Sometimes Relievers Give Up Runs in Key Spots and Other Bullets

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Sometimes Relievers Give Up Runs in Key Spots and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

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  • You can read takes from Joe Maddon, Pedro Strop, Jason Hammel and Miguel Montero here at CSN and here at ESPN after last night’s surprising loss. They all say just about exactly what you’d expect/want them to say, with Maddon focusing on the positives (I know you might not want to hear it, but there really were quite a few) and the players frustrated by the loss.
  • I liked this from Strop: “Of course it’s a tough one to swallow, ninth inning, two outs and two strikes. I mean, it’s really tough. That’s one of the times that you gotta believe baseball is tough. It’s not as easy as it looks on TV.” When you consider that Strop has given up runs in two – just two – appearances since May 29, and both came on critical home runs in games against the Cardinals, you should understand how hard and sometimes unfair the game is. I’ve already seen the anger hurled at Strop as though this is something he “always” does, because people will remember critical homers against the Cardinals, and won’t remember the entire body of work. The game is hard. Relievers will give up runs sometimes. And, since the best relievers are often pitching in tight games, a lot of times those runs will be critical. The game is hard, and sometimes the batter wins.
  • For the record, although it would be correct to say Strop hasn’t been quite as good this year as last year, it’s been only an incremental difference – his strikeout rate is a matching 29.1%, his walk rate is up only one percentage point, but he’s given up four homers already after giving up only two last year. His HR/FB rate 14.3%, which is five percentage points above his career mark (that’s a stat that tends to regress to the mean over time). If just one of those fly balls doesn’t leave the yard, opinions about Strop’s season are probably totally different. Which is really, really crazy when you think about how little control a pitcher actually has over whether a ball travels 390 feet or 380 feet.
  • Here’s what Yadier Molina had to say about getting tossed mid-game after arguing the strike zone:

  • Someone definitely needs to figure out the strike zone, but I’m not sure it’s Hoberg. This is actually one of the better called zones I’ve seen all year:

  • Iowa Cubs pitcher Carlos Pimentel, who was the Cubs’ minor league pitcher of the month for June, has also been named the PCL’s pitcher of the month.
  • This greeted me, sadly, as I left the bleachers last night:

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.