On the one hand, the NBA Draft Lottery is kinda this weird and fun extra thing that people get to follow, but, on the other hand, it’s pretty annoying that so much of your organization’s future health can come down to the bounce of a ping pong ball. I’m also not even sure it actually reduces tanking (I’m not a huge NBA guy, so take it up with Eli if I’m wrong). Just thinking about it because it was yesterday, and thinking about how MLB will deal in the next CBA with tanking concerns.
• As re-enjoyed this morning, the seven runs scored last night for the Cubs marked their first time above three runs in ten days. That it came right after we noted how brutal the offense has been in June was surely just a coincidence! (No, but seriously, it was, and we can’t necessarily assume that all is hunky dory after a single good game. But it’s a much-needed start.)
• It was great to see Kris Bryant sock one, in particular, given his prolonged power slump. “You expand a little more and then a little bit more,” Bryant said after the game, per Cubs.com. “And then you find yourself chasing pitches that you don’t want to swing at, and then you’ve got to back track and rewind and get out of that hole. It’s all cyclical. I think we all go through it. When you’re going good, you just want to keep hitting, keep swinging. Sometimes, you have to do the opposite.” We’ve said it before and it continues to be true: when Kris Bryant is healthy, he hits. Period. So if he was healthy and in a slump, the adjustments will come. That’s the process going on right now.
“I’ve just seen the umpires getting a little more exercise running in to check all the pitchers,” Kris Bryant said after Tuesday’s 7-1 win over Cleveland. “It’s kind of funny, but I’m all for it. I’m all for keeping it out of the game because I feel like, at first, we were so stupid as hitters, saying, ‘Oh, yeah, it’s for control. We just don’t want them to hit us.’ And that was such a cop-out. I love that things are kind of going the other way. Whatever, if we get hit, we get on-base percentage.”
• Not sure I quite agree on the HBPs-are-great-because-OBP angle, because I don’t want to see injuries, but I understand what Bryant is saying. And his broader point is very well-taken, if surprising to hear him say it. As some pitchers freak out about the substance issues, it’s important to remember that (1) not all pitchers have been using the worst stuff, and (2) half of the league are the guys on the other side of those pitches.
• Sergio Romo decided to go even further than Max Scherzer in demonstration his displeasure with the substance checks, full-on dropping his pants on the field:
— MLB Foreign Substance Checks (@StickyCheck) June 23, 2021
• I have no idea what this is teasing, and I’m guessing it wasn’t about Romo:
Big things coming. 👀 pic.twitter.com/xDs7jvVBRy
— MLB (@MLB) June 22, 2021
• If it was just the crypto thing, that was probably too bold of a tease for the payoff.
• You knew it would come eventually, and better that it came in a game that was easily won, but Ryan Tepera finally gave up another run, as noted in the EBS. Bunt single, regular single, and a walk. That was all it took (because then he went groundout, strikeout, fly out to end the inning thereafter). It’s a reminder of how nuts it was that he went almost two months without allowing a run (and that Andrew Chafin and Craig Kimbrel are on streaks nearly as long). The run pushed Tepera’s ERA back over two. Boooooo.
• Jason Adam suffered the kind of freak, scary injury that makes you worry about a guy’s life, let alone his pitching career. But it turns out he got as lucky as you can get when one of your bones comes out of your body, and he might actually be able to pitch again this year:
As pitcher Jason Adam laid on the field at Principal Park and saw a bone sticking through his foot, he worried his career was over and even worse, his life may be in jeopardy. https://t.co/yonLVxsH5z
— Tommy Birch (@TommyBirch) June 22, 2021
• The Cubs’ roster situation was such that they didn’t hang onto Adam post-injury, but he hasn’t ruled out a return to the organization after he rehabs. It would seem more likely that he would catch on with another org late in the year on a minor league deal, hoping either to show that he’s no worse for the wear and could contribute down the stretch, or as something of an audition for next season. It was a rough go for Adam from the jump this season, with his stuff backing up and his command non-existent. But what he flashed last year is going to stick in some scouts’ minds.
• By the way, if you’d told me in February that the Cubs would get nothing from any of Adam, Rowan Wick, Jonathan Holder, and Brandon Workman, I might’ve started to squirm just a little bit about the bullpen situation.
• Tommy Nance has been a big part of how the Cubs have continued to succeed in the bullpen, but he’s definitely going through an adjustment period, both as his spin rates fall pretty dramatically, and also as he adjust to a big league experience/hitters adjust to him. In his last four outings, Nance has allowed 4 ER over 4.2 IP, with just 3 Ks against 3 BBs and 4 H. Nance is getting the lay of the land from Tepera, and is working through the process of those constant adjustments (Marquee): “I want to keep building off what I’ve done so far. There are things that I’m still constantly working on. The one thing at this level is learning how to pitch with what I have in the battle against each hitter. How do I find holes in this guy’s at-bat? The game within the game. Constantly learning that instead of just going out and throwing.” As we’ve discussed, even if the spin rates come down and stay down, that doesn’t mean a guy cannot continue to have success, both because there are ways to counteract the loss of spin (re-gaining some through grip/mechanics, and then also improving spin efficiency), and because raw spin isn’t the be-all-end-all of success if you’re a guy, like Nance, who has a variety of pitches he can work with.
• I will always show off Yohendrick Pinango doing something good:
• UUUUUuuuuuber prospect Wander Franco made his debut yesterday (naturally going 0-2 to a walk in his first plate appearance, because his discipline is ridiculous), and this happened:
Wander Franco’s dad watching his son get his first HR in the MLB is amazing 🙏
This is what sports are all about @BRWalkoff
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) June 23, 2021