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Lester Hates Starters Getting Pulled Early, Brewers Looking Good, and Other Bullets

Analysis and Commentary, Chicago Cubs News, MLB News and Rumors

The Little Girl apparently has ant strength. Like, the thing where they can lift more than their body weight. Or most of it anyway. Her new favorite thing to do is to bounce The Littlest Girl – who weighs 2/3 of what her big sister does – up and down in the air like she’s on an amusement ride. I still have to help get The Littlest Girl into position, but from there, the bouncing begins, and I don’t really know how The Little Girl (whose moniker is still appropriate, even at age 6) does it. Like I said: girl’s got ant strength.


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  • Jon Lester offered his take on Rich Hill – and other starting pitchers – getting pulled very early this postseason, despite pitching reasonably well (CBS Radio, via SI): “I just feel like when you ask your bullpen to get nine, 12, 15 outs, there’s a lot of things that can happen. And you went from a 3-1 game to a 7-6 game. I feel like that’s what happens when you do that. It puts a lot of stress on your bullpen. They have the off day today. I get it on that side of it. But for me, it’s just not baseball. Baseball is your starters go six, seven, eight and then you mix and match and do your things that you need to do from that point forward.”
  • Given that Lester is a career-long workhorse starter, you wouldn’t expect his opinion to be anything different. Further, it is absolutely ideal when the starting pitcher can go at least six innings, because it sets up the bullpen so much better than when they have to cover five innings. I have no doubt he hates when Joe Maddon pulls him and he thinks he has more in the tank. That said, we know that most starting pitchers lose effectiveness rapidly once they’ve starting going through the batting order a third time, and as bullpen usage – and reliever types – continues to evolve, my guess is you’re going to continue to see this trend (especially in the postseason) of starters getting pulled very early, even when it seems like they’re pitching well. In the aggregate, it’s working.
  • Lester might also be moved by the fact that, unlike most starting pitchers, he dominates the third time through the order (.242/.304/.383 the third time through for his career, better than the first and second time through (and .201/.269/.352 even in a down 2017)). Obviously part of that is because he stays in for the third time through only when he’s “on,” but still, not many pitchers are ever that good the third time through.

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  • If you missed it last night, the Cubs *will* reportedly get the pitching coach they want in Jim Hickey, though it hasn’t yet been announced.
  • The Gold Glove finalists were announced yesterday, and the Cubs have three of ’em – Anthony Rizzo, Jason Heyward, and Ben Zobrist. The Cubs put together a highlight package to celebrate the honor:

  • The Brewers re-upped with free-agent-to-be Eric Sogard on a one-year, $2.4 million deal with some incentives mixed in. The 31-year-old utility man/mostly second baseman originally came to the Brewers on a minor league deal, and then put up the best offensive season of his career (.273/.393/.378, 108 wRC+), albeit in only 94 games. He plays good defense, though, and walked (15.1%) and struck out (12.4%) at ridiculously impressive clips last year. He’s a nice player to have, and the Brewers got a good deal – a day after getting Chase Anderson to sign a nice extension, too.

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  • Speaking of the Brewers, the Sporting News named their manager, Craig Counsell, the NL Manager of the Year. It’s a predictable honor given the obligatory “team that surprised” thing, but I genuinely have always been impressed by Counsell’s game management. I think he gets it.
  • Fair to assume, given a good manager, a savvy front office, and a deep young talent pool, the Brewers are going to be around for a while. The NL Central is looking reasonably wide open right now, though the Cubs can clearly separate themselves with a few good pitching additions.
  • Wonderful memories, my friends:

  • The dang ball just takes a hard left turn after about 20 feet:

  • Apropos of nothing except the fact that it’s beautiful and wondrous and awesome:

  • Deals deals deals (Lids, by the way, is another partner of ours – so thank you very much for checking them out and supporting BN):


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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.