Scared of Lefties, Bullpen Composition, Beating Good Teams, and Other Cubs Bits

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Scared of Lefties, Bullpen Composition, Beating Good Teams, and Other Cubs Bits

Chicago Cubs

I noticed as I came up here to do the pre-Bit write-up section that a lot of what follows are kind of “negative” things about the Cubs, but I don’t actually feel negative at all! I’m actually feeling really good about this team, and I don’t want to see anything reduce their chances of succeeding in the postseason. They’ve got a real shot at making a run this year if some things come together over the next couple weeks.

•   After getting owned by old, old friend Rich Hill last night, the Cubs’ offense is now hitting .201/.313/.316 (75 wRC+) against lefties this year, the fourth worst in baseball. In September – you know, after the Cubs added two righty bats at the Trade Deadline – that line is even worse, at an abysmal .183/.277/.270 (53). It doesn’t help that Jose Martinez was acquired to be the lefty masher, was given just 15 plate appearances, and then sent out. Unless the Cubs were fixing something EXTREMELY specific with him at South Bend, then we’re probably not going to see him back, and the Cubs are just going to continue to be really, really rough against lefties. At least they won’t have to face any lefty starters in the postseason, RIGHT!?!?

•   But you want to hear something really weird and dumb, because this year is weird and dumb? One of the few Cubs who is performing well against lefties? It’s Kris Bryant, who is hitting a whopping .333/.484/.458 (165 wRC+) against them. Of course, what that line suggests is that he’s seeing the ball really well from the left arm side (hence the enormous OBP), but he still isn’t hitting for power there.

•   (Also, yes, you’ve correctly deduced that Bryant has been completely useless against righties this year: .167/.235/.278, 38 wRC+. It’s only 98 plate appearances, but why are we thinking it’s just going to magically get better this year? It is inexcusable at this point that Bryant continues batting second against righties, and when it happens in a playoff lineup, I’m going to be livid.)

•   Team meeting SZN:

•   Well this is a fun factoid, and also a great look at Jeremy Jeffress getting PUMPED:

•   Now here’s where we mention that Jeffress was looking wild once again, and you can’t help but wonder if he’s going through a little rough patch. His K and BB rates have now converged on two terrible, terrible numbers for a closer: 18.5% and 14.8%. I know all the good stuff about the way Jeffress pitches, and how he definitely does induce a lot of crap contact. But it’s impossible not to notice that he’s walked 11 in his last 11 games while striking out just 9. At this point, you probably just keep riding things because there’s only a week left in the season, but I don’t love the way this is shaking out for the postseason, where a couple walks in the 9th can absolutely sink you.

(Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)

•   Jeffress got an assist in that 9th, after his first walk, on an absolutely GORGEOUS double play up the middle by Nico Hoerner and Javy Báez:

•   Elsewhere in the bullpen, please get these guys in there ASAP so they can see some real action before the postseason:

•   The crazy thing about adding two lefties to the pen and wanting to get them action? The starting pitchers have been going nuts for a while now, which has led to this:

•   Ryan, Osich, and Brothers – the three lefties – haven’t really been missed, but obviously you HAVE to have lefties in the postseason bullpen. So again, I’d like to see Chafin and Quintana in action soon, because I could easily see them being preferable options. As for Winkler and Underwood, well, the latter has quietly been one of the best relievers in baseball over the last month, but he’s been behind Jeffress, Kimbrel, Wick, Tepera, and Adam in the pecking order, so that’s why he hasn’t seen action over the past starting-pitcher-heavy week. As for Winkler, well, he’s just been too wild to be counted on as one of the sure-thing relievers. It’s possible he’s one of the guys optioned out to make room for Chafin or Quintana, together with Brothers(?).

•  Glassware, Under Armour, and art supplies are among the Deals of the Day at Amazon today. And also, Super Mario 3D All-Stars is now on sale at Amazon, and I couldn’t help myself. I want to play the best video game of all-time again (that would be Super Mario 64). I’m stoked.

•   I think some people got chippy about this fun fact when Jesse Rogers tweeted it, but I don’t know that he actually meant anything by it:

•   What’s funny, though, is that about eight hours after he tweeted it, the Cardinals had swept the Pirates to reach .500 and the Reds had beaten the White Sox to reach .500. So, in one day, the Cubs went from playing just 7 games against .500 or better teams to playing … 28(!) against .500 or better teams. So, the Cubs went from 14% of their games against .500 or better to 55% of their games against .500 or better. In one day. And nothing actually changed on their end except playing one game against the Twins. Thus, it was a fun little note when Rogers tweeted it, but never worth taking that particular type of data too far.

•   Old friends:

•   Speaking of old friends and 2012 All-Stars, here is some Cubs magic number fun, and a not so subtle reminder to follow us on Instagram:

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The #Cubs Magic Number keeps on falling!

A post shared by Bleacher Nation (@bleachernation) on

•   Dang, this is awesome:

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.