The First Hundred
Is remains a word that you wouldn't get very far in life without being able to say. But the old Monty Python joke only works because the two letter verb is so critical to human understanding. The fundamental question about the 2019 Cubs is still what is...I mean are they?
The Cubs have taken a pretty big first step to yet another hot second half. The hiccup on Monday remains notable, but the Cubs are 5-1 in the most important statistic. What are they depends a lot on who is Yu Darvish (and Jose Quintana...and Cole Hamels)? The hot streak has been fueled by the starting staff pitching up to its potential one turn and a start through the rotation.
Yu the X-Factor
There might not be a Chicago athlete more psycho-analyzed than Yu Darvish since Jay Cutler took his talents to South Beach. Darvish has been accused of having just about every possible mental defect an athlete could have, but one of the more interesting things is the idea that Darvish somehow was unable to pitch with a lead.
Darvish yesterday pitched one of his best starts as a Cub and twice was able to shut down the opposition after the Cubs scored in the first couple of innings. Perhaps that might put to bed the whole shutdown inning debate from earlier, but it is doubtful that this recent run of success will be enough to dispel those notions.
The truth was always that Darvish usually pitched better with the lead than from behind (this is common for starting pitchers since their performance contributes directly to pitching from behind or ahead). However, his splits were stark this year, and it fed a nice ready made narrative about mental toughness.
Darvish's command has taken a dramatic step forward in this good run, and that highlights what has been Darvish's biggest issue as a Cub. It hasn't been when damage was allowed but the sheer amount he allowed. And often it was largely of his creation. His stuff remains good, and heads and tails better than any other Cubs starter. If Darvish has this level of command with the stuff the Cubs playoff odds just went up a lot.
Power, Scarcity and the "Jackrabbit" Ball
# of 30+ HR hitters
Cubs Common Denominator Lineup
So no one was able to guess yesterday's lineup. Partly that was due to the reader numbers being lower for yesterday's less than stellar effort on my part, but also it was a difficult puzzle. The feature that each of those players shared is that they made exactly one Opening Day start for the Cubs. Here is the lineup with the year that they made their start.
|Only Opening Day Start||Name||Position|
Here is your puzzle for today.
|9||Anthony Rizzo*||Pitcher||0.00 ERA||0 K||0 BB||0 Wins||0 Losses|
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