Hammel's Home Cookin', Playoff Tickets, Huge Attendance, and Other Bullets

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Hammel’s Home Cookin’, Playoff Tickets, Huge Attendance, and Other Bullets

Analysis and Commentary, Chicago Cubs News

Much to my delight, The Wife got into ‘Narcos’ recently and binged the first season, which means we can watch season two together. It’s the little things.

  • Of Jason Hammel’s start last night, which was very good, Joe Maddon told ESPN: “He kept getting better. Typically with him, if he gets in a groove and you get him by a certain point, [he’ll be good].” Not only does that feel anecdotally right, but the numbers bear it out – Hammel’s 4.66 first inning ERA is his highest until the sixth inning, and his 3.72 mark in the second inning is the second highest (again, until the sixth inning).
  • Also: you have go all the way back to JUNE to find a bad Jason Hammel start at Wrigley Field. He has been completely dominant at home, even through this rough stretch of games (all of the bad ones have been on the road). On the year, he’s got a 1.84 ERA at home (batters are hitting just .178/.255/.290) and 5.33 on the road (batters are hitting .278/.344/.530). I’m not sure what to make of that split (it didn’t exist in 2015, for what it’s worth), but if there’s a real reason for it, maybe it shifts your thinking slightly on Hammel’s spot on the postseason roster. Given the overall great results this year, but the homer-related troubles, Hammel remains one of the more difficult postseason roster decisions.
  • The tickets are *mostly* gone by now, and I know the Dodgers have a huge stadium, but boy does this making me irrationally angry, given that Cubs fans have to win a 1 in 100 lottery just for the chance to buy tickets (get excited about your team, Dodgers fans!):

  • I grabbed a couple tickets to the first and fourth home games there just to see the price (average of about $100 per ticket), and sat at the purchase screen for five minutes before deciding that I wasn’t sure I’d be able to travel to Los Angeles with the new baby having arrived. Otherwise, the tickets plus flight and hotel would still be much less than the price of going to the games at Wrigley would/will be on the secondary market (though, to be fair, I’d obviously much rather see those games at Wrigley Field than at Dodger Stadium).
  • Speaking of getting excited about your team, Cubs fans obviously very much are:

  • That’s the first time the Cubs have gone over the 3 million mark since 2011, which was the start of a downward spiral that let up last year (because obviously). With five home dates left, the Cubs won’t quite reach the record attendance from 2008 (just a shade over 3.3 million), but they’re going to get very close. That means more revenue that, after expenses, reaches baseball operations. That’s good.
  • This is very interesting:

  • I say it’s interesting because you’ll noticed the distinct lack of Cubs until you get to Anthony Rizzo all the way down at number 57(!). And no Kris Bryant? As stated in the tweet, ESPN is using a different methodology than FanGraphs (and their “hard” contact rates are much lower than at FG, so the threshold for what counts as “hard” must be much higher), but still: at FanGraphs, with a minimum PA cutoff of 250, Kris Bryant is 14th in hard contact rate. And he’s not in the top 60 at ESPN? I can’t say one is right and the other is wrong, but that gigantic chasm sure is one big anecdotal reason for thinking that batted ball data still has a very long way to go.
  • Pedro Strop (knee surgery, groin strain) could pitch a simulated game this week (Tribune). Hopefully gets back relatively soon, because you’d love for him to have three or so appearances before the playoffs begin, just to know for sure that he’s 100%.
  • Ben Zobrist rode his bike to work – aka Wrigley Field – in full uniform.
  • We’ll have a post on it later today at some point, but, yeah, you’ll want to read this profile on Theo Epstein at ESPN. It’s what people will be talking about today.
  • From the cover of the magazine in which that Epstein story appears, you’ll find the most photo-shoppable picture of Anthony Rizzo ever, if you were looking to get a smooch from the Cubs’ first baseman:

  • Oh. So drones are pretty expensive, eh? Well, ones that can get you those killer arial shots like that, anyway, I guess. I assume drones are banned from flying above Wrigley Field during games, right?


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.