I just got my flu shot this week, so that’s good. Don’t forget to get yours! No sense in getting sick if you don’t have to.
• Alec Mills was chapped when he got pulled with two outs in the 5th inning last night, turning around a bit in frustration, shaking his head, and muttering some choice things to himself as he walked off. To be honest, I barely even noticed. Starters never like getting pulled in moments like that, and it was hardly an over-the-top demonstration. But Mills still felt a little bad about it after the game (Cubs.com):
“Obviously, looking back I was not very pleased with how I handled it,” said Mills, who shook his head as he walked off the mound. “But at the same time, I’m a competitor and I want to stay out there. I thought I had a real good chance at getting [Realmuto] out. … Obviously, I wish I could take back how I handled it, but I think just being competitive, that’s one thing I take a lot of pride in. I also take a lot of pride in getting as far into games as I can. I guess I wish I could change some things about that start.”
• It’s all good, Alec. We’ve seen MUCH worse. It’s unfortunate that Scott Effross gave up a single from there, but I didn’t hate the decision there from Ross, given how good Effross is against righties. Then again, Mills is also quite excellent against righties, and Realmuto hadn’t put up good contact against him in his first two ABs. In the end, the whole thing kinda feels like a non-event to me.
• Another scoreless multi-inning relief appearance from Adbert Alzolay, by the way. Good velo on his pitches. Heavy changeup usage.
• If you missed the magical way the Cubs lost last night, enjoy this with the thankful knowledge that it (1) doesn’t really matter, and (2) is not nearly as painful as the Bryce Harper grand slam was:
— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) September 16, 2021
• A walk-off cross-up. Hadn’t seen that in a long time, if ever. For what it’s worth, David Ross didn’t think it was actually a cross-up:
Ross didn’t think it was cross-up but rather breaking ball that backed up, Megill likely trying to rip it hard in that moment.
“As a catcher when you’re expecting the ball to break & it doesn’t … that can tip off your glove & get some funny spin on it which is tough to catch.” https://t.co/IYe43zqobh
— Meghan Montemurro (@M_Montemurro) September 16, 2021
• I trust Ross knows what he’s talking about – he’s caught a few big league pitches! – though I wonder if he may have been speaking generally without having looked at the replay. As you can see, Chirinos starts to straighten himself up, as if he thinks he’s getting a 98 mph fastball that is rocketing up and in. And that momentary hesitation was enough to put him in a terrible spot for trying to snag the breaking ball. With all due respect to Ross, if it were truly the case that Chirinos missed that pitch simply because it broke a little differently than he expected, he shouldn’t be catching anymore. Note that the Cubs were giving multi-step signs at that moment (you could see it on the Phillies broadcast), so it wasn’t just Chirinos putting down a one or a two. A cross-up sure seems plausible there.
• Trevor Megill is right back on the does-he-stick-on-the-40-man cusp after back-to-back rough outings. The strikeout stuff is still there and still impressive, but the homers are just so voluminous, and then last night he just didn’t quite ever look like he was in control of the moment. Maybe that’s just me creating a narrative based on an outcome, but that’s how it looked to me as I was watching. As we’ve discussed at length, I love the upside almost as much as any other Cubs reliever, but this is going to be a very crowded group over the offseason. It’s an “investment” to use a 40-man spot all offseason on Megill, though I’m not sure he would clear waivers and/or re-sign on a minor league deal if he doesn’t stay rostered. So it’s basically a question of what the Cubs think he can be in 2022. The minor league options work in his favor – you want to have lots of available up-down guys, but it won’t much matter if you can’t project results.
• Tough night for the Megill brothers:
Both Trevor and Tylor Megill were awarded losses today.
They are the first set of brothers to both take L's on the same day since Jered and Jeff Weaver on April 17, 2007. pic.twitter.com/XtOTefGGs1
— Baseball Reference (@baseball_ref) September 16, 2021
• I like this kind of walk-off a little more than a cross-up. Just a guy being all kinds of aggressive out there:
— MLB (@MLB) September 16, 2021
• Also, the Reds. Woof. Your schedule was set up perfectly to make a run here and hold onto that Wild Card spot. Instead, they’ve dropped consecutive series to the Marlins, Cardinals, Tigers, Cubs, Cardinals, and Pirates. It doesn’t get much worse than that. They’re now a game and a half behind the Cardinals for the second Wild Card spot (with the Padres sandwiched in between). The Phillies are three back.
• Speaking of which, the Cardinals won again last night, their fifth in a row, and career “win” 199 for Jon Lester. It’s entirely conceivable that he will win 200 at Wrigley Field, in a Cardinals uniform, against the Cubs. Maybe even as they cement their Wild Card lead. Won’t that be SWELL?!?
• Old friends:
Welcome back, Geo 🇵🇷 and Aramis 🇩🇴! #HispanicHeritageMonth
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) September 15, 2021
• It didn’t take long for the Bears’ offseason gaffes to show up on the field. Also, it kinda sounds like the offensive coordinator wants Justin Fields starting, too. Lol.
• For the hockey obsessives: the back-up goalie competition is gonna be lit.
• Talk about beating yourself:
One Strike. pic.twitter.com/HwmU27Nvmc
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) September 15, 2021
Best scoreboard message pic.twitter.com/RpSLdGRc9D
— Carmen Kiew (@carmenkiew) September 16, 2021