Staring at Strikes, Quintanta High-and-Low, Managing Anxiety, and Other Bullets

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Staring at Strikes, Quintanta High-and-Low, Managing Anxiety, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

I had a very challenging week offline, and I caught myself frequently thinking about how uncool it was that my job life was also really getting to me this week because of the negative storylines I had to cover, and then the massive volume of derpy blowback I received for it. The week really had me down, if I’m being completely candid. Then I had a moment last night of wondering whether the challenges I was having in “real life” this week were actually causing me to invest too much of myself in the reactions to the Cubs-related BS, making it all feel worse than it actually was. It’s an unfortunate habit in folks with anxiety-related issues: once you start to feel that discomfort percolating up, you almost seek out more anxiety-producing situations to … I don’t know … confirm that you’re right to be feeling bad?

And I know better than that. One of the key tenets of anxiety is that you cannot think your way out of it, even as that’s what your brain is desperately telling you to try to do. Moreover, it only barely matters what is happening externally once I get into a funk – if I don’t identify what’s happening, I will find reasons to be unsettled, even if life is actually rolling on pretty well. So, this is me doing that: I’m in a funk. I see it now, and I’ll work on my good habits and strategies to set myself up for more success. Until then, I recognize the funk, and that’s enough for today.

  • Watching live, I thought Gio Gonzalez did a better job staying at the edges of the strike zone than it appears he actually did upon review of his chart at Brooks:

  • What he did is an excellent job staying down in the zone, but my word: 10 of his 79 pitches were taken for clear strikes in the zone (he got two more below the zone). He was not getting a ton of whiffs, but he was certainly getting the Cubs to stare at plenty of strikes in the zone. Odd.
  • As for his opponent, Jose Quintana looks pretty darn good by the chart, which is how it felt live, but it’s interesting that every single hit he gave up – every single one – was belt high. Quintana has emerged this year as a guy who is living at the top of the zone with his fastball, and working down with everything else. It is absolutely beautiful when he executes, but suppose when you’re bouncing back and forth like that, sometimes you’re going to miss in the middle. The Brewers consistently did damage yesterday on the relative few misses he made. Tip your cap. I really did think Quintana looked good.
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
  • As for today’s Brewers starter, holy crap Zach Davies has been successful this year. The 26-year-old control/command guy is posting a 1.56 ERA, but before you suspect he’s pulling off his best Kyle Hendricks impression, know that his peripherals – including the quality of contact he’s getting – are pretty much all mediocre at best. As near as I can tell, Davies has pitched pretty meh all year, but has benefited from an incredibly inflated 87.6% left-on-base rate. Perhaps the Cubs can help regress him a good bit today?
  • Something to keep in mind after yesterday’s sloppy performance:

  • It may seem like a silly thing, but this does have the potential to be a little awkward:

  • Man, Luis Castillo may have really put it all together for the Reds, and I’m not looking forward to them facing this guy:

  • The arm action, movement, velocity, and pristine location on that changeup is absolutely insane when he pairs it with a 98 mph fastball. Dude has a 1.76 ERA this year and a 31.8% K rate.
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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.