Rough Night For Wesneski, Swanson Sits for the First Time in a Long Time, and Other Cubs Bullets

A busy morning of content means the Bullets got a little delayed, and now because there’s a day game, it also means I have to hustle through them …

  • I hope we saw the worst outing of Hayden Wesneski’s young career last night, as he got hit, gave up free runners, and couldn’t get out of the second inning. The big Cubs comeback let his night fade into the background, but obviously it’s still going to be an issue going forward. I appreciated that Wesneski immediately put himself on the top step to watch his teammates try to come back, rather than head back to the clubhouse to sulk or break stuff.
  • Speaking of the control problems, I had this piece from Matt Trueblood on my mind all night, wondering if there were mechanical issues:
  • Basically, Wesneski’s release point for his fastball and his slider were EXTREMELY different last year. Something like 4 or 5 inches in both the horizontal and vertical directions, and you can’t survive like that in the big leagues over a long period of time, where you have that much of a tell. It looked like he worked this offseason to bring those release points together – they were very close to each other in the first start – but they started to split back up last night, per Statcast data. It makes you wonder (1) whether there were mechanical problems, *AND* (2) whether Mariners batters were also picking up his pitches out of hand, because they knew when his release got a little more lateral and a little lower, it was gonna be the slider.
  • I am absolutely not here to argue for the “human element” when it comes to the umpire calling balls and strikes – it’s time to make the switch – but I think last night was a very good example of how bad control can sink you even when you throw a lot of borderline strikes:
  • Normally, you’d look at those sets of data and say, danggggg Hayden Wesneski got screwed last night. And, yes, a little bit. A lot of calls were missed – pitches in the strike zone that were called balls, and they kinda compounded on him. But as you watched, the reality of the performance is that he was so wild that (1) Yan Gomes didn’t have any realistic chance to present those pitches well, and (2) all the umpire is seeing is a pitch that sends the catcher off to reach way back across the plate. A human is always going to miss a lot of calls in that situation.
  • In other words, that isn’t me defending the human umpire; it’s me saying this is not one of those times to look at the charts and think Wesneski was actually better than the results. He wasn’t. It was a rough, rough outing, where he couldn’t locate much of anything. The led to deep counts, walks, well-struck balls on bad locations, and virtually zero swings on chase pitches or borderline pitches. It looked like a grind, and it was. He will have better days, and I hope he and the Cubs can work on whatever went sideways.
  • Dansby Swanson is sitting today after his cramping issue, and it’s been a long time since he’s taken a day off:
  • Other Cubs pre-game injury notes:
  • Pretty crazy on Trey Mancini’s first homer with the Cubs:
  • Also crazy? Yan Gomes had TWO infield hits last night. You could’ve never predicted that in a million years. That said, after he had a ton of hard contact finding gloves recently, I say it was just the baseball gods making it up to him.
  • Today’s Mariners starter Logan Gilbert is a righty, but he has been much tougher on lefties so far in his career. So naturally … lefty Miles Mastrobuoni is starting in right field instead of actual-outfielder-and-righty Nelson Velazquez? That’s a very weird one. And I don’t dislike Mastrobuoni, it’s just, why would Velazquez not be starting?
  • Fun early stats:
  • Lotta love for Sammy Sosa, Alfonso Soriano, Kerry Wood, and Carlos Zambrano:
  • The minor league starting pitchers today are ALL guys I’d really want to see, including Cade Horton’s debut:
  • 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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