We took the kiddos to the zoo yesterday afternoon, which is always fun. We even got to see a koala scratching his butt, which, given how rarely those guys are actually up and moving around, was quite a spectacle!
- Among his comments about the Cubs’ close loss last night to the Phillies, I particularly enjoyed this from Joe Maddon (ESPN): “Listen, I have nothing to complain about. This was a really good baseball game tonight. The people at the ballpark were entertained, and there was a lot of drama at the end. What can I say, man? It was a really good baseball game.” Sometimes that’s just how it breaks down: baseball is entertainment, and a close, exciting game late is entertaining.
- I won’t begrudge anyone who’s still frustrated, though. The Phillies’ three runs in the game came as a result of a wind-knocked-around double that Kris Bryant couldn’t get under, a Ryan Howard (.153/.217/.353) home run, and a bouncing ball single that follow a free stolen base given to Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz. There’s no doubt about it, those are three really lame runs. Pair it with missed opportunities for the Cubs, and it’s not a loss that you can shake off quite as quickly as some others. Still, I have to keep telling myself what I told myself when the Cubs were in their mini-swoon: losing close games is always going to “feel” more frustrating than blowouts, and good teams tend to lose a lot of close games (not blowouts) because they’re always in the game. The Cubs seem to always be in every single game they play. That ratchets up the annoyance factor when they don’t win.
- The loss dropped the Cubs to 7-8 in one-run games, which means nearly 50% of the Cubs’ 17 total losses have come by a single run. There are 19 other teams in MLB that have eight or fewer one-run losses. No, that doesn’t mean the Cubs are among the worst teams in baseball at closing out close games; it just means they’re good enough to keep games close when they’re not otherwise bludgeoning the opponent.
- By the way, much of this also goes to why the Cubs’ expected record by various metrics is right around 43-14, rather than their actual 40-17. That’s just silly. And funny. And, yeah, again, kind of annoying.
- Jared Wyllys interviews Matt Murton about his return to stateside ball, about the changes in the minor league system in the last 10 years, and about how a veteran stays ready when the call to come up to the big league team could come at any time (but, right now, doesn’t). Meanwhile, a two-run double yesterday knocked Cardinals pitching prospect Alex Reyes out of the game against the Iowa Cubs in the bottom of the second inning. So Murton’s doing something. (Murton later left the game with a cramping issue.)
- Javy Baez did a Q&A at ESPN, and I just really liked his answers. The attitude – he’s got a good one. Also: he hadn’t intentionally been doing the Sammy Sosa hop on homers, but he did later become aware that’s what they looked like. Hopefully that means they stay. And hopefully he gets lots and lots of chances to do it.
- Speaking of Baez, the player graphs at FanGraphs are pretty awesome to play around with. They can show you things that you already know to be true, but hammer it home visually:
Sometimes you need the visual to really bring it home. Javy Baez's rolling strikeout rate in the big leagues. Wow. pic.twitter.com/3KvTCklCFT
— Brett Taylor (@BleacherNation) June 7, 2016
- I am absolutely loving this NC State coach/ump argument video. I saw the headlines about a “spin move,” and yet I still chuckled when I actually watched. He really went for it.
- The Cubs’ TV ratings continue to soar (you didn’t forget that a TV deal is still coming eventually, right?):
— Jeff Nuich (@JeffNuich) June 7, 2016
- I haven’t really had anywhere else to put this, but thought it worth sharing about Aaron Brooks, who has been in Arizona rehabbing a left hip injury after being acquired in Spring Training for Chris Coghlan:
Cubs RHP Aaron Brooks up to 93, fastball finding barrels, slider 78-83 flashing plus, change above average. Breaking ball usage is superb.
— Eric Longenhagen (@longenhagen) June 6, 2016
- Coghlan has been an absolute disaster for the A’s this year, by the way, with his walk rate shrinking, strikeout rate exploding, power fading, and BABIP way down – together, it makes for a .148/.219/.277 line, with a 34 wRC+ (the second worst in all of baseball). (That’s a crazy list to peruse, by the way, with a who’s who of “whoa, I didn’t realize that guy had been THAT bad this year … “)
- These camping lanterns are on sale at Amazon (we just use them around the house), and they’re awesome. Small, bright, easy. Big fan.