Busy Day, Contreras Line Shot, Heyward Mechanics, and Other Bullets

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Busy Day, Contreras Line Shot, Heyward Mechanics, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs News

These Bullets kept getting pushed back by a flurry of stuff this morning, from Kris Bryant’s shoulder issue to the lineup to the roster moves in the bullpen to the Yu Darvish rehab start. I think I’m in the clear now to finish these up and fire them off …

  • Absent a last-minute call from his wife (she’s due any day now), Tyler Chatwood will start today and try to stem the bleeding. If there was ever a time for him to finally have a brilliant six or seven-inning start (he has the ability!), today is the day. The Cubs are on the verge of a four-game sweep at the hands of the last-place Reds. I typed it, and then his wife went into labor. Maybe not exactly in that order, but, in any case, it’ll be Mike Montgomery today instead. He had been preparing to be ready for today just in case. The Cubs will simply then go with the rest of the rotation on regular rest and slot Chatwood back in when he returns. Good luck and congrats to the Chatwoods! And good luck to Montgomery!
  • The Cubs could now elect to place Chatwood on the paternity leave list if they wanted (it’s one to three days), and bring up someone else. Given the timing, I’d be surprised if they had someone standing by in Cincinnati today, but maybe in Los Angeles tomorrow night. Why not get an extra player when you can?
  • Those Reds are blistering hot, though: with yesterday’s win, they’ve now taken six in a row, and 9 of their last 11. Good for them. Now stop it.
  • I’m still pretty frosty over what Willson Contreras said happened in the game yesterday that ultimately led to bench coach Brandon Hyde getting the boot. As Sahadev Sharma points out, this is the second bit of ridiculousness the Cubs have faced from home plate ump Greg Gibson this year – remember when Chili Davis and Andy Haines were getting yelled at by an ump after Kris Bryant was hit in the head in Colorado (and Haines threw his soda cup)? That was Gibson.
  • We talked about Willson Contreras’s lack of power late last week, and in particular, how he’s been making too much soft contact on very steep angle fly balls. Well, yesterday he hit this baby out at 101.8 mph and a nice and line-drivey 20-degree launch angle:

(Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
  • Those line drive shots – that’s where Willson Contreras’s bread is buttered. Of course you’d love to see him tap into more of his natural power by hitting more fly balls (his struggles in the first half last year were almost exclusively tied to hitting too many grounders), but you also need a guy to be himself up there. You tweak things too much, and he can lose what makes him a great hitter in the first place. Contreras is a special line drive hitter.
  • I know that many get upset when Albert Almora isn’t in the starting lineup, as he was not yesterday. I love Almora. I think he’s a special player, who is getting better and better, and I think the Cubs are the best version of themselves *most* days when he’s in the lineup. I also think it’s important to play Ian Happ regularly, especially in good matchups. Almora is getting about 2/3 of the starts in center field, and, right now, I think that sounds about right.
  • The MLB Tonight crew looked at Jason Heyward’s swing last year versus this year, pointing out in another way how he’s using his arms and hands differently:

  • Here’s where a good chunk of the Cubs’ draft savings so far has gone:

  • I still just can’t believe this guy. How do you get this much movement on a 100 mph pitch:

  • The Deals of the Day today at Amazon have me intrigued: pool party stuff, a juice fountain, and an augmented reality globe. About that last one:


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.