The Bear Truth: Holy Crap the Bears Won
I'm gonna let The Bear Truth website evaporate into the Internet ether over the next few days, but I'll occasionally post some thoughts on here and be sure to team them up with a Cubs related post for those that do not wish to discuss football.
To the recap...
The Good: They won and they did it easily. Color me surprised. The defense was outstanding, holding a good offense albeit not great offense to two field goals. Classic Lovie Smith defense, bend, but don't break, force some turnovers with Old Man Urlacher's full out dive being the play of the game. The fumble return for a TD was just the icing on the cake, and that one was pretty much all on Matt Ryan. The only real mistake on defense was the Michael Turner 53-yard run.
Cutler and the offense looked good for the most part. A 107.8 QB rating and 2 TD's with over 300 yards looked good in the boxscore. A lot of that yardage was on well executed screens, but it's not like anyone doubts Cutler's ability to throw it downfield. And a lot of good offenses and QB's can get their yards on well-executed short yardage throws. I'm just happy the Bears finally know how to execute a proper screen. Roy Williams made the catches that he didn't in the preseason. And is just me or is refreshing to know that third and long isn't an automatic death sentence to the offense? They actually seemed to play their best in those situations.
The Bad: Cutler was sacked 5 times, some of that is the offensive line, some of that is Mike Martz's offensive scheme, some of that is Cutler. Cutler first half could have went from great to disastrous with two tipped balls in traffic that didn't get picked. Cutler missed a ridiculously open Kellen Davis in the red zone on a brilliant bootleg playcall with the TE and 3 linemen sneaking the opposite way. It might not be the easiest throw on the run, but I'm guessing he's made it in practice and it's a play who just have to make.
Mike Martz's playcalling with a 24-point lead that led to the INT returned for a TD. Martz has his strengths, running out the clock is not one of them...or protecting the QB.
The Ugly: Brutal road game at New Orleans this week and then the Packers at home in Week 3, so pretty close to a must-win for the Bears and they delivered.
With several other Cubs hitters bailing out on curves today I think overall it wasn't being seen well. It for sure looked silly but a good breaking pitch coming at you and then breaking down isn't the easiest thing to see and has made many hitters look silly. Also Soler should have more walks this year but for quite a few called strikes that were actual balls and even the called strike he bailed on was borderline.
it's not like we're talking about a guy who's never had issues with pitch selection and seeing the ball over here. we're talking about a guy who has some rather legendary swing-and-misses at breaking stuff who's been exploited low. going forward it's worth paying attention to seeing if he can be exploited inside, too. he seriously bailed out of the box on a called strike. sure it was a good curve, but he obviously didn't see that well at all.
It would seem like he is figuring it out now and it's really coming together. Really happy for him. Joe was really protecting him from the 3rd time through the order, but as you allude to, he is earning trust to go deeper.
Wondering if has potential to become a #3 pitcher? His current stats certainly support it.
That doesn't count b/c CRUNCH didn't see it on his 60" HDTV 5 times in replay.
I have seen many players "bail out" when the ball looked like it was gonna hit them.
Especially with the advent of the splitter and pitchers that can really get the ball to dance. Marmol, Sutter, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Derek Lowe, Smoltz, Arrietta...
These guys have made the best bail out only for the ball to come over the plate and be called a strike.
No shame in that. The same way players whiff hard enough to cause them to drill a hole in the ground from spinning.
a 60" TV with slow-motion replay and multiple looks on that replay helps...a lot...
it's one thing to shy away like he did the 2nd time, it's another to bail out of the box on a called strike. that happened in the 1st one he pulled away from. he misjudged that one by a foot or so...
Good Hendricks sure is fun to watch. He was hitting all his corners today and the Phillies couldn't do anything with his changeup.
Bryant and I believe Zobrist both did that too.
Soler BB acumen and plate awareness is excellent. Not unusual for even the best players to react as if they were about to hit them, "even though they weren't that close" from your vantage point sitting on your deck, or wherever.
soler vs inside breaking balls is scary.
he's had 2 inside curve balls today where he reacted as if they were about to hit him even though they weren't that close...one he bailed out of the box on, it was a called strike.
j.urias optioned back to AAA...guess we wont be seeing him in the LAD series.
so is him actually getting 2 hits in a game (2 doubles!)...first time he's even been on base 2 times in a game since 9 games ago on his 3/4, 1bb day.
im ready for him to at least look like a 2-slot hitter since he's gonna be slotted there no matter what he does.
That Heyward move to avoid Bryant's ball hit at him was a thing of beauty too.
9 pitches in and this game already rules.
HR, double...bryant's turn (who came out to a Kris Kross song for some horrible, horrible reason).
...2 run inning...zoobrest hitting streak at 14.
First time I saw Herrera was yesterday. He took like 100 pitches, fouled off a ton off Lester.
Very nice young player and perfect leadoff guy.
Obviously not Phil. But he mentioned this on Wednesday.
"Dominican Summer League (DSL) Opening Day is Saturday June 4th, so probably about 8-10 pitchers and position players presently at EXST in Mesa will be sent to the Cubs Dominican Academy (probably sometime this week) and be assigned to either DSL Cubs #1 or DSL Cubs #2."
In the comments here: http://www.thecubreporter.com/05242016/cub-power-d...
Per FanGraphs, Cubs have a 72.5% chance of winning today. Jinx! Next highest percentage on today's games is D-backs with a 64.7% chance (Greinke vs. Cesar Vargas, in Arizona.)