Edwards and Dirty Innings, Russell's Homer, I'm on a Podcast, and Other Bullets

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Edwards and Dirty Innings, Russell’s Homer, I’m on a Podcast, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

Surprise! I’m back in the podcasting world! The Athletic reached out to me about joining a podcast with Sahadev Sharma and Patrick Mooney, and I happily jumped on. We recorded our first episode just after last night’s loss, and it’s fresh off the presses this morning.

  • We’ll have more on Yu Darvish’s performance later, so I’ll instead take a moment to comment on the bullpen’s performance last night. In the aggregate, trying to cover 4.2 innings (to get through the 10th, if it had happened), sometimes you’re just gonna give up some runs. That’s especially true at Great American Ballpark when it comes to the homers, and so I don’t really take much away from it in that regard. Brandon Kintzler gave up a homer? After the run he’s been on? Fine. Brad Brach gave up the game after his defense kinda let him down? Fine.
  • But obviously the one that will stick out to folks was the two-run homer allowed by Carl Edwards Jr. It was not lost on me that, after a perfectly successful return from Iowa in clean innings, the first dirty inning Edwards is brought into is the first in which he has trouble locating his fastball. I don’t know how many times we’ve had to have this conversation, and maybe the Cubs thought the issue was fixed with the trip to Iowa (heck, maybe it is, and maybe last night was a fluke) … but it’s just, like, man, the guy cannot do dirty innings. He’s up to allowing 75% of the runners he has inherited this year scoring, which is a small sample, but he was at a whopping 38% last year. League average was 31%, which means – on a percentage basis – Edwards was 22.6% worse than league average! Why is he the guy who is constantly called upon to clean up dirty innings? Because he can get strikeouts? That doesn’t much matter if he is otherwise unable to throw strikes in those situations!
  • Good on Edwards cruising through the rest of the inning, at least. That’s not nothing.
  • The homer Edwards gave up, by the way, may have seemed flukey to you, because it was a fastball at the top of the zone (that’s actually a good spot for him), but it came on a 2-0 pitch after he missed up with the fastball twice. Eugenio Suarez was clearly hunting at that point:

(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
  • Oh, also, while I’m posting Reds highlights (apparently), I should give some credit where it is due … Yasiel Puig’s walk-off strut was very good:

  • I see that I got a considerable dose of crap in the comments last night for not sharing a highlight of Addison Russell’s home run. One of our kiddos is having particularly challenging bedtimes right now, so I’ve been focused on that, and the weirdly-timed Reds games created an overlap that had me missing the first three innings last night. That included Russell’s homer. Generally, I don’t write up a highlight several innings later, which was where things were when I settled in for the rest of the game.
  • That said, in fairness, I don’t know that I would have written up the highlight even if I’d been able to. I’ve been pretty darn transparent about my own personal difficulties in figuring out how best to cover Russell, including both his process off the field and then his play on it. As I last wrote on the topic: “There are no obvious answers or approaches or feelings in this situation, and I think folks are free to feel a range of ways about all of this. I’m still wrestling with what I think. I suppose I feel a little less troubled by seeing Russell’s name on the roster after Reidy’s comments? I would still prefer he were traded, all else equal, but the reality is that he’s on the Cubs right now, and they feel they are doing the right thing working with him on his process, and also letting him contribute to the team. I hope the work continues, and I hope he plays well. I think I’m on sure footing there.”
  • Yes, Addison Russell homered last night, and no, I’m not ignoring his baseball existence:

  • Through his first 15 plate appearances back, Russell is hitting .250/.357/.583 – that homer added a considerable bit of lift to the slash line.
  • Tommy La Stella hit his 11th home run yesterday, or one more than he had in the rest of his entire career. I’m glad we’re in an era now where we don’t immediately have to assume STEROIDS when a guy goes off like this. Sometimes guys just make the right tweak, and, especially these high-contact types, they can go off in this juiced-ball era.
  • See? ‘Game of Thrones’ ruins everything:

  • Hey, at least this is a very nice thing:

  • This is also a very nice thing, because LOL:

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.