Why Javy Stepped Up, Willson's Status, Rex's Stuff, and Other Cubs Bullets

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Why Javy Stepped Up, Willson’s Status, Rex’s Stuff, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

Last night was The Littlest Girl’s first crack at the Miracle League (it’s a really well-organized baseball league for kids and adults with physical or developmental disabilities), and although it was great to see for the first time what a wonderful experience it can be, she was not feeling it. Dad wound up playing the human horse, running her on his shoulders up and down behind the bench to help keep her spirits up so we could at least cheer on her teammates. I am very sore today. Oh, also, she is on the Mets. Please forgive.

•   Javy Báez, on stepping up yesterday after Amir Garrett was shouting down Anthony Rizzo post-strikeout for some unknown reason (Cubs.com/Reds.com): “He’s got a style. We all get that. But I’m just not going let him or anyone disrespect my teammates or my team. It was not a big situation, you know? I’m going to try to stay professional with this, but … it doesn’t matter who does it in the game. If someone else does it again, we’ll go out there again. … I don’t know what he’s got against Rizzo. He did it to me in the past. Like I said, I like what he does, he’s just got to do it to his team, not to us. Not after a strikeout. I hit three homers against him and I didn’t do anything to show him up, or his team.” Good on Javy. Thoughtful and measured and informative response.

•   Again, for me, unless a guy has been a total dick to you or there’s some other history there that justifies you really sticking it to him, then I don’t quite get yelling and swearing directly at a guy like Rizzo following a strikeout. There had certainly been beef between these guys and Garrett before, but the kind where Garrett had earned an eff you moment? I am not aware of it. Thus Javy’s reaction, and thus me feeling like Javy was in the right. Celebrate big moments with as much gusto as you like – Javy does! – but those times when you’re shouting directly at a guy require another level of justification, I would think.

•   Willson Contreras (thigh) is out of the lineup again today, and I wonder if we’re gonna get a roster move. You just cannot play with one available catcher on the roster for long; I’m sure the Cubs don’t *want* to make a move, since the catcher on the taxi squad is P.J. Higgins, who not only didn’t look ready this Spring, but also is not on the 40-man roster (so someone would have to get bounced or moved to the 60-day IL). Relatedly, if Contreras had to go on the IL, I wonder if the Cubs would try to snake catcher Jacob Nottingham, a former legit prospect who never got a real chance with the Brewers before his options situation became a problem and was just DFA’d (they have carried *so many* catchers the last couple years for whatever reason).

•   I saw Dan Winkler hitting 94 mph on his rarely-used four-seamer yesterday, freezing Reds hitters, and I thought … whoa, what was that? When he does deploy the four-seamer, it’s usually more like 92-93 mph, and it’s used to set up the top-tier cutter. That said, it might not’ve been a thing – from the Statcast, looks like every Cubs pitcher was up 0.5 to 1.0 mph on virtually every pitch yesterday, so I wonder if it was a slightly hot gun.

•   Craig Kimbrel hadn’t had a save opportunity in quite a while, and gave up back-to-back hits to open the 9th yesterday with a one-run lead. So the tying run is there at third, and all the Reds need to do is get a decent ball into play to tie the game. So Kimbrel goes next level to strike out the next two guys, and then a grounder to end it. He has been on so much fire for so long now.

•   Speaking of the bullpen, just absurd performances the last two days:

•   That bowel-locker there at the start, man. If you do THAT to JOEY VOTTO, you are clearly doing something right. Rex Brothers can be such an uncomfortable at bat. He had those two outings a week ago where it seemed like maybe the control was evading him – as it does – but he struck out the side in order yesterday. He’s up to a 42.9% K rate with just a 11.9% BB rate. Don’t get me wrong, that walk rate isn’t good. But for him? It’s incredible. And for that strikeout rate? It’s absurd.

•   Books and water bottles and home gear and more are your Deals of the Day at Amazon. #ad

•   poop dot pants dot gif:

•   I knew these guys had changed teams, but I didn’t know it was this extreme:

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.