The Banged Up Bullpen, the Emergence of Edwards, and Other Bullets
Every time a Cubs player leaves a game early with an apparent injury, I do the thing that we all do: frantically search for more information to play through every possible scenario and comfort my troubled mind. It’s an almost entirely irrational exercise, because if the guy left the game and is going to be evaluated further the next day, there won’t be new information out there until then. But I do it anyway. I was up way too late last night because of it, which isn’t good, because I was supposed to get up really early (didn’t) and bang out some work – the kiddos are home with me today and I was pretty sure I was going to need a head start. We’ll see how this goes.
- The Cubs player in this instance, of course, is Pedro Strop, who left last night’s game after trying to field a dribbler, and he’ll have an MRI on his left knee today. There were no further signals after the game about the severity of the injury beyond the fact of the MRI. Even if the MRI comes back beautifully clean, there’s still a chance Strop will miss time. I’m expecting Justin Grimm, who was optioned to AAA Iowa on Monday but hasn’t pitched there yet since that move, to return to the bullpen today.
- If Strop misses a lot of time, you could see Carl Edwards Jr. stepping into that 7th-ish inning role vacated by Strop, because we already know he has the stuff, and he’s showing each time out this year that he has the temperament, too. Look at the moment he handled last night – the tying run is on second base, nobody is out, and he’s called in to face Mike Trout and Albert Pujols right away. He strikes out Trout, gets a groundout from Pujols, and then a groundout from Andrelton Simmons to end the inning. We’ve known for years that Edwards had the big league-caliber stuff and velocity to be a dominant force in the bullpen, and the only questions were whether he could improve the command a touch, and do it in the biggest moments at the highest level. So far, so good.
- Through 19.0 big league innings, Edwards’ numbers are as good as you’ll find: 1.42 ERA, 1.86 FIP, 2.05 xFIP, 38.8% K rate, 7.5% BB rate. That last one is the one that’s been the biggest change from Edwards’ minor league performance – his minor league walk rate was nearly double that level. Undoubtedly, the league will find some tendencies and he’ll have to adjust, but right now, the young man is simply locating his fastball incredibly well (and it’s a high-velocity fastball with good cutting movement), and then dropping a hammer curveball.
- Welp, I just fell in love:
On facing stars like Trout and Pujols, Carl Edwards Jr. said: “I just pulled my hat down more so I don’t see their faces.” #Cubs
— Bruce Miles (@BruceMiles2112) August 11, 2016
- As for Hector Rondon, who has been out with a sore triceps, he played catch yesterday, but Joe Maddon would say only that he’s trending in the right direction (Cubs.com). At a minimum, it sounds like Rondon is still unavailable today. Having not pitched since August 2, we’re at that point where the Cubs could put Rondon on the DL and get an extra body in if they wanted, and they would lose only six more days of Rondon being available. Unless he’s ready to go for Friday’s game, that might be the way to go. (Luke wrote this morning about some of the depth options available to the Cubs at Iowa.)
- Two excellent reads from Jon Greenberg at The Athletic: checking in and reminiscing with former Cubs starter Carlos Zambrano, and looking at the dramatic improvements in Javy Baez’s swing as well as his stellar defense.
- Giancarlo Stanton remains unparalleled in his ridiculousness: he shattered his bat on a swing AND STILL HIT THE BALL 370 FEET.
- Albert Almora Jr. gave some folks a scare yesterday when he had to leave Iowa’s game with the trainer, but it sounds like it might not be too serious:
Iowa manager Marty Pevey said Albert Almora Jr., has a thumb contusion. Day-to-day. Off day tomorrow. No x-rays scheduled yet. #Cubs #MiLB
— Tommy Birch (@TommyBirch) August 10, 2016
- A minor league suspension:
#Cubs Minor League RHP Luiz Escanio suspended 144 games without pay after testing positive for PED. MLB issued statement
— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) August 10, 2016
- Escanio had silly numbers in the DSL this year, but he’s 24 years old and is not a prospect of whom I was aware.
- Today is the last day of a sale at the BN store – everything is 15% with the code HEAT16 when you check out. Treat yo self.