The Cubs' Bullpen Glut is Swelling Again and Other Bullets

Social Navigation

The Cubs’ Bullpen Glut is Swelling Again and Other Bullets

Analysis and Commentary, Chicago Cubs News

rob zastryzny cubsI am a big TV fan (aside: I’m not sure if others are feeling the same, but I’m *loving* this season of ‘Mr. Robot’), and a big Alan Sepinwall fan, so when he’s got a new book coming out – a comprehensive ranking and discussion of the top 100 shows – I get pretty excited. He published a tease today at The Ringer, with a look at how they put the rankings together, and a discussion of one of the shows, ‘Deadwood.’ (A great show in so many ways, but, for me, so much less than it could have been.)

  • It was the focus of the EBS last night, but I’m gonna say it again here: how about that bullpen? The Cubs didn’t just get a good bullpen night. They didn’t just get a good bullpen night from their top relievers. They didn’t just get a scoreless night from a group of relievers. They didn’t just get five scoreless innings from the relievers. They got five *perfect* innings of relief from three guys who weren’t even on the roster for much of the year, including two apiece from Rob Zastryzny and Joe Smith, and then a wonderful closed-out 9th from Carl Edwards Jr. Each of the three has a chance to pitch his way onto the playoff roster, but let’s imagine a world where they do just that. Even if the Cubs go crazy and carry eight relievers in the playoffs, one of those eight is probably going to be whichever “starting” pitcher doesn’t get a start (Jason Hammel?). Then you’d have just four spots for Aroldis Chapman, Hector Rondon, Pedro Strop, Justin Grimm, Trevor Cahill, Travis Wood, Mike Montgomery, and anyone else who breaks out down the stretch. There are going to be a lot of quality pitchers who do not make this playoff roster if everyone is healthy. It should be a fun discussion over the next several weeks.

  • Joe Maddon believes Jason Heyward’s struggles this year were mostly about timing at the plate, which has improved dramatically lately (Tribune). You may have noticed that he’s getting his lead foot down earlier, which – for him – is putting him better on time to meet the pitch.
  • Uber driver picks up Cubs fans heading to the game last night, and they tip him with a ticket to join them for the game. That’s pretty damn awesome.
  • There were some injury-recovery notes on Cubs pitchers late yesterday if you missed it before the game, by the way.
  • With the Chicago Cubs’ win last night, the Cincinnati Reds were officially eliminated from the NL Central race. A disappointing day I’m sure. With one more Cubs win or Milwaukee Brewers loss, they, too, will be eliminated. Those teams, of course, were eliminated in spirit a long time ago, but to be mathematically eliminated when there’s more than a month’s worth of games left? Oof.
  • Noticed Jorge Soler in left field this year? No? Well, me either. And that’s a good thing. Soler hasn’t really stood out in a good or bad way in left field, which, given his struggles in right last year, and frighteningly slow adjustment to left in Spring Training, is tremendous progress. Soler hasn’t had a ton of tough chances out there, but he also hasn’t made any big mistakes. That’s fine. We’ll take it. Physically/athletically, there’s no reason he can’t become average out there. And with the upside in his bat? Excellent.
  • A batted ball analysis further demonstrates just how good the Cubs’ true talent level is, especially on defense. As of the All-Star break, the Cubs should have had seven more wins than they did. Maybe they’re catching up on some of those now, but man, I bet we’re going to see this team finish the year with 100+ wins, and the underlying data will STILL show they should have had more.
  • A few Cubs prospects landed on the Arizona Rookie League’s post-season All-Star team: shortstop Isaac Paredes, DH Gustavo Polanco, and lefty Eugenio Palma. In the Southern League (AA), catcher Victor Caratini and utility man Chesny Young got the same honors.
  • This is Hawk Harrelson comparing Kris Bryant unfavorably to Todd Frazier, because obviously. Frazier, who’s been very good for a while and is hitting for a lot of power this year, has overall been below average offensively, and worth just 1.3 WAR.
  • Aroldis Chapman visited with kids at Lurie Children’s Hospital yesterday before the game.
  • Ever seen these giant Lego sculptures, like this one of David Ortiz? We took the kids to a Lego event last year, where they had a ton of them (and other Lego-related activities – it was a pretty awesome thing to do with kids), and they are ridiculously impressive. Almost impossibly so. It takes me an hour to get a 50-piece one right with The Little Girl, and she’s better at it than I am.
  • Product placement! That actually made me wonder what the biggest/most expensive Lego sets would be on Amazon, and … um … holy crap. You can get yourself some Lego luxury if you want. I assume the multi-thousands ones are rare/for collectors only?
  • And in conclusion, baseball is frequently insane:


Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.