how much noise there can be in a small sample for a reliever: Wilson gave up a run by way of a 3-2 walk with two borderline calls, a 74 mph double, and a 67 mph single. Then he struck out Joey Votto. The results were bad, but in terms of what he actually did – missed by a couple inches in one plate appearance, and then got weak contact and a strikeout – was it really bad?
  • This is the week that Joe Maddon forces his players to come late to the park (American Legion Week), which is an adjustment, especially for the younger players (ESPN). But it works to get guys extra rest, and maybe even get out of their own head a bit. Last night’s loss was the first during American Legion Week during Joe Maddon’s tenure (10-1, Muskat).
  • If Joey Votto reaches base twice today against the Cubs, he’ll tie Ted Williams for the longest streak of reaching base twice in a game (21 straight, set in 1948).

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  • Giancarlo Stanton homered AGAIN last night, and he is doing something truly historic right now:

  • Man, I remember that Sosa stretch, where it seemed like he was homering every single game, and you had only to wonder when it was going to happen.
  • If you missed it yesterday, Stanton also cleared trade waivers thanks to his enormous contract, which kicked off a new run of rumors. It also made me have a little fun with his power:

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  • Yadi Molina grounded into one of the slowest triple plays ever:


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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.