Chatwood Plays Hero, Tired Willy, Caratini to Iowa, Bryant's Streak, and Other Bullets

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Chatwood Plays Hero, Tired Willy, Caratini to Iowa, Bryant’s Streak, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

To my mom, to your mom, to my kids’ mom, to your kids’ mom, to the mom next door, to the mom you know, to the mom you know, to the mom you never even think about: Happy Mother’s Day.

  • Cubs pitching yesterday certainly benefitted from the conditions, but come on – this is just a ridiculous level of performance:

  • Cole Hamels was perfectly solid to begin the game, and Tyler Chatwood bookended it with four good innings of his own. Fun fact? Their ERAs following the game are 3.08 for Hamels and 3.10 for Chatwood. Did you see that second one coming?
  • Chatwood has been, by the results, an extremely useful pitcher for the Cubs this year – to say nothing of the variety of roles he’s filled. And that ERA includes the homers he gave up to the Cardinals in his last outing (3 of the 7 ER he’s given up this year!), where his job was simply to come in and throw strikes, letting them hit ’em because it was such a blowout.
  • To be sure, the walk rate still needs to come down (15.9%), but two buts: (1) Chatwood’s strikeout rate is way up (23.2%, career is just 16.1%), which helps neuter some of those walks, and (2) he is nowhere near as “wild” as last year – the walks just don’t seem as ridiculously not-close. I know that sounds abstract, but there’s at least a little proof in the pudding: he’s getting WAY more whiffs this year, WAY more whiffs in the strike zone, and WAY more swings out of the strike zone. You simply don’t improve on those numbers if you’re just as wild as he was last year.
(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

  • Among the great appearances yesterday was another very good one for Carl Edwards, Jr., and in an extremely high-leverage moment (8th inning, game tied). Something very interesting: every single one of his 13 pitches was a fastball. Usually, you would have seen a few curveballs in a stretch like that, but he instead just pounded the zone with that cutting, high-spin, good-extension fastball. He got two strikeouts and an 0-2 lineout, so it certainly worked. Coulda just been the scouting report against those three hitters, or it could be a philosophy change. Something to follow since his very successful return from Iowa.
  • Also something to follow: Edwards’ velocity on the fastball was way down in this one – he was sitting 93 mph when he’s more typically sitting 95 mph. Just a fluke, which happens sometimes? Maybe because of the cold and rain? And intentional move to improve command? Again, something to follow. Can’t argue with the results, though.
  • After the marathon game, in which Willson Contreras caught all 15 of the innings, he admitted to being a bit tired (obviously), and it’s hard to see the Cubs asking him to catch again tonight. But then, it’s Jon Lester today, and he is basically always paired with Contreras. So we’ll see how the Cubs opt to proceed.
  • Speaking of the catching situation, Victor Caratini is getting even closer to a return to the big league team:

  • I mentioned it in the EBS after the win, but just to underscore: the combined 10 double plays yesterday tied an MLB record. Yes, it felt like a lot because it was a lot. Heck, even before extra-innings, it already felt like a lot. Hamels, alone, netted four of the double plays, one shy of his own Cubs record – set last year in Pittsburgh. Remember that one? The Cubs turned two others after Hamels had left the game (ditto yesterday, actually), and totaled seven in nine innings, tying a record.
  • Lulz:

  • Kris Bryant is working on the best on-base streak of his career, and it’s fun how it’s paralleled the Cubs’ surge:

  • Bryant is currently hitting .242/.392/.500 on the year, with a 140 wRC+. When his criminally low BABIP (.258) starts approaching the level he’s actually earning, his numbers this year could blow past seasons away.
  • Hey, this is a very nice addition to Wrigley:

  • Highlights from the Bricks & Ivy Ball:

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Starry night. ✨ #CubsCharities

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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.