The Decision Not to Walk, Baez's Failure to Run, Kimbrel's Velocity, Caratini's Big Night, and Other Bullets

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The Decision Not to Walk, Baez’s Failure to Run, Kimbrel’s Velocity, Caratini’s Big Night, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

Don’t hold the fireworks today when you light them. Make sure you set them the right side up and point them away from your loved ones. Make sure to appropriate 10% of your kids’ parade candy for yourself. Put whatever you want on your hot dog.

  • Joe Maddon pointed to a “better brand of baseball” last night, even as he conceded that losses like that are particularly difficult ( Maddon is right that the Cubs had some really nice plays and really nice moments … but they also had multiple physical and mental mistakes, failed multiple times to get a runner home from third with under two outs, and left eight on base. I suppose Maddon could be right that things were “better” last night, but it would be nuts to ignore the persistent issues, especially in a game that came just after Theo Epstein was as exasperated as you’ll ever hear him.
  • I see a lot of folks getting on Maddon about the decision not to walk Adam Frazier to load the bases with one out in the 9th. On the one hand, that would have been understandable and even conventional. You set up a force at home, and also possibly a double play. On the other hand, you create no margin for error for a reliever who didn’t have his best and had already walked one. You also move the line further toward Starling Marte and Josh Bell. I would have been fine with an intentional walk there, but I was also fine with not.
  • I agree with the frustration level here about accountability, but I don’t agree that sitting Javy Baez – a guy who works his butt off – is the right idea:

  • I know I’ll sound like a Baez apologist, but he picked up his run *pretty* quickly after watching that one, and then it was a perfect carom to the center fielder, who played it perfectly back into the infield. There’s a non-zero chance that it’s a very close play at second base even if Baez busts it out of the box. To be sure, was it bad that Javy stared that one down initially? Absolutely. Shouldn’t happen. But among my concerns about last night’s game, that’s pretty far down on the list. Baez has earned that.
  • Oh, and also, it was nice to see Baez with three hits, including another homer. He’s been quite hot:

  • Given the weird offseason and late ramp-up, this is perhaps understandable, but it’s also something to very much have on your radar:

  • The performance, itself, last night was not that bad for Kimbrel – nothing he allowed had a better than 30% chance of being a hit – but just one swinging strike in 18 pitches is a bit yikes. It’s early, though.
  • It’s a shame Victor Caratini’s big night was so badly overshadowed by the conclusion:

  • Just three catchers in baseball have at least as many plate appearances as Caratini (94) and a better wRC+ (133), and one of those three is his teammate.
(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
  • Heckuva play here by David Bote:

  • Per Patrick Mooney, Carlos Gonzalez cleared waivers but elected free agency rather than heading to Iowa. Understandable, and the best of luck to him.
  • The fundraiser for the Blogathon has launched – lets make some wishes come true:

  • Yup, insane indeed:

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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.