Joc Pederson got his chance against a lefty in the 9th, with the bases loaded and the Cubs down three, and Will Smith threw some really mediocre fastballs right by him in the middle of the plate, and then struck him out on a slider. It was really ugly after the Cubs had worked three nice walks to load the bases.
I don’t *want* to be entirely negative, but after a game like that, it’s just easy – and correct – to note all the things that looked so bad.
Zach Davies’ control was rough again today, and although the Braves didn’t punish him as much as the Pirates did – he threw a few more good pitches this time around – the end result was another terrible outing. Long, long at bats driven by deep counts and tons of foul balls because he wasn’t locating, and then things kept falling apart with two outs. He’s a command and control guy, so what he’s shown the last two starts just will not play. I hope he figures things out and fast.
I don’t know what’s going on with Joc Pederson. I don’t even mean his abysmal offensive performance, which is its own level of hard to understand. After today, I mean with his entire game. Something is just off. He looked slow in the outfield in reaction time and in speed, he bobbled the ball on THREE SEPARATE plays, and none of that is normal for him. You don’t just fall apart like that on defense in the outfield from year to year – typically! – so I don’t know what’s going on. Is it the offensive stuff carrying over in some way? Is it the adjustment to the new team? Is it something physical? All of the above? I have no idea, but I’m pretty sure something is going on.
Kris Bryant had an awful day at the plate (but did manage a tight walk to load the bases there in the 9th). Javy Báez continues to look completely lost. Nobody outside of Willson Contreras can even seem to barrel up a middle-middle mistake. I guess Ian Happ got on base three times, which is good.
The bullpen was strong again, and hey, at least Justin Steele is getting a lot of big league experience! What else you got?