Nothing But Respect for My Bullpen of the Week and Other Bullets

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Nothing But Respect for My Bullpen of the Week and Other Bullets

Analysis and Commentary, Chicago Cubs News

Be advised: today’s game has been pushed back an hour (2:20 pm CT) to allow for field prep time after the snow (supposedly) stops. Gates are open two hours before the new game time.

  • And speaking of the game, given the snowy and cold conditions, it feels like it’s gonna be one of those “just throw strikes” kind of days. Hopefully Tyler Chatwood – he of the incredible stuff and dodgy control – is up to the task.
  • How about the Cubs’ bullpen in this first week and a half of the season? They’ve been close to perfect, and so they’re definitely winning some honors for it … is what I wrote last night when a video from MLB.com popped up indicating that the Cubs had won the bullpen of the week (not a real thing, but just a recognition from MLB.com that they were the best). I put the video into this draft post before I went to bed. When I woke up this morning, the video – the one already in the post! – had changed to don the Mets with the bullpen of the week crown. Apparently last night’s game against the Nationals changed someone’s mind, so they re-did the package, and changed the video link to point to the Mets instead of the Cubs. OUTRAGEOUS!
  • I kid about the outrage, because whatever, and also because the Mets’ bullpen really does (arguably) have the best numbers in the game over the past seven days. But the Cubs’ bullpen – which was perfect again yesterday – deserves love in any case. So, love away:

  • Justin Wilson’s success so far has been especially encouraging, though I did notice something unnerving in his early numbers – he has struck out everyone and hasn’t allowed a run, but his walk rate so far (21.7%) is actually higher than it was last year with the Cubs (20.9%). You absolutely cannot live with a walk rate that high, so hopefully it comes down, while the strikeout rate (39.1%) stays elevated.
  • That said, given the Cubs’ wildness issues in the bullpen this year – and then singular focus on improving that over this offseason – I’d say it’s a very good sign that, so far, 13 teams have a higher walk rate than the Cubs’ 9.9% out of the bullpen.
  • So, how’s that weather looking, Tom Ricketts? Well:

  • (That’s a joke, by the way. But I’d watch that.)
  • Ben Zobrist’s shot yesterday:

  • This is fantastic from Sahadev Sharma on Yu Darvish’s great second start and his transition to the Cubs – including a reminder that even as he has a wide arsenal, some days it might not be in the plan (or it might be in the plan, but he’s not feeling comfortable with a certain pitch or two):

  • NBC Sports Chicago has your rundown of great home opener moments, and it’s got all of ’em except the Kosuke Fukudome game-tying homer in the 9th inning in 2008 (the Cubs did go on to lose that game, though).
  • I am very happy this is happening, because it’s utterly insane and awesome for baseball, but I am also still a little sad:

  • It was bound to happen eventually, but still. The odds:


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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.