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Struggles Against Hill, the Almora Decision, Lester’s Outing, and Other Bullets

Analysis and Commentary, Chicago Cubs News

Do you ever think about the story behind the Monster Mash? I mean, we hear that song every year at this time, but, like, where did it come from? Was it always designed to be a Halloween-season song? Or was it a totally unrelated hit that, for obvious reasons, became a Halloween song?


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… Oh, you don’t wonder that? Well la-dee-da, look at you, Mr. Normal.

I’m off to do some Wikipedia’ing!

  • I don’t know about you folks, but I’m having a tough time shaking that one off. Usually, by around this time, with distance and sleep, I feel pretty joke-y again. Not so much today.
  • The Cubs looked really good at the plate against Gio Gonzalez in Game Five of the NLDS and then against Clayton Kershaw in Game One of the NLCS, so I was tentatively expecting that same lineup to take some confident swings against fellow quality lefty Rich Hill. I was wrong. It looked like the batters were all gameplanning to sit back on the curveball (reasonable), but then got abused by the 89 mph fastball. Hill has an insane strikeout rate for a reason, I guess. The only except to my eye was Anthony Rizzo, who looked very ready for the fastball, but was made to look silly by the curveball.

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  • One of the less-discussed odd managerial decisions last night was to allow Albert Almora to take his 9th inning at bat against Kenley Jansen, with a runner on base, despite Almora’s previous struggles with righties and Jansen’s are-you-kidding-me line against righties this year (.120/.147/.168). The strangeness of the decision was compounded in the bottom of the frame when Almora was double-switched out for Leonys Martin. If you’re gonna switch out Almora anyway, why in the world wouldn’t you put a lefty in there? The bench was loaded with compelling lefty options, including Kyle Schwarber, Ian Happ, Tommy La Stella, and Alex Avila. After the game, Maddon’s answer was simply that he wanted a contact bat in there against Jansen, and he didn’t think any of the lefties actually provided a good match-up against Jansen. OK. Well, at least it’s a considered reason, even if it sure feels like a mistake.
  • (If you missed it, I went in deep on the more prominently-discussed mistake in the 9th inning, and Michael dug into the Cubs’ offensive woes.)
  • I got some guff for saying last night that Jon Lester’s performance was “decent,” given that he walked 5 and lasted just 4.2 innings. Meh. The length of outing was always going to be a little abbreviated because he was not on full rest, and he lost six calls in the strike zone (strikes that were called balls). There were another four balls that were very close to the edge of the zone. If he gets half of those 10 calls, maybe the walks go down and the outing goes longer. Even as it was, he allowed just one earned run and three hits. Given all the circumstances, yes, I call that “decent.”

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  • Also, in case you’re wondering: I count only three lost strike calls for Hill, and none just outside the edges that weren’t called.
  • One silver lining from last night was how dominating Carl Edwards Jr. looked in a bounce back appearance, and he was feeling confident after the game:

  • You have to chuckle, or else:

  • That’s a bummer:

  • The auction for the Cubs World Series ring is now off. The ring belongs to a scout who is no longer with the Cubs, but the contractual arrangement made with the team when those rings were given out was an impediment to selling it at auction (which was the intention by the team in giving out so many rings).

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  • I don’t know if we’ll get to it separately given the NLCS, but I don’t want this to slip by without a mention because it could be crazy: fired and disgraced GM John Coppolella is reportedly considering legal action against the Braves, who – again, reportedly – offered him severance before firing him. That’s notable because you typically wouldn’t offer severance to someone you were firing solely because of gross violations of the IFA rules. Is there more to this story?
  • All kinds of bottles, tumblers, and beverage containers are a Deal of the Day at Amazon today. They appear to be very fancy, at solidly discounted prices.
  • And if you can stomach loving the Cubs today, there’s a deal for you:

  • META: Speaking of Wikipedia up there, a friend pointed out to me that there’s a “requested article” about Bleacher Nation on Wikipedia here (I didn’t put it there!). Basically, you can’t do your own articles on there because that’s not really the spirit of the place (which I wholeheartedly support) – but if someone reading this is ALREADY a Wikipedia editor and wanted to take a crack at a BN entry, if deemed worthy, I thought I should bring it to your attention. I honestly have no idea if BN merits an entry.

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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.