Miley's Mixed Debut, Nico's Arm, Scary Howard Injury, and Other Cubs Bullets

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Miley’s Mixed Debut, Nico’s Arm, Scary Howard Injury, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

I suppose ‘Barry’ was always a dark show, but man, this season is DARK.

•   Wade Miley’s long-awaited Cubs debut was a mixed bag. To the eye test, he looked good, strong, fresh, and all that, so I think the elbow is in a good place from a health perspective. The results, however, were terrible: 3.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 H, 5 BB, 1 K, 64 pitches. The runs, though, all came on groundball hits (with two outs) that easily could’ve been converted into outs in other situations. If a couple of those find gloves, he goes 4+ and gives up maybe one run. Then again, two of those run-scoring grounders were very well struck, and they had the opportunity to generate runs because they were preceded by tons of walks. Then again again, the walks were all “competitive” walks, where Miley was just barely missing (or didn’t get a key 50/50 call), so it wasn’t as if he was just totally wild and had no idea where it was going. So it was a bad but encouraging outing? Is that a thing for a 35-year-old veteran?

•   My guess is the Cubs evaluated this outing as better than the line, but could tell Miley was still shaking off the rust. Remember that he didn’t have a Spring Training, and then the entirety of his build up to this big league start was a couple live BP sessions and one short rehab outing at Iowa.

•   For his part, Miley admitted that he got frustrated out there when some calls/moments didn’t break his way ( “I just got quick. I was a little too amped up. I got the first two quick outs and was able to stay calm, but when the pressure went up, I went with it instead of staying calm. Instead of making pitches, I let myself get frustrated, get angry. I’m not a good angry pitcher, so I’ve got to find a way to calm down out there.”

•   Last night’s Starting Hair match-up:

•   Nico Hoerner’s arm strength has been blowing me away this year. What a play last night:

•   This looks awful for Cubs shortstop prospect Ed Howard:

•   Howard, 20, had actually started raking at South Bend the last few weeks, so this is particularly painful to see. You just have to hope beyond hope that it was more painful than damaging, but the helmet spike at the end – like Howard knew it was bad – has me feeling sick.

•   I see a lot of folks attributing Frank Schwindel missing that grand slam last night to the de-juiced ball. And, yes, if we were still in the juiced ball era, that almost certainly goes out – but MLB de-juiced the balls on purpose (and added universal humidors) because home run rates got completely out of hand from 2017-2020 (in my opinion, at least, and theirs). Am I the only one who remembers pop flies leaving the park? Home runs are great because they’re somewhat special – when every dinky fly ball had a chance to leave the park, not only did that make home runs a lot less fun, it also reinforced the idea that batters should be selling out to hit deep fly balls at the expense of everything else (which means more three-true-outcome baseball). That’s bad for the sport! (Again, in my opinion, and MLB’s.)

•   Also, while Schwindel’s ball was a barrel, at 102.5 mph and 33 degrees, it was actually juuuuust barely a barrel, and you would not expect a ball struck at that combo to always (or even most often!) be a home run. It’s supposed to be hard to hit a home run.

•   If you missed the wildness in the Angels game last night, they not only got the first solo no-hitter of the year, but Anthony Rendon homered left-handed. OK, maybe it’s not that hard to hit a home run?

•   The Cubs will be off this list by July, I guarantee* it:

*Guarantee not guaranteed.

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.