Cubs 7, Brewers 4 (4.19.17)

In Postgame by berselius21 Comments

OSS: Addison Muscle walks it off.

Three up:

  1. Addison Russell capped off the Cubs comeback with a three run bomb to end the game in the bottom of the ninth. It's certainly the best kind of rally killer. Not surprisingly he was the Cubs WPA leader on the day. He also knocked in the Cubs third run in the eighth inning before thay rally was squelched.
  2. Bryzzo combined to do Bryzzo things, starting off the Cubs rally in the eighth and driving in the tying run in the ninth.
  3. Miggy's bat continues to be relatively hot. He came off the bench in the ninth and punched out a single to keep things moving along. He's had a good couple of games, though it's kind of painful to watch him run at this point.

Three down:

  1. Hendricks got knocked around again in this start, and the low velocity continues. This has been kind of baffling all around – as Jeff Sullivan pointed out, all of the Cubs starters have seen a significant dip in velocity this year. The only explanation so far seems to be that this is something deliberate to try to save their arms for late in the season. Which I guess is possible, but I'm pretty sure guys like Arrieta and Lackey have just one gear.
  2. Baez did not have a good day, going 0-4 with three strikeouts, including one in the bottom of the eighth with runners at second and third with the Cubs down a run.
  3. Almora had the biggest negative WPA play by any position player on the day, striking out just before the aforementioned Javy K. Hitting his first home run of the year does make up for it a bit though.

Next up: The Cubs have an off day and then head to Cincy to take on the division leading Reds (it still feels strange to type this).

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Comments

  1. dmick89

    Is there any evidence whatsoever that a pitcher takes off significant velocity to save himself for later in the year? That explanation seems less plausible to me than they’re all injured. That would also be an odd strategy IMO. It would make a lot more sense to spread it out over a few months or give guys extra days off.

    My theory is that the Cubs pitchers took it easy in spring training to the point of almost doing nothing and are using April as their spring training. I recall Joe saying something about some of these starters taking it easy in spring because of their workload last year. But I think it’s just as likely a few of them are injured and it’s taking a couple others longer to get ready.

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  2. Perkins

    If I had to bet on any of their being injured, it’d be Anderson because, obviously. Hendricks said yesterday that he’s still getting his mechanics right and building up strength. Lackey has generally looked okay other than the first inning, and Arrieta and Lester have been pretty good.

    The one I’m most concerned about is Hendricks, since he has the lowest margin for error. I also think the most realistic answer is that they’re treating April more like spring training since the Pirates and Cardinals are both significantly worse than the Cubs in true talent level, and the Cubs expect to be playing in October for the third year in a row. I really hope that’s the answer, because otherwise this season will be interesting in a bad way.

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  3. Edwin

    dmick89,

    “this is something deliberate to try to save their arms for late in the season” I find this about as plausible as how Mike Olt just needs contacts to fix his K% problem, or that Hayden Simpson just needs to recover from mono.

    That’s the type of BS excuse that fans/managers throw out there because it makes it sound like it’s an active choice that can be changed. Lester and Lackey haven’t lost much velocity, so I’m guessing with them it’s just a combination of age and it being April. Brett Anderson seems to be at his normal velocity, but his normal is being injured, so who knows. I’d be most worried about Arrieta and Hendricks.

    Don’t worry though, we have Alec Mills, Mike Montgomery, and Eddie Butler waiting in the wings to save the day.

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  4. dmick89

    Perkins: I really hope that’s the answer, because otherwise this season will be interesting in a bad way.

    It makes letting Jason Hammel walk even more frustrating. Hammel or Anderson? It’s not like the Cubs went out and increased payroll with a big signing. They won the World Series. I’m pretty sure they could afford Hammel. He’s definitely better than Anderson.

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  5. cerulean

    Troy Oh Leerie,

    Team chemistry is bullshit. The only thing that matters is team alchemy, turning piss, pine tar, and ball sweat into gold—at least according to John Lackey.

    (I wouldn’t trust my teammates to give me a haircut either.)

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  6. Perkins

    dmick89: It makes letting Jason Hammel walk even more frustrating. Hammel or Anderson? It’s not like the Cubs went out and increased payroll with a big signing. They won the World Series. I’m pretty sure they could afford Hammel. He’s definitely better than Anderson.

    I’d assumed their letting Hammel walk was because they were scared he’d get hurt again (he had elbow problems down the stretch), but then they signed Anderson, so it probably wasn’t that. Maybe Hammel was more toxic behind closed doors than he let on publicly. He and Joe seemed to be at odds a lot over Joe’s (justifiably) quick hooks. I get that talent is the most important thing, but maybe the marginal improvement from Hammel wasn’t worth the amount of pain in the team’s collective ass.

    Obviously I have as much insight or less as anyone else here, so I’m just speculating. Hammel’s tendency to do well early and fade down the stretch doesn’t seem that bad for the Cubs since playoff rotations only have four spots.

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  7. cerulean

    dmick89,

    Hindsight is 20/20. If they knew that they were not going to make a deal for a better starter within a year, maybe they don’t decline the option. Brett Anderson has always struck me as a fallback with about the same limited upside and ineffective downside as Hammel. But it should be noted that the year is not up.

    Plus, it would be myopic to discount the fact the team has no loyalty to Anderson that can make them look like assholes by moving him to the pen. I don’t think you can go wrong by taking into account the human side when that accounting costs nothing on the field or the business side.

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  8. cerulean

    Some pessimistic pitching tidbits from my local team:

    Dylan Cease is okay, though his K-rate is too high and needs to come down.

    Dakota Mekkes has yet to give up a hit in nine innings, which is obviously unsustainable and means he is not pitching to contact.

    Wyatt Short is a short southpaw who has struck out 40% of the batters he’s faced while walking 5%—an imbalance guaranteed to earn a demotion.

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  9. EnricoPallazzo

    cerulean: Dylan Cease is okay, though his K-rate is too high and needs to come down.

    i now picture cubs minor league pitchers to be like the old teamster stereotype. like they really fuck with the new guy if he tries too hard – “whoa, whoa, whoa man, no need to be throwing so many strikes out there. we’re gettin’ paid by the hour!”

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  10. Rizzo the Rat

    Chris Sale has only been pitching for Boston a few weeks and he’s already forgotten the lessons his former employer taught him about pitching to contact.

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  11. Urk

    I didn’t really have any expectation at all for Jay as a part of this team, but it seems like he’s been good to have around so far.

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