Situational Hitting Still a Question, Bryant's Great Start, Happ's Catch, and Other Bullets

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Situational Hitting Still a Question, Bryant’s Great Start, Happ’s Catch, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

Happy Easter/Happy April Fools. Seems wrong to have those on the same day, but I’d imagine there are a lot of parents out there giving their kids nothing but empty eggs and laughing to themselves …

  • Great win last night, and I don’t want you to think I’m immediately getting negative, but it’s stuck in my head this morning: An inability to get runners home from third base with fewer than two outs popped up again last night, and I wanted to get out some thoughts before it becomes a runaway train of negativity in the early part of the season. Yes, the Cubs have some higher-than-average strikeout guys, so this will always be an issue, but we know this is a point of emphasis for the Cubs, so you just would like to see guys putting the ball in play more frequently in those situations. The rub is that you want them to be able to adjust their game slightly in those situations without totally changing their approach in a way that’s gonna get in their head and jack them up. It’s not unlike the two-strike approach issue – some guys are wired to be able to choke up and still make hard enough contact for the trade-off (fewer strikeouts, less power) to be worth it with two strikes. Other guys, they just lose too much hard contact doing that, don’t totally eliminate the strikeouts anyway, and the net is such that you’re just better off having that particular guy hack away with two strikes.
  • Just like the situational hitting stuff – it’s a delicate balance, because some guys will simply be better overall if they just be themselves regardless of the situation, while other guys are more malleable. It’s the job of the coaching staff to suss out the differences in the players, and with turnover on the coaching staff and young players, it’s gonna take some time. I don’t have any answers or hard info here on particular players, since it’s been three games. I just thought, since we saw it again last night and it’s early in the year, this is a topic to tee up.
  • Ian Happ made a great catch on a Starlin Castro liner last night:

  • Kris Bryant through three games: .400/.526/.800. Of course you don’t actually extrapolate anything from that, but it’s fun to note that, even in the early tiny sample, he’s doing everything – contact, walks, slugging. He also has yet to hit a single ball that falls into the “soft contact” range. Heh.
(Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
  • Joe Maddon’s suggestion when there is a marathon extra-innings game? The teams get to bring up another pitcher for a day or two ( I’d add a little to this. You wouldn’t even have to let it be an “extra” pitcher – it could just be that after a game that lasts 12+ innings, the teams are allowed a special three-day “rest list” stint for any player they want, and obviously then guys could be called up from the minors to take their spot. That way, it’s not like teams are getting more than 25 active players, but they are able to prevent injury by letting the most taxed arms take a few days to rest.
  • Steve Cishek, uncomfortable at bat for righties:

  • This guy really did not want to get clobbered by Kyle Schwarber:

  • I don’t blame him, even if this is the smaller version of Schwarber.
  • Andre Dawson, now back in the Cubs organization, thought the way he was dismissed by new Marlins owner Derek Jeter (via a phone call from someone else) was very unprofessional (NBC).
  • Gabe Kapler is already putting himself on the radar for surprising managerial decisions with the Phillies, and also screw ups – like calling a reliever into the game last night who hadn’t even been up and warming. The umps gave the pitcher some extra warm-up tosses so he wouldn’t blow out his arm, and it wound up getting the Braves’ manager ejected. Rough start for the Kapler era in Philly.
  • For those of you who’ve been thinking about signing up for The Athletic:

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.