Enjoying the Good Moments in an Ugly Loss, Pitching Depth, Farrell's Role, and Other Bullets

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Enjoying the Good Moments in an Ugly Loss, Pitching Depth, Farrell’s Role, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

I got a bad hangnail on my right index finger, which, in isolation is not that big of a deal. But because it kept snagging every time I reached into my pocket or went near any other kind of fabric, I had to put a bandaid on it. Now, as I type, my finger keeps slipping on the keys, slowing my typing output by 15 to 20%. My wRCT+ is gonna be crushed this week.

  • The Cubs lost badly last night, but no part of me felt after that loss the way I normally feel after a Cubs loss. The reason, of course, was obviously the Anthony-Rizzo-pitching-shenanigans, and it’s a reminder that Joe Maddon has a really good understanding of how to manage the relationship between losses, a very long season, and player happiness. That stuff all matters over a long period of time, and I have no doubt that the players were feeling as cheery and jokey about last night’s game as most fans were. Stewing and kicking rocks does nothing to help you win the next day, so why do it?
  • As for fans, here’s my take: this game that we love offers us so few opportunities to still be happy even after a loss – to actually enjoy the experience of a game that was a crapper from the word go – so why not embrace it when it happens? The reason we’re fans in the first place is because this sport theoretically adds more to our lives than it subtracts, so why not choose to make last night a net positive? That’s what I choose. I had fun. Last night’s game was great.
  • The full look at Joe Maddon faking out Anthony Rizzo, Rizzo being sad, and then Rizzo getting his chance:


  • I agree that this is a fun, obscure record:

(Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
  • Rizzo and Maddon both say that was it for the big lefty’s pitching career, so he’ll finish with a 0.00 ERA.
  • OK, so obviously there’s a more serious subtext to the light-hearted discussion about Rizzo pitching, and that’s the fact that the Cubs have been in situations where it’s desirable to call upon position players to pitch twice since the All-Star break. It’s a reminder that there is still work to be done shoring up potential holes on the pitching side of things, and the need for the Cubs’ starting pitchers to consistently work deeper into games remains urgent.
  • As for Luke Farrell’s spot start, it’s probably the last one he’ll get this season. I really liked what I saw from him early this year when he was a more traditional reliever – having been converted from starting – pairing a sharp slider with a 94 mph four-seamer with great life. He commanded both pitches well, and his strikeout rate was fantastic. Since then, he’s been used in a much broader range of roles – multi-inning, mop-up, starting at AAA, and starting in the big leagues – and it’s been ugly. The command has faltered, the third pitch (curveball) doesn’t play, and the fastball velocity has dipped. Were we judging based on this season, alone, I’d say it’s clear that Farrell is a big leaguer in the future only as a traditional middle reliever. Maybe he can keep developing, but I’d like to see the Cubs commit to him in that kind of role going forward to see what he might be in the future. The starting thing? Let it pass.
  • This is fantastic:


  • My word, think folks were excited about getting the Javy Baez bobblehead yesterday? Yo:

  • Michael has been having some fun lately:

  • Unbelievably bad timing here, as Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez was being crushed for failing to hustle on the final out of the Yankees’ loss last night, and this went out this morning:

  • Cardinals rookie Daniel Poncedeleon made his big league debut last night, and no-hit the Reds through seven. He had to depart from there, though, and the Cardinals went on to blow the game in the bottom of the 9th. Lotta Cubs connections: Poncedeleon had to come back from getting hit in the head by a Victor Caratini liner at AAA. Also, the Cubs drafted Poncedeleon the year before the Cardinals did, by the way, and something fell through with the signing.
  • Blenders, cookware, and a home theater system are the Deals of the Day at Amazon, so you could have yourself quite the party!

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.