That Very Weird (And Bad!) Final Play, Bullpen Decisions, New Lights at Wrigley Field, and Other Cubs Bullets

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That Very Weird (And Bad!) Final Play, Bullpen Decisions, New Lights at Wrigley Field, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

The Chicago Bulls are back tonight, playing their first preseason game. The Cubs and Bears are my 1A and 1B teams as a fan, but it’s not like I don’t also want to see the Bulls do well (I would like to see the Blackhawks do poorly, though, because Bedard). I think I could become one of those aggressively bandwagon fans if the Bulls could actually make a real run …

  • With runners at first and third and one out, trailing 3-0, Ian Happ grounded into an inning-ending double-play to seal the Reds’ win over the Cubs. So how did the game end up 3-1? That run at third shouldn’t have counted, right? Well, it turned out that the Reds’ shortstop was off the base when he received the initial throw, so Esteban Quiroz was safe at second base. He didn’t realize it, wandered off the base, and the Reds threw back to second to get the second out via a tag. Thus the run scores, but the game is still over:
  • Were the game more meaningful in the standings, I’m thinking we would be pretty apoplectic about this one. The umpire was not subtle in proclaiming that the defender was off the base, but Quiroz just never looked or considered it. That’s pretty bad. Were he paying attention, there would still be two outs, but the Cubs would have the tying run at the plate. If you’re a guy who is on the very margins of a possible 40-man roster spot, there’s a lot you cannot control – but that kind of mental mistake at a critical moment in the game is one that you can.
  • I sure hope the Hunter Greene we saw last night does not become the standard-bearing Greene in the years ahead, because he was dominant. We’ve known for years that he had that potential, and I suppose it’s not fair to hope that he never reaches it. I just don’t really want to see him shoving against the Cubs for the next five years. But hey, at least the schedule becomes more balanced next year and the Cubs will only face the Reds 13 times. Wait a minute, what am I saying …
  • Michael Rucker struck out the side in his inning of work, and his results since the Trade Deadline – when he was recalled from the minors to fill the void there – have been pretty great. He keeps flashing outings like that where you can see the potential to be a very good middle reliever (a guy with options left, too, and one you’d love to have as an up-down guy next year if needed). I think he’s a very slight keep-on-the-40-man lean right now.
  • By contrast, Manny Rodriguez really struggled again last night, and his pitches just don’t look great this year. The velo is way down, he’s not striking anyone out, he’s walking too many, and on and on. There was the arm injury this year that might explain a slow ramp-up, but you’d have to really believe he could rebound in a massive way next year in order to justify a 40-man spot this offseason. I think he’s going to be a close call, as much of a bummer as that is, and it’s probably a risk-waivers lean right now.
  • Erich Uelmen was the other reliever who appeared in the game, and he, too, is a close 40-man call. The Cubs can’t just ditch all these guys – you need up-down pitchers who have options and can be CAPABLE at the big league level, even if not above average. But the Cubs are going to have to be judicious, since they will likely still want to sign multiple relievers in free agency eventually – they are good at targeting those veterans – and you can’t have a 40-man with like 20 relievers on it. (To say nothing of the 40-man crunch, more generally, in advance of the Rule 5.)
  • This seems like a perfectly fine thing, and reminds me of my own years-long quest to replace every bulb I could find in any place I ever lived with LED bulbs:
  • As part of their Wild-Card-clinching win last night (Brewers eliminated), Kyle Schwarber homered twice for the Phillies:
  • I understand all sides of this, as we’ve discussed before when this happens:
  • The Yankees, and Boone, are just trying to protect a very important arm – coming off injury – that they’ll need in the postseason. But for Severino, it was a chance at doing something he might otherwise never do in his career. I would be pretty pissed, too. The solution I’ve offered up in these situations – where the game is out of hand or doesn’t matter anyway – is that you let the guy stay in, but you demand that he just toss like a position player. If they hit it, they hit it. But at least you had a chance to complete the no-no, because otherwise, you’re getting pulled. Imperfect? Yup. I would like to see it, though.
  • He always does:
  • Jose Alvarado’s sinker is one of my ten favorite pitches in the game:

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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.