The Terrible Pitch, Murphy's Struggles, Hating the Brewers, and Other Bullets

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The Terrible Pitch, Murphy’s Struggles, Hating the Brewers, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

Yesterday had one huge advantage over today for fans: the game was at mid-day. None of this waiting around ALL DAY AND EARLY EVENING for the terror-fest that is the Wild Card Game. I’m really starting to think the Cubs would have been better off winning yesterday, but hindsight is 20/20 you know.

  • From the moment it happened yesterday, a lot of us were lit up about the pitch selection to Hall of Famer terrible hitter Orlando Arcia in the decisive 8th inning. The 0-2 slider, in particular was atrocious:

  • That’s a pitch that’ll be on my mind for a long time – if Wilson just throws another dang fastball, Arcia is likely retired with ease – and it was on the minds of the involved parties after the game, too:

  • Wilson is not wrong (and it looks like the slider was called for, rather than him shaking to it). If he buries that pitch like he was supposed to, then there’s no hit, and maybe a strikeout. But that’s part of the risk in going away from a great pitch that is working and is a weakness for the batter. It’s getting too cute by half, and it burned the Cubs in a big way.
  • It’s a shame that Anthony Rizzo’s homer yesterday didn’t figure into the final accounting of the game, because it was such a monster shot. That would have been remembered for a long time. Alas.
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
  • This was quite an at bat:

  • Murphy finished up his regular season with the Cubs hitting .297/.329/.471 with a 115 wRC+. Certainly good. But not the impact bat he’s been in recent years, and probably not enough to overcome his defensive limitations and make him still a “very, very good” player. Instead, I’d characterize his performance with the Cubs as “fine, acceptable.” Here’s hoping he rediscovers that playoff magic starting tonight.
  • … but you probably shouldn’t expect it if he starts against lefty Kyle Freeland. Not only is Freeland brutal on lefties, Murphy, this year, is hitting just .238/.276/.288 with a 51 wRC+ against fellow lefties. If Murphy starts and notches a hit or two on Freeland, it will be the product of dumb luck, not good planning.
  • Joe Maddon suggested the only reliever who might not be available today is Steve Cishek, who pitched three days in a row ( Of course Cishek doesn’t want to say he’s down. And now the roster comes out as I’m typing, and Cishek is on it. That means he’s not totally down, but he might also not be among the first few guys in.
  • You plan, baseball laughs. Your efforts to draw up in your mind the *perfect* version of a season are always futile. Don’t dream. But man a-freaking-live would it be incredible to see the Cubs get a crack at the Brewers now in the NLDS and knock them off:

  • Michael is here with your movie analogies:

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.