It was *kind* of a joke yesterday, but it did happen: with their 80th win of the season, the Cubs topped the infamous initial pre-season PECOTA projection of 79 wins from Baseball Prospectus. The Cubs are likely to end with considerably more than 79 wins, as we all suspected from the get-go, though I think you could argue PECOTA deserves some credit for spotlighting/underscoring what a challenging year this could be for the Cubs – as it has, indeed, been, particularly with respect to the older pitching staff.
But, yeah, they seem a little salty:
Congratulations to the @Cubs for officially beating their preseason PECOTA projection of 79 wins! 🎉 🎈 🎊 It turns out PECOTA had an anti-Cubbies bias after all, apparently.
— Baseball Prospectus (@baseballpro) September 14, 2019
Join in the fun, take the L, and roll along. You’re only a computer system, after all!
- When the Cubs got hit four times yesterday, the last of which sending David Bote into a fit of anger, there’s so much background and context there to understand why basically everything that followed was appropriate (though not everything the preceded). The Pirates not only pitch up and in more than any team in baseball, they do it as a matter of culture. And that culture includes hitting batters as a strategy. They’ve done it for years now, and it’s appalling. So when the Cubs get hit four times, even if “by accident,” they are justified in being ticked. That is especially true when Bote gets hit high twice in the season by the same pitcher:
- Notice the pitcher, Clay Holmes, doesn’t immediately start barking about it being a breaking pitch that got away. It was, but he also knows the background, which included him hitting multiple batters and this one, and also hitting Bote in the head earlier this year.
- This famous moment was after Bote got hit the first time back in July, by the way:
Joe Maddon about to go after the Pirates. pic.twitter.com/r2M7WxaG1m
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) September 14, 2019
- So anyway, Dillon Maples came in after that and hit a couple batters. They were both sliders that he lost the release point, and the umpire understood the situation, letting the first one slide, despite warnings having been issued. But the second time it happened, even knowing it was an accident, he had to toss Maples. That is a way not only to keep things from escalating in the moment between the teams, but also to try to protect both teams in the future.
- But obviously the bigger issue is when the Pirates will change their ways. They already got dunked on by MLB (finally) earlier this year because the league knows the Pirates are dirty in this particular way, and maybe once Clint Hurdle gets the boot after this season, the pitches-as-a-strategic-weapon thing will stop. But right now, any time you get hit by the Pirates, no matter the situation, you have a right to be pissed.
- Last day for this:
17 RUNS = 17% OFF EVERYTHING! Code: 17RUNS at checkout. Ends at midnight on Sunday. https://t.co/Wz2sIjzUP3
— OBVIOUS SHIRTS® (@obvious_shirts) September 14, 2019
- A very interesting read from Patrick Mooney on the way the Cubs’ psychology has changed behind the scenes, and how they’ve battled themselves:
“1,000 percent,” Kris Bryant believes that Joe Maddon’s contract situation, the trade/free-agency rumors and the clock ticking on The Core has contributed to this atmosphere around the Cubs. And that there is enough time left to live up to expectations. https://t.co/ZgcDtJkcFX
— Patrick Mooney (@PJ_Mooney) September 15, 2019
- A particularly interesting excerpt from Mooney and Kris Bryant:
“That whole one-game-at-a-time mentality is harder to maintain when Maddon is a lame-duck manager, Bryant’s name has been floated in trade rumors, the media is predicting a shake-up, Cubs Twitter is melting down and this core group is getting closer and closer to the free-agent market.
‘I’d say so 1,000 percent,’ Bryant said. ‘Everybody in this clubhouse is human. When you start hearing things like that, when Joe starts hearing things like that, myself included, you start thinking a little bit. The past four years, none of that has happened and it’s just kind of been we’re cruising along.
‘But personally, whatever happens for me happens. All I can do is really focus on these last (14) games and doing all I can to help the team win. And I think I’ve been doing that for five years here now. I’m willing toot my own horn a little bit — I think I’ve done a pretty good job of it.'”
- The irony is that Bryant’s comments about the “shakeup” talk having an impact on the clubhouse this year are even more support for the idea that a shakeup is needed.
- Meanwhile, Bryant is obviously quite correct that he deserves some horn tooting for his career so far:
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) September 15, 2019
- Great stuff from Sahadev Sharma on Nick Castellanos’ background:
— The Athletic (@TheAthleticCHI) September 14, 2019
- Shredders, books, auto accessories, and more are your Deals of the Day at Amazon today.
On the night we celebrate one of the best to ever do it, Ichiro Suzuki addressed the crowd during the pregame ceremony. 5️⃣1️⃣ pic.twitter.com/bhy3dfGHe9
— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) September 15, 2019
- This is going to be so weird, but the organist Iron Man deserves all the rest that is ahead of him:
— Bruce Miles (@BruceMiles2112) September 14, 2019
We have no words.
Just…..Mike Fiers…..wow. pic.twitter.com/pdUQmoo7aW
— Subscribe to Cut4 on YouTube!!!! (@Cut4) September 15, 2019
- Here’s hoping it’s fixed this afternoon:
Mitch Trubisky Explains What Went Wrong With the RPOs https://t.co/hiRW21EWq1
— Bleacher Nation Bears (@BN_Bears) September 14, 2019