Cubs Working on the Bad Side of History, Arrieta's Latest, Mr. Met's Finger, and Other Bullets

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Cubs Working on the Bad Side of History, Arrieta’s Latest, Mr. Met’s Finger, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

The Wife has an extra day of work after the kiddos are out for the summer, which means I’ve got the trio home with me today. So far, Legos are my friend.

Oh, and also The Grandma, who is coming to assist.

In the meantime, type feverishly, Brett …

  • The Cubs are struggling to hit period right now, but their woes with runners in scoring position are especially eye-popping: per ESPN, the Cubs’ current .211 batting average with runners in scoring position would be the lowest mark in the NL in 35(!) years. And before that 1981 Mets team, you have to go all the way back to 1969 to find another team as RISP-less as the Cubs have been. Last year, we often got to talk about the “historic” Cubs … well … you get to do it again this year!
  • About yesterday’s loss: do I even mention the fact that Ian Happ’s early deep fly came within two feet of giving the Cubs the runs that probably would have won the game? Do we even think about that as, like, “oh man what could have been with just a little more luck!” at this point? Or is the fact that the have been so dreadful on offense over the past week enough to make that fall flat?
  • I think I probably don’t even go there, especially since Happ himself had a great catch at the wall in the outfield, in virtually the same spot where his was caught.
  • Speaking of which, although he gave up only one homer in the game, Jake Arrieta gave up two other shots to the wall. The results were better this time, but it was really the same thing we’ve seen from Arrieta all year: a lot of strikeouts, not a lot of walks, not enough groundballs, and far too much hard contact in the air. Sometimes (like yesterday) that’s going to be a fine combination for good results. But because home runs are so disproportionately damages, it will sometimes be a recipe for a start that looks good in so many ways, but allows so many runs.
  • The start, though, was a lot of what Michael was talking about yesterday: even if Arrieta pitches the same as he has, the results should, over a long enough horizon, be better than they have been. And, for example, yesterday they were.
(Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
  • As you saw yesterday, Ben Zobrist was pulled again for a pinch hitter when the Padres went to a lefty – his wrist allows him to bat lefty right now, but not righty. That’s … a bummer.
  • Brett Anderson, who has been rehabbing his back in Arizona, has thoughts about how the Cubs’ themed road trip went:

  • Although it has been permissible for certain higher ups in the Mets organization to flip off fans for years, when Mr. Met does it, that’s a flip too far:

  • The most scandalous part of all of this? Mr. Met has only four fingers! There is no middle finger!
  • Also: say what you will of the Cubs’ horrible slump, but I don’t think you’re going to see Clark the Cub flipping fans off any time soon. I guess I shouldn’t guarantee it. But pretty sure.
  • TWTW is fading:

  • Eno Sarris noticed something very interesting, the implications of which will be something to watch: the strike zone has been moving this year, but not up or down like we’ve been tracking in recent years. Instead, the strike zone is moving inside against lefties – i.e., far more strikes are being called (correctly) on the inner third of the plate against lefty batters. I can imagine a scenario where lefties who rely on being on top of the plate – Anthony Rizzo, Kyle Schwarber? – would be hurt if they stopped getting those bonus ball calls on pitches that are more difficult for them to get to (but are rule book strikes).
  • How yesterday’s loss made me feel:

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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.