The First Fun Game in a Long Time, Hendricks, Madrigal, Ramirez, and Other Cubs Bullets

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The First Fun Game in a Long Time, Hendricks, Madrigal, Ramirez, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

I feel it has been long enough for me to say some GENERIC REACTION things to the new ‘Dr. Strange’ movie. Seriously, I don’t ever want to spoil anything. So: I loved the experience. It was a very immersive movie, where my brain just kinda automatically shut off everything else in the world, and I was just taking in the movie. The story was fine – acceptable – and I can see how it was important in setting up some future things, which I always like. And the way it had fun with its ability to use the multiverse was AWESOME. If you’re into MCU movies, this is a good one.

•   The Cubs won 6-0 last night, which marked their first win in over a week, their first win by more than three runs in over two weeks, and their first shutout in that same period. If you cut out that 21-0 drubbing of the Pirates, you have to go all the way back to the second game of the season, a 9-0 win over the Brewers, to find a comparable win this year. Michael was right when he said it was the most fun we’ve had watching a Cubs game in literal weeks.

•   More on Kyle Hendricks’ alllllllmost shutout later, but I just wanted to point out the ‘ole early-season statistical swings: Hendricks went into last night’s start with a 5.64 ERA (5.52 FIP) over 30.1 innings. He now has a 4.38 ERA (4.70 FIP) over 39.0 innings. That stuff always makes me chuckle, because we mentally reframe an entire “season” based on a few stats, but really, it’s an accumulation of single outings. In other words, how much did Hendricks’ “season” really change last night, even if his stats changed dramatically? (He absolutely did pitch fantastically last night, though, and let’s be clear on that.)

•   At some point, the conversation the Cubs were having about Frank Schwindel – sending him to Iowa to try to work out his swing/timing/etc. issues – is going to have to take place about Nick Madrigal. I’m not saying we’re there yet (he’s still under 100 PAs, and the Cubs are clearly trying to get him to work on some things against good pitching), but you’re talking about a still-rather-young guy who has very little big league experience, who had almost no Triple-A experience, and who is coming off a major leg injury/surgery. It just wouldn’t be weird or insulting to think he might need some time at Iowa to work out his timing issues at the plate. In his last 15 games, Madrigal – the guy whose THING is contact and batting average – has far more strikeouts (11) than hits (7). This is untenable. I wonder what happens when Andrelton Simmons is ready to be activated.

•   (I know Madrigal had two deep-ish, hard-ish fly outs last night, but neither had better than a .340 xBA, so it’s not like he was absolutely robbed or anything. Set last night aside, and the looming conversation stays the same.)

•   If you missed two of the great moments from last night’s game, Jason Heyward made an amazing catch in center, and Nico Hoerner hustled his butt of to steal a run for the Cubs.

•   Because he was late-arriving to camp and had no minor league options left, the Cubs had to make a quick decision on whether to keep outfielder/DH Harold Ramirez at the end of Spring Training, or instead keep guys like Michael Hermosillo and Clint Frazier (and Rafael Ortega and Jason Heyward). Obviously the Cubs chose the latter. Meanwhile, Ramirez is hitting .316/.375/.368 (132 wRC+) for the Rays. The guy the Cubs got in that trade, 30-year-old infield prospect (yes, prospect – it’s kind of a unique and weird situation), Esteban Quiroz, is hitting just .163/.300/.245 at Iowa through 16 games. None of that is to say this is all set in stone and decided and all that, but so far, that series of decisions has not worked out for the Cubs.

•   I’m not THAT vain, but I will admit that I kinda wish my teeth were a little whiter since I drink a crapload of coffee. So I’ve been looking for something like this whitening pen thing that is a Deal of the Day at Amazon (under 18 bucks right now, #ad), and I’m gonna try it out. There’s also a whitening mouthwash (I use mouthwash anyway, so I’m thinking about that one, too). This is definitely making me sound vain now. Hey, if this is as bad as my midlife crisis gets, then I’m doing ok …

•   This is a really big deal to players, so congrats to Drew Smyly on a tremendous accomplishment:

•   Well this is a complex situation:

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.