Nico's Nice Day, Cubs Bats Set a Record, Hendricks Feeling Good, and Other Cubs Bullets

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Nico’s Nice Day, Cubs Bats Set a Record, Hendricks Feeling Good, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

Hey, Cubs win today, and shablammo they’re in first place. If you dream it, you can do it.

•   Getting Kyle Hendricks right is about as important as anything the bats did yesterday, and it sounds like he feels he’s getting close ( “There were definitely more positives to take out of this [start]. There’s still a lot of hard work to do – still a lot of hard contact, fastballs that are up, but I at least made some better pitches overall. I just need to continue on that road …. I feel 100 percent healthy, 100 percent good and ready to go now …. I’m a little bit off mechanically, but my focus right now just has to be mental – pick up the glove and attack the glove through it. If I do that, the mechanics will figure themselves out.”

•   You kinda hate that he got dinged for a couple homers in the 6th after five cruising scoreless innings, but given the game situation at that point, maybe it’s valuable that he got a chance to just put in the work there later in a game without any stress. And if you’re out there to throw strikes, and if the other team is in a situation where the batters know they can just swing for the fences because eff it, that’s gonna happen.

•   How about that start for Nico Hoerner yesterday? A few hits including a couple doubles, and some experience playing out in left field. If Hoerner is going to contribute this year, it’s probably going to come in a variety of spots (I am still of the belief that it’s valuable for the Cubs to know as much about David Bote’s bat as possible this year, and he’s actually been raking, despite the early terrible luck). No, I don’t think a single game like that changes any planning on Hoerner, but it was dang nice to see. I figure we’ll see him mixed and matched and also worked in late off the bench for defense as his time with the Cubs goes on. (Hey, sure enough, as I type these Bullets, the lineup comes out, and Hoerner gets another start, this time at shortstop.)

•   I don’t know how long Hoerner’s stint is going to last, but I suspect it was carefully considered that Joc Pederson figured to be out juuuuust about until the time the minor league season is going to begin, at which point it’s possible Hoerner heads to Triple-A Iowa to get more starts (at a level, by the way, where he’s still never played). The delicate balance with Hoerner this year remains all about maximizing his development, and when there aren’t daily starts available in MLB, I am still very open to the idea that it’s best for him long-term (and thus for the Cubs in the post-2021 world) to get a mostly full season at Triple-A this year. You know what else I’d be thinking about a lot if I were the Cubs? Much moreso than I was in early Spring Training, since a deal never got done? I’d be thinking about what happens if Javy Báez leaves in free agency, and if none of the other big-time shortstops wind up signing with the Cubs. Wouldn’t it be nice – if that happened – to know if Hoerner can slot in as a capable defensive shortstop in 2022? So maybe he should play a lot of shortstop at Triple-A this year? Just thinking out loud about all the possible futures.

•   Fun with his big game and the numbers: With 0.2 WAR, Nico Hoerner has been more valuable this year than Christian Yelich, Gleyber Torres, Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna, Paul Goldschmidt, Michael Conforto, Ozzie Albies, and Didi Gregorius COMBINED. That is a factually correct statement, and I’ll thank you not to mull the context that renders it just a silly bit of fun.

•   Speaking of Stanton and fun:

•   Speaking of hitting the ball absurdly hard:

•   Very good news update from top Cubs prospect Brennen Davis:

•   The Orbi mesh network wifi system is on a HUGE discount today at Amazon as one of the Deals of the Day, so if you’ve been thinking of upgrading/changing your system, check it out. I use an Eero system, myself, but I can say that generally, switching to a mesh system basically changed everything about my home wifi setup, which I only realized later must have sucked before. #ad

•   Seeing Yu Darvish and Victor Caratini dominate together is a mixed bag of emotions. At least it was against the Dodgers:

•   Wild fun from that game:

•   One of the best highlights you’ll see this week:

•   Jacob deGrom, who was afraid to face the Cubs, had another truly absurd outing, which is all he does these days:

•   In support of Mongo:

•   Yes, infuriating is the right word:

META: If you’re tuning back in after yesterday’s META discussion, just know that we read the feedback, consider how we can best handle things, and then try to go forth in a way that makes for the most enjoyment for the most people (which is unfortunately never going to be perfect, but we do the best we can!). The point there is, don’t ever feel bad about offering the feedback (pro or con or neutral), even if you think it’s harsh, and even if Michael or I reply with pushback – it doesn’t mean you’re wrong. Doesn’t mean you’re right, either, of course, but we all are entitled to feel how we feel. Sometimes it’s the conversation, the back and forth, that gets us all to the right place. That’s a big part of the reason I wanted to discuss the future possibility of a White Sox section at the site (handled by a dedicated White Sox writer, not me) long before we would actually be starting it. Like I said yesterday, I’m not an idiot or an ahole, and I know it’s different than adding, for example, the Blackhawks.

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.