When to Break for Home, Cardinals "Irrelevance", Zobrist's Heat, and Other Bullets

Social Navigation

When to Break for Home, Cardinals “Irrelevance”, Zobrist’s Heat, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

ben zobrist cubsIf this is your first stop of the day, I laid out my thoughts on the Cubs’ current stretch of losing baseball earlier this morning. So that’s that on that.

  • The Cubs were so close to taking the lead back in the 9th inning last night, with runners on first and third and Anthony Rizzo at the plate. Having already gone the other way for a bloop single to score a run in the game, Rizzo wound up going the other way again against Trevor Rosenthal, but didn’t get much on it. The squib shot was sufficiently close to dropping that Fowler took off for home, but Matt Carpenter made a diving catch, and doubled him off. Inning over, and Randal Grichuk hit a walk-off homer in the bottom of the frame. If that double play doesn’t happen, who knows how things play out. Some folks were perturbed about the play, but I’m not sure that’s all that fair.
  • First, here’s the play:

  • After many re-watchings, my conclusions are: (1) Fowler was just about in no-man’s land because of his huge lead and because of the shift; (2) he probably could have gotten back to the base safely if he’d immediately turned and run back; and (3) given how far down the line he was, and given the placement of the ball, I can totally understand a split-second decision to just keep going – if the ball falls, he scores easily. Obviously, since it played out the way it did, we all wish he would have gone back to the bag, but when you watch the play, I can’t really be mad at Fowler for how it played out. Just a real bummer, and a nice play by Carpenter. Kinda like this whole ugly stretch for the Cubs, summed up in one play.
  • Of the loss, Joe Maddon said what you’d expect him to say, namely that it was a well-played game by the Cubs, the Cardinals didn’t miss two mistake pitches, and the Cubs left some runners out there on the bases (Cubs.com). I know it’s tiring to hear the same thing over and over when the team is losing, but the Cubs really aren’t playing that badly right now. In baseball, but there’s not always a one-to-one correlation between playing well and actualizing wins.
  • With absolutely no context, it might make you chuckle to know that John Lackey called the Cardinals “irrelevant.” With context, however, you’ll see that he was simply saying that the Cubs can’t be worrying about the Cardinals right now, and instead must focus on themselves (Cubs.com).
  • Ben Zobrist feels like he’s having the best stretch of his career right now (Cubs.com), which seems fair, because it’s been ridiculous. It’s a shame that the Cubs haven’t been better able to utilize that heat for some more wins.
  • More on Zobrist’s ridiculous stretch here from Eno Sarris at FanGraphs.
  • Ken Rosenthal’s latest thoughts includes a pretty good point about, and quotes from, David Ross. In the context of David Ortiz’s ridiculous year as he heads toward retirement, Rosenthal points out the possibility that guys like Ortiz and Ross could be performing at such a high level because they know it’s their final year. In that way, they can push themselves every last bit, knowing that the end is coming.
  • If you need a smile this morning – a confused smile, perhaps – check out this ceremonial first pitch from a gymnast in Taiwan. Strange and awesome at the same time?
  • Oh yes, the Voodoo Magic never actually leaves (shame on us), it just transfers form:

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.