Lester's Adjustment, Caratini's Big Success, Kimbrel's Bullpen Session, and Other Bullets

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Lester’s Adjustment, Caratini’s Big Success, Kimbrel’s Bullpen Session, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

I took the two big kids to the zoo this morning, so the Bullets had to wait until now. I hope you understand …

  • A huge part of what makes Jon Lester so good is his ability to correctly identify what is and is not working on a given night (both vis a vis the opposing batters, and with respect to his own arm/grip/etc.), *AND THEN ALSO* to successfully adjust quickly without falling apart:

  • There just aren’t too many pitchers out there who have the ability, the arsenal, and the stones to get rocked in the first inning and then completely change course and dominate the way he did for the next five innings.
  • Victor Caratini has not slowed down at all since his return from the hamate injury:

  • Caratini, 25, is now hitting .366/.480/.585 on the year, though we should keep in mind we’re still talking about only 50 plate appearances. The .483 BABIP(!) is not sustainable, but the rest of his peripherals look like that of a dude who is a solid overall hitter – certainly better than your average backup catcher. And, though many forgot it last year, he always had the kind of bat that projected as average or slightly better in the big leagues. The questions were more about his glove, which has so far been perfectly passable.
  • It’s Craig Kimbrel, wearing Cubs gear, throwing in the Wrigley Field bullpen! I’ll take it:

  • Addison Russell got a pinch-hit appearance late last night, which was the first time he’s been in for a few days because of this:

  • Given it was Kris Bryant’s comments that spurred the jokes, this was pretty funny to see just behind him last night:

  • Things got weird for the Iowa Cubs last night:

  • Ian Happ had a big game as he’s powering back up:

  • Obviously you can very clearly track the progression there as he first adjusted to being back in the minors, then he successfully implemented a more contact-oriented approach, and then he worked to reincorporate the power. That’s pretty much exactly how you want these things to go, but the rub is that the strikeouts have returned in force as Happ worked the power back into the game. Him being able to destroy AAA pitching despite a 30+% strikeout rate is a given. He’ll be able to do it. The question is whether he can rein in the strikeouts enough at the big league level to let the rest of his offensive game shine through – that’s what he’s at AAA to work on, and it seems evident that he’s still not quite there yet.
  • Also from that game:

  • Reliever Matt Carasiti, who’d returned to the Cubs organization from Japan, has now been granted his release and signed with the Mariners.
  • I love these stories for the whole org:


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Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.