Rucker's Rough Night, Velazquez Gets to Stay, Howard Runs, and Other Cubs Bullets

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Rucker’s Rough Night, Velazquez Gets to Stay, Howard Runs, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

It’s Caleb Kilian Day, as the Cubs pitching prospect comes back up to make a spot start. Expectations should be very much kept in check, but hopefully he can give the Cubs five or so capable innings.

  • The Cubs lost last night on a walk-off hit that just got by Dansby Swanson (but I think even if he’d gloved it, there’s probably not a play at the plate):
  • That game was lost before that ground ball, as Michael Rucker loaded the bases on a couple HBPs. He’s been really good this year, so I’ll let it go for now, but you just can’t have that in the highest leverage moments. It’s another loss that you could pair to the need to figure out which relievers can handle which moments and what roles, which is just part of the painful part of the early season.
  • Relatedly, I understand having a preference on whom the Cubs use when, but it’s a small bullpen by rule. It’s not like you have 47 stud relievers available at all times. You’ve gotta use the guys you have, and you can’t hide half the bullpen exclusively in low-leverage spots. Rucker there in the 9th was fine (especially knowing that you’re probably going to need a lot of arms today). He simply didn’t perform. Interestingly, Michael Fulmer, who got an earlier inning again, looked really good for the second time out.
  • The game was also lost because the Cubs scored only two runs. That’ll happen, but I don’t want to forget that. You tend to notice the bullpen hiccups the most in tight games when the offense doesn’t score a lot of runs.
  • Nelson Velazquez, who homered last night, was quite happy to be kept on the big league roster even after Cody Bellinger returned (Sun-Times): β€œIt means the world to me. I’m in the right spot. Here is where I want to be. That’s the team that signed me in 2017. I’ve been with the Cubs for six years. There’s nothing better than to be here with them and help the team win games.”
  • David Ross says that Luis Torrens didn’t do anything to justify getting DFA’d, it’s just that the Cubs felt they had to keep Velazquez up ( “It’s nothing Luis did. Nelly has come up and played really, really well and earned this spot. So he’s going to get some looks here. He can do that, and also figure out how to be a bat off the bench and be a defensive guy that we can put out there and rest guys at times.”
  • I know that the Cubs have three regular outfielders to accommodate, plus a couple guys they like to be able to DH, but I don’t know how on earth you could sit Velazquez everyday at this point. He needs to play. He’s on fire. Just keep rotating him around and see if he keeps hitting. Give Ian Happ a day off. Give Seiya Suzuki a day off. Give Velazquez another DH start. So on and so forth.
  • Ed Howard legging out a triple after his hip recovery seems like a good sign:
  • Kinda weird to see:
  • Oh come on. I will remember this, and Cristian’s strikeout total at the end of the year is getting reduced by one:
  • Barely three months out from his initial announcement that he was battling cancer, Liam Hendriks is back on the mound in Arizona. That’s pretty awesome:

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.