Has the Offense Really Been That Bad? Well, Yeah, But ... and Other Bullets

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Has the Offense Really Been That Bad? Well, Yeah, But … and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

sad pandaThe Little Girl, with encouragement from The Wife, just painted the center toe on my right foot a delightful shade of blue. With sparkles. Fatherhood!

  • The offensive woes so far this year, to me, are reflective of only two things: (1) Overall lack of offensive talent relative to other teams; and (2) bad luck. You can’t do much about either of them at this point (the first one was always going to be the case this year), and I actually don’t think the Cubs have had a bad approach at the plate. To the contrary, I’ve been more encouraged by what I’ve seen through four games than any year in recent memory. The Cubs – not all of them, but the majority – are taking all borderline pitches until they get to two strikes. They are swinging early in the count when there’s a pitch in their wheelhouse. It’s everything you want to see your lineup doing – they just haven’t had much luck with the balls dropping (or with opposing pitchers doing anything but pounding the zone (hence the low BB rate and high K rate)). Their team BABIP right now is .167. Stay the course, boys. Stay the course.
  • (That said, it’s worth noting that, in the aggregate, the Cubs aren’t making much hard contact right now. Their 14.8% line drive percentage is the worst in baseball.)
  • Scott Feldman and Dale Sveum agreed on the righty’s tough start last night: no command. Feldman simply didn’t know where his pitches were going, and, unless you’re Aroldis Chapman, you can’t pitch well that way. On the bright side, I was impressed with Feldman’s raw stuff. He had the look of a guy who could easily be a better than average starter if he could just hit his spots consistently. I suppose you could say that about a lot of pitchers who flame out, though.
  • A Matt Garza update: he feels good after that 25-pitch bullpen session, and he’ll do it again tomorrow. Garza told the media that he’s not even working on building up arm strength at this point – it’s already there – he’s just working on mechanics and getting into form for the season. That’s a good sign. It’ll still take him a few more bullpen sessions to start stretching out enough for a rehab assignment, so let’s start doing some back of the napkin calculations (with no setbacks): a bullpen on Sunday, and another on Wednesday probably. One more on Saturday, which is April 13. Let’s say the next session starts bumping the pitch count up on April 17. From there, you’ve got to say there would be at least three rehab starts – April 22, April 27, May 2 – before there is a chance he returns. That would put something in the May 7 to May 10 range as the earliest you could see Garza start for the Cubs this year. Injuries suck.
  • A random thought on the various reports of a Wrigley renovation deal: they all mention at least two new signs in the ballpark – a video board in left, and a new sign in right – but isn’t that just a net of one sign? The video board is, presumably, going to be replacing the Toyota sign in left field, as that’s the least obstructive spot in the outfield. Whatever sign the Cubs add in right, it would seem, would simply be a reallocation of the sign they already had. Unless, that is, the Cubs can figure a way to keep the Toyota sign in left while still adding the video board next to it. If not, all that’s really been added, in terms of revenue and outfield clutter, is the video board.
  • Braves GM Frank Wren turned the figurative hose on Cubs pitchers who were playing on his lawn.
  • The Boise Hawks have new uniforms, including unique hats that very much incorporate the “Hawks” element. I could see some folks disliking the look, but this is what minor league uniforms look like. They get creative. I’m fine with it.
  • I wrote a new piece over at PuckerPants about the growth of BN and the tipping point, as near as I can figure it.

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Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.