Mills Struggling with Runners On, Cubs Struggling with Ks, Cardinals Voodoo, and Other Cubs Bits

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Mills Struggling with Runners On, Cubs Struggling with Ks, Cardinals Voodoo, and Other Cubs Bits

Chicago Cubs

I am not our Bears writer, so when it comes to what “we” think should happen with the Bears, I defer to Luis. But speaking only as myself, a Bears fan, I’m ready for Nick Foles to be named the starting quarterback this weekend. I wish it had worked out with Mitch Trubisky. The guy clearly has the physical talent, the desire, and the work ethic to be very, very good. But after three years, if he’s not *obviously* the better option in camp, then all the concerns I already had are just so much bigger. Let Foles steer the ship this year, and start making some new long-term plans. (But obviously if the Bears opt for Mitch, he’ll get all my support. I just … don’t think it would go well.)

•   It was another outing where Alec Mills got good results for most of the game, but for approximately one inning, he got blown up. Some of that is the nature of being a command/control guy – your mistakes are at a much greater risk for being punished – but it also seems like he’s making more mistakes with runners on base. For what it’s worth, his numbers with runners on base are indeed quite a bit worse than with the bases empty: he’s allowing just .209/.287/.352 with the bases empty, but a whopping .302/.333/.642 with runners on base. And obviously, that’s how you get blowup innings. Makes you wonder if there’s a windup/stretch issue under the hood? The splits hold for his previous partial years with the Cubs, too, though not quite as extreme – he’s been excellent with the bases empty, and very hittable with runners on.

•   The rotation as a whole went, so freaking quickly, from a bright spot with depth to a terrifying spot with no depth. You better pray with both hands that Adbert Alzolay is ready.

•   I don’t understand why Jason Kipnis was permitted to bat against a lefty with one out, the bases loaded, and the Cubs trailing by two in the 6th inning. Sure, you swap him out and the Pirates bring in a righty, but wouldn’t you much rather have a righty-righty Nico Hoerner or David Bote situation there? Kipnis hasn’t successfully hit lefties in four years. That was potentially the ballgame right there, and Kipnis was permitted to go up and strike out.

•   If it feels like it’s been a lot, that’s because it has been: at 31, the Cubs have grounded into the second most double-plays in baseball this year.

•   If it feels like it’s been a lot, that’s because is has been, part deux: at 361, the Cubs have struck out more than any other team in baseball. (Cold comfort? Their 26.2% K rate is merely fourth worst in baseball!)

•   Laptops, computer accessories, and plants are among your Deals of the Day at Amazon today. #ad

•   The Cubs start a five-game series tonight against the Cardinals, which will play out over the next four days. We’ll have our Series Preview later, but I wanted to point out how much the standings can swing in a five-game, head-to-head series with the team most closely trailing you in the standings:

•   Gotta take at least two. Take three, and things are looking great for the stretch run. Lose four or five? Well, at least eight teams make the playoffs.

•   Relatedly: As a team, the Cardinals are allowing a .220 BABIP this year, by faaaar the lowest number in baseball. Some of that is no doubt a credit to limiting hard contact and/or good defense, but good lord. That’s an extreme. It’s due for some natural regression. Here’s hoping the Cubs can oblige. Heck, by average exit velocity and hard hit rate in Statcast, the Cardinals’ pitchers are really only middle of the pack. That voodoo can’t last for three more weeks, can it?

•   I hope you folks in Illinois are taking advantage of the promo offers the sportsbooks are putting out right now. Yes, it supports BN when you sign up (so thanks!), but also, when you can get things like the Lakers at +66 points, it’s basically just a free win. So I’m happy to pass it on, especially since we still don’t know if the in-person registration requirement is going to come back in a couple weeks.

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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.