Thompson’s First Really Rough Night, Mills Returns, Morel Keeps It Up, and Other Cubs Bullets

It seems it’s time for another reminder about the commenting policy at the site, because I see some folks slipping back into their old ways. If you want to not get the boot for violating the policy, please review the policy, or read the META at the bottom of this post.

•   Keegan Thompson got knocked around by the Orioles last night, his first really bad outing of the year, and it was a reminder that nothing is going to be perfectly linear for any of the Cubs we hope to be emerging over the next 12 months. You can’t just COUNT on guys who break out for a couple months definitely absolutely perfectly continuing that for years to come. Even Thompson, who has looked so consistently great this year, is going to have an off night, and while the Cubs are still in this developmental mode, you just hope a down night can serve some longer-term purpose.

•   It wasn’t very hard to see why the Orioles were able to bounce him so quickly:

•   How Willson Contreras described what he was seeing from behind the plate (NBC): “He’s pitched really well for us, but tonight he didn’t have the command of pitches like he has,” Contreras said. “The fastball command wasn’t there. The breaking balls were a little flat in the zone.”

•   But why did the control problems happen in the first place? And why wasn’t he getting good movement on his pitches either, something David Ross saw as well? Well, Thompson hopes he spotted something when reviewing images from the start, where he saw that his front foot was not landing like it usually does (Tribune). This is hopefully just a part of the process of a guy learning how and when things can go sideways for him, and then working in between starts on (1) how to avoid it happening again in the future, and (2) making an adjustment in-game if it does happen in the future.

•   Meanwhile, Alec Mills was summoned for cleanup duty in the game, and while the stakes were quite low at that point, he threw five innings of two-run ball, getting a surprising volume of whiffs (including one walk and six strikeouts). He also gave up a couple homers to righties, which is an odd one for him. It seems that for as long as Thompson gets runway in the rotation, Mills might be that primary bulk reliever, though it remains to be seen if it’ll be more traditional “long man” outings like last night, or if Mills will be brought into tighter spots, too.

•   I wonder what Mills’ role is with the Cubs longer term. He is now 30 and will begin arbitration next year. Sometimes I wonder if the Cubs will decide he’s going to be squeezed out going into next year, and will see if there is a market for a good, cheap swing-man at the deadline.

•   Fun fact on Chris Morel’s homer-and-triple game last night? It was the first for a Cubs rookie since Robel Garcia’s super fun 4th of July game in 2019 (remember that?), and he’s the youngest to do it since Starlin Castro a decade ago (almost to the day). (h/t Cubs.com)

•   Rookies in baseball this year who have a better wRC+ than Morel’s 150: (null set).

•   David Ross was bummed to hear that his former manager Joe Maddon, the guy whose job he took in Chicago, was fired in Anaheim.

•   Tabletop board games, water toys, and more are your Deals of the Day at Amazon. #ad

•   Lefty Conner Menez was successfully outrighted to Triple-A Iowa, so he remains in the organization.

•   When it comes to their favorites, Cubs fans have the grip strength of a full-grown orangutan:

META: This is a repeat of what I said a couple months ago, but I know not everyone had a chance to see it then. So this is your reminder …

The level of unkindness in the comments has reached a point over the past six months where I have to say something, and provide an explicit caution of the increased enforcement that’s coming. I don’t think anyone wants the viability of the comment section to be put into question, but that’s how serious this has gotten. There’s a reason most places around the web do not have active comment sections anymore, and it’s because they can’t get past this moment.

Specifically, I have to start more assertively enforcing our terms of use and commenting policy, which, among other things, prohibits commenters from: “engag[ing] in behavior that is not in the interest of facilitating enjoyable, productive discussion (i.e., disruptive comments; excessive caps, exclamation points, and/or text-speak; “trolling;” comments designed to annoy, irritate, or otherwise inflame the passions of other users). Disagreements are fine and encouraged. Persistent, irritating, harmful, and/or unkind behavior is not.”

I always had one of the most lax commenting policies at BN because I believe in the idea that well-intentioned people should be able to comment freely on the internet. But there’s nothing in the Internet Bible that says, “Brett, you must provide everyone a free place to come and shit on you, your staff, and other commenters.”

Criticism will always be permitted – I’ll get some criticism about this very point! Noting our mistakes? Fine, of course. Taking us to task when we’re wrong, disagreeing with how we do things, and on and on. All still fair game, because obviously. But there is a very clear and fundamental difference between being someone who likes to argue on the internet and being someone who has made it his hobby to be a jerk. I’ve been doing this long enough to know the difference, and I’ve let that latter category of folks go unchecked for too long. I guess I thought that I could reason with them or maybe they would bet bored of their own BS.

I don’t need cheerleaders in the comments. What I need are decent humans who are engaged in good-faith discussions about whatever comes up. If I see you being the kind of jerk I’m talking about, in violation of our commenting policy, that’s it. You’re gone. I’m tired of it. Be a better person.

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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