I am on my way to Chicago this morning to be there for the Beyond the Box Score meet-up tonight at JP Burke’s, and then tomorrow morning at Nisei Lounge for the John Baker Day event (and the Cubs/Jays game thereafter). Hope to see some of you at all those things!
And now some quick Bullets from an Arby’s …
- Obviously the big news right now is the Jon Lester injury, and the ramifications therefrom. The early word is cautious optimism that it might not be more than a couple week injury, in which case the Cubs would likely turn to Mike Montgomery to fill the starts, and a AAA arm to come up and join the bullpen.
- Hopefully that arm (Luke discussed possibilities this morning) can command the strike zone, because this is not good:
Leadoff walk scores in each of the 7, 8 & 9th inning. Cubs relievers have an 11.2% walk rate, second-worst in baseball behind the Brewers
— Sahadev Sharma (@sahadevsharma) August 17, 2017
- In the second half, it’s been an even worse problem, at a terrifying 13.3%. Yesterday’s game was just a microcosm of the broader problem.
- The Cubs have some naturally high walk rate pitchers in the bullpen, so some of that is to be expected. But the Cubs have SEVEN(!) bullpen members with double digit walk rates: Carl Edwards Jr. (15.7%), Wade Davis (12.9%), Mike Montgomery (12.9%), Justin Grimm (12.6%), Justin Wilson (12.1%), Hector Rondon (10.3%), and Pedro Strop (10.1%). The only current member of the bullpen with a good walk rate is Brian Duensing (4.9%).
- Kris Bryant has some sage words about player performance, but which fans could stand to hear about their own fandom on a year to year basis (ESPN): “A guy I look to is Bryce Harper. His MVP year, he hits 42 [home runs in 2015], then he hits 24. It’s just the peaks and valleys of the game, which make it so great. If you knew you were going to go out every year and hit 30 and .300, it wouldn’t be as fun. I think with the struggles, you have to enjoy them because it makes the success that much better.”
- Bryant’s performance has been otherworldly – even for Bryant – lately: he’s hitting an LOL .432/.545/.773 since August 5, and has his season line up to .291/.404/.536, which virtually matches the line from his MVP campaign in 2016. The pack is a little different this year, though, as Bryant’s 144 wRC+ is just 9th best in the NL.
- (My God. There are 20(!) National Leaguers with a wRC+ over 130. Not a good time to be a pitcher.)
- An eyes-on scouting report of Cubs pitching prospect Thomas Hatch at BP, which paints the picture of a guy with a good chance of reaching the big leagues, and some chance of settling in as a mid-rotation starter. That would be a fantastic outcome for a third round pick.
- Kris Bryant is awesome, and everyone knows it:
— Cut4 (@Cut4) August 16, 2017
- This is always a fun night, and I will be there:
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) August 17, 2017
- Over at TYL, Mitch Trubisky isn’t buying into his own hype, and safety Eddie Jackson could be the first Bears draft pick to see starting action.
- Deals of the Day at Amazon include strategy board games, and a fancy cookware set. You could have a board game dinner party!