Baseball

Series Wrap – Cubs Split With Angels Before It Snows In April: The Pen Is Mightier Than The Sword…For Sepuku

It only ended up being a two-game series, as Game Of Thrones marketing has gone completely overboard and unhinged and decided to promote tonight’s season premiere with THUNDERSNOW. It was a series that saw Mike Trout stay home, Trevor Cahill not take the bump, and yet the Cubs only got one win. It doesn’t quite feel like enough, as two wins were certainly on offer. Let’s run through it.

The Two Obs

-No point in moving any farther along without addressing the bullpen, once again. The Cubs will have a streak soon, or they will need one to get back comfortably over .500. And yet it feels like to do that, they’ll have to overcome a “bullpen game,” or two, like they almost did yesterday.

I’m something of a hypocrite, which you knew by now. I’m a proponent of not really breaking the bank for relievers, because the scenery is layered with palookas and punters who throw 95 and show up for 45 pitches per week. You can find them anywhere. You’re supposed to be able to produce them relatively easily, because your system is littered with hard-throwers who can’t find a third pitch or the stamina to be starters. The Cubs so far have produced only Carl Edwards Jr. and his mind full of spiders, but that’s another talk for another time.

But it’s still galling the relievers the Cubs have tried to move forward with on the cheap. Brad Brach has been declining for three years. Randy Rosario was terrible last year, and pretty much just given a job this year even though there’s no discernible stuff. Tim Collins is the name the EA generator gives to some player that’s too far in the future in franchise mode to be real. At least he appears to have stuff, somewhat, unlike Rosario.

These aren’t guys the Cubs thought they saw something to unlock that other teams didn’t. Pitchers that if they leaned on a pitch or hadn’t before or a tweak to a motion to get more movement or velocity. They’re seat-fillers. Rosario is especially galling, because he didn’t strike anyone out or get grounders last year and yet here we are still trying to make fetch happen.

There’s not much Joe can do, because these are the guys he has to go to.

-Hendricks’s slow start continues. He couldn’t find his fastball at all, and when he has to throw only change-ups that pitch isn’t as effective as it’s not playing off anything. He also hasn’t mixed in his curve at all which he said he wanted to do, but that just might be a good thing. Nothing to see here, yet.

-On the opposite side, Cole Hamels put on his second-straight strong start, never in trouble after the Cubs gave him three runs in the firs. His velocity wasn’t where it was last year, but with a good mix of changes and curves and cutters, and dotting that fastball, it doesn’t matter.

-Fuck off forever, Pujols.

-Contreras carried them on Friday, but he had a woeful AB in the ninth yesterday. With a base open and your run not mattering at all, you have to know you’re not getting anything in the zone. Especially as the Angels had been going to sliders out of the zone on him all day with Stratton. Know time and place and all that.

-Schwarber can’t catch a break, but he also looks as lost as he has in his career. He was just fighting off fastballs yesterday, and still ahead of the breaking stuff. In the end, it only amounts to a bad week, and now a new one.

Onwards…

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