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Epstein on Getting Up After a Title, Bullpen Contact Management, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs News

Time to cut off this shaggy dog mane atop my head. Unlike John Lackey, I did come for the haircut.


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But first, Bullets …

  • This is a different standard for hard contact than FanGraphs uses, so it’s cool/interesting to see Cubs relievers represented here as well:

  • Justin Wilson, eh? For what it’s worth, FanGraphs’ contact numbers don’t agree with ESPN, having Wilson’s hard contact rate for the season at 30.3%, only slightly better than league average (31.0%). He also has a better than league average soft contact rate, at 21.2%. Another for what it’s worth: Wilson’s hard contact rate has been down with the Cubs (28.3%), but his soft contact rate has also been down (17.4%).
  • I would have expected Mike Montgomery a little higher, though I wonder if him splitting time as a starting pitcher is what’s mucking that up. Then again, his overall hard contact rate at FanGraphs this year is fairly average (30.2%), and it’s only slightly lower as a reliever (29.7%). Montgomery’s real moneymaker this year was the extreme level of soft contact he generated as a reliever: 25.6%, which was 18th best in baseball.
  • Although he’s given up his share of hard contact, it’s worth noting that Wade Davis has been top 10 in soft contact (28.0%) this year. Montgomery is next on the team, and then Carl Edwards Jr. comes in at 28th, with a 24.0% soft contact rate.

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  • Miscellaneous visual love for the Cubs:

  • It’s gonna take me a while to get used to not saying “CSN Chicago,” but they are no longer “CSN Chicago” – they’re now NBC Sports Chicago.

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  • I like the framing in this Patrick Mooney piece at CSN Chicago NBC Sports Chicago, reflecting on the Cubs’ last visit to DC to face the Nationals in late June, which featured a Nationals outburst on the base paths, a finger-pointing Miguel Montero, and an emotional low. The next day was the second team visit to the White House to meet with President Trump, a controversial re-visit that saw only about half the team attend. Then, perhaps more than any time outside of the 43-45 All-Star break a couple weeks later, the possibility of the Cubs becoming sellers crept over from insane message board rantings to “yeah, that’s least a tiny bit possible.” But Theo Epstein must have seen enough in the intervening weeks to pull the trigger on the Jose Quintana trade (and, even then, if the Cubs hadn’t come out of the break firing, it’s possible guys like Wade Davis or Jake Arrieta still would have been dealt). The rest is history.
  • Epstein also notes, with welcomed honesty, that it was hard for the players to “get up” for the first half wins in the same way after just grinding out a long-awaited World Series win: “In the first half, we were kind of tired of the postgame celebration. It was getting kind of old. Folks don’t understand. Once you win it all – and you’ve given everything you’ve had – the specter of playing 162 games and making them all meaningful is really overwhelming. It’s hard to get up for all of them. The first half, there were just a lot of things, different gripes going on. It was kind of more a collection of individuals than it was anything else. And then as soon as we hit the break – and we had to answer the bell – our guys did.” He goes on to talk about the different vibe in the second half. It’s good stuff.
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
  • If you missed it last night, Michael took a fantastic look at the shifting Nationals bullpen, and how it’s no longer an aid to the Cubs.

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  • People have found some very good deals with this one, so I’m especially happy to pass it along:

  • If you somehow missed it in the Bears’ world (like, if you’re a Bears fan, that is), it’s finally happening: Mitch Trubisky is the new Bears starting quarterback. The team’s top draft pick this year (they traded up from 3 to 2 just to get him), it was only a matter of time before Trubisky took over, but it’s going to be a challenge for Cubs fans to see his debut – it’s Monday night, which is the same day the Cubs are playing the Nationals in Game 3 of the NLDS. D’oh. I guess I’ll watch the highlights … and read up about it at TYL, of course! You should follow our sister site on Twitter, and like it on Facebook:


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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.