Cubs Two Months Ahead of Schedule, Six-Man Rotation, Happ’s Catch, and Other Bullets

The Littlest Girl wanted to visit in the wee hours, so I’m running on limited and interrupted sleep. Thus, I am struggle bussin’ it to get these Bullets out …

  • The win last night put the Cubs up 9 games over .500, a level they did not first reach last year until August 1. They didn’t go 10 games up for three more weeks.
  • With Mike Montgomery throwing another great one last night – and looking the part of a big league starting pitcher, as he generally has when given the chance to start over the past two years – I want to reiterate my calls for the Cubs to go with a six-man rotation for a nice long stretch at some point this year. Eventually, Yu Darvish will return, and unless someone else gets hurt (I don’t see the Cubs moving Tyler Chatwood to the bullpen right now), Montgomery would have to go back to the bullpen. But in a six-man rotation, not only do you keep using Montgomery in a valuable role he’s succeeding in right now, you get extra rest for all your starters, those starters can generally/theoretically go deeper into the games, and you could wind up getting more rest for your bullpen, too.
  • Luke Farrell had been doing some starting down at AAA after he was sent down, and it’s a good thing, so he was able to go 70+ pitches last night without wearing down too badly until the very end:
  • Farrell’s performance was impressive both for the length and the success, but something I noticed that he’ll have to shore up is trying not to use such a dramatically different release point on his different pitches (Brooks):
  • The Cubs may or may not bring in a fresh arm today. I’m sure they could use it, but with the super short turnaround time for an early game today, and then a travel/off-day tomorrow, they might just wait.
  • Great catch by Ian Happ to help keep things going in the 13th:
  • (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

  • When he elected to bat Luke Farrell in the 13th last night, with one out and runners on first and third – and with Javy Baez and Chris Gimenez on the bench – Joe Maddon was taking a risk that Farrell could keep putting up zeros until the Cubs scored some other way. His other available risk was to bat Baez there, hope he gets a run home, and then have Brandon Morrow finish the game. The risk there, obviously, is that if Baez fails to come through and the Cubs don’t score, you’re stuck either pitching Morrow or a position player in a tie game.
  • I don’t really have a problem with the risk Maddon took, but it just seemed the opposite of what he usually does – when you have a chance to win, go ahead and take it, and then let the chips fall later.
  • Relatedly: I have zero problem with Maddon aggressively drawing a line on several of his relievers, and refusing to use them last night no matter what (ditto pulling Montgomery when he did). It’s a long season, and these guys NEED rest.
  • Some strikeout factoids from last night’s whiff-o-rama:
  • Speaking of the strikeouts, in a moment of frustration, Albert Almora tried to break his bat over his knee, and it did not work:
  • https://twitter.com/albertalmora/status/1003129003862122502

  • Yes, Justin Wilson had a great night last night, and he’s had only a few bad outings, but those bad outings have been profanely awful, and he still has a walk rate of 18.6%. I’d love nothing more than for Justin Wilson to become Justin Wilson again – the dominant reliever Cubs fans haven’t ever actually seen pitch for the Cubs – but I’m just stuck in a spot where he’d have to do this for well over a month before I could have any kind of confidence that he won’t flip a switch in a high-leverage spot and totally lose the strike zone.
  • The Cubs are suddenly being cast as the villains of baseball, and whatever:
  • You don’t see this too often:

  • Razors are a Deal of the Day at Amazon.
  • Heads up to an outdoor/summer gear sale at our partner 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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