About That Horrible Inning, Edwards, Caliber of Competition, and Other Bullets
The BN Blogathon fundraiser for Make-A-Wish is officially now a family affair – The Little Girl and The Little Boy decided to make some art to sell to friends to raise money to donate to Make-A-Wish. I love those kids. Good on them.
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- After a loss like yesterday’s, you just hope the players really buy in to the idea of totally flushing it away, forgetting about it, and moving forward today with the momentum they’d built to that point. Really, the Cubs played well yesterday outside of that one inning. You can’t forget the inning in terms of the win or loss – it mattered, because it caused the loss – but I don’t want to lose sight of the fact that Jake Arrieta pitched really well, the bats were consistently crushing the ball, and the defense was solid. The loss sucks, but the guys just need to keep playing like they’re playing.
- … that all assumes, by the way, that you aren’t worried about the bullpen implosion. The Cubs will keep scouring the trade market for an addition, but, on the whole, the bullpen has been good. Here’s where I land on yesterday: (1) It sucks that Hector Rondon, who’d finally worked himself back into a position to get a high-leverage opportunity by having a really dominant stretch, had a disastrous outing like that. He probably won’t see high leverage again for a while, even though everyone concedes bases loaded and nobody out was a really tough spot to come into. (2) It sucks that Justin Grimm couldn’t shut things down where they were, but he goes through periods of struggle, and he too was tasked with bases loaded, nobody out. You could convince me to let those two things go. Also, a thanks to Grimm for finishing out the game.
- Carl Edwards Jr.’s bout of wildness, though, well, that has me mildly more concerned, since it’s always been an issue for him – he became a dominant reliever only when he corralled that wildness a bit. I’m about to scare you a little bit: since his meltdown in Washington at the end of June, Edwards has a 7.71 ERA, a 5.87 FIP, a 33.3% strikeout rate, and … gulp … a 27.8% walk rate. It’s only been 7.0 innings across nine appearances, but that’s alarming.
- One thing I heard from a few folks blowing me up on the interwebs in the wake of yesterday’s horrifying 8th inning against the Cardinals is that the Cubs weren’t really playing better in the second half. Instead, the Cubs merely beat up on two terrible teams in the Orioles and Braves, and now are crashing back to reality. Here’s the thing about that: the Braves haven’t lost in the second half yet to a team not named the Cubs. The Orioles? They’ve lost just once to the juggernaut Astros by a single run. Combined, the Braves and Orioles are 9-1 in the second half against the Dodgers, Diamondbacks, Astros, and Rangers. So you’re gonna want to shut up about that one.
- With the loss, the Cubs did not fall back in the NL Central, as the Brewers lost once again. But the Pirates and Cardinals won, so the standings are even more bunched up than they were before yesterday: The Cubs are a game back of the Brewers, the Pirates are two games back of the Brewers, and the Cardinals are 3.5 games back. It’s funny that because of early-season injuries, ineffectiveness, a Starling Marte suspension, and Jung-Ho Kang not being able to come to the States, the Pirates fell off the radar for a lot of folks, and yet they were the clear pre-season pick around these parts to be the most likely team to challenge the Cubs at the top of the standings. Is that probably the case once again? I think they’re better than the Cardinals and Brewers now that they’re back to full-ish strength, but I don’t think their depth is as strong. So a lot could swing depending on trades and injuries in the coming weeks.
- This piece from Joe Posnanski on irony jerseys is a fantastic look back at, among other things, guys you totally don’t remember playing for that team. Among the ones I totally forgot in my lifetime: Rickey Henderson on the Mariners, Pedro Martinez on the Phillies, and Jim Edmonds on the Reds. Randy Johnson on the Giants would have been a good one, too – did you remember he pitched for the Giants? He did! (The Cubs inclusion was a bit of a whiff, though, because I don’t think too many people forget that Kenny Lofton was on the Cubs.)
- The MLB Shop just kicked off a site-wide 15% off sale, so you’ll want to check that one out. And Fanatics just moved more stuff to clearance, also worth checking out. Thanks for shopping at those places via the links here at BN, because it helps support us in the process!
- Normally, I’d think that the description of this totally-not-baseball video was just hype, but, well, yeah, it’s amazing:
This is the best video ever pic.twitter.com/K065H6RJfQ
— Keith (@lad) July 20, 2017
- This probably isn’t quite as good as bird-cat, but this (baseball one) is pretty amazing, too:
This Aaron Judge homer is going to be measured in miles, not feet.
— Baseball is Fun (@flippingbats) July 22, 2017
- How about this, from MLB.com: “It was crushed so high it went off the grid, above and beyond official measurements.” Aaron Judge hit a home run so high and so far that Statcast couldn’t track it.