Kipnis's Teammates Remind Him Frequently of 2016, the 2B Job, Heyward, Rea, and Other Cubs Bullets

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Kipnis’s Teammates Remind Him Frequently of 2016, the 2B Job, Heyward, Rea, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

I am not the same person I was 14 years ago, which makes it pretty remarkable – and makes me incredibly grateful – that the woman I married 14 years ago today is still such a perfect match for me (and I for her (don’t let her tell you otherwise)). I have been so fortunate in my life in so many ways, but none more so than happening to have crossed paths with The Wife many years ago. Also, I am fortunate that my bleach blond spiked hair, cartilage earring, and white shell necklace did not scare her off before I had a chance to say a few words and, some years later, rectify those style choices.

•   The Cubs were having a lot of fun with their return to Cleveland, and new teammate Jason Kipnis:

•   To his credit, Kipnis remains the consummate teammate, a long-time veteran who was always an everyday starter now finds himself splitting time (at best) with Nico Hoerner and David Bote at second base. His take, per Jordan Bastian: “What’s there to complain about? We’re winning ballgames. We’ll be all right. I think I’ll get my starts here soon. The opportunities will keep coming and I’ll be ready for them. I’m never going to complain that our team’s playing too good or too well. It definitely takes the pressure off of a lot of people in that competition. If we’re all winning, it’s hard to complain about what’s been going on. Every player wants to be out there all the time. I think there’s no denying that. I think I’ll just keep going about my business and wait until I get that time or earn it or whatever I’ve got to do.”

•   On that front, Kipnis has received just 22 plate appearances so far this year, but he sure has wrecked with them (.368/.455/.895). I think it was completely justifiable that the Cubs wanted to give Nico Hoerner the bulk of the starts out of the gate, knowing he needed that experience, and also wanting to see if he could be that rare youngster who simply doesn’t need minor league PAs to figure it out in the big leagues. But so far, the concerns we had about Hoerner’s approach late last year have manifested themselves in the early going, and I do think you have to keep an extra close eye on whether and when it’s time to start shifting more of those starts to Kipnis and Bote. No, going to South Bend or riding the bench isn’t going to be ideal for Hoerner’s development, but that does have to be balanced against winning games right now (and asking yourself honestly whether Kipnis/Bote give you more of a chance to do that at the moment).

•   A fun moment from Kipnis’s return:

(Photo by Ron Schwane/Getty Images)

•   Jason Heyward’s three-hit game last night raised his wRC+ on the year from 40 to 84. Lulz and small samples.

•   Toys, magazines, lunch boxes, and much more are your Deals of the Day at Amazon today. #ad

•   I liked the decision last night to just stick with Colin Rea for a second inning to close out the six-run win. Yes, David Ross could’ve given Craig Kimbrel an inning there – he’s gonna have to get work in – but Rea is a guy who is used to going multiple innings, and is very able to just pound the strike zone with a wide variety of pitches right now. That’s a great recipe for calmly closing out a large lead: you want a guy who isn’t going to eff around, but you also don’t simply want him grooving middle-cut fastballs.

•   Also: did you see Rea hit 96 mph multiple times last night? Ooh baby …

•   It’s early, the sample is small, etc., etc., but I’ve noticed this, too:

•   Caratini’s line drive stroke has been so consistently good in his pro career that, absent a physical issue, I wouldn’t expect the quality of contact to stay THIS poor for too long. That said, his upside will always be a little limited because he doesn’t hit for a ton of power. Basically, he’s a guy who needs to be accumulating a lot of line drive singles to be at his most productive.

•   Rizzo should’ve tucked this ball into his back pocket:

•   Speaking of Rizzo snagging the ball, he’s so casual:

•   I respect AtIndians for this, because people forget:

•   We’ll see how long it lasts, but for today, things are good:

•   So what I’m hearing is the Cubs have a 5 in 7 chance of going to the World Series this year, which is very close to 7 in 7, which is a 100% guarantee. THE CUBS ARE GOING TO THE WORLD SERIES:



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.