The Cubs' Stellar Defense Saves the Pitchers in More Ways Than One and Other Bullets

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The Cubs’ Stellar Defense Saves the Pitchers in More Ways Than One and Other Bullets

Analysis and Commentary, Chicago Cubs News

Early day game after an early day game – it always throws me for a loop. Gotta get geared back up for a new series ASAP!

  • It was about as rocky as you’ll ever see five scoreless innings, and Brett Anderson suggested after yesterday’s game that he just didn’t have command of his pitches (The Athletic). It’s still a credit, though, that he was able to settle down a bit at times, and make pitches to at least give his defense a chance. In that way, yesterday’s game was kind of exactly what you hope for from a back-end starter: keep your team in the game, give them a chance to win. Of course, when we use that trope, we’re usually talking about a team with an explosive offense. Although the Cubs do project to have a very good offense this year, it seems like we’re talking more about the explosive defense in that context these days.
  • Speaking of which, Anderson said, “I think I owe Almora my paycheck for the day. Today was a weird scenario. If [Almora] doesn’t make those plays, it’s a different ballgame.” ( How true. It’s reasonable to venture that each of Almora’s two excellent catches saved at least one run in one way or another, and also shortened innings that could have resulted in much more damage AND prematurely ended Anderson’s day. In other words, Almora’s catches not only helped the Cubs win by way of run prevention, his catches also helped save the bullpen. Now that’s impact defense!
  • Albert Almora generates pictures nearly as beautiful as his catches:

  • Kyle Schwarber nearly had a defensive gem, making a juggling catch at the wall. But, now we know a Wrigley ground rule that you almost never see come up: for the purposes of aiding a would-be catch, the ivy is considered part of the wall. Thus, when the vines slightly helped Schwarber maintain possession of the baseball yesterday, it’s no longer a catch.
  • The Hall of Fame is apparently still waiting on World Series display items from the Chicago Cubs, according to the New York Times. In a statement to the Times, the Hall might have been dropping a little passive aggression: “A request made to the Cubs for a loan of several player artifacts at the conclusion of the World Series has as of yet gone unfulfilled. Should the request be granted, World Series artifacts representing players will be included in the exhibit for Cubs fans everywhere to enjoy and appreciate.” You can read more on the situation in the Times article, but a Cubs spokesperson is cited as saying the team archivist is working on donating items. I would expect that, eventually, there will be a relatively robust collection to display at Cooperstown (with an understanding that the Cubs will want to keep some things to display, too, and many of the players are going to want to keep some things, as well).
  • Hector Rondon (sore knee) did undergo an MRI yesterday, and was unavailable for the finale against the Dodgers. He will probably be unavailable again today, before returning on Saturday (ESPN). If he’s not good to go by Sunday, it might be time to consider a DL stint, even if just to get an extra arm up and available – remember, the DL is now a 10-day minimum, so putting Rondon on the DL, and back-dating through yesterday, means that he’d only be out another week or so by the time Sunday rolls around.
  • Although Ian Happ got the headline this morning, his fellow masher at Iowa got this tweet:

  • There’s also a fantastic write up by Tommy Birch on Candelario’s offseason training, which included beach runs and weight training with Robinson Cano. You know the story about Candelario’s probably big-league-ready bat, but because he’s mostly limited to third base and first base, there’s not a spot for him with the big league team (and, moreover, it’s hard to dedicate a bench spot – even if the Cubs had one open – to a player who can cover only two positions that are otherwise extremely well-occupied). He’s been told to work in the outfield, but it’s not clear if and when he’ll see time out there. Like we said before about Candelario’s future, right now, it’s just a waiting game.
  • While we’re on prospects, how about Dylan Cease doin’ work:

  • Best part of Rizzo’s homer yesterday? Definitely the beersplosion in the bleachers:

  • I actually do respect the attempt to catch the ball in the beer (and then, presumably, chug it), but you have to know your launch angle and exit velocity a little bit better than that. Reaching up and over for a liner – that cup never stood a chance.
  • Bonus nice thing: the women behind the beer fan who received the brunt of the splash also got the ball (Cut4). It was a mother and daughter there for the daughter’s birthday, and her favorite player just happens to be Anthony Rizzo.
  • Doubt it’s too long before we see Cubs appear on the right:

  • So, this place is a business, and a part of that business is advertising things. When I do so in the written form like this in the Bullets, I genuinely try to offer up stuff that interests me, that I use, that I think is entertaining, and/or (most importantly) stuff that I think offers you value. Thanks for understanding and reading when I do. The upside is that sometimes, the thing I have to share is legitimately an excellent sale for you – for example, I just found one of the best sales I’ve seen since becoming addicted to checking Fanatics daily for Cubs gear. So much stuff is on sale (including some of the current player shirts/shirseys/autographs/etc., and I almost never see that stuff go on sale). If there’s anything you’d been thinking of getting, but were holding off for a sale, I strongly recommend at least going to Fanatics and flipping around through the Cubs sale items. I know this is an ad – when you use our links to Fanatics, we get a share of the revenue generated by the sales – but I also feel like it’s a PSA for other Cubs-obsessed people. Just a small few of the things I saw that immediately jumped out at me:


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.