Pitching Impresses in Loss, Mancini’s Work, Hendricks’ Delivery, Deal at Wrigley, Rings for South Bend, and Other Cubs Bullets

Ever go through stretches where you are suddenly sleeping very poorly for reasons you cannot pin down? That’s me over the past week (precedes the time change), and I cannot figure it out. No major habit changes, no major new worries, etc. I’m just kinda tossing and turning, sleeping very light, and waking up feeling not particularly rested.

  • The Rockies beat the Cubs last night 5-2 at Sloan Park. Nico Hoerner homered, Adbert Alzolay and Ryan Borucki went strikeout crazy, and Tyler Duffey had his first rough outing. Justin Steele started and really pounded the strike zone, giving up a lot of hard contact for his troubles. I’m not sure if he was working on a specific pitch (there were a ton of get-me-over sliders to the middle of the zone), or if he was just getting in his work without regard to the results. There was nothing about it that seemed concerning, mind you, it was just interesting to see so many pitches middle-middle.
  • Oh, about Adbert’s strikeout-laden appearance – so many nasty sliders, man:
  • Adbert Alzolay could be so very good in the bullpen this year.
  • Speaking of nasty, I continue to love watching Julian Merryweather pitch. This guy is making the bullpen:
  • Of Merryweather, who has been working on his slider, David Ross said this (Tribune): “Julian’s done a nice job of coming in and continuing to work on developing some other weapons and also stay true to who he is. When he’s healthy, he’s a pretty darn good pitcher and he’s got real electric stuff. Very much a veteran presence to him on the mound. Really pleased so far.”
  • Bluetooth speakers, shoes, fire pits, vacuums, and more are your Deals of the Day at Amazon. #ad
  • We’ve hear about Trey Mancini’s intention this offseason to get back to a more up-the-middle approach, which worked well for him in years past (and theoretically plays well at Wrigley Field). Part of that process seems to be a pretty obvious change to his stance and setup:
  • https://twitter.com/MLBastian/status/1635821659428114433

  • Much more from Bastian here on Mancini’s work, including how the coaching staff has tried to help him get back to a more relaxed and simple place with his swing. “At the end of the day,” Mancini said, “I realized that the last two years, I came in almost every day trying to figure it out. I’d try something new, thinking that I would find an epiphany, almost. And I just kept catching myself saying, ‘I’m trying to do this, trying to do that.’ And I was like, ‘Maybe I need to try less.’ I’ve been saying the word ‘try’ so much. I work hard. I try hard, but maybe I need to just go back to relaxing, feeling like I’m at ease in the box and not really thinking.”
  • Kyle Hendricks to Marquee on his new, shorter-arm delivery: “It’s becoming like second nature more at this point. Just patterning it over and over. It’s helped just being able to throw every day. Getting a rep every single day, patterning it, instead of just throwing 3 days a week at the start. The volume has helped that a lot. It feels like it’s in a really good spot right now. My stuff feels good now. It’s action at the bottom of the zone. That’s who I am. I think I just gotta keep throwing the ball in and intensity and keep feeling better mentally about it.”
  • The goal is to have Hendricks ready to face live batters by April, and then you could start thinking about a return sometime in May. But obviously every step along the way is an opportunity for things to go awry, so you stay guarded. The Cubs have obviously built out pitching depth such that they aren’t COUNTING on a Hendricks return at any particular time, so whenever he does come back – depending on the state of the rotation at that time – it could just be gravy.
  • The Midwest League CHAMPION Cubs got their rings:
  • Don’t miss Bryan’s exhaustive list and discussion of a huge number of Honorable Mention Cubs prospects who just missed his top 50:
  • Enjoyed this read:
  • This is EXACTLY the kind of deal the Cubs have needed to put together (some of these tickets are 14 bucks, too … wow). Get more people out to to the ballpark, period:
  • Pfft, I could top this:
  • 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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