All-Star Fun, Arrieta, Baez, Pirates Youngster Coming, and Other Bullets

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All-Star Fun, Arrieta, Baez, Pirates Youngster Coming, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

2016 all star gameI’m headed to Chicago today, so I’ll be in and out in the early afternoon and during the game. I’ll be at tomorrow night’s game against the Braves, sitting in the right field bleachers. If you see me, I generously accept high fives, and I’m not opposed to hugs as the situation warrants.

  • The Chicago Cubs have seven All-Stars headed to San Diego, as MLB announced last night. The players are excited, Joe Maddon is excited, and the fans should be excited, too. For all derision it gets, the All-Star Game – when it’s happening – is still the height of baseball pageantry, and it makes me smile when I see a Cubs player getting that introduction, taking an at bat, stepping on the mound. There will be seven Cubs in this year’s edition, and it’s going to be a lot of fun to see them in action on July 12.
  • Buster Olney reports that the Pirates are going to call up top pitching prospect Tyler Glasnow to start this weekend against the Cubs (you’ll recall, they’re already without Gerrit Cole, though it looks like he’ll be back shortly after the All-Star break, and also Jameson Taillon, who just hit the DL with shoulder fatigue). Glasnow, 22, is a stud with killer stuff, though he’s battled serious control problems in the minors (including this year, sporting a whopping 13.7% BB rate at AAA). That’ll be a really fun game to watch, and hopefully the Cubs can greet the young man rudely. He’ll get his strikeouts, though. Just brace yourself for that now.
  • IMMEDIATE UPDATE AS I CLICK PUBLISH: Olney just corrected to say that Glasnow will start Thursday against the Cardinals, not this weekend against the Cubs. Still notable, though, obviously.
  • Chicago police are investigating a sexual assault allegation against Pirates infielder Jung-Ho Kang, according to the Tribune. Kang is still with the team for now, and no one is going to comment while the investigation is ongoing. For human reasons (more importantly) and baseball reasons (less importantly), this is worth following.
  • There’s a great read on Jake Arrieta’s troubles courtesy of Jeff Sullivan at FanGraphs, and, while nothing in it should surprise you, having observed Arrieta closely these last four to eight starts, it is still very compelling to see it laid bare, especially in the charts. We’ll probably have to talk about this in some more detail in advance of Arrieta’s final first half start.
  • Also from Sullivan, a fun read on Javy Baez, and how absurdly different he is from every player in baseball. Ah, but in what way you wonder – because he’s different in so many ways. In this instance, Sullivan is talking about Baez’s penchant for swinging at, and making contact with, pitches outside the strike zone. Baez is not the guy you normally think of as being that type (Starlin Castro, Albert Almora), because the narrative more associates him with whiffs. But it’s true – we already know his strikeout rate is way down, but it’s important to remember that part of that is because he’s simply improved his ability to make contact (often with pitches he shouldn’t be swinging at in the first place). It’s all a process, and, as you’ll note, it’s going very, very well overall.
  • John Lackey was not a fan of the strike zone yesterday, suggesting there were some missed calls that led to his walks (CSN). Double-checking with Brooks, I do see four “balls” called that were actually in the strike zone, plus quite a few around the periphery on which Lackey didn’t get the call. On the whole, that’s really not that terrible over six innings, but three of the balls, and several of the very close calls, came late in counts that ultimately resulted in walks. I can understand the frustration.
  • There will be a roster move today, with Adam Warren coming up from AAA Iowa to start for the Cubs. Most likely, the Cubs will send down someone from the bullpen, though it was another short outing for the Cubs starter yesterday, and Warren cannot necessarily be expected to go 6+ innings today. Tommy La Stella is set to return soon, too, so it’s probably going to be a pitcher and a positional player going down within the next day or two anyway. Perhaps the Cubs keep the extra pitcher (Spencer Patton? Joel Peralta?) for today, and then send down the positional player (Jeimer Candelario?) tomorrow? We’ll see. It might all just happen in time for today’s game anyway.
  • I don’t know how many people are following this, but you may have seen some aggressive sparring between Marlins Man and ballhawk Zack Hample on Twitter (yes, that’s a real sentence, and we have reached peak baseball fandom in the social media age). The Washington Post actually has a full rundown of the feud and interviewed the two men. I just … *shaking head with mouth agape and unable to render further speech*
  • Disqus, the maker of our commenting software here, is asking folks to vote for the best sports site, and BN is one of the finalists. I must thus humbly ask you: if you like BN, go here and vote for BN. It’s an easy click-click-done process. Thanks!
  • The Cubs almost didn’t get their All-Star infield: Ben Zobrist won the nod at second base by just 88 votes. Every vote – well, every 89 of them, anyway – truly does count.
  • I knew that batting out of order resulted in an out, but it wasn’t until the Brewers did it that I found out exactly how that process is scored when the guy who bats out of order hits a single to center. What happens? Well, a Ryan Braun single becomes a Jonathan Lucroy groundout, even though Lucroy was just standing there watching.
  • We’re doing some good, folks:

  • A couple factoids from a really cool Twitter account that you should totally follow:

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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.