Everybody Loves Morel, Smyly Solid, Hoerner the Leader, Wesneski, and Other Cubs Bullets

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Everybody Loves Morel, Smyly Solid, Hoerner the Leader, Wesneski, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

The girls are all out for the day, so it’s a Saturday for me and The Little Boy to do whatever we want. And what do we want to do? Run errands! (We’ll do other stuff, too, of course, but we actually do kinda want to run some errands … no judgement zone … )

  • Last night’s win brought the Cubs back to .500, back to within 2.0 games of the top of the Central (now occupied by the Brewers), and back into the final Wild Card spot. I just think it’s fun to think about the fact that if the season ended today, the Cubs would be in the playoffs. Much more importantly, though: we’re another day closer to a trade season that has the Cubs in the race (and thus buying instead of selling).
  • Drew Smyly bounced back from his previous short outing last night against the Twins, going 6.0 innings, allowing just a couple earned runs on four hits and a walk. He struck out four, and it took him only 75 pitches to get through those six innings. Smyly’s ERA stands at 3.05 through his eight starts, about 29% better than league average. He’s pitching like a guy who is going to opt out of his deal after this season, but hey, just like with Marcus Stroman, you’d love to have that problem.
  • Smyly helped his own cause with a great catch, too:
  • I thought maybe Patrick Wisdom had one further this year, but I guess Christopher Morel’s blast last night – 429 feet, looked longer – was the Cubs’ deepest homer of the season so far:
  • Hitting the deepest home run oppo like that takes serious power. Morel’s bat speed is ridiculous, and his path is perfectly primed for hard contact. Whiffs, too, yes, but when he hits the ball, he SMOKES it.
  • Morel’s playing time right now is tied to Nico Hoerner’s absence on the IL, but obviously if he looks like this, there will be almost no sitting him down even after Hoerner returns. “Nico’s a huge part of this team and everybody wants him back and to see him in the lineup and on the field,” Smyly said, per Cubs.com. “But, I mean, Mo’s just electric. Everyone knows it. He can play any position. You want him out there, too, just as bad, honestly, because he can change the game at any moment.”
  • As for Hoerner, he’s still helping the Cubs from the bench. From the Tribune:

First baseman Matt Mervis wasn’t happy with his first-pitch grounder off Sonny Gray for the final out of the fourth inning. He left runners on the corners as the Cubs faced a one-run deficit. After the sequence, Hoerner assured Mervis in the dugout that he’s swinging at the right pitches and seeing the baseball well. Hoerner concluded the chat, “Stay aggressive.”

Mervis trusted Hoerner’s feedback and carried it into his next at-bat in the seventh. Again he swung at the first pitch, a changeup from Twins reliever Griffin Jax, and smoked it to the center-field wall. Mervis’ double scored Patrick Wisdom from first base to tie the game and help spark the Cubs’ comeback victory ….

“He’s a great teammate, he’s always helping in whatever way he can,” Mervis said of Hoerner. “And obviously a guy that’s had a lot of success so far this season offensively and a guy that I look up to as a hitter. So just having him that I can run an idea by approach wise is great.”

  • I’m sure it’s not a pure cause-and-effect thing, because Hoerner is who he is, but there’s probably at least a LITTLE something to the fact that Hoerner got his extension with the Cubs and now feels even more secure in his place as a locked-in guy. He’s a leader in the clubhouse because he is supposed to be.
  • Happy 26th birthday to the grizzled veteran Hoerner, by the way. He is almost exactly one year older than Mervis.
  • As for Mervis, take it easy on the guy. I see people freaking out that the numbers aren’t there yet – last night’s double was his first extra-base hit – but it’s 26 plate appearances, total, and more than half of them coming in brutal match-ups (which was a fluke of timing when he was called up). Some patience was always going to be a reasonable request.
  • Cubs fans were out in Minneapolis last night:
  • If you can ignore the risk of a profile going up on the same day a guy is scheduled to start, enjoy this one on Hayden Wesneski:
  • Love hearing this quote in there from Wesneski, by the way: “The Cubs and the Yankees are very similar when it comes to the way they attack stuff,” Wesneski said. “I talked to buddies that got traded to other places and (sometimes they’re saying), ‘We don’t have any help.’ Because you’re going to get out of whack at some point during the year. And here, it’s like if you get out of whack, they fix you in a day. They want to win. They want to help you out. They want to make sure that you’re consistent. It’s what I’m used to. And I appreciate it because baseball can get really, really, really a lot harder if you don’t have any help.”
  • The Cincinnati Reds City Connects are out, and they’re not bad:

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.