Hoerner’s Ankle, Schwindel’s Better Fortune, Hendricks’ Adjustment, and Other Cubs Bullets

The Little Boy, The Father-in-Law, and I took a trip to Gettysburg this weekend, as my son has gotten really into history. There is a certain level of awe associated with walking around a place steeped in so much history, but also discomfort at just how awful it must have been.

Of note here, one thing we learned was that Abner Doubleday was briefly in charge of the union troops at Gettysburg on the first day of fighting. Doubleday, of course, is better known for (almost certainly not) inventing baseball, and I had no idea about his civil war connections. And though he may not have actually invented baseball, there are theories that he did bring along the New York Rules (from Cooperstown, NY) with him into the military, and supplied soldiers with bats and balls for morale. Given how widely he traveled, given how many men from all over the country would’ve come across his version of the sport, and given that the New York Rules of baseball laid the foundation for the modern rules we would recognize today, it’s certainly possible that Doubleday is uniquely responsible for the spread of baseball.

And now from the 21st century …

•   Nico Hoerner was able to do a light pre-game workout yesterday, but the Cubs still decided to put him on the IL with the right ankle sprain. And that’s probably good! For years, we’ve seen the Cubs play shorthanded and/or send guys back out there with nagging issues that impact their performance or degrade their health. The last thing you want is Hoerner out there trying to play compromised and hurting himself worse, or hurting himself in some other way.

•   It sucks – HARD – how Hoerner’s injury happened, but you can deal only with the reality in front of you. And in that reality, you’ve just gotta sit Hoerner down and make sure he’s close to 100% before he gets back out there. With Andrelton Simmons ready to return anyway, and with the ability to backdate the 10-day IL stint by three days, it just made so much sense to make this move.

•   It’s been a weird, disappointing, and frustrating last ten days for Frank Schwindel, which is probably why it was especially great to see him battle for that game-winning bloop single yesterday:

https://twitter.com/MLBastian/status/1526006690943930369

https://twitter.com/MLBastian/status/1526006333937287168

•   I really enjoyed this read at the Tribune, specifically the section on Kyle Hendricks’ in-game adjustments this weekend. Historically, when Hendricks is off mechanically early in his start, if it doesn’t resolve by the second inning, it isn’t going to resolve that day, and you just have to hope he can get through. That was the case on Saturday, but by the third inning, Hendricks seemed to work it out, and improved to the point where what looked like a mediocre four-inning start turned into a near six-inning very good start. Turns out this issue – the inability to adjust mechanically within a start – was a specific point of focus for the Cubs, Kyle Hendricks, and pitching coach Tommy Hottovy this offseason. Catcher Yan Gomes was on top of it, too, and both he and Hottovy were quick to work with Hendricks early in the start – and then stay on him – and this time it actually worked to help turn the mechanics around within a game.

•   Obligatory Scott Effross awesomeness update: 15.0 IP, 1.20 ERA, 1.04 FIP, 28.3% K, 1.7% BB, 4.8% barrel, 24.4% soft, 22.0% hard. His numbers are just lovely in every way.

•   Seiya Suzuki hit a monster double yesterday that would’ve been a homer in 20 parks – but that corner at Chase Field is so very deep:

•   If that made you curious about Patrick Wisdom’s 9th inning double:

•   Rafael Ortega’s shot in the first would’ve been a homer in every park, by the way:

•   Oh, and Wisdom’s other shot was a bomb … you know, 12 feet deeper but long gone:

•   Ben Joyce remains so very fun:

•   Unfortunately I just don’t see how the Cubs can land Joyce in the draft. You could not possibly justify drafting his profile (extraordinarily likely to be a reliever) in the top ten picks, obviously, and I don’t think you could justify it with the seventh pick in the second round, either (47th overall – the Cubs took Burl Carraway 51st overall a couple years ago, and he was very similar in terms of being a relief-only profile, but he came with a couple super elite pitches by the metrics; Joyce arguably only has the fastball in that tier, and only by the velocity, not necessarily the other pitch characteristics; also, the Cubs may have reached on Carraway). But by the time you get through all the comp and competitive balance picks, the Cubs aren’t picking again in the third round until pick 86 overall. I just don’t see any chance he’s still on the board by then. Just strikes me as highly likely to go somewhere between 47 and 86.

•   … but hey, Joyce had a unique timeline coming back from injury, which was the primary reason he was pitching in relief this year, and who is to say he couldn’t thereafter be developed as a starter? I think the big question you’d have – and why, once again, it’d be pretty hard to take him in the first or early second – is whether the fastball and slider we’re seeing in relief would evaporate if he were trying to go beyond 30 pitches in an outing. We just don’t know.

•   If you’re looking for a deal on a soundbar, Amazon’s got one in its Deals of the Day. #ad

•   Beautiful:

https://twitter.com/MLBastian/status/1526148591219355648

•   If you missed it last night, Albert Pujols pitched for the first time in his career. And if you missed it earlier in the day, the Reds threw a no-hitter … and lost.

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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