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Chicago Cubs News & Notes

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– The Cubs’ home opener got snowed out yesterday which is pure bananaland to me. I’ve lived in Chicago my whole life and have never seen anything like this. Average April high temp has been 37, low a 26. Get the fuck out of my face, Chicago weather. Even famed White Sox groundskeeper and Chicago legend Roger Bossard aka The SodFather said this is the worst stretch of weather in his career. Worth noting his career dates back to 1967 so take that with a large grain of salt.

– But at least the Cubs are having FUN

– Twitter (recently): ONLY IDIOTS CONFUSE CLIMATE CHANGE WITH WEATHER

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– Bryce Harper in 2019 is such a done deal I don’t even know why I’m talking about it. At this point it’s a distraction. We love you Bryce (not yet / not really) but give us about 7 months to do our thing and then you can be apart of the crew.

– The Cubs are coming off a dynamite series win in Milwaukee taking 3 out of 4 games including 2 shutouts at the hands of Cubs’ pitchers. Across both shutouts, Cubs relievers combined for 6 innings, 1 hit, 0 walks and 8 strikeouts while facing one hitter over the minimum in those 6 innings.

– That’s the true benefit of having a deep team. Obviously the strength over the long run will be the offensive talent and explosiveness. But when the offense stalls, whether it’s now or in July or later, you have to make up for it with starting pitching, defense and your bullpen. It’s nice to see that the Cubs aren’t clicking entirely, but can still beat up on their alleged division rival.

– How bad is the Cubs offense through 9 games? Here are their NL ranks out of 15 teams: batting average (13th), hits (11th), homers (10th), OBP (8th), Slugging (10th), OPS (10th), strikeouts (9th) and total bases (9th).

– It’s just nine games so I’m not pulling the fire alarm by any stretch of the imagination. But it took well into the 2nd half last year to get the party started and I am not in any emotional position to do that again in 2018. Just can’t do it.

– Anthony Rizzo is going to the disabled list with a sore lower back after carrying the organization for the last 6 years. Fortunately it’s just the 10-day DL retroactive back to April 6th meaning he’ll be eligible to play next Monday at home against the Cardinals. That’s nice gamesmanship from Theo and to be expected at this point. More importantly though, I like the cautious optimism that Rizzo is being optimistically cautious with an early visit to the DL. Like there’s no reason to push injury risk when you have as much depth as the Cubs. None. So instead of forcing the Captain to struggle early, I like that we can extend significant rest knowing there’s plenty of AB’s to go around the 25-man roster to not completely set the team back while Rizzo gets healthy.

– Evidence that Rizzo isn’t himself: he’s slashing .107/.219/.214 in 32 plate appearances and if you take away his opening day Yabo, his slugging dips to .074, which is worse than Jose Quintana in 2017 when he posted a .080 slugging%  in 33 plate appearances.

– I don’t know the exact source of Rizzo’s injury, but I do know that he is engaged and soon to wed. Me too. And I know with engagement comes a 300% increase in your time spent sprawled out on the couch watching Netflix and crushing takeout. While comfortable, it’s not doing Rizzo’s lumbar any favors. Again this is just speculation but I’d recommend Rizzo spends more time out at the bars looking fresh as fuck and keeping his stomach sucked in and that core engaged. Keep it tight Ant.

– The Pirates are better than most thought, but that’s largely because 7 of 8 regular position players have posted an OPS of at least .830. For context, a productive MLB OPS is .750 so almost all of their regulars are playing objectively well-above average. Even crazier is that this gives the Pirates the highest OPS in MLB at .814 which includes pitchers hitting. Read that two ways: the Pirates are good or the Pirates are due to regress.

– My money is on regression. I like a clean sweep here 3-0. Go Cubs.