The Cubs' Scrappy and Potent Offense, the Bullpen Group, and Other Cubs Bullets

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The Cubs’ Scrappy and Potent Offense, the Bullpen Group, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

After two years, ‘Better Call Saul’ is back. I am so freaking excited. Less so that the two-episode premier tonight takes place right smack during the Cubs game. So I’ll have to sort that out, and if I strangely go missing for 15 minutes at a time, and then quickly blast out some thoughts for three-minute bursts, you’ll have to understand …

•   The fact that it was a four-gamer in Colorado really skews this stat, HOWEVER it sure FELT like an obscene number of doubles:

•   The Cubs’ 24 doubles so far this season lead baseball, tied with the powerhouse Phillies, but they’ve played 10 games to the Cubs’ 9. So when it comes to all things double – the hit type and the grounded-into-double-play type – the Cubs are king of the mountain.

The plate appearance definitely have looked good. From David Ross (via the Tribune): “Line to line it feels like we’re taking good at-bats,” manager David Ross said. “Just complete usage of the strike zone and to all fields means really good approaches and staying within themselves. I’ve been really pleased with that. Guys are attentive and turn it over to the next guy and understand the offense runs as a flow and they’re willing to turn it over to the guy behind them if they’re not getting their pitches.”

•   The Cubs also have the top OPS in baseball right now (.811) and second best wRC+ (128). That’s pretty wild, especially when you note that wRC+ is park-adjusted. It won’t last, but the bones are there for the Cubs to mix and match their way into a slightly above-average offense this year. I tend to think that was always more possible than the Cubs having an above-average starting rotation when all is said and done. (The main reason to expect regression from here, though? A team .336 BABIP just ain’t gonna last. Yes, the Cubs do have some guys who figure to sport naturally high BABIPs, but not THAT high across the whole team.)

•   Helping the pitching right now? The Cubs currently rate as a top ten defense, depending on your metrics of preference. It’s obviously quite early, but we’re already accumulating a lot of innings. Team-level defense will stabilize much more quickly than individual numbers. Here’s hoping that continues, because (1) it would be a pleasant surprise, and (2) it would be critical to the pitching having success throughout the season.

•   The Chicago Cubs haven’t lost a series since September 24. Crazy, right? (This is mostly a joke, but it is also true!)

•   This would sound a lot better if the Cubs hadn’t lost four of those games:

•   Although David Ross is still in the mode where he’s not going to name specific bullpen roles, I do think we are getting a good sense of how he would PREFER things to line up, all else equal, and he showed it yesterday: Mychal Givens as the 7th inning guy, Rowan Wick as the 8th inning guy, and David Robertson as the closer. It won’t be that trio every game, both because of rest and game situation, but in a game where the Cubs are leading going into the 7th and everyone is rested and ready (with no funky match-up stuff), I’m thinking that’s what we would typically see.

•   (I also think the Cubs would love to see Givens be great as a true setup man and Robertson great as a true closer just in case they want to market them in July … )

•   Elsewhere, in the bullpen, it’s still “figure out what you’ve got” mode for the Cubs, with two more weeks before the roster shrinks back down to 26. I suspect Ross would like to know whether guys like Ethan Roberts or Michael Rucker need to stay up at that point (they have minor league options), or if the organizational desire to retain someone like Jesse Chavez will be stronger. I suspect we’ll keep seeing those three get “bridge” innings for the next two weeks.

•   A family reunion tonight at Wrigley Field:

•   An interesting visual, and it feels pretty likely that the Cubs will stay in the bottom left of the middle oval for most of the year:

•   It really has been such a dramatic turn for Gleyber Torres, whose trade to the Yankees helped the Cubs win the 2016 World Series (people forget that):

•   I had seen comments on some of the gaffes, but I didn’t realize just how bad the Angels’ broadcasting situation had been, and how it was primarily because they were still trying to make a go of it with part of their crew not traveling to road games:

•   Cubs gear is included, too, in the clearance:

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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.