Things That Are Clutch Do Not Include My Back and Other Bullets

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Things That Are Clutch Do Not Include My Back and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

kris bryant watches it flySo, the Bullets are delayed and abbreviated today. The Wife and I were all set to go to a workout class together this morning – perhaps the last one we’ll be able to do together before the baby arrives – when I wrenched my back taking a stroller out of the back of the car before we left. I’ve had minor back issues throughout my life, as most people have, but this felt like Rougned Odor had just punched me as hard has he could in the lower left of my back. I was down.

Some naproxen, some heat, and a little bit of rest later, I’m able to stand at my desk with my computer elevated to type a little bit. Everything I’ve read indicates that the best approach is to resume normal activity as quickly as possible (while, of course, being careful not to twist and bend awkwardly), so that’s what I’m going for. Hopefully this is the last you’ll even hear me mention it. Having a positive attitude also helps, apparently.

  • Yesterday, before last night’s hero-filled balling by Kris Bryant, Jeff Sullivan published a very thoughtful piece on Bryant’s low Win Probability Added numbers (and, essentially, his lack of “clutch” performance this year). It was far from a criticism of Bryant, because everyone knows these numbers, especially in a single season, are extremely full of noise and not necessarily a lot of signal. But the timing was, of course, quite humorous given what Bryant did just a few hours later to almost single-handedly bring the Cubs back and give them the win. And in the span of one game, Bryant’s overall season WPA increased from 1.9 to 2.34 (a 23.2% increase!), and his “clutch” score improved from -2.6 to -2.28. That, my friends, is a writer’s worst nightmare situation. (But it was still an interesting piece! (Also, Bryant homered to the opposite field for the first time in the game, so he was pretty much responding to all “interesting pieces” last night.))
  • As I said in the EBS, Mike Montgomery had good stuff working last night, but his command was not great, and he also seemed to be hurt by not getting any strike calls at the bottom of the zone. And, when I say things like that, I am obligated to check Brooks the next day to see … eh, it really wasn’t that bad. It was definitely a high-bottom zone, but the Dodgers actually had far more close pitches down there than the Cubs. Montgomery probably should have gotten an extra strike or three, and they all seemed to come in plate appearances that turned into walks. That’s why we noticed, and I suppose that’s a reminder just how much of a difference a single pitch or two – not even ones put in play – can make in a game.
  • Ben Zobrist is a much better baseball player than I am, but he and I are about in the same range singing ‘Let It Go’ with our daughters.
  • So far so good on the Cubs’ pitchers on the disabled list, with all of John Lackey, Pedro Strop, and Hector Rondon expected back in the early part of September (Strop after the other two, but boy is he coming along). Joe Smith is already now at Iowa for a rehab assignment (hamstring).
  • This is awesome:

  • Bryant comes at you fast:

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.