I am meeting a friend for lunch today at a restaurant down by where The Littlest Girl’s school is, so I decided to work at a Starbucks in the area for the morning. Turns out, it’s a small, mostly-drive-through Starbucks with no bathroom. My giant coffee and ice water are … testing my biological limits.
- I started writing these Bullets with a look at the Cubs’ hitting with runners on base, since it was such a freaking issue last night, and it wound up turning into a full post. So, check that out if you haven’t already. It’s frustrating.
- As far as last night went, specifically, Joe Maddon seemed to suggest after the game that the Cubs were pressing – extending their zone – in RBI situations (Cubs.com). It certainly seemed like it, though as I noted in the earlier post, striking out with runners on bases hasn’t really been the primary culprit of their lack of productivity in those situations. They just aren’t hitting the ball hard enough. It’s almost … too much contact. Crummy contact.
- Like I said last night in the EBS, when you pitch almost exclusively in high-leverage situations, the times when you have a bad outing are going to really stand out. And everyone has some bad outings. Carl Edwards Jr. had one last night, about which I say … I still think he’s great. Brush it off, get back on the horse, and please go deep in today’s game, Jon Lester.
- As for Edwards’ bad outing, here’s the other thing about the nature of high-leverage relievers: a couple bad pitches combined with some flukey stuff can conspire to make a meh outing look horrible, and an otherwise unnoticed outing into a game-loser. Here’s what happened last night in Edwards’ appearance:
- Gives up a soft line drive for an out to first base.
- Gives up a deep, but not crushed, fly ball that has a mere 27% hit probability. It falls in for a triple because of a shifted outfield and a dive.
- Gives up a rocket single through a drawn-in infield.
- Gives up a routine groundball that turns into a hit because of the shift.
- Intentional walk.
- Full count walk.
- When you look at an appearance that way, how bad was it really? There are so many universes in which he lays out that exact same performance, and it yields three outs long before a run scores. The only criticism that is fair, in my view, is that he didn’t have his best command, so he didn’t get strikeouts or extremely soft contact. At his best, he does those things, so he was not at his best. But this was far from an implosion. He gave up a homer to a young stud the night before, and he gave up some runs in a blowout game this past week. He’ll be fine – he just needs to get the fastball back up a little bit in the zone, and all will be well.
- “Confidence is high still,” Edwards told the Sun-Times after the game. “You have good times, and you get your days. Right now it’s my time to figure something out, and I feel like my next time out I’ll go out there scoreless and I’ll get back to where I was from the start.”
- Jason Heyward’s return is still off a bit – the last I saw Joe Maddon say was that this weekend was not out of the question, but that sounds like far from a guarantee – but he’s doing baseball work:
Jason Heyward resumed baseball work and just threw a ball from the foul line in shallow left field to the bedrock behind the center field fence.
— Mark Gonzales (@MDGonzales) May 16, 2018
- Kris Bryant was one of the few offensive bright spots last night, and it put him back in a lovely spot on the leaderboard:
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) May 17, 2018
- A very good general point:
Here’s the thing…You watch this team every day. You don’t watch the other teams every day. From the outside, the other top teams seem perfect but they’re far from it. Blemishes of your favorite team seem way worse when you constantly watch the same group with a rooting interest https://t.co/T6XPkoxVQI
— Cooper (@RushingBaseball) May 17, 2018
- This is awesome:
This ballplayer defnitely knows how to celebrate a home run. pic.twitter.com/391wNglXQ6
— Play Ball (@PlayBall) May 16, 2018
- Bartolo forever:
Bartolo Colón is older than 6 of the 30 current MLB managers.
(Cora, Cash, Hinch, Kapler, Callaway & Green)
He has struck out 6 of the 30 current MLB managers.
(Boone, Cora, Molitor, Hinch, Kapler & Matheny)
— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) May 16, 2018
Rangers starter Bartolo Colon is starting a game that is only airing on Facebook. Bartolo Colon began his MLB career seven years before Facebook existed.
— John Boyle (@johnpboyle) May 16, 2018
— Baseball is Fun (@flippingbats) May 17, 2018
- Heads up that all BN shirts are 15% off right now (code FAB15).