Closing April With a … Smile? Q's Success, Redrafting 2011, Matters of Race, and Other Bullets

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Closing April With a … Smile? Q’s Success, Redrafting 2011, Matters of Race, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

Just because you *CAN* make a movie, technologically-speaking, doesn’t mean you *SHOULD* make that movie:

Mercy. No. Don’t do this.

On to the baseball …

  • I think it’s fun to note that, over the course of their first six losses this year, the Cubs had just one win. Over the course of their next six losses, they’ve had 13 wins.
  • The Cubs head into the final day of April a couple games over .500, fractionally in second place in the Central, and 3.0 games behind the Cardinals. Not fantastic, especially when you consider that the schedule starts really clustering the games together from here – so it ain’t getting any easier – but also really not that far off from what you might have thought was plausible heading into the season *WITHOUT* considering that horrific opening week. I don’t think you can say that means where the Cubs stand right now is good, because that first week still counts, but I do think you can say that, when considering the first month as a whole, the Cubs certainly didn’t crap the bed. So, maybe like the kind of half-grimace, half-smile associated with getting plunked on somewhere meaty? It hurts, so you’re not immediately happy, but at least you get to take your base.
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
  • beat writer Jordan Bastian takes your questions here, and it’s very much worth your time. I particularly liked him addressing a question a think a lot of fans have, essentially asking whether Jose Quintana’s fantastic start to the season is for real. Bastian: “Quintana is using his changeup more (11.1 percent in 2019 vs. 6.8 percent in ’18) and that has helped him cut back on four-seamers and rely more on his sinker (29.6 percent in ’19 vs. 18.6 percent in ’18). Overall, the result has been a much better swing-and-miss rate (27.8 percent in ’19 vs. 20.8 percent in ’18). The lefty is in the zone more, but getting fewer swings and less contact on pitches in the zone. He’s getting more chases, but there’s been a dramatic drop in contact on chase pitches (46.8 percent in ’19 vs. 62.4 percent in ’18). That’s a great foundation for Quintana to build on over the next five months.”
  • In other words, in those particular ways, Quintana has made actual changes to his game, and those changes appear to be directly contributing to his success. That’s what you want to see if you’re the optimistic type who believes this is real and sustainable. Right now, Quintana has a 3.48 ERA (19% better than league average), and peripherals that suggest it could actually be trending better than that. (Also, most of his bad numbers come from one rough start in Milwaukee. It still counts, of course, but it’s notable.)
  • As a straight white guy, writing about groups outside that dominant sphere is really challenging if you take it seriously. And for good reason, as guys like me have benefited from decades of structures that – sometimes intentionally, sometimes unintentionally – kept “us” in place as that dominant sphere. I don’t necessarily agree that it isn’t our “place” to comment, but I do think, if we are going to comment, it is our duty to do so in a deeply thoughtful, informed, and deferential way. To that end, I think what Gordon Wittenmyer has written here about baseball’s ongoing “black problem” is one of the best pieces I’ve seen on this issue – one that has long-threatened the long-term future and stability of this sport we all love. It’s actually, as Wittenmyer puts it, a white problem:

  • Michael’s got an excellent and fun question for you:

  • I can’t help but default hitters at the top, so I probably go Lindor, Baez, Rendon, Springer, Cole, Bauer. But dang, it’s tough.
  • Man, Jorge Soler can still obliterate a ball:

  • The now 27-year-old hit well when he was healthy last year (which wasn’t often), and is hitting only .227/.283/.482 (97 wRC+) this year. There’s still a little time, but it seems most likely that he’s just going to be one of those guys with so much unrealized talent.
  • Fun mini-throw-back shot:

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.