I have a really hard time letting a particular type of criticism go, and it’s an admitted character flaw when you’re writing for public consumption and you invite criticism. The specific type goes something like this: commenter or tweeter or facebooker or emailer rips me for making what they perceive to be an obviously stupid point … but I feel like they’ve missed what I actually wrote (and I feel like I made the point clearly). It’s almost impossible to correct the record in those situations, so I’m left stewing in my own juices feeling like I’m getting ripped for something I didn’t actually say. I need to just get over it, but man, I struggle with it.
The other stuff I get ripped for – having the “wrong” opinion, being too positive, dropping a typo, writing about stupid topics, etc. – I can pretty easily let roll off my back at this point. But for some reason, that one specific type of criticism has never stopped chapping me after a decade+ of doing this. (You folks in the comments already know this about me. Sorry, but I guess I’m probably not changing my stripes at this point.)
• No quit in these Cubs, who are out here making history:
The 2021 Cubs are the first team in our database to lose multiple games by 5+ runs in which they once led by 7+ runs.
— Baseball Reference (@baseball_ref) September 17, 2021
FROM ELIAS: The Cubs are the 1st team in MLB history to lose twice in a season by 8+ runs after leading by 7+ runs. They lost 15-7 vs the Brewers on June 30 when leading 7-0. They lost 17-8 today after leading 7-0.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) September 17, 2021
• I joke, and it’s mostly a flukey thing, but it is pretty incredible – the combination of things it takes – to pull that off twice in a season. And the Cubs also lost a 6-0 lead over the White Sox in an eventual 17-13 game, so that’s pretty impressive, too.
• I got roasted all night for this one, and I deserved it:
When your Playoff Contender is getting smoked by the Cubs. pic.twitter.com/mTirz61q9D
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) September 16, 2021
• I just wanted to have some fun, baseball gods. Why would you do that to me …
• It’s been interesting to see Alfonso Rivas’s whopping 34.1% strikeout rate so far this year in 41 PAs, because he doesn’t at all seem like a guy who is striking out every third time he comes to the plate. I suspect that feeling disconnect is because he’s not really whiffing all that much (his 10.6% swinging strike rate is a percentage point better than league average), and that’s what we tend to FEEL is the sign of a guy who is striking out a lot. But for Rivas, the issue instead has been perhaps a little too much patience. He is taking strikes at a 20.7% rate, which is more than four percentage points higher than league average, and there are just four qualified hitters who take strikes at that rate. The vast majority of hitters swing at more pitches in the strike zone, and Rivas will probably sport a surprisingly elevated strikeout rate until that number comes down a bit *OR* he just gets absurdly good at never swinging and missing.
• All that said, I think this is probably a pretty normal adjustment for a guy with Rivas’s profile facing better and better pitching (especially in a league that adjusts so quickly to your tendencies). At the margins, Rivas is going to have to swing a little more (the only qualified hitter in baseball who swings less often is Juan Soto, and he is a completely unique freak that no normal player should necessarily try to emulate). That’ll be his next big adjustment, paired with a little more hard contact (he’s making no soft contact yet (literally 0.0%), but it’s been a bit too much medium contact and a bit too much ground contact. Eventually, that .429 BABIP is going to sink like a stone without a different contact mix.
• David Ross on what he likes about Rivas so far (Marquee): “Rivy has done a nice job of making his mark last spring training and impressing us and the way he has this calmness about the way he plays. You feel like at first in the box, he’s half asleep. And I say that in a positive way where there’s no panic in his game. Seems just super smooth and easy and relaxed. Really quality at-bats, sees pitches, commands the strike zone, feels like he gives you a really good at-bat every time he’s up there. He’s played a nice outfield for us so far and he’s nice at first, too.”
• Frank Schwindel struck out last night on what might’ve actually been a foul tip into the dirt, which I’ll belabor a bit because it was Schwindel’s first strikeout at that point in his last 32 PLATE APPEARANCES. It was a kinda insane streak that I was sad to see end on what may have been the wrong call.
• Javy Báez is El Mago in so many ways:
• Yeah, I kinda can’t believe it either:
— Michael Cerami (@Michael_Cerami) September 16, 2021
• The Overly-Phamiliar Phanatic:
• I dig this collaboration here:
What comes next?@umphreysmcgee ‼️
— Marquee Sports Network (@WatchMarquee) September 16, 2021
• Very nice bags are among the Deals of the Day at Amazon if you’re in the market. #ad
• Lu wasn’t trying to anger anyone, he was just trying to be honest after a re-watch …
— Bleacher Nation Bears (@BN_Bears) September 16, 2021
• Promo time: