What We Didn't Learn, Old Friend Robs Old Friend, Bullpen, and Other Cubs Bullets

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What We Didn’t Learn, Old Friend Robs Old Friend, Bullpen, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

I have extra dad duties today with The Littlest Girl, which means my availability around here is going to be a little hit and miss. I hope you won’t notice TOO much, but if you see periods of slowness or whatever, you can just think to yourself that I’m probably knee deep in kiddery at that moment.

•   I debate how much this weekend’s series loss – the Cubs’ third straight series loss to the Brewers – told us about this team’s offense. The bats exploded in the first game, but that featured the starting pitcher getting knocked out by injury after four batters. They were not bad, but largely quiet, in the middle game against a high-velo, good-movement righty in Freddy Peralta. A call goes another way against Josh Hader, and maybe the final outcome is different, though. It was close to a coin-flip game. Then you had Brandon Woodruff owning the Cubs, as he has all year, and as he will probably do to a lot of teams this year. It kinda played out like you’d project, maybe a little extreme in the bookend games. This (inconsistent, low-contact, disproportionately struggles against high-velo and good breaking stuff) just might be the offense. Again.

•   On the one hand, you absolutely credit a guy like Woodruff for probably now being one of the five or ten best starting pitchers in the National League, which means more often than not, he’s gonna get his. On the other hand, a playoff-aspirational team that fancies itself an offense with upside is sometimes gonna have to get those guys. And, for the Cubs, there’s gonna be a whole lotta really good starters coming soon:

•   The specific names might change a bit as rotations get shuffled around, but the gist is, the Cubs are likely to face a LOT of top ten starters over the next few weeks. Have to do a little damage against some of them if they don’t want to fall into a deep hole before we even get much into May.

•   On the pitching side, you loved what you saw from all of Kyle Hendricks, Adbert Alzolay, and Jake Arrieta, though it’s only fair to point out that the Brewers offense is terrible, and was without Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain. As for the bullpen, what stood out – obviously – were the Rex Brothers and Jason Adam implosions. Each are guys with killer stuff, but when Brothers gets wild, he cannot find the strike zone (which blew a game for the Cubs), and when Adam gets wild, he gets hammered in the zone (which put a game completely out of reach). With guys like Justin Steele and Pedro Strop available at the alt site, the Cubs might not be terribly patient with guys they can option down.

•   That extremely heads up play Nico Hoerner made to let a pop up drop so he could turn two? He got an assist from Javy Báez, who was screaming to Hoerner that the batter wasn’t running out of the box (Cubs.com). Not hard to love those two working together up the middle on defense, man.

•   Old friends – and still very good friends with each other – Albert Almora and Kyle Schwarber came together on a great play, with neither in a Cubs uniform, and it’s a little weird:

 

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•   I have to share the highlights from Dodgers-Padres, because it was once again a ridiculous game, and this series (and the one before it) have been some of the best regular season baseball in years. This one featured a huge Padres comeback, and then it went 11 innings:

•   Great Deals of the Day at Amazon today, including an excellent Shark vacuum that we use, portable badminton sets (summer time!), and a monster charging station that I’m suddenly extremely interested in because I am very weird about wanting to maximize our charging situations. #ad

•   I cannot WAIT for minor league baseball to return:

•   Jason Heyward’s number:

•   NFL Draft week is here, which means you should check out our Bears coverage, follow us on Twitter, and smack that follow button on Facebook, please and thanks:


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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.