Be Competitive, Stroman for the Win, Suzuki Facing Cowards, PED Changes, and Other Cubs Bullets

I take very good care of my teeth. I swear. But thanks to a cavity from when I was kid, for which the filling just never took (I’ve had it repaired three times in the last 10 years), I have to get a root canal. Oof. I’ll let you know if it’s like what the TV and movies suggest. Gonna numb it up with Malort …

•   Like the other losses this year, I dig that the Cubs kept making a game of it last night. A loss is still a loss – I’ll try not to overuse that this year … – but there’s something different about a competitive loss. It is simultaneously a little more frustrating (because it’s easier to fixate on the ONE THING that could’ve happened differently and it’s a win), and also a little more gratifying. It’s almost like it parallels my realistic hopes for the season: be competitive.

•   You could argue that the ONE THING last night was the almost-double-play that came just before the Rays scored three in the 3rd and bounced Justin Steele from the game. On replay, Randy Arozarena was correctly called just barely safe, and then things turned:

•   You can’t assume everything else in the game plays out exactly the same if that throw is a fraction of a second earlier and the Rays don’t score that inning. But it seems pretty likely that the Cubs win it otherwise? Game of inches and all that.

•   Marcus Stroman will try to rebound tonight for the Cubs, who’ll look to win their series over the Rays. Last time out, he was getting results in Colorado through three innings, but the command looked (to me) a little off, and then it really went off the rails in a fourth inning where Stroman couldn’t get off the field. Chalk it up to Coors, early-season stuff, or whatever. You hope it was a fluke, and that Stroman gives the Cubs a good outing tonight. You’d never feel bad about winning a series over the Rays.

•   The Tribune has a profile on Stroman with a focus on his athleticism, which is so noticeable when he’s out there. “I feel like a lot of pitchers become pitchers, and when you do, you kind of lose your athleticism and become like a robot,” Stroman told the Tribune. “I truly believe that being an athlete … converts to being a great pitcher — being able to have repeatable mechanics, being able to make adjustments in game when you’re an athlete, all those things happen much easier.”

•   Seiya Suzuki’s MLB-career-starting hitting streak is over, so he didn’t break former Tampa Bay Ray Akinori Iwamura’s record for a Japanese player’s hitting streak to start an MLB career (9 games for both). HOWEVER, it seems kinda unfair, since the Rays just wouldn’t pitch to Suzuki last night. Out of four plate appearances, he walked three times. Clearly they didn’t want Suzuki to have the record to himself. COWARDSSSS!!!

•   Two fastballs in the strike zone the entire night:

https://twitter.com/MLBastian/status/1516622961146531848

•   Also, in a game where Suzuki had a .750 OBP, his wRC+ actually went DOWN slightly. lulz.

•   With Jake Arrieta hanging ’em up, the Cubs sent out their tribute:

•   You’ve got backpacks, cleaning supplies, outdoor tools, and printers among your Deals of the Day at Amazon. #ad

•   Ken Rosenthal writes about a change that might be happening under the hood in the new joint drug agreement to the levels necessary to trigger a positive for one particular substance that has nabbed a bunch of guys over the years:

https://twitter.com/Ken_Rosenthal/status/1516747370540806150

•   Apparently there are scientific disagreements about what can happen naturally with that substance, and how there may have been false positives over the years. But the league doesn’t necessarily want to publicize exactly what they are changing, because they fear players and private drug scientists might use it to reverse engineer better ways to beat the system under the new agreement.

•   All right, all right – the Cubs are *starting* to very gently dip their toes into the better-value-deals on the concessions side of things:

•   This is a start. But they should still talk to the Mariners about value prices on the regular:

•   Don’t adjust your device. This is not artificially slowed down:

•   Hey, Bears, u up?

written by

Brett Taylor is the Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and on LinkedIn here. Brett is also the founder of Bleacher Nation, which opened up shop in 2008 as an independent blog about the Chicago Cubs. Later growing to incorporate coverage of other Chicago sports, Bleacher Nation is now one of the largest regional sports blogs on the web.

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