That’s a touch harsh. The Cubs have been playing much better at least since the Pirates were here, though it hasn’t always felt like it. There’s a frustration they didn’t sweep this series as they did the Marlins, but despite Zack Greinke‘s ballooned ERA and HR/FB rates he’s still Zack Greinke and sometimes he’s gonna put it on ya. Robbie Ray should have been easier fodder, but the Cubs got there in the end no matter how uncomfortable it might have been. Which is good, because the fireworks show that is the Dodgers roll in here, and if you were watching the Cubs’ pen through your eyes before, just wait for that Kyle Ryan–Cody Bellinger matchup in the 7th..,.
Let us away…
The Two Obs
-Good Tyler Chatwood starts are in some ways even more infuriating than bad ones. Anyone who says they can’t understand why the Cubs signed Chatwood is just being willfully ignorant, an asshole, or both. It’s clear what caused the brass to play a hunch. He was easy 94-95 today, that two-seam was boring in on righties and everything had sink. Nine groundouts of his 18 outs, and a couple double-plays after walks that had the Wrigley faithful groaning (probably a touch unfairly). One start does not a revival make, but this is what the Cubs thought they were getting. If Chatwood can keep this going, there are some really creative possibilities going forward. But we’ll have to wait on that. At least Lester’s return isn’t as desperate as it might have been yesterday.
-On the other side, I can’t imagine the Cubs are ok with Yu Darvish throwing just two pitches. And if they are, it would be strange. According to the charts, it says Darvish deviated between his cutter and his fastball, but they look awfully similar. He’s only combining that with his slider, which he only occasionally choking back to make into a curve. His splitter has disappeared. And when he can’t locate his fastball, which he hasn’t really all year, there’s nowhere for him to go. He still held the Cubs in but he’s capable of so much more of a repertoire.
–David Bote got the game-winner today off of a breaking pitch. Wonders never cease.
-We’ll have to do a deep dive on Kris Bryant this week, because I’m struggling to remember when he’s strung hard-hit balls together.
–Anthony Rizzo had two hits and he’s still got an unsightly average, and on the broadcast even Jim Deshaies was compelled to mention his BABIP. But his line-drive rate is down, though his hard-contact rate is up. He’s also going the opposite way far more, perhaps sick of the sight of the shift gobbling up anything he has to offer. Maybe April just isn’t his thing.
-So much for worrying about Kyle Hendricks. And so much for him trying to integrate a curve. Maybe later, Cerebral Assassin.