The Milwaukee Brewers ended the Cubs 4 game win streak with a 4-3 win at Wrigley Field. With that I bring you G-NOTES....5 takeaways from this afternoon's ball game.
1) Nico Hoerner - Hoerner said he was a bit surprised that he was not a part of the team from the jump but he was proud of the work he put in during the offseason and that made the hard news easier to handle. He made the adjustments, took care of his body and had a great spring training. He's a very smart player and his teammates think highly of him. In his two starts this season he's 4-6 with 3 RBIs and 3 walks,. His versatility makes him an asset and in my humble opinion, he should be the Cubs new leadoff man. The business of baseball is a REAL thing and the only reason I can fathom why he didn't start the season on the big league roster is because they're trying to Kris Bryant the man.
2) Ian Happ - Speaking of the Cubs leadoff man, Happ is looking more like me at the dish than the guy the Cubs had high hopes for after a pretty good showing in last season's 60 game sprint. #Happer has shown patience laying off of the high heat and rarely taking hacks outside of the zone. He's drawn 14 walks at the top spot but only has nine hits and he's fanned 24 times in 62 at bats for a 39% strikeout rate. (He was 1-4 today with 3 Ks) I know his position as player rep for the Cubs has earned him some stripes but it's time to let his bat do the talking.
3) Home plate umpire Cory Blaser must've had an early evening dinner date. After walking Nico Hoerner to start the bottom of 9, Jake Marisnick pinch hit for reliever Dan Winkler. Brewers closer Josh Hader's 96 mph fastball (1) was clearly out of the zone and Blaser called it a strike. In turn, Cubs manager David Ross stormed onto the field letting Blaser know he was outta order and was tossed for the second time in his career. Who knows what Marisnick would've done had the correct call been made but the life and energy immediately left the Friendly Confines. He struck out, Ian Happ struck out and Willson Contreras flew out to Corey Ray to end the game. "That was a bad call. In that moment that just can't happen in my opinion. 1-0 is much different than 0-1," said Ross.
Josh Hader's fastball (1) was up in the zone
4) Kris Bryant extended his hit streak to 7 games and his .309 batting average is a team high. He's a soft spoken easy going guy and if you ask him, he's not in the business of proving his haters wrong. Deep down inside I know he's itching to shut the doubters up and prove that when he's fully healthy he's one of the top players in the game. Baseball is a "what have you done for me lately" sport and with the normal 162 games in 184 days grind, knick knack injuries piling up on a player eventually take their toll. That's been the case for the 2015 NL Rookie of the Year and 2016 NL MVP. An injury plagued 2018 and a challenging 2020 season were Bryant's low points and have people questioning if he's worth the hype and the huge payday he's looking for. Whether the Cubs are buyers or sellers around the trade deadline, Bryant is showing his worth to start the 2021 season and is silencing his critics slowly but surely. In his famous words...."I don't give a shit. I really don't. I'm kinda over it. I feel like sometimes I go out there and I could go 4 for 4 and it's not good enough for some people. SO I DON'T GIVE A SHIT! How about that?"
5) Watching official MLB scorers determine whether they should give a batter a hit or an error has been one of my favorite parts of the press box experience. There's no degree or certification needed to become "official." Just extensive knowledge and a major love for the game. Sometimes....well most times I don't agree with the scorer when I hear "single" instead of E6. It's truly at their discretion and I'm often looking across the press box at NBC Sports Cubs beat writer Gordon Wittenmeyer who's always in agreement with me. (Ian Happ should've been 0-4 today but he was given a hit instead of an E6...if Luis Urias makes a clean throw to first Happ is toast!)
*Huge S/O to Chicago's own Corey Ray for making his MLB debut this afternoon for the Brewers. The former Simeon Wolverine was a 3rd round draft pick in the 2016 draft and drew a walk in his first pinch hit at bat. Big things coming from him in the near future!