The Cubs have an off-day today for what feels like the first time in a long time. It’s probably really good timing, given the dings to Javy Baez and Kris Bryant, the struggles in the rotation, and unsettled bullpen.
- The Cubs managed to avoid a sweep in Houston, doing so on the strength of a dominant Kyle Hendricks performance (more on that later), and two more home runs. Seems like a lot of home runs lately, right? Well it is! A record amount! Kyle Schwarber and Kris Bryant’s homers added to the Cubs’ record volume of homers for a single month in any season – 51. And there are two days left in the month, and one of them is an off-day!
- They also have a team record five players in double digit home runs at the 1/3 mark in the season (Cubs.com). Anthony Rizzo leads the team with 15, Javy Baez and Kris Bryant have 13, Willson Contreras has 12, and Kyle Schwarber now has 10. I know the ball is flying this year, but it’s not like Wrigley Field was especially homer-friendly for most of the first two months of the season. (Speaking of which, holy crap does the ball fly in that weird park in Houston, man. Many of those homers – both sides – just did not seem remotely like home runs off the bat, and even after you examined the data.)
- Hey, how about these guys:
#Cubs home run totals
Kris Bryant 13 13
Willson Contreras 10 12
Albert Almora 5 7
Jason Heyward 8 8
David Bote 6 6
It's only May 29
— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) May 30, 2019
- How about a 1-2-3 9th inning save for Steve Cishek last night in a one-run game? Feels crazy at this point:
- Yes, that was obviously a wide strike there at the end, but the zone was a mess all night (CB Bucknor). It burned the Cubs many times, so if they got a break on that particular one, cool.
- It’s not like Kris Bryant is small, but yeah, I’m taking Jason Heyward:
Kris Bryant said he had "very mild" symptoms after OF collision on Sunday: "Running into JHey is no joke. He's a big dude…Felt like I got blindsided or tackled. Never played football but maybe that's what it feels like."
— Jesse Rogers (@ESPNChiCubs) May 29, 2019
- Jason Heyward is a great teammate, of course, as he showed last night. So is Kyle Schwarber:
— Cary Perrin (@CaryThePerrin) May 30, 2019
- Iowa Cubs infielder Robel Garcia – the former Indians prospect who disappeared, popped up playing baseball in Italy(!), and the Cubs grabbed in the offseason – keeps on raking:
Robel Garcia just hit a 400+ foot homer against @cakesbaseball ace Zac Gallen to put the @IowaCubs on the board in the 7th inning. Garcia has 5 HR in 20 games with the I-Cubs. Combined with his time w/@smokiesbaseball, that's 11 homers in 42 games. 36-HR pace for 140 game season.
— Alex Cohen (@voiceofcohen) May 30, 2019
In a season w/few pleasant surprises so far, one breakout star has been Robel Garcia.
After a failed MiLB career, Garcia regrouped by playing in Italy(!)
The Cubs spotted him in the WBC, signed him this winter, and he immediately broke through in AA, showing power to all fields: pic.twitter.com/95puR1PtDQ
— Michael Ernst (@mj_ernst) May 30, 2019
There's swing-and-miss in his game, and does most of his damage against FBs, but Garcia has a good idea of the strike zone. He isn't overly prone to chasing offspeed pitches. Probably wouldn't hit for much AVG in MLB but his power will play and should reach base at a decent clip. pic.twitter.com/SJRoxm83Dk
— Michael Ernst (@mj_ernst) May 30, 2019
- Garcia, 26, is such a wild card – and the ball is flying so much at AAA – that I don’t really think we can say we know much of anything about how he would translate at the big league level, but it’s clear that he is, at a minimum, on the big league radar longer term at this point. The power is holding up, but our biggest question on the jump from AA to AAA was whether veteran pitchers would quickly identify and exploit any existing holes in his swing with the kind of consistency and command you don’t see from AA pitchers. To that end, he’s currently rocking a 37.7% strikeout rate through 77 PAs (up from 23.8% at AA), so I would say that, for now, that concern has been justified. That doesn’t mean he can’t adjust, of course, but it’s a specific question you have about guys in this situation. Without a spate of injuries, I don’t know that he’d see big league action this season, but he might be a guy the Cubs add to the 40-man roster after the season.
- Bryan got into some more minor league and prospect notes earlier this morning.
- Michael and Luis hit up their second episode of the Outside the Ivy post-post-game show on NBC:
- And there is also a new episode of Onto Waveland out this morning:
⚾️ How can MLB make fans safer at the ballpark?
— The Athletic Chicago (@TheAthleticCHI) May 30, 2019
- Fancy shoes are among the Deals of the Day at Amazon today, if you fancy yourself a fancy shoe person.
- Sad Yadi is sad:
- I share this not because I necessarily endorse Arondando winning the award over Anthony Rizzo, but instead as a reminder that our partner Obvious Shirts has an awesome selection of other shirts beyond just great Cubs gear. Also, free shipping and 20% off everything w/code BLEACHERNATION:
— OBVIOUS SHIRTS (@obvious_shirts) May 30, 2019
- In Bulls coverage:
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) May 30, 2019