Darvish Step Forward, the Baezzo Bombs in the 9th, Happ's Iowa Re-Debut, and Other Bullets

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Darvish Step Forward, the Baezzo Bombs in the 9th, Happ’s Iowa Re-Debut, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

My belt is at the perfectly wrong level to keep catching the back of my chair. Every time I shift forward in my seat – which, apparently I do a lot – the belt catches the back of the chair. It’s like having a very small person gently trying to hold you back from a fight, and being only successful enough to be slightly annoying.

  • Yu Darvish felt like he took a step in the right direction last night (true, relative to his opener, which was a disaster), though it was clear that Joe Maddon was a little nervous it was going to go sideways as early as the fifth:

  • The command still wasn’t quite there, but at least Darvish’s velocity was where you expect it, and he got plenty of swings and misses. I’d say it’s fair to view this as one to build off of, but it would be nice to finally get a really good start to dream on. Soon.

(Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)
  • The hole was way, way too deep at that point, but I suppose it’s nice to see Anthony Rizzo and Javy Baez taking advantage of meatball pitches from a guy just trying to finish up a laugher. If you don’t already know, here are your questions just from watching these: whose was hit harder, and whose was hit farther?

  • The answer? Javy’s shot was both harder (105.0 mph versus 97.1 mph) and farther (409 feet versus 388). Before checking, I would have guessed the Baez shot was quite a bit farther, but Rizzo’s looked harder off the bat. The thing is, Rizzo has never been an exit velocity guy, and he’s proof you don’t *have* to wreck the ball to create the right kind of good contact. Instead, he just squares the ball well in the air to the pull side, which does a whole lot of damage.
  • Ben Zobrist offers probably the best version of feeling the urgency without freaking about it in a way that harms your performance:

  • I don’t know how much this is “worth,” but I have no doubt that Drehs is right about this:

  • Ian Happ made his Iowa Cubs re-debut last night with a very Happ-like night of hard contact of a single and a double, but also two swinging strikeouts. Although the results for him will matter some in this process, it’s really going to be more about whether he’s making the adjustments he needs to make to reduce the holes in his swing (likely particularly in the middle-up part of the zone). I tend to think his overall offensive numbers are going to be a little video-game-y, but that’s not necessarily what the Cubs are looking for.
  • In that game, Dillon Maples was tasked with closing out a three-run lead, but he walked three and gave up a hit, making him unable to finish the inning. Just preparing himself for the big league pen, it seems. Also: Dakota Mekkes relieved Maples to try to get the final out, and immediately walked in a runner on four pitches. Then he got a grounder to end it and preserve the win.
  • Allen Webster had a scoreless, one-strikeout frame, by the way. Although he doesn’t have options left, he’s gotta be one of the first guys the Cubs will consider adding to the big league bullpen if there’s an injury, or if they decide to option someone like Carl Edwards Jr. More on that in a bit.
  • (A reminder about our Minor League coverage this year: with the transition from Luke to Bryan, we aren’t doing daily recaps in the same way this year. Instead, the primary coverage from Bryan will be more article-style, with daily-type bits coming in the Bullets and various prospects notes posts from me and/or Michael (there’s one coming today, for example). For the traditional daily recaps, the ones Michael Ernst does at Cubs Den are great.)
  • The Father-in-Law is a big fan of his Orbi WI-FI system, and it’s one of the big Deals of the Day at Amazon today.
  • The Cubs head to Milwaukee tonight, which might be perfectly good or perfectly awful.
  • A little SchadenPacker to make you feel better:



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.