Big Bounce Back, Big Birthday Boy, Big Bad Bullpen, and Other Bullets

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Big Bounce Back, Big Birthday Boy, Big Bad Bullpen, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

If the Cubs can split this series in Cincinnati, we’re feeling good about that, right? Given the road woes, given the Reds’ rotation, and given the Cubs’ injuries? Is it sad that I feel that way? Pretty sure I’m right, though.

  • The Cubs busted out for 10 runs yesterday, a day after being on the other side of a blowout, and I find that kind of bounce-back encouraging and impressive. Truly, they balled up Tuesday’s game and chucked it.
  • Enjoy the 10 runs:

  • Love to Jose Quintana, too, obviously, for another good and solid and steady performance.
  • Pedro Strop managed a scoreless (low-leverage) inning in his return to the bullpen yesterday, though he still didn’t have his previous velocity or command. The realistic hope at this point is that he can rest in that 93/94 mph zone on his fastball – but with clean mechanics and thus good movement and good location – instead of trying to ramp it back up to 96 mph, if that’s just not going to happen. Then, lean heavily on the slider (the cutter seems not to be working for him this year like it was the last two years) like he did yesterday. I think it would be unrealistic to expect to see a dominant Strop in the 8th inning the rest of this year and into the postseason, but it is definitely realistic to believe he can be a useful 6th/7th inning guy.
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
  • Strop’s role change, plus the injuries to Craig Kimbrel and Brandon Kintzler (and Steve Cishek’s recent struggles), should have you pretty nervous about the bullpen. But I suppose the tiny silver lining is that the situation could create a unique opportunity for guys like Rowan Wick and Duane Underwood to show what they can do in big moments in August, in advance of when things really need to be cemented in September and beyond. Usually, you don’t really have those opportunities organically available to test the mettle of young relievers.
  • The big birthday boy has a big birthday today:

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Happy birthday to The Captain. #Cubs @arizz_44

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  • Beautiful:

  • The Cubs sure have been really good at home during this competitive window (and even in 2014!):

  • Kyle Schwarber’s community work:

  • The Bears play a football game tonight! Well, some guys wearing Bears jerseys (I could have added “Bogus Bears Ballgame” to the title):

  • *chanting Mystery Box Mystery Box*:

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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.