The Cubs' Disgusting Bullpen, Caratini Stands His Ground, Bote's Arrival, and Other Bullets

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The Cubs’ Disgusting Bullpen, Caratini Stands His Ground, Bote’s Arrival, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

The Littlest Girl has started to put her hand up for high fives, so I know what I’m gonna be doing after every Cubs win this year.

  • Speaking of which, the Cubs pulled out a relatively great comeback yesterday – be honest, after that top of the first, did you really think the final score would wind up 4-3? I think that’s a lot of what made the game so enjoyable – 10 minutes into the game, we were already thinking it was a lost cause, and it was hard to be *too* angry about it, because the circumstances kinda dictated an emergency fill-in situation. Shrug, it happens sometimes. So everything that followed that first inning was just gravy.
  • And man alive was it tasty gravy. The offense did enough to come back, but they wouldn’t even have had a chance if the bullpen hadn’t been absurd. Seven scoreless innings with just two hits and two walks. The Cubs now have FIVE(!!!!!(five exclamation points)) regular relievers with an ERA under 2.20: Steve Cishek (2.16), Pedro Strop (1.80), Brandon Morrow (1.38), Carl Edwards Jr. (0.53), and Brian Duensing (0.00).
  • That Carl Edwards Jr. pitch to strike out Starlin Castro? Holy crap:

  • You no doubt first react as I did: technically, Edwards doesn’t throw a cutter. At least, not in the conventional sense, as you can tell by the insane velocity (he’s never registered a cutter at Brooks). Instead, his four-seamer has natural cutting action (and crazy spin and crazy velo because it’s just such an awesome pitch). However, three of his pitches last night – including that one – did register as cutters because they moved so much more than his typical four-seamer. Just a fluke or is he working on adding movement? I’m just saying, if he could do that intentionally? And if he could vary the pitches while still keeping his elite curveball? Sign him right now to a 10-year extension, because he’s the next Mariano Rivera.
  • Victor Caratini certainly had an eventful night, scoring a run and driving in two, including the winning run. And, of course, there was the incident at the plate, which led to the Tickle Brawl. After the game, Caratini confirmed it started like it looked like it started (ESPN): “He was out by 15 feet. That’s just where the play took me. I didn’t really like the way he shoved me. That’s what I told him.” It wasn’t a SUPER hard shove by Dietrich, but it was completely unnecessary in that situation. I think it’s fair game in that moment for Caratini to say something, calmly and cooly like he did. And it’s dumb as heck for Dietrich to turn around and come back to meet him. But, hey, it got us a great moment, and no one got hurt or suspended, so … great!
(Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
  • How about David Bote coming through in a pinch-hit spot after just being called up to replace Jason Heyward? He steps to the plate and immediately sends a 105.1 mph double down the line to score two. Like I mentioned before, the 25-year-old utility man went down to Iowa and got right back to work, improving his season line there to a healthy .333/.393/.605 (156 wRC+). I just love his story – from an organizational, non-prospect type who was wondering whether it was time to hang ’em up, to a 40-man player, to a big leaguer, all in the span of two years. Good on him.
  • Also, good on the Cubs’ front office for drafting and developing him. Consider this: Bote was an 18th rounder all the way back in 2012 – this front office’s first draft with the Cubs. Folks want to be critical about how the Cubs have done in deeper rounds, but they’ve still got guys only just now reaching the big leagues from their very first draft. This ain’t the NFL. Patience.
  • About Jen-Ho Tseng’s outing:

  • I see a big league pitcher there – Tseng is just 23 – if the fastball command goes from good to great. Of course that’s true for lots of AAA-level pitchers, but they don’t all have a plus-plus pitch like Tseng’s changeup. The curveball is also pretty darn good. Whether he’ll be able to make it as a back-of-the-rotation starter remains to be seen, but the Cubs could also see what happens if he were a reliever. Maybe he just goes fastball-changeup, and adds a couple MPH to the fastball. For now, though, he’ll remain a starter, because the bones are there.
  • The Tickle Brawl:

  • Elite. Disagree with me? I’ll tickle you right in face:

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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.