Lackey’s Hair, Fan Impact, Coghlan’s Comeback, and Other Bullets
Prior to Sunday’s walk-off win, I had three separate conversations with folks about how the Cubs have had so few walk-offs this year compared to last year (only one at the time, compared to 13(!) last season). Then, within four days, the Cubs had two more.
And they weren’t just run-of-the-mill walk-offs, either. They were nuts!
(OK, so all walk-offs are fun. It’s just that you don’t see a walk-off wild pitch or a walk-off bunt (in the 12th inning by a starting pitcher) that often, especially when both came after furious comebacks.)
- John Lackey treated folks to a Lackey-ism after the game, when asked about expectations for the team (CSN): “Fair expectations? We’re trying to win the World Series. I didn’t come here for a haircut. You know what I mean? We’re trying to get it on. I came here for jewelry.” I love it. So many places I want to go with that. A little Marvin Gaye? Conjuring an image of Lackey with a ton of fancy jewelry? Wondering whether Lackey gets really awesome haircuts somewhere in Chicago?
- On the crazy win, Joe Maddon opened his post-game press conference with this (ESPN): “May I just comment on our fans? A big part of that rally in the end of the game was just our fans. Truly. So much energy.” Normally, in baseball, I wouldn’t credit fan involvement for too much, unless it was something to do with a ball in the stands. But, given how absurdly raucous and focused the crowds at Wrigley have been the last two years, given how on top of you the crowd is at that ballpark, and given that Marlins closer A.J. Ramos seemed to unravel more and more yesterday, it’s not at all inconceivable to think that the electricity in the crowd had an impact on his performance. So, well done, fans.
- Maybe this is part of what the front office has been counting on for Chris Coghlan? The Cubs’ sometime left fielder was one of baseball’s biggest exit velocity underachievers in the first half (i.e., hitting the ball really hard without getting the results to match), and history has shown that those guys tend to get a lot better results in the second half. Combine that with the very plausible personal explanation for his struggles in Oakland (a surprise trade during Spring Training), with the way he hit against righties in 2014 and 2015 with the Cubs (very well), and the positive progress he’s shown with the Cubs since coming back this year, and I can easily see why they want to bet on him being the lefty bat they want in the outfield. Of course, there really aren’t other options at this point anyway.
- Joe Maddon talks at CSN about Javy Baez’s continued progression at the plate, envisioning even more power down the line once he fully figures things out at the plate (Maddon says he’ll be unrecognizable in a couple years).
- Tommy La Stella is not yet with the Iowa Cubs even after they returned home, but a Cubs spokesperson told Tommy Birch that La Stella was given extra time beyond the normal 72 hours to report “due to personal reasons.” Iowa manager Marty Pevey had no information on when La Stella would arrive.
- The deal of the day at Amazon that jumped out at me this morning is this chair. I get excited about weird things. It just looks cool. And I bet it’s very comfortable.
- Baseball is coming back to the Olympics in 2020, and this is fantastic:
Last time baseball was an Olympic sport (08) these guys won bronze. Strasburg,Fowler, Cahill, Arrieta. #mlb #Wbsc pic.twitter.com/ZLzpfQDGkU
— John Blundell (@JBMLBPR) August 3, 2016
Spring Training Miscellany: Velazquez Walks It Off for the Cubs with a No-Doubter! (And Some Other Less Happy Stuff)