Random Thoughts On a Saturday

In Commentary And Analysis by Rice Cube101 Comments

I chose the Craig jpg by berselius mostly because it’s funny, not because the Cubs are bad. In fact, if we take a look right now (before they play the second game of their series at Fenway as of this writing), the Chicago North Side Baseball Club is actually the fourth best team in the majors, albeit third best in the National League and still lurking behind the division-leading Milwaukee Brewers, who must have some residual Counsell Magic in them. Time will tell who comes out on top, but the early returns of a team now ravaged by injury and suffering at times from sporadic underperformance gives me a bit more confidence than I otherwise should have. Holding a wild card spot comfortably this early in the season doesn’t mean anything really, but it’s better than the alternative.

Shota Imanaga

Anecdotally it seems like Shota has been really good at his command, and while I am bracing myself for the blowup start we probably all feared when we first looked at his scouting report, limiting the walks and really just controlling the zone and giving up a minimum of big bombs has helped him snag a place in history as he has factored into five victories in his first five career MLB starts. Also anecdotally, why he’s supposed to be an extreme fly ball pitcher, he seems to be getting a lot of outs on the ground, and at least in the last game against the Red Sox, has shown proficiency at fielding his position. Imagine Shota Imanaga, Rookie of the Year, Cy Young, and Gold Glove winner? Or don’t, I can’t tell you what to do (also it’s still April).

A Slump-Proof Offense?

The Cubs were incredibly lucky during the spring, but that luck has not persisted into the regular season with regards to injury as two key bats are out in Cody Bellinger and Seiya Suzuki. In limited action, Pete Crow-Armstrong finally got his first knocks and RsBI, and probably looks more comfortable here because there is no expectation he will stay up when Cody and Seiya come back. That’s probably because Mike Tauchman (?!) has continued to play well, which I guess we both didn’t and should expect, given his ability to drive up pitch counts and take his base if there’s nothing doing in his plate appearance. Tauchman (along with various Cubs and really a lot of batters, after all, baseball is hard) does have the issue where he is late swinging at 90s heat, but it does seem like when one guy goes oh-for, some other guys step up, so you have a continuously grindy offense one-through-nine in the order that gives opposing pitchers fits, and then you see things like Hall of Fame-to-be pitcher Justin Verlander not even going a full five innings, or formerly really-hard-to-score-on pitcher Kutter Crawford finally giving up more than a single run. Just for funsies, if we count everyone who has contributed on offense so far this season, the Cubs are collectively batting .250/.330/.411, scoring 5.38 runs/game to rank fifth amongst all MLB clubs for offensive output. And we didn’t even gush about Michael Busch yet.

Defensive (Mis)Adventures

This is again kind of anecdotal and I’m not going to look up the defensive stats because I just don’t care that much right now, but it does appear the Cubs have some things to clean up on defense. Dansby Swanson should probably be more careful with his throws on “routine” plays, they have to determine when to charge the ball and/or just pocket it, etc. The thing AC was bugged about re: Michael Busch picking the baseball seems like a persistent issue, as there were a few plays that you assume a competent first baseman should just, you know, catch the ball. Throws in the dirt are more problematic for any first baseman, but there are a handful where you kind of know that an Anthony Rizzo would have picked it clean. So there are things to work on, but I’m confident they’ll figure it out, just as they have with the bullpen during this chunk of season where they’re just riding the storm out.

Pesky Brewers

I don’t even think you can attribute their record to an easy schedule, but unlike the Cubs, the Brewers have had a few NL Central matchups and have done well in those. I had started this season thinking that all five Central clubs had a shot at the division, but it would appear that the flaws of the other three teams are more glaring that those of the Brewers and Cubs. We will find out a little bit about the mettle of the guys at the top of this division when the Cubs face the Brewers (and simultaneously a Central foe) for the first time in May.

Share this Post

Comments

  1. Author
    Rice Cube

    Futurama good news everyone dot gif

      Quote  Reply

    0

    0
  2. Perkins

    All Cubs today including the legendary Bryan LaHair

    โšพ๏ธ Immaculate Grid 391 9/9:
    Rarity: 13
    IMMACULATE!
    ๐ŸŸฉ๐ŸŸฉ๐ŸŸฉ
    ๐ŸŸฉ๐ŸŸฉ๐ŸŸฉ
    ๐ŸŸฉ๐ŸŸฉ๐ŸŸฉ
    Play at:
    https://immaculategrid.com
    @immaculategrid x @baseball_ref

      Quote  Reply

    0

    0
  3. berselius

    Zooming out from this series, I’m glad that Oli Marmol poisoned the well for Tyler O’Neil to stick around in stl

      Quote  Reply

    2

    0
  4. Perkins

    Goddamn the injury hits just keep coming. Letโ€™s hope forearm tightness isnโ€™t the usual harbinger of TJS.

      Quote  Reply

    0

    0
  5. berselius

    seems like it’s been nothing but shit like this ‘weak ass grounder hits the bag’ this game for the Sox

      Quote  Reply

    1

    0
  6. Perkins

    To dayโ€™s base ball squadron:
    Hoerner 2B
    Tauchman RF
    Happ LF
    Morel 3B
    Busch 1B
    Swanson SS
    Mervis DH
    Gomes C
    Crow-Armstrong CF

    Taillon P

      Quote  Reply

    0

    0
  7. Author
    Rice Cube

    Closer and closer…

      Quote  Reply

    0

    0
  8. andcounting

    berselius,

    Between that and the slim possibility that Mervis makes it through this game without striking out, the Silver Lining of the Game award is going to be hotly contested.

      Quote  Reply

    0

    0
  9. andcounting

    Ugh. Really tough almost scoop on that throw from Morel. Busch is improving but still very much a work in progress on throws in the dirt.

      Quote  Reply

    0

    0
  10. andcounting

    Rice Cube,

    No, it was a crazy hop on Morel that ricocheted off his glove, he caught barehanded and threw on a short hop from a ridiculous distance deep at third.

      Quote  Reply

    0

    0
  11. andcounting

    Rice Cube:
    Hustle runs! And it seems we have another poor defensive play.

    If anyone calls it a poor defensive play on either end, theyโ€™re out of their minds. It would have been a great play all around if they had gotten him.

      Quote  Reply

    0

    0
  12. Perkins

    Counsell obviously has more information than I do, but Iโ€™d have gone with Alzolay over Neris with a 2 run lead.

      Quote  Reply

    0

    0
  13. andcounting

    Iโ€™d say the Cubs had no business winning that game except that Taillon pitched well enough to win just about any game.

      Quote  Reply

    0

    0

Leave a Comment