Working with Darvish, Happ's Struggles, Baez's RBIs, and Other Bullets

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Working with Darvish, Happ’s Struggles, Baez’s RBIs, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

There’s a lot to get into in the wake of yesterday’s bizarre game against the Rockies, so you can safely assume if you don’t see a big topic here in the Bullets, that’s because it’s coming in a separate post. Earlier, for example, we updated Kris Bryant’s status – signs are good for now.

  • Cubs pitching coach Jim Hickey doesn’t have a grand theory on why Yu Darvish melted down the last two times something strange happened to him in the 5th inning (a balk and then a walk to the pitcher), and he’s also not ready to say it was anything more than a coincidence (ESPN). But he does point out that it’s something the Cubs are looking into. It immediately makes me think about the additional layer of challenge you’d have working on – for example – mindfulness training, if that was something the Cubs wanted to do with Darvish, with someone who is not a native English speaker. I have no doubt the Cubs have systems in place to make it happen if the player is open to it, but it’s not something you’d otherwise think about unless confronted with a situation like this where the “problem” might be something very personal, mental, and nuanced.
  • … but, to reiterate, we don’t even yet really know that this is a “thing.” It could just be a fluke, given that in both instances, there were also significant environmental factors at play.
  • Ian Happ suddenly isn’t seeing a lot of action after being anointed something very close to THE leadoff hitter coming out of Spring Training thanks to a spate of strikeouts to begin the year, but the good news is that – in addition to working on what he needs to fix – he’s working on keeping the right perspective:

  • Happ is on the right team to work through these issues, as he doesn’t have to look very far to see guys succeeding who, at one time or another, had come up to the show and then had to be sent back down to the minors (Anthony Rizzo, Kyle Schwarber, Javy Baez).
  • Great line from Joe about yesterday’s game:

  • It’s so true. Maddon was out for injuries/possible injuries to Kris Bryant, Albert Almora, Carl Edwards Jr., and then also for the Javy Baez-DJ LeMahieu argument.
  • This is pretty awesome about Javy Baez, and there’s the usual guys atop the AL leader boar… wait wut:

  • RBI are not a predictive stat, and they are (clearly) as much the product of opportunity as production, but they are also still a fun reflection of what has actually happened. And it’s also fun that Javy Baez is now on pace for 196 RBI this year. He can totally keep it up.
  • (Also, if you didn’t know, 34-year-old utility infielder Jed Lowrie is currently hitting .351/.402/.606. It’s not entirely out of nowhere, either, as you may recall that he had some very good offensive years in his younger days, and then was actually quite good last year for the A’s, too.)
  • If you missed anything this weekend, by the way, catch yourself up on the headlines here.
  • I actually real do do this, but also, this is the wildest walk-off celebration you’ll see for a while:

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.