The First Hundred
Micromégas was a novella written by Voltaire in the middle of the 18th century. It is considered one of the earliest works of science fiction and deals with an alien called Micromégas coming to Earth. The name of the creature literally means small large. That concept of small and large is central to baseball. The game is fundamentally based around the batter-pitcher confrontation that occurred over 4 million times between 2007 and 2018. The vast majority blend into nothingness but any given one might have been the decisive moment in a key game. Baseball is a game that allows us analysis of both the macro and micro.
An example of those moments that matter so much occurred in the fifth inning yesterday. Martin Maldonado showed the value of a veteran defensive catcher. Maldonado has always received high praise for his defense, and you can see why with some of those simple little things he did. Alec Mills' performance was strong and Maldonado certainly contributed to it.
Joey Votto struck out looking, and that is something that does not happen a lot. Mills completely fooled Votto with his pitch selection and that rests a lot with Maldonado. The pitch selection was also exemplary against Eugenio Suarez following the first inning homer. Suarez then took a called strike well off the plate. Mills hit the spot and got the call. But that also could have been a strike stolen by Maldonado.
The Cubs will lose offense with Maldonado in the lineup. The Cubs can't really afford another black hole at the plate, but it is going to be tempting to pencil in Maldonado for his glove more.
The Cubs have hit a bunch of homers this year. They are on pace to break their single season record as a team by a wide margin. The contributions have come throughout the lineup, but most noticeable has been Jason Heyward's power surge. Heyward has already surpassed his Cubs single season total, and that has been a large part of his offensive resurgence.
The larger context is that baseball appears to be suffering from another bout of super-jackrabbit ball the likes of which hasn't been seen since 1930. That could be a factor in Heyward's renaissance, but there has to be more to it. The ball has been juiced for a while and Heyward was among the worst offensive players in baseball. I don't know what to make of it to be honest, but it does seem like a factor that has to be considered when discussing the rebirth of Heyward's bat.
Cubs Common Denominator Lineup
Apparently I've been making these way too easy lately. My lineup became sadly appropriate with the passing of former Justice John Paul Stevens yesterday, but here is the key to yesterday's lineup.
|Supreme Court Justice||Name||Position|
|John Jay||Jon Jay||LF|
|Henry Billings Brown||Tommy Brown||SS|
|James Wilson||Hack Wilson||CF|
|Byron White||Rondell White||RF|
|Charles Evans Hughes||Terry Hughes||3B|
|John Marshall||Jim Marshall||1B|
|John Blair||Footsie Blair||2B|
|Samuel Freeman Miller||Damian Miller||C|
|John Paul Stevens||Jeff Stevens||Pitcher|
Here is your puzzle for today.
|9||Greg Maddux||Pitcher||3.61 ERA||1305 K||547 BB||133 Wins||112 Losses|
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