MANNY WATCH. At least the Cubs are very likely not involved, so you don’t have to be stressed today trying to keep up with all the conflicting rumors. Just enjoy the ride, and we’ll let you know what’s up.
- We recently talked about how the Cubs are putting up prolific offensive numbers despite not doing it with homers, and Joe Maddon remains a big fan of how the Cubs are doing it – not only for themselves, but for the sport. “In general, MLB is looking for this,” Maddon told ESPN. “They’re looking for more action in the game. They’re looking for the ball to be put in play. You can have it both ways. You can. The best way I can describe it is, for the last several years, every hitter has been trying to hit every pitch they see for a home run, which is impossible. Thus you get this big swing-and-miss. Pitchers throw homers.”
- I don’t necessarily have a problem with that philosophy if you’ve got the right personnel to pull it off, and clearly, the Cubs do, as they have the best offense in the NL right now. But it’s only fair to point out that the four offenses that have scored more runs than the Cubs this season – the Red Sox, Astros, Yankees, and Indians – include the three most prolific home run teams in baseball (the Red Sox, Yankees, and Indians), and then the Astros in 7th. The Cubs are more the aberration, all the way down at 21st in homers. Not sure this would work for everyone.
- Still, I tend to think if you’re zigging when everyone else is zagging, there can be unique value to be reaped. Again, clearly, the Cubs are making this work.
- Another bit of that I’d like to note: as home runs have increased attendant to the fly ball revolution, the value of having REALLY good four-seam fastball command at the top of the zone has also increased. There’s so much swing-and-miss and infield-pop-up value up there if you can do it, and the Cubs have a bullpen full of those guys. The rotation is more command/sinker types, with the exception of Tyler Chatwood … who hasn’t yet been able to command that pitch at all. Yu Darvish has a fantastic four-seamer, but in his career, he’s always pitched it at the bottom of the zone rather than the top (might be a comfort thing, or maybe he can’t command it up there). Either way, it stings that the two guys in the rotation who could employ this particular strategy (and, not coincidentally, were targeted in the offseason, together with Brandon Morrow, who also does it) haven’t been able to do it for one reason or another.
- This is just a fantastic interview with Javy Baez, especially around the 12-ish minute mark when he gets into playing the game the only way he knows how, and how he knows that some players are afraid to just be themselves out there. I’m glad that Javy doesn’t feel that way:
Hear from All-Star Javy Báez, live from D.C. https://t.co/KFG7Eezt1u
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) July 16, 2018
- And if you look hot, wear it:
- (That’s Roberto Clemente’s jacket, by the way, making it all the more cool.)
- Also cool/beautiful/sensual:
Javier Báez pic.twitter.com/Q56PtfhmiF
— Craig Hyatt (@HyattCraig) July 17, 2018
- Prime Day kicked off yesterday afternoon at Amazon, and runs through today. The deals really are impressive, so if you’re a Prime member, make sure you peruse today.