Ever have one of those “What the…” moments where you’re just sort of zoned out, yet you’re still self-aware and can’t figure out how to get things back to normal? That was Jake Arrieta for a short while in the 3rd inning of Sunday’s start against the A’s.
“I felt left-handed,” Arrieta told reporters after his outing. “It was one of those weird situations. It’s better to have it now than June or July.”
The good thing for Arrieta and the Cubs is that his loss of feel — not feeling, mind you — lasted only eight pitches. You could probably find the moment in the game by just looking at the play log, even without the small clue above. I’ll give you a moment to check it out, but please make it quick because I’ve got to keep moving.
Did you find it? Arrieta opened the 3rd with a three-pitch strikeout of Josh Phegley, then he walked Mark Canha on four pitches and followed that with a five-pitch walk to Rajai Davis. Arrieta mitigated the walks by making quick work of the next two batters he faced, something we’re used to seeing from him. And he was quick to note that he felt better overall than his first time out, nervous energy gone and rhythm starting to take hold a little more.
“The feel will start to come along even more as I continue to progress,” the former Cy Young winner said.
That makes sense and there’s no reason to doubt it’ll be the case as he builds strength and falls back into those learned patterns. There was, however, one sort of throw-away statement that had me raising an eyebrow. Maybe it’s nothing, but we’ve written here about some of Arrieta’s release-point issues and the impact those had on his inconsistent performance, which is something I don’t think can be overlooked.
“I didn’t know if I was letting go of it here, here, here or here,” Arrieta explained, complete with accompanying visual aids.
Again, this was only his second start of the fake season, so you’re going to have these things come up. Just as long as he doesn’t start going full Pat Venditte (the Mariners switch-pitcher who bears an uncanny resemblance to Kyle Hendricks), we’ll be fine.
Schwarber looking good
In addition to smashing a big home run Saturday, Kyle Schwarber has been proving that he can play a little left field. First he gave us a leaping catch at the wall that may have robbed a home run.
You want me on that wall! You need me on that wall! pic.twitter.com/LFvIMQqDOQ
— Cubs Insider (@realcubsinsider) March 10, 2017
Then — sorry, no pictures this time — he made a running, over-the-shoulder grab on a hard-hit liner. Dude’s gonna be fine out there, probably good enough to surprise a lot of people this season.
Cubs in Kong
I’ll keep this review short, since there’s really not much that needs to be said about a King Kong reboot. My son and I had fun watching it, which is all that really matters in the end. The results were predictable and the tropes plentiful, but I did enjoy the Sam Jackson “hold onto your butts” drop. But John C. Reilly’s Cubs fandom coming through was even better.
There were some other Easter eggs hidden throughout the movie, most of which are hatched in the post-credits scene. This is stuff you’re probably already aware of if you’ve been following along with one other oft-resuscitated monster franchise, but it’s no less fun as a result.
Kong: Skull Island wasn’t a great piece of cinema, though I thoroughly enjoyed the soundtrack and the visual effects and can think of worse ways to spend a couple hours.
Overall grade: C+/B-
This Eloy Jimenez pic
Man, seeing the bat strike the ball is prettay, prettay cool.
— John Antonoff (@baseballinfocus) March 12, 2017
Here’s the result of that swing, in case you missed it:
More news and notes
- Ian Happ is drawing attention from Peter Gammons and others outside the Cubs’ immediate circle of coverage
- The Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and US all punched tickets to the next round of the WBC
- Javy Baez has been doing some big things for Puerto Rico
- Venezuela and Italy play a tiebreaker at 9pm ET to see who moves on
- Andrew Cashner is progressing but isn’t expected to be ready for opening day