The Javy-Al Duo, Happ’s Whiffs, Alzolay’s Outing, and Other Bullets

Ah, soccer Saturday. That’s a thing now for the Taylor family. The Little Boy has a game. The Little Girl has a game. Some weeks they will have two games. Type quickly, Brett …

  • Fantastic read here from Sahadev Sharma on what – specifically – is troubling Ian Happ and causing an explosion of whiffs in the strike zone:
  • Happ’s struggles – and Ben Zobrist’s injury – created an opportunity for Albert Almora to get a couple more starts against righties, and he’s cashed in. To be sure, both Luke Weaver and Jon Gray are slightly reverse-split righties (a good match-up for Almora), but still. You can’t deny Almora has made the most of his very short opportunity, and the Javy-Al duo at the top of the order has been fantastic these last two games.
  • That said, Joe Maddon wouldn’t guarantee that the Almora-Baez duo that has worked so well in those two match-ups would stay atop the lineup for good (ESPN). That said, with the Cubs facing a traditional-split lefty tonight, it would be crazy not to have those two atop the order again if they’re healthy and ready to go.
  • As for Baez’s insane streak, he says he’s simply seeing the ball very well right now (Cubs.com), which I’m gonna say shows up when he’s at the plate. He just looks so confident staring down those low-and-away sliders that he would often previously offer at. Of course he still takes huge hacks at pitches he misses badly, but they are currently quite rare. And him spitting on good pitcher’s pitches? I see that every day right now.
  • (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

  • More on Cubs pitching prospect Adbert Alzolay’s great debut at AAA Iowa last night:
  • The 23-year-old righty was slowed by an ankle injury in the spring, but as he builds up arm strength, he might wind up one of the Cubs’ top options for a fill-in start when they need a 26th man for a couple doubleheaders coming up later this year.
  • Well this is silly and fun:
  • I try not to get too riled by this stuff, since I also think the Astros – on paper – are better than the Cubs were last year:
  • The stuff in there about better focus and better preparation is interesting, especially given that Rondon seemed to be among the more playful Cubs the last few years. In the end, whatever. Glad he found a job he likes, and glad he did some excellent things for the Cubs over the years. The Cubs moved on at the right time.
  • Tyson Ross – yes, that Tyson Ross – lost a no-hitter with two outs in the 8th inning last night on a rocket to deep center that looked like an extremely tough play. But Statcast reminds us just how critical a poor initial read on a ball can be, and how it can make what should have been a routine play *look* like a nearly impossible one:
  • Various certified refurbished Roku players are on a big sale at Amazon today.
  • And a big 25% off sale at Lids:
  • written by

    Brett Taylor is the Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and on LinkedIn here. Brett is also the founder of Bleacher Nation, which opened up shop in 2008 as an independent blog about the Chicago Cubs. Later growing to incorporate coverage of other Chicago sports, Bleacher Nation is now one of the largest regional sports blogs on the web.

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