Needing Tonight, Alec Mills' Up and Down Year, Better Memories, TV Crossover, and Other Cubs Bits

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Needing Tonight, Alec Mills’ Up and Down Year, Better Memories, TV Crossover, and Other Cubs Bits

Chicago Cubs

Put on a jacket this morning that I hadn’t worn in maybe a couple years. It’s a great track jacket that I love, but it got buried a bit, and so I think I just forgot about it last year. Anyway, put it on this morning, and just now as I was running my hands down my belly (for … reasons?), I felt a bulge in the right pocket. Turns out, there’s a kid’s sock – just one – balled up in the pocket, and it’s been there for two years. So if you were wondering “where do the other socks go,” well, there’s your answer. Old jacket pockets.

•   Two rough starts after his no-hitter, and Alec Mills winds up finishing the year with a 4.48 ERA (101 ERA-) and 5.43 FIP (122 FIP-) over 11 starts and 62.1 innings. While I do think he’s probably a legit FIP-beater thanks to the command and contact management, that’s a pretty enormous divide, and you’re talking about a .233 BABIP this year. Over a longer season, I expect that ERA would’ve climbed further. Ultimately, I do think we got a good sense of him: because of his pitch mix and his style, he can have very good outings when the command is really spot on and aggressive lineups get themselves out. But when he’s off just a click, he does give up a few walks, and he can also get hammered. Reminds me of Jon Lester in that way.

•   Your other bigger concern on Mills, which sure showed yesterday, is that he has enormous splits. In his brief career before 2020, it’s been true, and in 2020, it was EXTREME: .163/.228/.293 against righties, and .275/.338/.551 against lefties. Yowsa. You cannot survive as a starter in the big leagues like that, because while you’ll have good days when you see a lot of righties and get some BABIP luck, there will be days against a lefty-heavy lineup where you give your team no chance to win. So I think Mills has his charge for the offseason if he wants to keep a back-of-the-rotation job: gonna need to develop a better changeup or cutter, or some other way to attack lefties.

•   If you missed the earlier discussion on the weekend ahead – Cubs, Cardinals, White Sox, yikes – see the earlier post. The short version is that the Cubs are still probably OK if they can just win ONE of these White Sox games. But I’m here to tell you, tonight’s game – with Yu Darvish on the mound – is the only one that doesn’t look scary as hell for the Cubs. The White Sox have obliterated lefties this year, and the Cubs are planning to send out Jon Lester and Jose Quintana to make the next two starts. And the Sox are sending out Dane Dunning and Reynaldo Lopez, each of whom have been excellent lately. So, yeah. Please be dominant tonight, Yu, and Cubs bats, please just let Dylan Cease walk himself into trouble.

•   The margin for so many of the Wrigleyville bars is already razor thin, heavily reliant on good summer weather and good summer Cubs for the bulk of revenues to then try to survive the winter, so to speak. Take away an entire season, and I’m really concerned that so many bars and restaurants in the area simply won’t be there when baseball returns next year – and that’s assuming people can and will go out again next year:

•   Ah, better days and memories:

https://twitter.com/WatchMarquee/status/1309481529316388864

•   Giant TVs, shoes, workout equipment, and more are your Deals of the Day at Amazon. #ad

•   I didn’t expect Jerry Seinfeld to be the source of a good old fashioned semantic baseball debate, but this yields a great discussion:

•   Totally get Seinfeld’s point. He might be right. However, while it is no doubt correct to say “the Mets need only one strike” in that situation, it is also true that – at that moment – the Nats are down to their final strike, because any next strike could indeed be the last. We just don’t know which one of the many possibilities proved final until it’s complete. They are all final and also not final.

•   In related news, batting around requires only that the 9th batter complete his plate appearance, and a hot dog is a sandwich. To think what could have been if ‘Seinfeld’ had a hot dog sandwich episode, where Kramer and Newman disagree vehemently about hot dogs, leading to unexpected hijinx and shenanigans.

•   Speaking of NBC shows and their connection to baseball, ‘Parks and Rec’ was better anyway:

•   A heads up on the betting promos: you can get any NFL game this weekend at 100-1 odds at DraftKings, and you can get 15-1 odds on either the Chiefs or the Ravens on Monday night at FanDuel. Jump on these promos while they’re still trying to entice folks to get in. Each place does big deposit bonuses, too.



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.