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Arrieta Had a Rough One, Heyward’s Had a Hot One, and Other Bullets

Analysis and Commentary, Chicago Cubs News

I am sick with a cold (and I am a man, thus the cold is Extremely Bad), I have gotten no sleep lately because of late night games combined with the sickness that impairs sleep, and then I had to get up early to take The Littlest Girl to a couple appointments this morning.


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BUT I AM HERE FOR THE CUBS CLINCHING TONIGHT. Make it happen, gents.

Meantime …

  • We talked earlier about Jake Arrieta’s outing last night from a health perspective – he’s still not at 100% with his hamstring, eep – but let’s note some things on the performance side of things. Although the velocity was good, the command got him into trouble at times. His 41.8% zone percentage was his second lowest of the year (41.4% on May 21), and his first strike percentage (37.5%) was his lowest by far (he’s averaged 58.0% this year).
  • And, as you know, command troubles aren’t just about being out of the strike zone, as they can also lead to missed spots and hard contact. The short outing undoubtedly skews this number, but – sit down – Arrieta’s hard contact rate for the game was 63.6%. Of his 11 batted balls tracked by Statcast, 6 were hit at 97 mph or higher. Yowsa. Suffice to say, Arrieta really got knocked around last night.

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  • How about Willson Contreras’s plate appearances last night? In five of them, he walked three times and saw a total of 30(!) pitches. As Michael has noted before, pitchers seem to be working him extremely carefully since his return from the DL (remember how he was crushing everything in sight before that), and Contreras isn’t taking the bait: he has an are-you-serious 24.4% BB rate in the 13 games since his return.
  • Speaking of recent quality stretches, how about this guy:

  • Those really nice peripherals include a sustainable .308 BABIP and equal 12.8% walk and strikeout rates. It’s only 94 plate appearances, so you have to be really careful about what you take from this information, but it is accurate to say that Heyward has put together a month of quality plate appearances and results.

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  • Heyward’s homer last night was also a thing of beauty:

  • That’s 412 feet and 105 mph off the bat. Crushed. You love seeing that from Heyward.
(Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
  • Javy Baez was able to pinch hit last night after fouling the ball off of his knee on Monday. We’ll see if he’s back in the starting lineup tonight.
  • Theo Epstein had to chip in his own pun:

  • Cardinals fans not exactly banging down the doors for tonight’s game, despite the fact that it could be a clincher for the Cubs, and the Cardinals are *still in the Wild Card race*:

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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.