Happ Gets On Base a LOT, Contreras Makes History, Getting Mad for Miley, and Other Cubs Bullets

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Happ Gets On Base a LOT, Contreras Makes History, Getting Mad for Miley, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

Before we even get into all of the fun from last night, I want to steer your attention to a (potentially) VERY fun stretch of baseball coming up. After an off-day on May 27, the Cubs will face the White Sox (2 games), Brewers (4 games), and Cardinals (5 games) eleven times in just nine days. That is going to be a very tough stretch, but also … wow. That’s a LOT of baseball against the three teams we like to watch the Cubs beat more than most.

And all of it in Chicago (two on the south side, the rest at Wrigley Field)!

•   Thanks to last night’s blowout win (and the 21-0 thrashing back in April), the Cubs have outscored the Pirates 42-19 over seven games. And they’ve won just three of them. That’s very #Cubes. And, yes, you needed to know that.

•   Speaking of last night’s blowout, the Cubs scored only one run after their first-inning explosion, but … c’mon. This was enough offense to hold you over. Especially at the rocket pace of Wade Miley.

•   Ian Happ added yet another hit from the right side of the plate (a double, no less) and reached base four times, bringing his OBP up to .405, which is the sixth highest mark in MLB! His familiar power hasn’t quite shown up this season, but when you have 21 walks to 27 strikeouts and you’re hitting .282, that’s a pretty darn good overall profile (131 wRC+ for the season).

•   But I really don’t want to sleep on the progress he’s shown from the right side of the plate this season. Obviously, we’re still talking about a small sample, but he’s got 1w hits, including a double and a homer, and 3 walks in just 34 plate appearances as a right-handed hitter this season. Huge development for him.

Ian Happ’s wRC+ as a RHH

2017 (113 PAs): 98 wRC+
2018 (117 PAs): 69 wRC+
2019 (33 PAs): 95 wRC+
2020 (59 PAs): 99 wRC+
2021 (126 PAs): 76 wRC+
2022 (34 PAs): 174 wRC+

•   Sticking with the first inning, Willson Contreras saw exactly two pitches as the leadoff man … the first he hit for an opposite field, leadoff double and the second for a grand slam (his 100th career big league home run). Here’s an absolutely glorious call on the blast.

•   And here’s Contreras getting emotional after a truly historic and meaningful home run.

•   With that homer, Contreras moved into a tie with Keith Moreland for the 24th most homers in a Cubs uniform (100 HRs). He’s third among Cubs catchers, behind Jody Davis (122 HRs) and Gabby Hartnett (231 HRs). He might be able to catch Davis this season, but an extension would make that a heckuva lot easier to accomplish! Just saying. With a 158 wRC+, Contreras is currently the 15th best hitter in MLB (t-Paul Goldschmidt).


•   I don’t want to sleep on the impact of Yan Gomes, though, who’s been able to take some pressure off Contreras with steady production behind the plate, giving him more overall rest and the ability to start as the DH. Gomes had three more hits last night and is up to a 93 wRC+. As a very talented backup catcher in almost every capacity, that’s very valuable, even independent of the impact on/for Contreras.

•   We’ll get into Wade Miley in MUCH greater detail later this afternoon, but he was just so freakin’ good last night. He went three-up, three-down in six of his seven innings and allowed just one hit all night. No walks, no nothing. I will gripe on his behalf, however, for the bush league move from Michael Chavis, who called EXTREMELY late timeouts twice before lacing a line drive single into left field. The second timeout was especially egregious (Miley was already in his wind up and delivered the pitch with the ump still behind the plate) and it completely threw him off his game. I know that’s, like, the entire point … but it’s pretty lame to do that when the guy has a perfect game going with two outs in the 5th inning and you’re down 9(!) runs.

•   Plenty of really great outings from the starters over the past week.


•   Brett said I have to mention that Alfonso Rivas hit a 103.8 MPH line drove double off coming off the bench last night. Does this guy have a pretty swing or what? I like the way our prospect guy, Bryan, put it on Twitter last night: “Please know that if I ever write something like “easy/simple/direct hand path” in a scouting report, I’m probably saying the person swings like Alfonso Rivas. Just love how uncomplicated he makes it look.”

•   In case you missed the early morning news, the Cubs are calling up a legitimate prospect, Christopher Morel. Morel ranked 17th in the Cubs system according to the Bleacher Nation Top Prospect Rankings, one spot behind Miguel Amaya and ahead of Chase Strumpf.

•   Brett also updated the Cubs injury report, which continues to be loaded with rehabs, illnesses, and injuries.

•   Video projectors, pillows, and a pretty cool beach tent are among your deals of the day at Amazon. #Ad

•   The Bulls have a big offseason ahead of them. Are they going to reshape their current core with a big deal for someone like Deandre Ayton or will they keep the band together and hope for a little better health next year?

•   Meanwhile, the Blackhawks are in no rush to hire a new head coach, despite the sudden availability of a couple big names.

Author: Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami covers the Chicago Cubs, Bears, and Bulls at Bleacher Nation. You can find him on Twitter @Michael_Cerami