Owning PECOTA, Pirates HBP and Ejections, Hearing Outside Talk in the Clubhouse, and Other Cubs Bullets

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Owning PECOTA, Pirates HBP and Ejections, Hearing Outside Talk in the Clubhouse, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

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:

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:

  • 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.
(Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)
  • 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:

  • A very interesting read from Patrick Mooney on the way the Cubs’ psychology has changed behind the scenes, and how they’ve battled themselves:

  • 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:

  • Great stuff from Sahadev Sharma on Nick Castellanos’ background:

  • This is going to be so weird, but the organist Iron Man deserves all the rest that is ahead of him:

  • Perfect:

  • Here’s hoping it’s fixed this afternoon:

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.