Lester Knocked Around, No Rotation Announcements, Bryant Ain't Big on Shifting, and Other Bullets

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Lester Knocked Around, No Rotation Announcements, Bryant Ain’t Big on Shifting, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

Whew, the whole three-hour-time-change thing is messing HARD with my usual writing schedule. Well, that, plus trying to get around and see baseball. Sorry for the super late Bullets, but that’s probably how it’s going to be for the next few days. I went to the Angels-Padres game last night, which was only at 6:10pm local time, but that meant I wasn’t back to the hotel until like midnight in the Eastern Time Zone, which means the morning schedule totally gets thrown off.

Speaking of that game last night: Manny Machado got booed a freaking ton by Angels fans in Spring Training. That seems rather dumb. I decided to cheer loudly for him just to see what kind of looks I got. Dirty ones is the answer!

Meanwhile …

  • Jon Lester got knocked around badly yesterday against the A’s in a thankfully fake game, but he was nevertheless unhappy that he had no command and could not do anything with his cutter (Cubs.com). As Lester ages, we all well know that his ability to command the fastball and continue to get bite on his cutter will be critical to his success this year, so maybe it’s good to have an outing now where neither thing is working – check some video, get help on specific things, get a kink figured out, and then be all the more ready in two weeks. Right? Positivity, woo!
  • Although Lester has already been named the Cubs’ Opening Day starter, Joe Maddon declined to fill out the rest of the rotation, saying instead that because there are two off-days in the first six days of the season, they’ll wait to make a decision until later (Levine).
  • Some more info on Daniel Descalso’s injured shoulder:

  • Position player veterans like Descalso don’t need much time to be ready for the regular season, so if he’s healthy by the final few days of Spring Training, he’s probably going to be good to go. But, of course, his healthiness is currently TBD.
  • The Reds experimented with a very extreme shift for Kris Bryant the other night:

  • Bryant described the shifting as a compliment, even as he conceded that he just doesn’t like it (Cubs.com): “I just don’t think that when baseball was created, this was in anybody’s mind. So, it’s kind of a weird situation that we’re in now, because shifts are being deployed so many times during a game and during a season …. Hopefully we kind of get to a point where the rules are more solidified, and there aren’t any second basemen on the warning track. I don’t know if that’s the way baseball should be played.” Increasingly, I feel the same, Kris. You’ll note that, among the experimental rules MLB is testing out in the Atlantic League is a requirement that two infielders are on each side of second base.
  • On why the Reds pulled that particular shift:

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.