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Alzolay’s Curve Work, Too Much Grip, Crosstown Doubleheader, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

My current re-binge is ‘The Sopranos,’ which I just wrapped watching in full for, I believe, the third time. Some of it feels a little dated at this point in the first couple seasons, but not much. It remains a great watch throughout the series, and obviously a critical turn in the evolution of TV dramas. I was just reading last night how close David Chase was to turning the pilot into a movie because networks were passing on the show. Eventually, HBO decided to roll the dice, and the rest was history. Without Tony Soprano, I think it’s fair to wonder if the groundwork is properly laid for Walter White, Vic Mackey, Don Draper, etc. to be well-received characters that we root for despite their general awfulness.

•   There is likely more official word coming, but the Cardinals’ game tomorrow against the Pirates has already been postponed. Nothing has officially been decided about the rest of the series – maybe the league is hoping all negatives this weekend, Monday, and Tuesday, will mean that the Cardinals and Pirates could play a doubleheader on Wednesday? – but I bet we get word today or tomorrow.

•   Jose Quintana threw a bullpen session yesterday (the normal “between starts”-type bullpen, I presume), and he’s still scheduled to make his next simulated appearance on Tuesday in South Bend (Marquee). At that point, the Cubs can start to think about making a decision – does Quintana return to the big league rotation? Does he slot into the bullpen?

•   Speaking of South Bend, a little glimpse at Adbert Alzolay getting in his work (UPDATE: Deleted. I wonder if the Cubs didn’t want these videos shared by players. Suffice to say it was a nasty curveball with some metrics listed):

https://twitter.com/adbert29/status/1292441124037185536

•   That’s Alzolay’s nasty curveball, which – if you squint at the numbers in the upper right – comes in at 2890 RPMs. Just 16 big league pitchers have a higher average spin rate on their curveballs this year. That pitch also came in 2mph faster than his average curveball last year. Fluke? Maybe. Something he’s worked on? Also maybe. I tend to think there was a reason the Cubs sent Alzolay to South Bend right away, rather than even have him at Summer Camp, especially given that he would have had a chance to succeed right out of the gate as a reliever by just going fastball/curveball. I know they want him to keep developing the changeup, so it’s possible that they just wanted him to max out on the opportunity to keep developing as a starter in advance of 2021. It’s just hard to see his stuff sometimes and not wish he was immediately in the Cubs’ bullpen. Then again, the curveball he showed at the big league level last year was not as impressive/consistent as it was in the minors, and there’s no chance the Cubs would’ve kept out an impact reliever who is using up an option year anyway, so maybe I’m overthinking this and he just wasn’t ready.

•   This is one of those just-wild-enough-to-be-awesome ideas:

•   I don’t usually get riled up about foreign substances like others, but when it’s THIS egregious, coming from a player about whom there were already justified suspicions, it really pisses me off:

•   A reminder that when all this went down with Trevor Bauer’s comments, he was talking about the Astros:

•   So what it *looks* like is Cole, together with many many other Astros pitchers, started deploying a grip solution (probably with other legit tweaks) that dramatically increased spin rate. Cole is still using it. Clearly. And then you have Bauer, who was about the only person to publicly rail on this issue two years ago … now also doing it himself. Why are we not talking about this more? Artificially creating huge spin rate by using a foreign substance *is illegal* and enhances pitcher performance.

•   14 games in, and there’s your Giancarlo Stanton injury: strained hamstring. It really sucks, because he remains my favorite batter to watch. He just does absurd things:

https://twitter.com/MLB/status/1287184190149189632

•   Speaking of absurd things, Jorge Soler continues to crush for the Royals, hitting two 440+ foot homer yesterday:

https://twitter.com/Royals/status/1292254586271608837

•   A happy birthday, back-to-back with Riz (and the same age), to Jason Heyward:

https://twitter.com/Cubs/status/1292447465149550592

•   Books, sheets, vacuums, scales, and more are your Deals of the Day at Amazon. #ad



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.