That Strike Zone, Hendricks' Performance, Rondon's Return, and Other Bullets

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That Strike Zone, Hendricks’ Performance, Rondon’s Return, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

OK, your non-Cubs content for the intro, if you somehow haven’t seen it yet …

As per usual with the teasers, you see lots of stuff, but you know nothing. So, well done, I guess.

  • The morning after a game in which there was a lot of chatter about the strike zone, one of the first things I like to do is check Brooks to see if things were actually as bad as people thought, or if the TV zone was just kinda making folks see things that weren’t there. Yesterday’s game was … holy-crap-definitely-as-bad-as-people-thought. There wasn’t really a discernible advantage for one side or the other (though the timing of missed calls hurt the Cubs early), it was just a really inconsistent, poorly-called zone. One spot that REALLY hurt the Cubs, though, was down and in against righties – not a spot the umpire usually misses. The Cubs – specifically, Kyle Hendricks – had four pitches extremely within the zone in that spot, and didn’t get the call on any of them. As I said yesterday, I’m not sure Hendricks’ day was as bad as the final line score showed.
  • Speaking of which, that velocity question. If you’ve noticed by now that all Cubs starters seem to have their velocity down this year, you’re not alone. It’s a strange thing to see so consistently across the board, and because they’ve been in multiple ballparks at this point, and pitchers across baseball are not necessarily seeing the same thing, I’m not sure we can say this is still a data issue. Is it an intentional ramping up process? Or are they all worn down from long seasons? Or were the conditions for their starts all just not conducive to max velocity? Or are they all just doing a variation on the usual slower-at-the-start thing? I still can’t say I’m worried, because it’s so early, but it’s an oddity worth following for sure. (Hendricks for one, at least, definitely started down in this 85-86 mph range on his sinker last year before slowly increasing a couple ticks as the year went on.)
  • Hector Rondon returned to the mound yesterday, and looked fine in the process. So the knee is all good, and his resurgence appears to be un-derailed. Whew.
  • Brian Duensing threw a scoreless, one-strikeout frame in his Cubs debut yesterday. He was activated from the disabled list (back) before the game, as Carl Edwards Jr. went to the bereavement list.
  • The Reds are taking this early-season run seriously (good for them), calling up top outfield prospect Jesse Winker. I would jokingly ask how the eff this helps the Reds, but this actually does.
  • In addition to #CardinalsLose last night, here’s how it happened:

  • Kinda crazy, eh? Speaking of former Cubs:

  • Respect:

  • This is eye-poppingly magnificent, and is also the most difficult ‘Where’s Waldo’ ever:

  • The definition of “mildly amusing”:

  • A little crossover action, as new Bears quarterback Mike Glennon threw out the first pitch and led the Seventh Inning Stretch at Wrigley Field yesterday, allowing me not only to share these tweets, but also to tell you to follow The Ten-Yard Line on Twitter:

  • Hardware for the Cubs’ sluggers:

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.