Steele Dominates, Power Bats, Gomes, Hoerner, Iowa, and Other Cubs Bullets
If the season ended today, the Cubs would be the top Wild Card in the NL. Don’t you dare look at the calendar. Just smile.
- How locked in did Justin Steele look last night? Like he could execute anything he wanted at any time. The Dodgers got him on two of those pitches, but Steele was doing it his way. He is not always a strikeout guy, but he had that kind of stuff last night with his 8 Ks over 7.0 innings and 17(!) whiffs. He touched 94 mph on his fastball (that’s pretty hot for him), and his 32.0% CSW is really solid. The contact quality against him, other than the two homers, was crummy. Tip your cap on those two, but otherwise it was Steele’s night.
- The way he can shape is slider is just so impressive:
- Bonus specific fun on what Steele did:
- Justin Steele has that serious Dad Strength:
- Everyone was very happy about Seiya Suzuki’s return to the Cubs lineup, which pushes others down a spot and gives the lineup more length. The home run in his first game back was just gravy. Suzuki went back-to-back with Ian Happ, saying after the game: “Watching Happ hit that homer, it’s obviously good on him, but I wanted to do the same thing” (through interpreter Toy Matsushita, via the Sun-Times). So basically the Cubs just need Ian Happ to keep hitting homers ahead of Suzuki, and he’ll match it.
- The Cubs’ five homers last night gave them 15 on the season, jumping them from 27th in the league to 17th.
- Yan Gomes has now had a game where he hit two infield singles, and also a game where he hit two home runs. Which was more unlikely? Trick question. It was neither. It was the stolen base he had last night. That was the 8th stolen base of his entire career.
- Speaking of stolen bases, Nico Hoerner had two more, tying him with Cedric Mullens and Jorge Mateo for the most in baseball so far this year. I’m not saying he’ll keep up THIS pace, but is 40 or 50 steals entirely possible? Yup. And that’s fun.
- Yes, I am trolling:
- On the one hand, I love this and I love that the first time I’m hearing it is from Justin Steele. On the other hand, I’m so mad I didn’t think of it first:
- Not sure what it was about those changeups last night, but Dansby Swanson just looked terrible at the plate. I’m not worried about anything related to his previous game (he was 4-4 before taking himself out), but it was arguably the worst plate performance of his pro career:
- Mike Clevinger was not disciplined by the league after it investigated domestic violence allegations earlier this year, but I would think that you wouldn’t want to do anything to call more attention to the situation. Was there not someone with the White Sox who could have told him this was a bad idea:
- From the Tribune: “Asked about his walk-up song selection, Clevinger replied: ‘Are you a music producer? No? OK. Well if you have a baseball question, I’m here for you.'” I chose that song and wanted everyone to hear it, but you can’t ask me about it. Ok.
- No other player’s home runs consistently make me laugh out loud:
- Not sure what the injury is yet, but Adrian Sampson was placed on the 7-day IL at Iowa. His first two starts of the year were terrible (and we know how his spring training went), plus his velocity was down according to Statcast. Wonder if something hasn’t been right. Javier Assad took his spot in the rotation, and his first start of the year was mixed: 2.2 IP, 2 ER, 2 H, 1 BB, 2 K, 47 pitches.
- In that game, each of Nick Burdi and Manny Rodriguez had their first really bad outings of the year.
- OMG the immediate strut out of the box:
- Today is Jackie Robinson Day in MLB:
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