Based on last night’s game, it’s clear the Cubs’ analytics folks really got to work over the break, digging deep on possible undervalued approaches to shaking loose from the season-long offensive slump. The advanced strategy? Hit dingers.
I’m not so sure analytics folks right about the new “give up tons of runs in the middle innings” approach, but they’ve earned the benefit of the doubt …
- New Cubs lefty Jose Quintana will make his debut tomorrow, but he joined his new mates yesterday, grateful that a long stretch of trade rumors was finally over (Cubs.com).
- I like seeing thoughts from Cubs players on how the Jose Quintana trade was a vote of confidence in their ability (which it was, even as it was also designed to help in the future). For example, this, from Jason Heyward (ESPN): “Anytime you feel like the front office is trying to add to your team and help you make a push that should send enough of a message. From Day 1 they’ve done everything they can to meet us more than halfway ….We just have to do our job.” The addition of a quality player should be designed to help in its own right, but if a side benefit is a boost to the players in-house? That, of course, would be ideal.
- Cubs players know they need to get off to a good start in the second half after what was an extremely disappointing first half, both individually and collectively (Cubs.com). The tricky part is knowing and accepting that the Cubs need to win a flurry of games here in short order, but not allowing yourself to feel pressured to do it. To feel like you have to win every game on the next pitch. To feel like if you don’t get the job done right here, no one else on the team will. I used to poo-poo that kind of mass team psychological effect, but, in the last half decade, I’ve started to appreciate it much more. I think the Cubs really do need to produce in order to gain more confidence in themselves and each other, which will in turn aid in more production, and more confidence, and so on it goes.
- The Cubs blasted five homers last night, which was the only source of their scoring, but don’t let that be considered a “problem.” They were crushing the ball off of Kevin Gausman, and it’s not as if it somehow would have been better if a few of the shots were doubles. Crushing the ball = good. Full stop.
- Yesterday, rumors broke that the Cubs were pursuing A’s righty Sonny Gray, even after acquiring Jose Quintana. Those rumors may or may not be true (solid sources, though), but Theo Epstein joked to the media that there were no rumors about the Quintana trade before it happened, so “take that for what it’s worth” (Sharma).
- If you didn’t see Jason Heyward’s crazy catch in the 9th, make sure you watch it here.
- I would totally watch this:
— Baseball is Fun (@flippingbats) July 14, 2017
- Some more Cubs gear flipped onto clearance at Fanatics this week, so check out the collection if you haven’t lately.
- Your BN Blogathon check-in as we approach $4,000! Thanks for your support for a great cause!
— Brett Taylor (@BleacherNation) July 15, 2017