View From The Bleachers

Talking Cubs Baseball Since 2003



April 2017



Organizational Recap – How Heyward Got His Groove Back

Written by , Posted in General


Contrary to what has been the trend so far this year, the Cubs’ bats woke up in time for the first inning yesterday as the defending world champions put up four runs in the first half inning of play thanks to an Addison Russell two-RBI double and a Jason Heyward two-RBI triple. Ben Zobrist hit another solo home run to get to two homers on the year, and Kris Bryant recorded his first RBI of the year, as the Cubs beat the Brewers 7 to 4, taking the series. But, of course, Hector Rondon came in to pitch, and he never seems to end a game without making (and most Cub fans) nervous.

Anyway, here are some of my takeaways from the game:

Impressive At-Bats

I know I have expressed some hesitation about Kyle Schwarber batting lead off for the Cubs in the past, but I get more comfortable with it with every game I see. Regardless of what the result of each of his at-bats is, it always seems like he eats up a lot of pitches, making the pitcher work hard for an out right out of the gate. I love it. Per Carrie Muskat, Schwarber entered the day Sunday leading the National League in pitches per plate appearance (4.68).

After scoring four runs in the first inning, the Cubs made Davies throw 34 pitches to all nine of their hitters before the Brewers had their first at-bat.

J-Hey Is Back!…Right?

Heyward has hit in all five games he’s started this year, and he managed to go 2-for-5 yesterday with a triple and three RBI. He struck all five balls hard, but three of them were caught, one right at the wall.

I have been as skeptical as anyone about Heyward and his “new swing” and said in spring training that I would have no problem benching him to play other, better hitters despite the fact that the Cubs owe him a lot of money. (Though, I should say, his glove is often worth the problems at the plate.)

I am so happy Heyward has started hot, even though he’ll certainly cool off. I am sure it has been great for his confidence moving forward and hope that he even just produces career average numbers this year.

Bryant Starting to Produce

Bryant struggled to start the season, not getting a hit until his 16th at-bat of the season. In internet land, it looked like a lot of people were freaking out about this. I wasn’t; the baseball season is long, and a bit of a slump to start the season is nothing to freak out about if you’ve shown success in the recent past.

Saturday night, Bryant went 3-for-6 with three RBI, and Sunday afternoon, Bryant went 3-for-4 with a stolen base and a run. He looks like he’s in mid-season form now.

Zobrist Bringing the Power from the Four Hole

On Sunday afternoon, Zobrist hit his second home run of the season in the top of the seventh inning to extend the Cubs’ lead to 6-3. In 2016, Zobrist hit 18 home runs, which was the most home runs he hit in a single season dating back to 2012, his second to last season with the Tampa Bay Rays. Will he put up as many this year? Possibly. I’d love to see him hit 20 out this year.

Coming Up

Tonight, in the Cubs’ home opener, they’ll go up against Los Angeles Dodgers lefty Alex Wood. In 2016, the Cubs batted .333 against Wood with a .417 OBP and a .387 SLG. Jon Lester will get the start for the Cubs Monday evening, probably because the Dodgers batted .128 against him last year with a .164 OBP and a .208 SLG. It should be a good series; it will be good to have a rematch against our NLCS foe again this early in the year, as it’s likely we could see them again in the playoffs.

We have just seen the first week of the season! What are you most encouraged or discouraged about so far this year? I haven’t really been discouraged by anything, and I am most encouraged by the play of both Albert Almora, Jr. and Heyward.

AAA – Iowa 1 @ Oklahoma City 12

SP – Jake Buchanan – 5.2 IP, 11 H, 8 ER, 2 BB, 2 K

2B – Ian Happ – 1 for 4, HR (3rd game in a row with a HR)

AA – Tennessee 3 @ Pensacola 4

SP – Preston Morrison – 5 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 4 BB, 3 K

2B – David Bote – 4 for 5, SB

A-Adv – Myrtle Beach 4 @ Lynchburg 3

SP – Oscar De La Cruz – 5 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 K

3B – Matt Rose – 3 for 4, 2B, HR

A – South Bend 7 vs West Michigan 1

SP – Manuel Rondon – 5.2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 7 K

3B – Isaac Paredes – 3 for 4, 2 2B, 3 R, 1 RBI

  • Kyle

    I’m not sure I’m sold on Zo being our cleanup hitter. I know he gets on base a ton, but he grounds into too many DP’s for my taste. i.e. Game 4 in extras with bases loaded and 1 out. I feel like him in the 3 spot and Rizzo 4th makes more sense. But, then again, I haven’t won a World Series.

    • Doc Raker

      Make that 2 World Series for Zo.

    • Bryzzo1744

      Hitting into a double play requires a runner on base. I bet high OBP hit into more double plays than low OBP teams.

      • chrismartin17

        Good point.

      • Dork

        Still all of the DP’s so far have been discouraging.

  • Doc Raker

    I am encouraged by the start Brett Anderson had, if we have another stud starter to go along with Lester, Arrieta and Hendricks we will roll to the layoffs for sure.

    I am a little discouraged by our lack of situational hitting in important RBI situations. Both losses could have been wins had we gotten a run in with the bases loaded and less than 2 out AND in one case a shift was on Rizzo with 2 outs. BUNT FOR THE RBI GAME TIEING HIT WHEN THE SHIFT IS ON, MAN!

    • Dork

      reminds me of what we all said last year.

    • Joe Aiello

      Doc, I’m not sure we should be rooting for “layoffs”

      • Seymour Butts

        Well if you are a coal miner, sure…

  • Doc Raker

    Cubs are on ESPN tonight verse the Dojers. Does that mean Southern California gets backed out? I hope not, I want to see the World Series banner raising.

    Can one of you black out dorks research that and get back to us?

    • Bryzzo1744

      It’s national TV for everyone so no. Plus the pre-game ceremony is going to be live streamed on anyways. I don’t know if it will be on ESPN.

      • Jerry in Wisconsin

        All of the Networks should carry it being that this is a historic event! And Shame on those who don’t carry it, it is the most important thing this year.

      • Bryzzo1744

        I agree it is a historic and folkloric event.

      • Folkloric? Have you been sniffing your landlord’s Gorilla Glue?

      • Bryzzo1744

        It’s from Car Talk

      • That’s an association only someone sniffing their landlord’s Gorilla Glue would make.

      • Sherm

        I think he means high colonic

      • chrismartin17

        I was watching SportsCenter last night and I believe they were promoting the game as including the opening ceremonies.

      • Bryzzo1744

        What time did they say coverage would start?

      • chrismartin17

        I believe 7pm CT, but they said the 6pm SC is live there as well, so I’m sure there will be some stuff then as well.

      • Bryzzo1744

        If they’re there I’m sure they will broadcast it! I’ll have MLB on computer as my backup

  • Riz is really forcing things.. turned a 3-0 count into a horrible at bat somehow.

    • Adam Peters

      Yeah, he swung at ball 4, then took one right down the middle for Strike 2, then whiffed on 3. He’ll come around though.

      I do agree about bunting against the shift. Not only will it probably get them out of the shift, but a free hit is a free hit. Unless his batting average is 1.000 every player should take a free hit if it’s given to him.

      • chrismartin17


      • Jerry in Wisconsin

        Everyone should take anything free if it is given to them. Except for advice.

      • Buddy

        How about free music suggestions from Len Kasper? Maybe something like, “You need to check out the Pat McGee Band,” or “I really think INXS is underrated.”

      • The Brewer feed locked up on my Roku box Sunday, so I got to spend a few innings listening to the dipshits. Len told JD that Craig Counsell looks like the lead singer from Dire Straights when he was younger. Riveting baseball commentary.

      • Almost Mark Knopfler

        Funny, because Kyle Hendricks ALSO looks like the lead singer from Dire Straits when he was younger. Hmmmmm.

      • Doc Raker

        Seriously? Len made a Mark Knopfler reference? I just want my MTV

      • Seymour Butts

        I would also skip free pills the homeless guy outside of Walmart offers you.

      • Eddie Von White

        Be suspect of anything that is free. There is always a catch.

      • Dork

        Sounds like solid advice and it was free.

      • Rufy de la Placibo

        Sure…NOW you tell me.


        Rufy de la Placibo

      • Jerry in Wisconsin

        Well what do you guys expect this was free advice.

      • Don’t sniff CAPS’ landlord’s Gorilla Glue.

      • Bryzzo1744

        I didn’t sniff it. He needed it to fix a few things.

      • Glue Fingers:
        index=Elmer’s white glue
        middle=hot glue
        ring=Gorilla Glue
        pinky=Elmer’s wood glue
        thumb=Super Glue

      • Sherm

        Now CAPS is gonna be sniffing your fingers.

      • Or the landlord. Not sure what he’s doing with all of that Gorilla Glue.

      • Sherm

        Fixing a few things. Keep up, man.

      • Doc Raker

        Landlord needs Gorilla Lube

      • Sherm

        Beware of shirtless batch gorilla lubers

  • Doug S.

    Great. Rain delay and we get to watch a big beard, pony tail and the cardinals?

    • Eddie Von White


      • Ben

        And now a game I don’t care about lol

    • Bryzzo1744

      I cut my workout short to make it home in time for it and I get home to a rain delay. But whatever. After waiting 108 years for a championship, I’m not going to bitch about a 2 hour rain delay

      • Sherm

        You just did.

      • Bryzzo1744

        Since is when stating the facts of the matter bitching about it. I was bitching about it I would have said I cut my workout short for no reason.

      • cap’n realist

        I’ve seen you shirtless. That workout ends short no matter what’s on TV. You’re fooling no one, Homer.

      • You’re not that old.. please be careful with that Gorilla Glue.

      • Sherm

        And quit bitching about it