Winning on the Road, Mills Outing, Edwards Demotion, Robel Raking, and Other Bullets

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Winning on the Road, Mills Outing, Edwards Demotion, Robel Raking, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

I was forcibly switched to the new desktop Twitter last night, and boy howdy is it awful. The timeline is tiny relative to the rest of the screen, there is distractive clutter, and the interface is clunkier now. Who was this for? I would just use Tweetdeck more, but it also suffers from the “small timeline” problem. Grumble. #ObsessiveTwitterUserProblems

  • The Cardinals won a close one last night and the Brewers lost a close one, so guess what? It’s another flip-flop in the standings behind the Cubs, whose lead is down to 1.5 games over the Cardinals. I know the Brewers and Cardinals love to lose, too, but you’re going to need to win some games on the road, Cubs. Eventually. Especially because your next two series on the road are against those two teams.
  • To that end, another great performance from Yu Darvish tonight sure would be nice. He’s been on fire lately, and feeling as good as he has with the Cubs deploying all his pitches. Keep it rolling tonight against a Giants lineup that makes you scratch your head about how they notched 13 hits last night.
  • But unfortunately it’s a resurgent Madison Bumgarner on the other side tonight, pitching as well lately as he has in a long time.
  • Alec Mills was once again a fine fill-in starter last night. He still has clear big league caliber secondaries, and his changeup is downright “good” (he gets a whiff just about every third time he throws it). But the fastball is still really hittable when he misses his spot just a little bit, especially when he’s trying to locate it up. I like him. I like him as a swing-guy for the Cubs in the coming years. I just don’t quite know if he’s going to be more than that – like a 4/5 on a playoff team. Just not sure about that. Of course, with Mike Montgomery off to Kansas City, there’s a wide opening for someone to be the primary swing guy, and maybe it’ll be Mills (if not Tyler Chatwood). It’s a very important, valuable role.
(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
  • On the decision to option Carl Edwards Jr. back to Iowa just one appearance into his return, Joe Maddon said this to “There’s something wrong. And he has to find it. For him to be as good as he can be, he needs to get it right.” That sounds a bit like when Edwards was sent down early this year to work on his mental game. Notably, Maddon mentioned immediately after Edwards’ rough outing that he had to stop trying to guide the ball – it was pretty obvious that as he started to lose his command, he was throwing 91 mph just to try to get in the zone. It looked bad, and it looked like a guy who just wasn’t ready for that moment.
  • In the meantime, can you give the guy who replaced Edwards – Rowan Wick – some innings? The guy is clearly too much for AAA, and how are the Cubs going to know what they have in him if he doesn’t see any meaningful innings – like the ones Edwards was otherwise going to get? Let’s do it. Let’s see it.
  • Apropos of the discussion about Pedro Strop’s blown 8th inning and a desired role change, Steve Cishek nearly blew the lead in the 7th, but was bailed out by a diving Kris Bryant:

  • A great play in the 8th and Strop would have gotten out of it, too. The difference, though, is that we don’t have any pre-existing concerns about Cishek right now. That’s just kind of an inning that happens sometimes.
  • Don’t look now, but Robel Garcia’s strikeout rate is down to 36.8%, while his BABIP is a realistic .333. The only result right now that looks wholly and completely unsustainable is the .514 ISO. But he’s the type of hitter who could have an enormous ISO (.300?), and even with a drop there to that level, if everything else stayed the same, he’d be hitting .286/.316/.586, and is a very good regular. Now imagine he’s able to cut down on the strikeouts further …
  • OK. It’s 38 plate appearances. We still can’t get too far ahead of ourselves. We’ve seen this before, and we know he’s going to have to make significant adjustments (that we don’t yet know whether he can make). But he was doing really, really impressive things at AA and AAA before this call-up even happened, and what he’s doing now tracks with that performance. So there is perhaps just a little more reason for optimism than you might otherwise have for a guy who comes out of nowhere to rake in the big leagues at 26 in a very small sample.
  • The Cubs Shop’s summer clearance event ends this week.
  • Respect 4:

  • Would be better if he were a lefty, though that changeup might neutralize them well anyway. Problem is, I hear the Bulls are only interested in salary relief, and that’s not the Cubs’ strong suit right now:

  • For you Chicago folks, mark your calendars for next week:

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.