Yes, the Cubs Are Striking Out a Ton (However), Lester Doesn't Want 2016 Comparisons, and Other Bullets

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Yes, the Cubs Are Striking Out a Ton (However), Lester Doesn’t Want 2016 Comparisons, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

Foot status: pretty good. I don’t know if it was my adventure in Miami, but my ability to walk *close* to normally has taken a dramatic turn in the last few days. It’s mostly pain-free at this point, and it’s just a matter of re-learning how to walk correctly – not only because of the surgery, but because it seems I was walking abnormally for years because of the injury that precipitated the surgery in the first place. Good progress, and although I’m still on the DL, there will be no need to transfer me to the 60-day. I’ll be back in time for the home opener …

  • The Cubs have some guys who strike out a fair bit. News at 11. There’s no real shock there, and when you consider the trending of strikeouts overall in the game, and that they’ve played six games’ worth of innings in their first five games, it’s also not necessarily a shock to learn that they’ve just set a new NL record with 58 strikeouts in their first five games. Which is not to say it isn’t a bad thing or that the Cubs don’t need to improve, but let’s keep things within context – the Cubs’ 25.3% strikeout rate so far this year is not a record, and it’s not even the worst in baseball this year (six teams have a higher strikeout rate). It’s high. It’s too high! But it’s only a few points higher than it was last, and we’re talking about five games. The Cardinals have a 28.1% strikeout rate so far this year, and they also have an above-average offense overall so far. The strikeouts ain’t the only story for the Cubs.
  • If you want to be alarmed by offensive statistics, I suggest you look more simply at the overall results so far: .204/.308/.352, 74 wRC+. But even then, it’s driven mostly by one of the lowest BABIPs in the league, and a low ISO … despite having the 7th most hard contact in the league and 11th lowest soft contact. It’s early, but man, this sure looks like a some flukey small sample bad luck.
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
  • Jon Lester makes start number two tonight after a rough opening effort. He’s not worried about that one and, as you’d expect, is just focused on the Reds (Sun-Times). Nothing would please any of us more than Lester looking great tonight, leaving open the possibility that the troubles against the Marlins was just one of those things. More broadly, Lester tells the Sun-Times that folks need to chill out on comparing this year’s club to the 2016 team that got out to a historic start. Even if the vibe is similar to that year’s club, it’s not easy to do what they did, and it’s not fair to expect it. That’s fine, and I’ll agree with Lester, though the Cubs can’t afford not to take advantage of their soft early-season schedule. It’s not so much about expecting them to be 2016 – it’s about expecting a very good team to beat up on some very bad teams.
  • Justin Wilson has pitched 3.2 scoreless innings already with the Cubs, arguably the most important of the early-season success stories in the bullpen. After joining the Cubs last year in a big Trade Deadline move, Wilson got off to a rough start, lost his control, perhaps lost his confidence, perhaps lost some of his mechanics because of that, and then everything snowballed into a horrible two months. Having early success, then, was huge for him – a reminder that he is who he is, and that he can just be comfortable being that guy right from the start of a new season with the Cubs. He tells NBC that there was no grand change to his game this offseason: “It was a struggle last year, so it was nice to get a little breather and kinda regroup and come back to spring with the same group. I just kinda took a step back, a deep breath and relaxed. And that was it.”
  • Lots of rain in Ohio today. Hopefully tonight’s game is not affected. Currently, the forecast features storms in Cincinnati pretty much all day and night, so.
  • Nope, don’t care if you’ve been doing it for a while. Not allowed to do it:

  • Cubs did it better:

  • Oh my goodness Bryce Harper:

  • I was on the Wrigleyville Nation podcast:

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.