The Hot Bullpen, the Series Win, Belief in Almora, and Other Bullets

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The Hot Bullpen, the Series Win, Belief in Almora, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

The Cubs won a series! Obviously the Victor Caratini injury casts a modest pall over the win, but, if we step back, it’s still a very nice thing. That’s three wins in their last five games! That’s a .600 winning percentage! Incredible!

  • We’ll have more on Jose Quintana’s brilliant start in a bit, but I do want to that it had to be right up there among his best starts with the Cubs. There was the dominant one against the Orioles to start his time with the team, and then a couple crazy good ones against the Brewers. But 7.0 innings, 0 R, 4 H, 1 BB, and 11 K? That’s nuts. And although the generous strike zone helped, he also got a whopping 15 swings and misses (including four on the changeup he’s trying to bring back this year, and is so critical to his success). It was such a good, good, good, needed start.
  • And then the Cubs got a chance to do something they haven’t done all year: have a normal couple innings from the back-end relievers to close out the game and get a save. Steve Cishek and Pedro Strop did it, meaning the bullpen is now up to 17.2 straight scoreless innings. Regression cuts both ways. The bullpen ERA is SO close to … getting under 6.00.
  • Bonus Cishek lolololol:

  • When Cishek is at his best, his sinker does that, but his slider – coming in at a range of speeds, but at the same arm angle – breaks in exactly the opposite direction. Which is to say, if you’re left to guess, you’ve got a 50% chance of looking unbelievably foolish.
(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

  • Maddon thinks Almora looks fine – his swing, his approach, etc. – and doesn’t really want to see Almora changing anything right now. I guess we’ll see.
  • Also in that article, you can see Joe Maddon’s belief that Tyler Chatwood could go upwards of 75 pitches in his spot start on Sunday. At max Chatwood efficiency, that might be enough to get through four innings.
  • Although he threw a successful bullpen yesterday, apparently Mike Montgomery is “probably not likely” be activated from the IL when he’s first eligible on Monday ( Montgomery, who struggled mightily to open the season, is working through a mild lat strain.
  • Good luck today, outfielders:

  • Sad news here about former Cubs pitcher Scott Sanderson:

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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.