The Family and I took a little mini-vacation to the Great Smoky Mountains, so if you need me later this morning, I’ll be rasslin a black barr.
In the meantime …
- The Cubs didn’t just win their three games against the Pirates, they generally looked better in the series than they have in the weeks prior to the break. That sets up a pretty facile narrative – the break fixed them! – but Kris Bryant does think there’s something to it (Cubs.com): “I think [the improvement is] more mental than anything else. You can play through the physical tiredness, but when you’re going at it every day, getting beat up like we were before the All-Star break, it’s more of a mental grind. So I think we are mentally rested, and that’s a good thing.” I’m sure there’s something to it, though I’m sure the physical helps, too.
- Seems like Joe Maddon agrees (Sun-Times): “It’s rest. I mean, people don’t want to listen to that because it’s way too simple. It’s a simple concept. If you’re more rested, you tend to do what you do better. If you’re not, you tend to do it not as good. They don’t let pilots fly too long. They don’t let bus drivers drive too long. I don’t like to drive my RV more than six or seven hours. You lose something. We all do.”
- Hopefully Willson Contreras’s foot thing is not going to be a serious issue, but it’s a reminder how fortunate the Cubs are to have a quality back-up catcher in Victor Caratini, who has this year played at a starting-caliber level (and then some). Caratini, who is receiving well and playing solid defense, is now hitting .301/.383/.505 (132 wRC+) as he’s passed the 100 plate appearance threshold (107). As both gents put together great seasons, I’m reminded that being more balanced in terms of how much they play was something we wanted to see this year, for the betterment of both of them (more rest for Contreras, more regular at-bats for Caratini). So far, so good.
- It’s PRIME DAY at Amazon, so if you want to see a ton of huge deals, head over to Amazon and check things out.
- Robel Garcia Watch: it’s kind of amazing how EXTREMELY he’s fitting into what we thought he might do when he came up to the Cubs. When he hits the ball, he’s destroying it to the tune of an absurd and LOL-unsustainable .556 ISO. When he doesn’t do that, he’s striking out at a perverse rate (42.9%). It’s 21 plate appearances, so things can still break in a variety of ways, but this is actually kinda the best case scenario we realistically hoped: we knew he was gonna strike out a lot, but maybe he could do a lot of damage in a burst before the strikeouts take over too much. Eventually, Garcia will stop having a .500 BABIP and that silly ISO, and if the strikeout rate hasn’t come waaaaaaaay down, he will be unplayable. Whatever happens, I love the story, and I love that the Cubs are getting some short-term production, at a minimum.
- Don’t you DARE intentionally walk someone in front of Jose Quintana:
I’m at the game so I got the full picture. pic.twitter.com/oUs7s8BGFf
— Ryan Thomure (@RyanThomure) July 14, 2019
- Gonna just tantalize, man:
*a single tear falls as I think again about what Maples could be if only he could simply throw his fastball and his slider in the strike zone … not even perfect location … just in the strike zone* https://t.co/NLL8qpCyy1
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) July 15, 2019
- If he hadn’t been hit by a pitch and injured for a couple months, you never know if maybe we would have seen this guy in the bigs before Garcia:
The home run also takes Short’s OPS with Iowa in 13 games over 1.000.
He’s walked in 7 of 28 plate appearances since returning from injury and rehab. https://t.co/DqbVi2wilg
— Cubs Prospects – Bryan Smith (@cubprospects) July 14, 2019
- Jason Heyward, walking the walk and talking the talk:
- Heh. Gotta love when one of my stupid photoshops inspires an awesome new Obvious Shirt (take that, Michael!):