Fair and Unfair Criticism of Maddon, Owning the Bats, Minor League Wins, Hultzen, and Other Cubs Bullets

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Fair and Unfair Criticism of Maddon, Owning the Bats, Minor League Wins, Hultzen, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

That really sucked. That whole day yesterday. Gonna get in some family time today to turn on the smiles.

  • Hey, at least Yu Darvish looked great last night. It’s clear he was going to be artificially limited in his pitches as he comes back from/manages the forearm tightness, but it’s nice to know that it still isn’t impacting his ability to pitch well when he pitches. Cubs are going to need him.
  • Joe Maddon had a controversial night, receiving wave after wave of criticism for his lineup (fair – how do you keep making this same mistake with Albert Almora?), for pulling Yu Darvish after five great innings (probably unfair, given the forearm), and for his bullpen decisions (mixed bag).
  • I did understand going to David Phelps against Yasmani Grandal in the 8th (slightly less potent as a lefty), then going to Derek Holland against Christian Yelich, and then wanting to finish out from there with Rowan Wick. Folks got mad about the outcome in that one, but if Maddon starts that inning with Wick and he gives up a bomb to Yelich, we’d all be wondering why Yelich wasn’t attacked with a lefty.
  • … like in the 9th inning, when it was Brandon Kintzler who pitched about as well as you can against Yelich and still gave up the game-winning rocket double. Maddon said it himself – Yelich is like Barry Bonds right now – and it makes you wonder why you would even pitch to Yelich in that situation, given that you can pretty much be perfect and he still gets you:

  • The video package of the Brewers’ late-inning win shows the homer Phelps gave up (Grandal sat back on a perfectly fine get-me-over first pitch curve, tip your cap), the critical Addison Russell throwing error, and Yelich doing his thing:

  • More on the Russell part of that later, but I think mostly what I take away – with a night’s sleep behind me – is that things can so easily go sideways when you have only a one-run lead. If the Cubs score more than two runs, this isn’t an issue.
  • About that, this is absolutely not a fluke at this point:

  • Gonzalez doesn’t just magically step up his game against the Cubs. Instead, the problem is that he’s really good against lefties, which neutralizes some of the Cubs’ most disciplined hitters, and then he’s terrible against righties … except for righties who desperately get outside themselves and keep trying to pull offspeed stuff outside off the plate. It’s been his formula against the Cubs for years now, and it keeps working. Consider the righty pieces who’ve been in play over that period of time, and take from it what you will as you consider what the Cubs need to do to their roster in the offseason.
  • Also: sign Anthony Rendon. Figure out the logistics by moving other guys around positionally as necessary, or by making trades. Make it happen. We’ll get back to that.
  • Bedding, big ole canopies, and more are your Deals of the Day at Amazon today.
  • It was a great day for the Cubs’ two minor league playoff teams, as the Iowa Cubs walked it off in 11 innings to force a game five in their opening series, and the South Bend Cubs won the opener of their division series:

  • Matt Swarmer, who got super hot in the second half, pitched a gem in this one, and Dillon Maples – as he does – struck out three in a scoreless 11th to set up the walk-off on three walks and a Phillip Evans sac fly.
  • The South Bend Cubs got big nights from Brennen Davis and Andy Weber:

  • More happy stuff, as Danny Hultzen talks about finally making it to The Show:

  • This is awesome. And a bonus thumbs up, too:

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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.