April Fool’s has passed with the only prank that landed being the game the Cubs played yesterday. I nearly got the kiddos with a story about how the Wii (which we unearthed for them and they’ve been loving) has an internal part that lasts only so long, and it expired yesterday. As I was telling the tale, I could see that it was landing a little too well, because The Little Boy was on the verge of tears. I didn’t have the heart to keep going.
- I have found that Cubs fans rarely like to hear, after a loss, that it “actually should have” or “easily could have” gone a different way. The idea that the Cubs performed well but didn’t get results because baseball is gonna baseball is not always comforting. I get it. Me, though? I just like to know. A guy scalding four outs is more predictive of what’s to come than a guy dribbling and blooping his way to a 4 for 4.
- To that end, Joe Maddon offers that kind of take about as boldly as you can without sounding like a parody:
#Cubs Maddon: "Quite frankly, we could not have hit the ball better than we did. That's the most incredible shutout I've ever seen in my life. … For zero points, you cannot hit the ball any better than we did. That might have been the best hit shutout I've ever seen."
— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) April 1, 2018
- Thing is, although you may not like the sound of it, Maddon is right in spirit. The Cubs had 13 balls hit in excess of a 95 mph exit velocity, 10 of which turned into outs! That’s just some crazy bad BABIP luck, especially when you consider how many of those came with runners on base, and the Cubs wound up going 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position. The Cubs struck out just six times in the game, too, so it wasn’t like they were lacking for contact. (Only one walk, though.)
- For the series, the Cubs were just 7 for 47 with runners in scoring position, and – more alarmingly – got a runner home from third base with fewer than two outs just once in 14 tries in the serious. Think about how remarkably bad that is. I mean, it happens, and it sticks out because it’s the first series of the year, but my lord.
- Anthony Rizzo offered another angle (Cubs.com): “It’s not easy facing guys you don’t see. Every pitcher you see, it’s the first, second time facing them, and they have plus stuff. Until you get in the flow of things and get all those at-bats under your belt, it’s not easy to do.” That’s true, I’m sure, but it also cuts both ways – pitchers like getting experience facing hitters lots of times throughout their careers, too.
- The runs the Marlins scored, though, should be credited – they had a whopping 17 batted balls over 95 mph yesterday. Jose Quintana’s contact chart at Statcast is almost perfectly red … and that ain’t good:
- A moment to dump on the Marlins, because eff them – these are some of the best uniforms in baseball, so naturally the Marlins are not going to use them:
SLATER SCOOP: Marlins will not be wearing orange jerseys this year, team confirms. Spokesman says decision was made quite a while ago. pic.twitter.com/6yAe3ptHLU
— Andy Slater (@AndySlater) April 1, 2018
- Sahadev Sharma writes about the kind of hitter Kyle Schwarber wants to be, and how he’s getting there. So far – it’s one series, so let’s chill a bit – he does look good at the plate.
- Another guy who is looking good at the plate so far this year? Addison Russell. He looks calm, confident, and is drilling the ball.
- Adbert Alzolay is apparently a couple weeks behind schedule in building up arm strength, so he won’t be ready to go when the minor league seasons open later this week (Tribune). It could be nothing and precaution and all that, but when the Cubs’ top upper-level pitching prospect is not ready, it bears monitoring.
- At least you can’t do this kind of thing with any one Cubs batter:
If not for Joe Panik, the Giants' offense through four games would be hitting .155/.193/.190 with zero runs.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) April 2, 2018
- If you missed anything this weekend, your headlines are here.
- YO: Fanatics is 20% off orders today, so go here and peruse to your heart’s content:
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) April 2, 2018