Doing Right By Bryant, Rizzo Frustration, Darvish Competing, and Other Bullets

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Doing Right By Bryant, Rizzo Frustration, Darvish Competing, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

OK, so this should be a lot of fun. And it’s free. So do it: there’s a DraftKings contest using *ONLY* the players from today’s CHC-MIL game (1:20 pm CT) with a prize pool of $1500. You’re going to be watching/following the game anyway, so now you can add a little more stakes to it. I just drafted my lineup (for now, as I might tweak later today), and I’ll just say that I’m going on the theory that to win in a contest like this, you have to get REALLY creative with whom you might see get time in the game. (Come on, Luke Farrell appearance … ). SIGN UP HERE.

  • Although Kris Bryant is not yet speaking with the media about his playing status, and taking a 96 mph fastball off of his head on Sunday, I think several other quotes from teammates and his manager (here, here, and here, among other places) start to paint the picture of what’s going on. Here’s Maddon, for example, “We’re just waiting for everyone to be on board. Once we do that, he’ll be back out there playing …. I’m just listening to him, listening to what his needs are right now. And making sure the medical procedures are being followed so we do everything right …. I really feel strongly that he’s going to be fine, but I don’t want to push it.”
  • I think everyone just wants to be 100% certain that Bryant is not only physically completely ready to be back out there, but also mentally completely ready to get back in the box and stare down those pitches. I don’t know how you get there or what is going on in another human being’s head after something like that. I think no one does. Hence why Bryant has been sitting out, continuing to see the doctor, continues to be monitored, and hasn’t been put on the DL.
  • If Bryant feels ready, and if he’s medically cleared, today might not be a bad first outing, as he’d be facing a lefty (different look) who throws in the mid-80s with great control. Maybe that doesn’t matter at all. Maybe it would be slightly more comfortable as a first opportunity than standing back in against a wild righty with throws upper 90s. [UPDATE: No Bryant today.]
(Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
  • Yu Darvish gets another chance to turn things around today, and he’ll face the one club against whom he had a good start this year. Joe Maddon says that it’s not been a matter of Darvish failing to compete when adversity has struck in the 5th inning, but instead it has perhaps been a matter of, “there are times even good players don’t process the moment well enough and things get away from them. That’s where I think he’s at.” (ESPN)
  • That could be part of the issue, but I tend to think getting a feel for his slider and better command of his fastball have a lot more to do with his struggles so far than anything mental.
  • Ben Zobrist (back) was running the bases yesterday (ESPN), and could be good to go tomorrow, when he’s eligible to come off the disabled list.
  • Point made:

  • Separate from that particular Hurdlian point, I’m sure Rizzo is reaching maximum levels of frustration. I don’t think he looks bad at the plate right now, but he’s missing his pitches. He’s in that zone where he’s fouling back or popping up or dribbling off the pitches he is normally wrecking. We’ve seen it before from any number of very good hitters (including Rizzo himself for various streaks and stretches), but I’m sure it’s maddening as all get out when it’s happening.
  • Also:

  • Luke Farrell is now officially a member of the bullpen:

  • Speaking of which, though, Eddie Butler is eligible to come off of the DL in three days (groin strain). Butler does not have options left, and Farrell does, so it’s a good bet that Farrell will be heading back to Iowa, despite looking *excellent* in limited, low-leverage doses so far. That is unless the Cubs decide a rehab stint is necessary for Butler, and/or if his injury actually is a longer-term thing than a minimum stay. Also, I think it’s important not to get too swayed by just a few appearances (good or bad) – yes, Butler had a very rough go in his final outing, and yes, Farrell has looked fantastic. But it wasn’t that long ago that Butler, himself, was the guy making low-leverage appearances and looking fantastic.
  • Huge sale at the MLB Shop today, so you can get tons of discounted Cubs gear – including this new Cubs-Avengers shirt:

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.