Over-Reliance on Homers, Happ's Walks, Hamels Rehab, Big Anniversary, and Other Bullets

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Over-Reliance on Homers, Happ’s Walks, Hamels Rehab, Big Anniversary, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

Here it is. The day before the Blogathon begins. It’s always tricky, because I try to stay very chill so I can go to sleep at a good hour and get max sleep before having to go for 40 hours straight. But inevitably, I get too amped up/nervous to go to bed early, and then when I do, I sleep fitfully. Thankfully at least I got a good night sleep *last* night, so there won’t be a stacking effect.

  • Sure, the Cubs lost their last two road series (again), but at least they won on getaway day, which has the power to make my brain feel a lot less sad and angry than if they won the first game and then lost the last two. I’m not alone in that, right?
  • The Cubs, who really wanted that 11th run, challenged a Willson Contreras double play ball, the second half of which was overturned, allowing a run to score. I have no beef with the challenge – get Willy that RBI, and you never know what can happen with only a six-run lead and the Cubs bullpen – but I note it because it ended a crazy streak:

  • On the one hand, hitting lots of homers is a good thing. That means runs. On the other hand, you can’t let that entirely dictate your offensive approach, as Joe Maddon told 670 The Score: “I do not want our team to be home run reliant. I don’t want to play the 2019 game. I want us to be more than that. There were singles and a walk in front of the whole thing. I kind of like that. It was singles that set the grand slam up. I want us to play baseball. I do not want us to do this new wave analytical baseball that just tries to put balls in the seats all the time. I want us to be fundamentally sound, and that includes offense, too.”
  • For what it’s worth, though, the Cubs lead the NL Central with 530 runs scored, and they’ve got 166 homers, third most in the NL. The Brewers, meanwhile, actually have 10 *more* homers than the Cubs, but have scored eight fewer runs (in two more games). They’re even more homer-reliant than the Cubs. And then you’ve got the Cardinals, who are much less reliant on the homer for their runs … but they have scored just 481 runs on 136 homers. So it’s not like they’d be worse off if they hit some more dingers.
  • Good deals at Amazon today, including strategy board games and Anker charging gear.
  • Even when Happ is striking out, he also takes his walks. So there’s that:

  • Through three games, Happ is slashing a humorous .000/.364/.000. His three walks yesterday were more than Javy Baez and Albert Almora have had in the entire month of July combined.
  • Cole Hamels’ final rehab start at Iowa was just fine:

  • With a veteran like Hamels, the results of an outing like that do not matter one iota. He’s getting in his work, testing his pitches, testing his body, working through certain situations, etc. Did he get his work in and does he feel good? Yes? Great. Let’s go. Hamels is expected to return to the rotation for the series against the Brewers at Wrigley this coming weekend.
  • Dixon Machado, who can play excellent middle infield defense, is destroying AAA this year:

  • … but it’s so hard to trust AAA performance right now. The 27-year-old has hit well at AAA in the past, too, but never hit with the Tigers in the big leagues. His line at Iowa is .273/.396/.512 … but that’s only 21% better than league average right now in the PCL.
  • Long live The John Baker Game:

  • Some great prospect news:

  • Hero move:

  • More from Bears camp:

  • Our latest pod:


  • My jaw hit the turf:

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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.