Kyle's Goodness, Javy's Anniversary, Steve's Tough One, Carrying Three Catchers, and Other Bullets

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Kyle’s Goodness, Javy’s Anniversary, Steve’s Tough One, Carrying Three Catchers, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

The “Kyle” in that headline could refer to Kyle Hendricks, who was great last night on a tough night to pitch. But he wasn’t the guy I wanted to drop a note on.

  • He didn’t quite finish out the 9th last night, but Kyle Ryan’s excellent season continues, with his ERA dipping under three. His ERA- is now 33% better than league average, and even his FIP is 25% better than average. Among the regular relievers, only Brandon Kintzler’s 2.33 ERA is better than Ryan’s 2.95. Not too bad for a guy the Cubs worked with in the minors last year and then decided to add to the 40-man roster after the season so they didn’t lose him. Good call.
  • Also, did you know: Ryan leads the Cubs by a mile in xwOBA, which is basically a metric evaluating a pitcher’s performance solely on walks, strikeouts, and the quality of contact given up.
  • Speaking of the bullpen, Steve Cishek has overall been fantastic, but once again late in the year, he’s starting to look gassed because he’s been leaned on so heavily. It just had that look last night as the A’s were grinding him a bit, then two looooong homers on back-to-back pitches, and he was still permitted to face another batter and walk him, going well over 30 pitches in the process. I really don’t get the thinking there. But give the guy some time off. I know that’s easier said than done when you’ve got a bunch of injuries, but do you really want him to be toast again like he was late last year?
  • Relatedly, I know a lot of folks are beefing about a ball count that preceded the first home run Cishek gave up, but it sure didn’t “look” like a strike to the eye, despite the K zone, because of the set up and the way the pitch was received (not that Caratini was at fault, because it was clearly supposed to be up and generate a swing). Here’s the pitch:

  • Pretty interesting note here from Jed Hoyer on part of the reason the Cubs decided to pick up another bench bat (Tony Kemp) instead of carrying three catchers:

  • I won’t speculate on which of the catchers this was going to be a problem for with Martin Maldonado sticking around, but I suppose it would be understandable if any of them was not thrilled, since all three merit a decent chunk of playing time. As for 2015, I *think* that is referencing the early part of the season when the Cubs were carrying all of Miguel Montero, David Ross, and Welington Castillo, the latter of whom had been the starter, and then was barely ever playing as the Cubs had been trying to trade him since the offseason.
  • Pop Quiz: do you remember when and to whom and for whom Castillo was traded?
  • It was May 19 to the Mariners for short-lived reliever Yoervis Medina.
  • Nico:

  • No stone unturned:

  • You don’t *have* to be #ExtremelyOnline to enjoy this, though you may not get the joke. But, hey, you can still debate the question at the end:

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.