I know it’s easy to do this in a whole lot of situations, so I won’t TAKE AWAY much from it, but I suppose it’s worth saying that the Cubs were one bad Jesse Chavez outing away from sweeping the Brewers – Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff, and Freddy Peralta – this weekend. That seems like a pretty good start to the season as a general matter?
As Mark Potash observed, the Cubs scored more earned runs against Burnes, Woodruff, and Peralta in 9.1 innings in the opening series (13) than they did in 74.1 innings against the trio all of last year (12).
• As for that Chavez outing, two things are true at once: (1) you can almost never make a permanent roster decision on the basis of a single outing, and also (2) the Cubs have a very short window during which to evaluate a whole lot of arms. Decisions are going to have to be made very quickly – as injured arms return, and the roster shrinks back down on May 1 – so there are going to be precious few outings on which to base those decisions. My guess is Chavez’s next outing is lower leverage, but a similar bridge-type appearance. If he doesn’t look quite right that time, things get even dicier for him (even if, in normal times, you would rarely make a decision on the basis of just two appearances – the Cubs simply have too many arms available to eff around for too long). Hopefully yesterday was a fluke, though, since the best version of Chavez brings a whole lot of versatility to a staff.
• Relatedly: This is the time of year when David Ross and Tommy Hottovy will have to be sorting out optimum bullpen roles on the fly (even aside from roster spot decisions). That will necessarily mean some tough outings along the way as you gather that information. It happens every year in April/May, and sometimes it stings. It doesn’t always wind up in a loss, but yesterdays will happen sometimes.
• I knew Ethan Roberts’ slider was looking even more frisbee-like than most I’d seen:
This was last year’s leaderboard for RHP horizontal movement on sliders (min 50 pitches) over at Baseball Savant.
I bring this up to say that, in his debut, Ethan Roberts averaged 21.7 inches of horizontal movement on his 3 sliders.
— Cubs Prospects – Bryan Smith (@cubprospects) April 11, 2022
• It’s just three pitches on a day when he was amped, but what Bryan’s chart shows is that – in his debut – Roberts’ slider had more horizontal movement than any slider in baseball averaged last year. Yes, more than Kyle Crick and Adam Ottavino’s famous sweepers.
• A whole lotta good Deals of the Day today from Amazon, including board games, toys, scooters, stain cleaner, and more. #ad
• Happy birthday to Boog:
• I think we kinda knew his bat was simply gonna be too good for Double-A, but it’s hard to project exactly where he starts everyday at Iowa right now (Cubs finally getting close to enough talent where guys get squeezed and other orgs are like, ooh, we love that guy … ):
Nelson Maldonado goes 3-4 with 2HR & 3RBI, but the Smokies fall to Chattanooga in the series finale. pic.twitter.com/JlrNSn6NBW
— Tennessee Smokies (@smokiesbaseball) April 10, 2022
• I’m trying to figure out why Pete Crow-Armstrong didn’t play in any of the Pelicans’ first three games. He’s on the active roster (not IL), but obviously something must not be right. Minor league injury info, man, it’s just impossible to come by. Been a tough go so far (one weekend!) for that young group of positional prospects, with PCA not playing and none of Caissie/Triantos/Preciado hitting. Did I mention that it was one weekend? (Also, the pitching started off VERY strong, so it’s all a balance.)
• This is fun and delightful, though:
• Thankfully it didn’t wind up mattering in the final accounting, but a three-run dropped-fly-ball error for Kris Bryant, oof:
KRIS BRYANT DROPS IT AND THE DODGERS SCORE 3 RUNSpic.twitter.com/9YgJZJrMg4
— Dillard Barnhart (@BarnHasSpoken2) April 10, 2022
• A much happier old friend note:
Seems like a nice time to note that Anthony Rizzo just reached 10 years of service time. A huge milestone for any player, especially one who is only 32 years old.
— Lindsey Adler (@lindseyadler) April 11, 2022
• How does this happen: