Facing Alcántara for the Sweep, Mervis of the People, Amaya and Aliendo, Heuer’s First Rehab Outing, and Other Cubs Bullets
The Littlest Girl’s first Miracle League game yesterday was a huge success, which is measured against the following standard: did she have a good time? She did. The whole family did. So that was a very good evening.
- Of course it helped my attitude in advance that the Cubs won, especially the way they won. It felt almost all game like it was going to be another deeply frustrating one-run loss to the Marlins. Good on the bullpen for keeping things close, and on Nick Madrigal and Miguel Amaya for coming through late.
- Now the Cubs have a chance to return the favor, and sweep the Marlins at home just as the Marlins did to them last weekend. I would say that’s still not the outcome I would’ve wanted in advance, and I certainly wouldn’t have wanted it sandwiching a 3-1 series loss to the terrible Nationals, but any sweep is a good sweep. So let’s see a Cubs sweep today. Hayden Wesneski against Sandy Alcántara. Tricky stuff.
- Interesting on Alcántara this year: not only have the results generally not been there for him yet, he’s also averaging under 6.0 innings per start, which is kinda crazy for him. Going 6/7+ is his THING. Hopefully the Cubs’ bats continue the trend today. Bad news for Matt Mervis, though: it’s another reverse split match-up, as Alcántara has been devastating on lefties this year. This poor guy has exclusively faced reverse split righties and match-up lefties so far. The fact that he even has two hits yet is definitely worth taking.
- Mervis of the people:
- More on the Kyle Hendricks part of it soon, but I thought it worth noting here this morning that Yan Gomes caught Hendricks’ bullpen at Wrigley Field yesterday. Hopefully that means Gomes is feeling good after whatever concussion-related effects put him on the IL last week. Not that I’m eager to see Miguel Amaya punted, but I do believe the Cubs are at their best for 2023 when they have Gomes as available as possible. And back at 100%, too.
- Speaking of catchers … I think you would probably guess correctly if I asked who you think has the best wRC+ this year in the farm system, and gave you two guesses. You’d say Haydn McGeary or Christopher Morel. And they are two of the top three! But sandwiched between them is 21-year-old catching prospect Pablo Aliendo, posting a 189 at Double-A. All the more reason that the Cubs need to have Miguel Amaya go to Triple-A when he’s sent back down, rather than back to Double-A. Aliendo needs as many regular starts as Amaya does, especially since he’s Rule 5 eligible after this season.
- Codi Heuer’s first rehab outing went as well as you could possibly have dreamed, because look at this:
- Maybe that’s a hot gun, because Heuer was usually more of a 96-ish mph guy pre-Tommy John surgery, but hey, maybe the surgery cleared up some lingering issues? Maybe during the extra-long rehab process he added some velocity? I mean, if Heuer is ACTUALLY a 98-99 mph guy now? Good gravy, that’s a guy who is going to make a huge impact on the bullpen when he’s eligible to return at the end of this month.
- Speaking of the bullpen, they were so great yesterday. Keegan Thompson had, arguably, his first “Keegan Thompson” outing of the year, cruising for three innings. Michael Rucker covered some middle innings, as he generally does very well. Adbert Alzolay got the save, just the second of his career. It was one of those “entirely homegrown” bullpen days from the Cubs. Love to see that.
- Interestingly, Javier Assad is still up with the big league team and in the bullpen. He’s now far enough removed from his five-inning relief appearance that he could pitch in relief again if necessary, but surely he’s not going to stay up for much longer instead of making starts at Iowa, right? I’m trying to figure out the plan, as the Cubs are otherwise at a normal staff size (five starters, eight relievers). I wonder if the Cubs are simply planning to keep Assad up until Brandon Hughes is ready to return, which could be in five days? If so, I hope Assad gets in a long appearance sometime before then, because you’d really like him to stay stretched out.
- Don’t forget, there’s that whole Adrian Sampson activated and then put on the IL thing. That SEEMED to be a precursor to the Cubs transferring him to the 60-day IL to open up a 40-man spot, which could in turn go to a reliever not currently on the 40-man (Nick Burdi?). But that hasn’t happened, and Javier Assad is still up as the 8th reliever. It’s curious.
- A long read from Jay Jaffe at FanGraphs on how things are going well for Cody Bellinger this year.
- Former Cubs relief prospect Dakota Mekkes is off to pitch in the Atlantic League.