Big Swing Day, Good At Bats in a Shutout, Another Overconfident Ump, Other Cubs Notes

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Big Swing Day, Good At Bats in a Shutout, Another Overconfident Ump, Other Cubs Notes

Chicago Cubs

Another day of changing the title of this daily post, and another day my heart breaks for the victims, their families, their friends, and their communities. I’m just a rando writing on a baseball blog, so maybe there isn’t much I can do anyway, but the incessancy still makes me feel helpless.

Anyway. Sports …

  • If you missed it last night, the Ben Zobrist reinstatement is in, and it comes with a David Bote option and a Mark Zagunis DFA.
  • Also last night, the Cardinals came back in the 9th to walk off on the Reds, sweeping the doubleheader and pushing the Cubs 2.5 games back in the Central. D’oh. Another doubleheader today for the Cardinals. Worst case scenario, they sweep again, the Cubs lose, and suddenly they’re 4.0 games back. Best case, Reds sweep, Cubs win, and the Cubs are 1.0 game back. Three-game swing today. Eep.
  • The frequency that we seem to see games against the Brewers where you feel like “man, the Cubs hit a lot of balls really well, but they were just right at the Brewers” made me wonder about their aggressive shifting. Sure it isn’t all just luck, and when you consider the weak infield defenses they’ve had, it’s impressive to note that, since 2016 (Craig Counsell’s first full year as manager), the Brewers have allowed the 11th lowest BABIP in baseball. I do think they’ve have been able to do more with less, defensively-speaking.
  • The Cubs, by the way, lead the league in BABIP-against since 2016. They’ve had a more talented defensive infield, sure, but I also think they continue to be underrated by fans when it comes to defensive positioning, just because we don’t see them doing as much extreme shifting as other clubs.
  • “I’m looking back at the at-bats mentally,” Joe Maddon told after the game. “I thought our guys did a pretty good job organizing their zones today. Again, I can’t bang on the hitters. I thought we actually had a good offensive day.It doesn’t show up. People think you’re nuts when you score zero runs, but overall, I thought we actually played well today, pitched well today and they beat us today.” I know from experience you run into a lot of angry folks when you say stuff like that after a shutout, but as I mentioned in the EBS, I had it the same way. I thought the Cubs had good at bats, given what they were seeing from Brewers pitchers, and then hit the ball hard. That’s really all you can control. And sometimes you won’t strike out much, but you’re gonna post a .231 BABIP in a game and you’ll get shut out.

(Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)

  • And if and when Schwarber went to check, he would see … that he was right:

  • As for Kendall Graveman, the Tommy John recoveree the Cubs signed to a one-year-plus-option deal last offseason, his contract is such that he gets a $1.5 million bump this year if he spends a single day on the big league roster, so although it’s great to see him reaching Iowa, he would be called up only if he looked so insanely dominant that the Cubs couldn’t say no. And, as a Tommy John recoveree, that seems unlikely right now. Instead, I think Graveman instead remains an option for the 2020 rotation/bullpen/swing role.

  • You don’t want to get too excited too soon, but obviously this is largely what Ian Happ spent nearly four months back at Iowa working on, so why not be a little happy at the early returns:

  • A great final start for Cory Abbott, and a great year:

  • Abbott will be a fixture in the AAA Iowa rotation to open 2020, and he’ll be among the fill-in call-up options. There are a number of options currently at AA to join there at Iowa next year, but at a minimum, if they aren’t in the big leagues, he’ll be joined by Adbert Alzolay and Tyson Miller. That’s three legit big league starting pitching prospects in the AAA rotation in 2020. Love to see it.
  • Jared Hughes:

  • Juiced ball:

  • After all the cuts on Saturday, the Bears’ 53-man roster is here:

  • Also, LOL at the Vikings for giving up a 5th rounder for a kicker they cut a couple weeks later (hence why the Bears would only offer a conditional pick):

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.