The Cubs Have (Literally) Never Had a Loss Like That Before, Tepera, Spin Rates, Schwarber, and Other Cubs Bullets

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The Cubs Have (Literally) Never Had a Loss Like That Before, Tepera, Spin Rates, Schwarber, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

Our air conditioning crapped out yesterday, which is obviously not great timing during the heat wave, but I know it’s been muuuuuch worse in other parts of the country. We reached 85 degrees indoors by the evening without any respite overnight, so today figures to be rough. Hopefully we can get it fixed today, but at least the weather is supposed to turn a little bit tonight. Fingers crossed either way.

•   A newsy, hopeful bit at the top: Corbin Burnes is actually not going to start the finale of this series, as he’s getting pushed to Thursday against the Pirates (seriously, it’s just Rockies, Diamondbacks, and Pirates on an endless loop, isn’t it?).

•   Going into the 8th inning tied and then losing by 10 runs is, surprise, not all that common. Teams don’t usually score that many runs that late, and the Cubs have literally never had a game like that before:

•   Is it just me, or is it weirdly comforting to know that a loss THAT bad was actually historically bad? Like, that isn’t just standard losing. That’s EXTREME losing. Somehow it softens me a bit.

•   Speaking of history, but this definitely does NOT make me feel any better:

•   Makes sense, though. You combine the era with the lineup with the injuries with the starters the Cubs have faced, and boom. You get the perfect recipe to make history like that.

•   Ryan Tepera didn’t get a strike three call last night (because of a late timeout), and then absolutely imploded. He was clearly pissed on the mound, talking to himself, and hopping up and down as the ball was struck. You hate to see it for such an important reliever, but you’d love to believe it was just a one-off where a few poorly-located pitches caught up with him, he got out of the moment, and he’ll re-set himself just fine for the next outing. I’m not sure, though. We have to talk about what is going on with a guy who had been as good as any reliever in baseball for upwards of two months, and now has had a really ugly week.

•   Because of the sticky stuff enforcement era, which officially started this past week, I don’t think it’s at all unfair to study the available data, speculate intelligently, and then extrapolate info. With Tepera, we’re not seeing HUGE drops in spin rate since the threat of enforcement – or the actual enforcement – kicked into gear, but there has been a ~100 RPM decline on his slider (formerly called a cutter) and his four-seamer. His pitch movement isn’t much changed, but obviously his command has been way off the last four or five outings compared to his absurd run in late-April through mid-June. Consider that the dude had just THREE walks from April 14 to June 21 (28 games, 30.0 innings). He now has FIVE in his last four outings. Clearly, something is off.

•   Is it a sticky stuff issue and the attendant adjustment? Maybe. But there’s also a matter of usage to consider – heavy, heavy usage – in the face of much less usage in 2020, because obviously. There’s also just some natural regression you’d expect for any guy who’d had an absurd streak. Maybe there are some mechanical issues popping up as fatigue/wear-and-tear sets in. The guy was pitching at like a 90-inning pace for two months, so, in hindsight, this was coming. Whether there’s a sticky adjustment or not, I have concerns just based on the usage. I didn’t realize it had been quite so extreme until I dug in this morning. Even 70 innings would be a LOT for a reliever in a normal year. Tepera is already up to 37.2. Maybe he just needs some rest.

•   Trevor Megill faced six batters in the 8th inning, all of them reached, all of them scored. How does that happen? Well, I’m thinking it starts with a pitch location chart that looks like molecules spreading out in a vacuum to achieve perfectly high entropy:

(via Baseball Savant)

•   Of course Eric Sogard was the only Cubs pitcher to come into that 8th inning and not give up a run.

•   Pressure washers, books, drinkware, slippers, and more are your Deals of the Day at Amazon. #ad

•   On sticky stuff in general, this visualization does a good job of showing you how sticky stuff enforcement has gone. Generally speaking, fastball velocity and RPMs are connected – higher velos mean higher RPM … unless you’re using something you shouldn’t be:

•   So, although velocities have held steady/ticked up, fastball RPMs are down by about 100 *LEAGUE-WIDE.* Yeah, usage was, uh, pretty widespread.

•   Just a weird and meaningless and random thing I was thinking about this morning … the Cubs are 10-6 in Zach Davies’ starts, and in just one of those losses did they score more than two runs. It’s conceivable that, if Cubs hadn’t traded Yu Darvish in the deal that swapped in Davies, they might have won only one more game so far. There are butterfly wings sufficient that you can’t actually know any of that for sure, but I’m just saying, if you swapped in Darvish for those Davies starts, I’m not sure you could reasonably project more than one additional win.

•   Well this seems bad for an important player and a to-be top free agent:

•   This is a fun and nice story:

•   Kyle Schwarber homered TWICE MORE yesterday, which, seriously, great for him. But also holy crap, you know?



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.