- Kyle was the best pitcher over MLB's opening weekend so let's start there. Motherfucker just absolutely DEALS 88mph bowling balls and there's literally nothing you can do about it. Pinpoint command mixed with a plus-plus changeup and a serviceable curve is enough fastball-side-salad to eat Major League hitters alive. Kyle Hendricks is the living embodiment of that philosophy and we're lucky to witness it every 5 days.
The unfortunate thing is nobody outside Chicago seems to give a fuck. Only four starting pitchers have had sub-3.50 era seasons every year since 2016: Verlander, Scherzer, Kershaw and Hendricks. That he's failed to make an All Star team over that stretch is enough for me to shit on All Star selections in most arguments. This dude is a certified coldblooded murderer and it's not until you're on the team bus back to the hotel after a very quiet 0-4 at Wrigley Field against Kyle Hendricks that you even realize it. BTW you're a Major League Baseball player. Sometimes I'll do that to you in my blogs.
Hopefully Hendricks can finally get some of the credit he deserves, starting with this weekly award. Not that he actually gives a fuck because I think he'd rather be playing golf with his dad or enjoying a nice self-guided architecture tour. But end of the day you just want to see your guys get the respect they deserve and that's where I'm at with Hendricks. I'll do whatever it takes to get you to wake up on him and yes that includes shoddy graphic design on the free-powerpoint software for mac:
- Anthony Rizzo & Ian Happ Look Fantastic and it's for completely different reasons. Rizzo looks like he lost at least 30 pounds and for the life of me he seems more athletic because of it. His at-bats have been as good as I've ever seen while he hasn't lost the ability to drop to one knee and yank it off the HEFTY signage. He's too fast to beat inside. Too good to beat away. Too savy to go outside the zone. On and on it goes, all positives about his ability to absolutely slap Major League pitching around his home ballpark. The fact he's growing the lettuce out is a nice touch.
Elsewhere, Ian Happ was our slamdunk starter in center heading into 2020 but that had as much to do with Albert Almora sucking as it did him earning the job. 3-games in and I think we're sold on Happ, even with Almora starting Monday night in Cincinnati. We'll get to that in a second, but for now it's fucking sweet to see Happ come out with some fire in his belly like he's about to take Eddie deep
- Lineup Consistency Has Been Nice and that's a major change of pace from Joe Maddon. And to be honest, thank fucking God for it. You can laugh and joke all you want but the reality is that Joe Maddon would have 3 different leadoff hitters and sat Contreras and bat Javy 6th and just a bunch of weird shit already. David Ross on the otherhand is looking like he's filling out the high school lineup card after you guys get rolling like 13 games into the season and shit starts clicking and you know your lineup. BTW that's like a top-10 feeling in sports no one ever talks about. When you rattle off a couple good ones in a row and then the head coach sticks that lineup the rest of the year.
That's David Ross 1-5 but it's game 4. It's gonna be Bryant, Rizzo, Baez, Schwarber and Contreras until the last game of the season, whenever that may come. Say what you want about what follows. Say what you want about the starting pitching and the bullpen. But do not look me in the eyes and tell me that 1-5 doesn't hammer mediocre pitching. Maybe even get some All Star nominations if it fits my argument.
- Tyler Chatwood Pitched Like He's Worth $13,000,000 a year over the weekend and that's a good thing. I don't want to get into this longwinded analysis but generally speaking he has sucked as a Cub. This Sunday was different and because I'm a risk to jinx the shit out of it, all I have to say is that I enjoyed his success. Go Tyler.
We Got A Game Tonight
It's Wade Miley vs. Jon Lester in the battle of hillbilly veteran lefthanded starters that predominantly rely on low-90's cut fastballs. I know that's a mouthful but just trust me on this one. If the two combine for 200 pitches, about 85 of them will be cutters. That's a lot, which is why David Ross is making his first Platoon lineup of the season. KB is out in right, Souza in left, Bote at 3rd, Hoerner at 2nd and Almora in Center while Caratini, Kipnis, Happ and Heyward sit to start the game. On paper that looks to be a terrifying bench for right-handed relievers, and the current lineup doesn't bode too well for lefties. As I say in the video, Miley has a .770 OPS against righties vs. .660 for lefties in his career. Going almost entirely right handed hitters to start is the easy move.
On the other side, we'll have to stomach through a 4-game set against Nick Castellanos. It fucking kills me I can no longer call him Castellabos. It sucks he's not the Souza on this team and if we knew about the DH I would hope to guess Theo pulls the trigger on him. But I don't want to go down this path knowing there's nothing but bad thoughts and negative vibes. Instead, I want the Cubs to celebrate and honor Nick's extreme love for baseball with a flawless demonstration of fundamentals and 2-strike hitting en route to a 4-game sweep, thus asserting the Cubs as the early clubhouse leader in the NL Central.
That would be nice.