Iowa Cubs Start With a Bang, Brewers Injury News, Clock Comments from Cubs, and Other Cubs Bullets
FINALLY back to baseball again today. That 48 hour wait is interminable after an Opening Day win. Or an Opening Day loss, actually.
- We did get a little Cubs baseball in the interim, in the form of the Iowa Cubs kicking off their season with an 11-run explosion. Christopher Morel put one off the wall in center for a triple to open things up, and the I-Cubs didn’t look back from there. Big games from Morel, Nelson Velazquez, Jake Slaughter, and Mike Tauchman.
- And, of course, there was Matt Mervis’s perfect night: double, HBP, homer, walk, walk.
- Mervis is highly likely to have huge numbers for Iowa over the next month, which is right around the time the calls for a promotion are going to get incredible loud if Eric Hosmer isn’t producing.
- Adrian Sampson started that game, and he dealt with fastball velocity down and no command. Some of that is to be expected in the transition from Arizona to Des Moines, but it was not the kind of outing you want to see from your top depth starter at Triple-A. Hopefully he rights the ship quickly, just in case. The bullpen was all clean, though, with scoreless appearances by Ryan Borucki, Anthony Kay, Vinny Nittoli, and Rowan Wick. Seriously, that roster is just completely full of legit prospects and big-league-adjacent guys.
- I didn’t notice it live in the ballpark, but I did see it in videos later that Brewers infielder Luis Urias was feeling something in his hamstring. Turns out, it was an IL situation, so he’s out. Sounds like the plan is that Brian Anderson will come in from the outfield to play third base, and outfield prospect Joey Wiemer will play right field.
- The Athletic looked at the impact of the new rules on Opening Day games, especially the pitch clock and game length (which isn’t the only thing! but I understand that it’s the most noticeable). Lengths were obviously down considerably – 26 minutes shorter, on average, than Opening Day last year (the exact same length that spring training games were down, on average).
- There were pointed comments in the article from a couple Cubs players. Marcus Stroman (who was dominant, by the way): “I don’t think people really realize that it just adds a whole nother layer of thinking,” Stroman said. “You got to be conscious of the clock. You’re trying to worry about the pitch. You’re trying to worry about the guys on base. You’re trying to worry about your grip. There are so many things going on now …. ” Stroman noted he’s a pitcher “who’s able to step off the mound and breathe when I need to.” “I don’t have the opportunity to do that anymore. Breathing is very important to aligning the body and putting yourself in a perfect position to deliver the ball to the plate. Like I said, I think it’s messing up a lot of guys’ pre-pitch routines, which can ultimately affect how they pitch.”
- From Dansby Swanson (who also had a great game): “Oh, I’ve got plenty of ideas (on the new rules). I just don’t need any of them to get me in trouble. I definitely think that there’s some adjustments that can be made. But like I’ve said very early on, we got three options. One of them is to just complain about it all year, which ain’t going to do anybody any good. The second is to just embrace it and find ways to use it for our advantage. The third would be nobody plays, and I don’t think that’s going to happen, either. So we’re left with one option, and that’s just to embrace it and use it to our advantage and do the best that we can to play this new brand of baseball.”
- When Cristian Hernández gets one, he GETS one:
- The expectation is that Hernández, 19, will spend most or all of this year as the primary shortstop at Myrtle Beach (Low-A). It’s a tough, tough home park to break out offensively, but an offensive breakout this year is nevertheless what you really want to see for him to stay in that upper-tier of Cubs prospects. The talent is enormous.
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- No extension for Ian Happ before the season, obviously, and here’s something from Nico Hoerner that makes you wish they could’ve gotten over the finish line on a deal (Cubs.com): “He’s an incredible player. But his value to our locker room, and to me, just exceeds that tremendously. I’m just incredibly grateful that I’ve gotten to play with him for so long. And, hopefully, I will for a lot longer. He’s just everything that I could ask for in a teammate and friend.”
- Add the banana peel in your mind:
- The Cubs are right smack in the middle of photo day happiness:
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