Thanks to the server database issue that killed most of our day yesterday, there were no Cubs Bullets. Except I’d already written the whole dang thing when I went to publish and the database died. I broke off a chunk and turned it into the Joc Pederson post, and now I’m combing through what else I can still share today of interest to you, while adding in the new stuff …
• I’m still really enjoying the idea that the Cubs had Jake Arrieta on the mound yesterday making a quality start, and got homers from Kris Bryant, Javy Báez, and Anthony Rizzo. The nostalgia zone got hit as hard as these balls:
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) April 9, 2021
• Javy’s homer there, by the way, was SERIOUSLY golfed:
Look at Javy Báez golf this home run.
At 0.86 feet high, it ties for the 6th-lowest pitch hit for a HR in the pitch-tracking era (since 2008). pic.twitter.com/MRLZj8NNoX
— Andrew Simon (@AndrewSimonMLB) April 8, 2021
• Báez also singled and walked in the game (and stole another base), raising his slash line on the day from .136/.174/.273 (25 wRC+) to .200/.259/.440 (94).
• The Cubs notched a lot of hits yesterday – enough to pass the Washington Nationals! … who’ve played three games, including two shortened double-header games – but their team batting average is still a humorous .157. It’ll keep coming up, because that’s just silly, but it’s going to take continued improvement in the quality of contact (including when not playing the Pirates). Oh, hey, the last two days saw pitching batting averages tank across baseball (pitchers are hitting .119), so now the Cubs have a comfortable lead in that race!
• This obviously makes sense because any time you have at least three homers in a game, you’re likely to win. But still, it’s really fun:
KB, Javy & Rizzo have all homered in the same game 5 times.
— Marquee Sports Network (@WatchMarquee) April 9, 2021
• Regarding that absurd Mets walk-off hit-by-pitch in the strike zone, the home plate ump admitted after the game that he should have called that strike three. By rule, a pitch in the strike zone cannot be a hit by pitch (and that’s to say nothing of Michael Conforto pretty clearly trying to get hit by the pitch). But how about this craziness – it isn’t really THAT rare:
Apparently there have been 23 in-zone HBP since 2008. Victor Robles has THREE. Huh. https://t.co/Tsaf7UREjq
— Mike Petriello (@mike_petriello) April 8, 2021
• It just doesn’t usually happen on a should-be-strike-three-walk-off-HBP play.
• A leftover from the final Brewers game: Like I said in the EBS, I wasn’t really beefing about the strike zone, because it seemed well-called overall. It was just that there were two late calls that went against the Cubs (one was a missed check swing strike, so that wasn’t even the strike zone) that had a pretty significant impact on the outcome. And it turns out, that was kind of the theme of the game – the zone was pretty well-called overall, but the calls that were off were pretty much all against the Cubs to the tune of nearly half of a run:
— Umpire Scorecards (@UmpScorecards) April 8, 2021
• In a game that went to extras, a half of a run … oof. That’s the difference between a win and a loss. Have to wonder if it being Tony Wolters’ first start catching Cubs pitchers had an impact. Historically, he’s a good framer, but he’s new to working with these guys. Then again, it appears that the worst calls were actually the ones Manny Pina stole for the Brewers (that EXTREMELY wide strike to the right was the Josh Hader call against Kris Bryant that put him down in the count with the winning run on second in the 9th). Kudos to Pina.
• Wednesday’s positional hero for the Brewers gave some love to two coaches who used to be in the Cubs organization during its best offensive years, so that was a timely sting:
Unsolicited, Lorenzo Cain shouts out Andy Haines and Jacob Cruz for their work.
"I'll vouch for those guys any day of the week."
— Will Sammon (@WillSammon) April 7, 2021
• This is hypnotic to watch, especially as it goes on and you start waiting for specific guys to show up:
Here is another MLB interactive graphic detailing the All-Time Hits Leaders since 1871!!
As always, please share for more MLB fans to enjoy!! pic.twitter.com/aCJ3DtstBN
— Greg Harvey (@BetweenTheNums) April 7, 2021
• Credit where it’s due – the ballpark in Pittsburgh is seriously gorgeous. And this isn’t even the best view:
On this day in 2001, we opened the most beautiful ballpark in America. pic.twitter.com/jmEBuNANsX
— Pirates (@Pirates) April 9, 2021
• The Cubs Shop flipped a ton of stuff to huge discounts yesterday with free shipping (insert jokes as necessary), so take advantage:
Make whatever jokes you deem necessary, but a heads up nevertheless – Cubs shop has flipped a ton of gear to a huge discount today with free shipping. Peruse and jump on it: https://t.co/iOZE1zazOZ pic.twitter.com/TC6NwsvAqV
— Bleacher Nation Cubs (@BleacherNation) April 8, 2021
• Wrote last night about how good Craig Kimbrel has been since mid-August (like, the best reliever in baseball good), and teams have noticed:
More Kimbrel stuff: Javy Baez says opposing players/baserunners are telling him he's back to being the old Kimbrel.
— Jesse Rogers (@JesseRogersESPN) April 8, 2021
• The offense could still use quite a bit more – yesterday was not necessarily great overall at just four runs – but if you need that positivity, you don’t have to look any further than the pitching. The Cubs have the third best ERA in the NL (2.95), and some of the individual standout performances have been REALLY impressive. There’s a reason the Cubs are 4-3 despite not hitting *at all.*