Baez's Incredible Walk, Heyward's Strikeouts, Pressure on Darvish, and Other Bullets

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Baez’s Incredible Walk, Heyward’s Strikeouts, Pressure on Darvish, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

I’m trying to think of a baseball equivalent of JR Smith forgetting that the game was tied with 4.7 seconds left last night in Game One of the NBA Finals. You could say an outfielder forgetting how many outs there were in the 9th inning and tossing a ball into the stands, but Smith’s gaffe not only wound up losing the game for the Cavs, but it also happened from a location where he could have instead won the game right there in that instant.

So I guess it’s more like a team down by one with one out, runners at first and third, and they get a base hit in the bottom of the 9th. The runner at third scores to tie the game, and the runner at first, nearly to third at that point, thinks it was a walk-off, and starts running around the infield to celebrate. He is tagged out, and the next batter flies deep to center field for the final out of the inning. Then that team gets pounded in extra innings. I can’t even imagine the horrors that player would face for the rest of his career.

  • Javy Baez took a walk last night, and it was borderline the story of the game, since it was his first since early April, a span that lasted 180(!) plate appearances. You pretty much have to at least accidentally take a walk during a long stretch like that, because at some point a pitcher is going to throw a three-ball pitch that you physically could not swing at because it nearly hits you (like, um, the one Baez took).
  • Like we’ve said for a while, no one wants Baez (or any other hitter) going to the plate trying to take a walk. It doesn’t work like that. Instead, you try to swing only at really drivable pitches until you get to two strikes, and, in that process, you will happen to take some walks. That approach has never worked for Baez (in part because he can drive some really crappy pitches), and at least he knows himself:

(Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images)
  • Chris Gimenez said that he thinks Yu Darvish feels like Cubs fans hate him right now, and Jason Heyward and Jon Lester spoke with the Sun-Times about what it’s like to sign a mega-deal with the Cubs and then struggle out of the gate. The human side of things here includes the fact that signing such a huge deal makes you prone, perhaps, to try to do a little too much right away, and then things can get away from you.
  • Steve Cishek has appeared in nearly half of the Cubs’ games – already 25 appearances! – but he says he’s still feeling good (Tribune). Even as that’s the case, the Cubs will still have to be cautious so that he can be just as effective in the second half. Dude has been fantastic.
  • In addition to his other recent productivity, Jason Heyward is simply not striking out. Ever. His strikeout rate is now down to just 10.7%, the 8th lowest mark in baseball. Simply not striking out is not enough to be successful, but if you can do it without completely sacrificing the ability to make hard contact, it’s a great thing.
  • Do yourself a favor and read this fantastic piece by Patrick Mooney on Kris Bryant. It’s just so good:

  • It’s not just you: the Cubs lead the league in walking the opposing pitcher, having done it seven times now.
  • Haha, the Braves organist trolled Bryce Harper (for the second time) with ‘Go Cubs Go’:

  • Topical:

  • Ah, June 1998 – when Sammy REALLY went off:

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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.