Thanks to a Twitter bug yesterday, our BN Bulls Twitter account got restricted as though it were an automated spam bot. Apparently a huge chunk of accounts were erroneously flagged, which is a bummer for any number of reasons, but for us, the obvious one is that we can’t tweet. And it just looks bad. But the process of getting things fixed is one of those huge black boxes where you have no idea if there’s another human on the other side, who can just take two seconds to look at the account and say, oh, wait, yeah, this is normal. So anyway, if you see the warning about the account or wonder why we haven’t tweeted for a day, that’s why. We’re working on it as best we can!
• The Pirates are one of the worst MLB teams in several years, and they have increased their season win total, in the final week of the season, by 13.3% in the last two days against the Cubs. Yes, the Cubs had some terrible BABIP luck last night, and yes the night before was a walk-off. Both games were decided by only a single run. Yada yada yada. I get all that. But none of it changes the reality that the Cubs got owned by a pitching staff that has been terrible this year. Trevor Williams, who dominated the Cubs last night, came into that start with a 6.70 ERA, and had allowed 30 RUNS in his previous five starts.
• So, yeah. We’re allowed to be concerned and frustrated. More on this topic soon. The Cubs will try to split the four-game series with the Pirates starting in just a couple hours. It’s an early one today.
• At least Kyle Hendricks finished his year by dominating a team he should dominate – those two first inning homers did the Cubs in, though:
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) September 24, 2020
• When instructional league begins next month, here’s something to keep in mind in relation to whether Brailyn Marquez has been called up and put on the 40-man roster:
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) September 23, 2020
• So, if Marquez were put on the 40-man for the final few days of the season and the postseason, he couldn’t then come to instructional ball. Which would really suck. It’s still worth bringing him up if you think there’s a good chance he can help and you think there’s almost no chance it’s a serious risk to his development. But if you’re on the fence, this is just another factor suggesting it might not be worth the risk when you’re talking about the Cubs’ first top-of-the-rotation pitching prospect in a decade.
• Top draft pick Ed Howard is expected to be at instructional ball for the Cubs this year, and is it just me, or does it already look like he’s put on some good weight:
— Chicago Scouts Assoc (@ChiScoutsAssoc) September 17, 2020
• Then again, maybe it just looks like he has because the vast majority of video we have of his amateur career is from when he was a junior in high school or younger, which was well over a year ago. Just more of the weirdness that is 2020.
• Speaking of prospects and the weirdness of this year, check out this significant as-of-yet-unresolved issue:
Norwood will have one and Brothers will not.
The real surprise would be if Alzolay is given another, per AZ Phil pic.twitter.com/jHva97B6bK
— Cubs Prospects – Bryan Smith (@cubprospects) September 23, 2020
• We have long been assuming this year would be Adbert Alzolay’s final option year. That may not wind up mattering if he looks like he did the other night, because at that point he’s clearly one of your best 13 pitchers and he’s making the Cubs out of camp next year anyway. But in the event that you did want to be able to option him to AAA Iowa, now there’s a huge open question about whether he actually DOES qualify for an additional option year next season because of the shortened structure of this year. I’ve gotta believe this issue was anticipated by the union when they put together the March Agreement, which governs this season (but this issue does not appear in the text of that agreement). So, I guess for now we proceed on the thinking that Alzolay is out of options … with an asterisk that maybe he’s not.
• I know you’ll have jokes, but this is legitimately a great achievement for any player:
Congrats to Cubs infielder @DanielDescalso on recently reaching 10 years of major league service.
— Mark Gonzales (@MDGonzales) September 23, 2020
• Getting to 10 years means a lot for a guy’s future health care and pension, and it’s just one of those goals a lot of long-time players (non-stars) shoot for. Also, the Cubs could’ve DFA’d Descalso at any point this year, but instead kept him on the 45-day IL. The cost to them was same either way, but this approach ensured he got his 10 years.
• Trevor Bauer dominated again last night, and he has put together an absurdly good, Cy-Young-caliber season with the Reds. Quite a platform for the free-agent-to-be. Yet, there’s a huge part of his season that continues to go undiscussed by the wider public. I am also at a loss on this, which is referring to Bauer:
I guess I’m mostly just not sure why steroid users are viewed as if they attacked the very soul of baseball, but using foreign substances to effect the way the ball moves is just met with a collective ¯_(ツ)_/¯
— mark folkloretta (@CTowersCBS) September 24, 2020
I just don't understand how this isn't a bigger story, or how it is that Bauer was so open about it in the past, and this year is silent. It's all just right there, in public view, waiting for a conversation. I'm not looking for torches and pitchforks. Let's just pay attention. pic.twitter.com/wXq3Cl4sOv
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) September 24, 2020
• Bauer, you’ll recall, made a very public case about suspicious Astros pitcher behavior a couple years ago, and said the only way to add 400-ish RPMs to your fastball is by using an illegal grip enhancer (and he demonstrated it for an inning just to prove his point). Now, his spin rate has jumped 400 RPMs this year, and he’s going to win the Cy Young. He *himself* compared this to using steroids. What exactly are we doing that we’re not even talking about it? Does MLB just not want the negative attention that is inevitable, especially given the reality that SO MANY pitchers do it? Can we just change the dang rule and make it legal to have grip enhancers?
• Amazon’s various tablets are on sale today if you want to get one on the cheap. #ad