Running Out Pop-Ups, Lester's Bounce Pass, KB's Batting Cages, and Other Bullets

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Running Out Pop-Ups, Lester’s Bounce Pass, KB’s Batting Cages, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

Although I’m always happy to go to a Cubs game, I’m a little bummed that today was supposed to be Yu Darvish’s Wrigley Field debut (back when I got my ticket), but that has since been pushed back to tomorrow because of the Cincinnati rainout. I’m not sure I can go tomorrow, and so, bummer. I guess I’ll need Kyle Hendricks to throw a no-hitter today to make it up to me.

  • More on Javy Baez’s second straight huge day soon, but it was weird to see a pop out to the shortstop become such a significant subject of discussion. Here are a couple of the quotes, via The Athletic’ Patrick Mooney (who remains a must-follow):

  • Firstly, on that pop out, I was watching and really didn’t think too much about it. He was mad that he missed his pitch, he tossed the bat a little higher into the air than a batter does usually in that situation, and he trotted to first. It was enough to stand out and that I noticed, but it was far from something that I thought, “whoa, that was a really inappropriate reaction.” It was kind of a shoulder shrug to me.
  • Secondly, if Javy’s teammate(s) wanted to let him know they didn’t like it, then that’s fine by me, too. That’s their business in the clubhouse, and, based on the quotes, it’s not like they’re telling him not to celebrate home runs or not get fiery and passionate on the field. I might have a beef if they were going that direction. But this seems pretty tame all around, and it sounds like they were genuinely trying to help him stay within himself. After thinking about it for a couple minutes, I was no longer jarred.
  • So I guess I leave it there? I mean, this whole thing got a lot of heat last night after the game, likely because it was a pretty surprising angle following a guy’s second straight two-homer game and there may have been some early misunderstandings in the national media about what Baez was actually talking about. I felt like I had to say something here, but, I mean, this is a nothingburger, right?
  • This quote from Baez was a little more fun and also telling (NBC): “I’m gonna swing hard most of the time, but it’s something I can control. I’m trying to stay under control, but it’s really hard for me. As long as I stay under control, I’ll be really good.” We’ve seen Baez manage the aggressiveness of his swing before, and he has had excellent contact-related results from it at times. Then again, you can’t deny the awesomeness of his power when he connects on one of his ankle-breaking swings. I think it’s gotta be a tough balance for him, and I have no doubt he’s working on finding that right line.
  • Jon Lester’s bounce pass last night – on a ball he went out of his way to field – was just perfect:

  • If that’s the way you have to do it, you could not possibly execute it better than that. Well done, Lester.
  • As for his start, eh. You can and should read more about it here, and I particularly enjoyed the bit about Lester’s conversations with the umpire on the strikes he didn’t get. A little insight into how a pitcher approaches those situations:

  • Special moment last night:

  • A humorously-placed new image of Kris Bryant outside of Slugger’s – the bar where the batting cages were just named after Bryant and Red Bull – made me smile:

  • Speaking of those new batting cages, Red Bull hosted an unveiling yesterday, where Bryant took some swings, and was surprisingly followed by former Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood:

  • I also took swings in that same cage, and although I’d like to say this is what it looks like when you hit in the cage following foot surgery, I don’t think it was entirely about that:

  • Please tell me you saw this:

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.