Alonso Wins the Derby Again, Ohtani Hype, Bryant on Contreras, Hernandez Debut, and Other Cubs Bullets

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Alonso Wins the Derby Again, Ohtani Hype, Bryant on Contreras, Hernandez Debut, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

The Family and I took a camping trip the last two days, which has been a lot of fun already, though the one challenge that always pops up when you go somewhere remote: mega spotty internet/cell service. There have been long stretches where I had no access to anything – phone service, cell data, WI-FI, nothing. Complete disconnection. It’s a very weird feeling, though obviously we all did it for a long time before gadgets and internets and such. To that end, a big thanks to Michael for live covering the draft yesterday and today, and to the other BN gents for holding down the fort and letting me and the family go hiking and horseback riding and zip-lining, among other things.

•   Pete Alonso is one of the smoothest, easiest, most powerful Home Run Derby hitters ever. It’s like he’s just made to hit dinger after dinger after dinger. Not only did he hit the most homers in the first round, and not only did he beat Juan Soto in the second round with like half his time still on the clock, but he also won the finale over Trey Mancini with 30 seconds left on the clock and Mancini had put up a big round!

•   All appropriate love to Mancini, by the way. He was fantastic, and obviously the story – he beat stage 3 colon cancer last year – is incredible.

•   The Shohei Ohtani-Juan Soto matchup was one of those rare moments that you wait for all night – it was the final first round matchup, and it didn’t come until an hour and a half into the broadcast – and it SO lived up to the hype. Soto got out to a huge lead, Ohtani wasn’t hitting anything but liners short of the wall, and then Ohtani got hot, caught up at the buzzer, so the two had to do another minute, they tied on that, too(!), and then they had to do a three-ball tiebreaker of a tiebreaker. Soto hit all three of his balls out. Ohtani missed on his first, and that was that. It might’ve been OK, because Ohtani was clearly extremely gassed by that point, but dang, man. It was some of the best Derby watching we’ve had in a while.

•   Kris Bryant and Craig Kimbrel, who were enjoying the Derby last night, answered questions about Willson Contreras’s comments from this weekend about focus and effort. Kimbrel demurred almost entirely, noting that Contreras was probably just frustrated and talking about wanting to win more, which is what everyone wants (NBCSC).

•   But Bryant’s comments to NBCSC sounded a lot like David Ross’s: “When you’re not winning and things aren’t going your way, not only when you’re not winning but the other team that you’re competing with (for the division lead) is winning at the same time, it just compounds everything. It’s just super frustrating when things aren’t going your way and collectively as a group you’re struggling. But sometimes you’ve just got to take a step back and evaluate things and come together as a team and talk, keep some things in-house, in the clubhouse as a team. We had a little conversation before we left and things got cleared up, and I think guys are going to be ready to go in Arizona.”

•   There wasn’t much baseball action yesterday outside of the Derby, but the Dominican Summer League did get underway, which means the long-awaited debut of Cubs shortstop prospect Cristian Hernandez, who singled in his four at bats. According to the box, it was his team’s only hit of the game. He was also charged with a throwing error and a fielding error. Kids!

•   There was also the ACL, where Reggie Preciado continues to rake. He had three more hits, and his OPS is currently over 1.100.

•   Darren Rovell tweeted a silly thing, and the Baltimore Orioles didn’t quite agree:

•   Brilliant and fun thing that appears to have been done by multiple players:

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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.