The Cubs are winning with an old fashioned NL lineup
If only there were a way to get some offense out of third base. Oh, wait...
The Cubs just completed a frisky 5-1 home stand and if you include their series win to end the otherwise awful west coast road trip they have won seven of their last nine games. That could just be the product of every bad team having a couple of decent runs in them, or it might be indicative of the Cubs coming out of a really bad slump to play more like the 78-80 win team they were always destined to be.
One thing that certainly helped in the homestand was the return of Cody Bellinger, who just happens to be their best player. Cody missed 27 games with a bone bruise in his knee, finishing up of the longer day-to-day stretches in recent Cubs’ medical history.
He’s only had one hit since his return, but the big show off has been very impressive defensively at first base. It turns out that really good athletes who are really good at catching baseballs can play more than one position. Who knew?
But we actually did know that, because the Dodgers used him at first base 262 times over his six seasons there and he was a stud.
Bellinger’s return allowed the Cubs to send Matt Mervis to Iowa. Mervis was struggling with the Cubs hitting just .167/.242/.289 in 27 games. And he wasn’t exactly heating up, batting just .130 with a homer and seven strikeouts over his last seven days.
So Mervis will go back to Iowa where he will work on…well, see that’s the problem, actually. He’s just going to go to Iowa and destroy the International League. Because the reason he struggled with the Cubs was that he has a lot of trouble with velocity. He hit just .149 with a .234 slug against fastballs.
What he did hit well was…not velocity. He smoked changeups to the tune of .308 with a .615 slug. He’ll do great in his return to Iowa for the same reason Nick Madrigal tore it up there in his all-too-brief demotion there. Going from the big leagues to triple A these days is like going from the SuperFast batting cage to the TakeItEasy one.
So what are the Cubs supposed to do, just keep throwing him out there against major league pitching and hope his bat gets faster?
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