Just to reiterate today, because I want to make sure everyone is on fair notice: please see the commenting policy note from yesterday’s Cubs Bullets if you haven’t already. The short version is that our commenting policy has always prohibited jerk-like behavior, but I have been lax in enforcing it. Not gonna be lax anymore.
• If Kyle Hendricks on Opening Day was basically the version you would absolutely hope to see this year (better than anything we saw in 2021), then Kyle Hendricks in Pittsburgh was basically the version you would absolutely hope to never see this year (a carbon copy of the issues that plagued him last year). He knows it, and he knows how bad this is:
Kyle Hendricks said he felt out of sync from pitch one, with a rushed tempo leading to his fastball being elevated.
“[Willson] and I tried to go to the secondary stuff, see where it was, but it wasn’t playing off the fastball, obviously. Fastball command is the key for me …” pic.twitter.com/Tn0wvQukPM
— Jake Crouse (@JakeCrouseMLB) April 13, 2022
• The four-seamer being up there is generally fine (though I would guess he was throwing it that often only because he couldn’t locate the sinker). And the sinker at the top of the zone was something he and the Cubs played around with last year, but just didn’t work out. So, yeah, when the sinker is up like that, not only is it going to get battered around, but nothing else is going to work off of it. Recipe for a disaster like yesterday on the batted ball front, AND he won’t get many strikeouts, AND if he’s extra wild, he gives up uncharacteristic walks. Just the perfect opposite of everything he showed against the Brewers.
• Thanks to Michael Rucker for taking 2.1 innings in that loss, which preserves more of the bullpen for this four-game set in Colorado. Gonna need guys to be fresh. The Cubs also don’t have another off-day until April 25.
• More of Seiya Suzuki accomplishing things:
Good company 👏 pic.twitter.com/Na0FQlUJxB
— Marquee Sports Network (@WatchMarquee) April 13, 2022
Suzuki walks. That’s a hit, a walk and an RBI. He’s reached at least twice and scored or driven in a run in first five games as a Cub. One of only two Cubs since at least 1901 to do that.
Also: Mark Grudzielanek (2003).
— Gordon Wittenmyer (@GDubCub) April 13, 2022
• Obviously that’s one of those picked-some-things-in-a-brief-window stats that doesn’t actually MEAN that much, but I still find them to be fun. It just kinda means that we rarely get to see a new Cubs player do this much “stuff” immediately. Grudzielanek, whose name was one of the best to hear Harry Caray say, went on to hit .314/.366/.416 (108 wRC+) that year, and was a key part of that 2003 team’s success. Oh, and if you were wondering: that statistical streak for Grudzielanek ended in game six, as he got a hit and scored two runs (reached once via error), but that hit was the only time he reached base in the way this fake record is counting. BREAK THE RECORD TONIGHT, SEIYA!!!
• This was 98 mph and moving in toward his hands, and I don’t really understand how this turns into a monster pulled home run:
lol Vladdy hit this 427 feet pic.twitter.com/GZef4HU0y1
— Andrew Mearns (@MearnsPSA) April 14, 2022
• The Pirates agreed to a two-year deal with Bryan Reynolds to avoid arbitration (and arbitration next year) at $6.75M per year.
— OBVIOUS SHIRTS® (@obvious_shirts) April 13, 2022