Pinch-Hit Decisions, Edwards' Dominance, Cubs-Cardinals Frenemies, and Other Bullets

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Pinch-Hit Decisions, Edwards’ Dominance, Cubs-Cardinals Frenemies, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

The Littlest Girl had occupational therapy this morning, then I am currently at a doctor’s appointment for my foot, and then I have physical therapy for my foot later this afternoon. I am just bouncing from one office to another today. Hooray for the portability of the internet, eh?

  • After yet another short starter outing last night, the Cubs could really stand to start seeing some starting pitchers go deep. If today’s game gets off, hopefully that’ll be Jon Lester, who hasn’t yet looked at his best.
  • I’ve been playing through the scenario last night that precipitated this tweet in the 8th inning last night as the Cubs tried to come back:

  • Absent context, and in the moment, I was annoyed that Heyward – a struggling hitter overall, whose struggles are especially pernicious against lefties – was going to face a lefty in Tyler Lyons who is very tough on lefties. It was a recipe for an uncompetitive at bat, and Heyward popped up after going down in the count quickly. After that, Albert Almora was announced as a pinch hitter, Lyons was removed for Bud Norris, and then Almora was removed in favor of Tommy La Stella, who himself had an uncharacteristically poor pinch-hit plate appearance.
  • How else could or should that have gone? Instinct at the time said Almora should have been hitting for Heyward, which would have gotten you at least one optimized match-up (though you lose Heyward for the rest of the game, but there isn’t much of the game left if you don’t score there). Then you have La Stella available to hit for the pitcher, perhaps against Lyons, but I’d rather he was facing Lyons than Heyward. That’s especially true when you consider that, since becoming a full-time reliever, Norris has actually been MUCH tougher on lefties than on righties. The Cubs gamed themselves into two terrible match-ups at a key moment in the game.
  • (This assumes, by the way, that Ben Zobrist was totally unavailable, because if he were available off of the bench, then the decision not to pinch-hit for Heyward would be nearly inexcusable.)
  • Unless I’m missing something obvious, the choice there was a couple better match-ups (runner on first, nobody out, down two) or keeping Heyward’s glove in the game, and hoping that an even more important/better match-up would materialize later on. Joe Maddon opted for the latter. Felt like a mistake in the moment, and it looks like a mistake in hindsight.
  • Nope, you’re not going to make me smile along with you, old friends:
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
  • Fun list:

  • That was before last night’s game, when Edwards struck out the side, though he did so with only four whiffs in 18 pitches. I guess he’ll have to be satisfied by seeing his strikeout rate rise to 46.9% (LOL) and his walk rate drop to 9.4% (OMG YES).
  • Jed Hoyer reminds folks that it’s really difficult to make weather determinations at Wrigley Field for the purposes of postponing games, especially because you try to do it early enough to be good to the fans, but not SO early that you get it wrong (Athletic). I know some folks – and teams – like to complain about weather-related decisions the Cubs make, but spend a week in Chicago by the lake and try to track the weather forecasts 8 to 12 hours out. You’ll see, it’s about as imprecise as it gets.
  • Good to see this:

  • Pedro Strop struggled again last night against the Cardinals (who’ve posted a 137 OPS+ against him in his career, the worst of any of the opponents he sees regularly in the National League), which is just one of those weird things (it’s 143 plate appearances at this point, which is not quite a substantial sample, but it’s also not tiny). I tend to think that has contributed to the perception that he hasn’t been as awesome as he has been in his career with the Cubs, since those games against the Cardinals tend to be highly-visible, and his appearances tend to be high leverage. In other words, he screws up a disproportionate amount of the time when fans are paying disproportionate attention.
  • If you missed it this morning, Luke’s Minor League Daily includes the I-Cubs’ efforts to help repair the Field of Dreams.
  • Very cool shots:

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.