With no bench clearing altercations or other highly unusual happenings from last night’s games, we’ll just take this opportunity to remind you that Dallas Keuchel and Craig Kimbrel still don’t have jobs. But hey, three teams have watched James Shields throw recently.

Pitching Performance of the Day

This is a relatively easy call as Chris Paddack led all of yesterday’s starters in both strikeouts and innings pitched. Paddack struck out 11 over 7.2 innings while allowing no runs and only five baserunners. Perhaps the most impressive part of the outing was that he needed only 91 pitches. Paddack now ranks 12th in the league in strikeout rate minus walk rate, and his .129 batting average against is best in the league among qualified starters. While a .176 BABIP and 80-percent strand rate are certainly helping, the underlying numbers are all there, so any regression should be mild when the luck evens out a bit. Here’s a look at how filthy Paddack was last night.


Hitting Performance of the Day

Jorge Polanco was a triple short of the cycle yesterday and added a walk for good measure. He stroked his home run to a deeeeep part of the park.


With that being his sixth home run, Polanco has now matched his home run total from last season. His HR/FB rate is obviously higher, but at 10.9-percent it’s still below the league average, so it’s not necessarily an unsustainable number. The real difference is that Polanco is elevating more as his fly ball rate is currently 53.9 percent compared to 38 percent last year and 41.3 percent for his career. Polanco has made other improvements as his strikeout and walk rates are markedly better than they were last season. All of that has led to Polanco currently ranking second in wRC+ among qualified shortstops. The power feels sustainable while the plate discipline numbers could regress some as an increase in contact on pitches outside the zone seems to be the main driver. But even if those numbers slip, the added power will easily keep him well above average at the position.

Game of the Day

While yesterday’s Marlins-Cubs game lacked back and forth drama, it is a perfect illustration of how valuable a walk can be. The Cubs jumped out to a 3-0 lead through two innings, which was erased by the top of the sixth, but the Cubs retook the lead in the bottom half of the innings. They still led 4-3 entering the ninth and had a win expectancy of 84.2-percent. Pedro Strop walked the lead off batter in the ninth and their win expectancy dropped to 72.8-percent. Strop then walked the next batter and the win expectancy was down to 56.3-percent. Neil Walker then singled but the runner on second was held at third. Strop then walked another batter and Chicago’s win expectancy was all the way down to 16-percent. Strop now has a 12.2-percent walk rate on the season and three meltdowns per Fangraphs’ definition of the stat. Steve Cishek would appear to be next in line for saves in Chicago.

Here’s a look at the game chart courtesy of Fangraphs.

What to Watch for Today

Caleb Smith will take his 2.00 ERA into Wrigley field tonight where the conditions look like they’re going to be very favorable to pitchers. The forecasted game time temps are in the mid-40s with a solid wind blowing in from left center and some light precipitation in the forecast. Normally Miami pitchers are getting a negative park shift on the road, but that may not be the case tonight.

Noah Syndergaard is also in action tonight and will look to build on the complete game shutout he tossed in his last outing. Syndergaard allowed four or more runs in five if his first six starts, but it appears as if most of his performance was luck related. His underlying numbers look relatively in line with his career marks, but a .345 BABIP and 61-percent strand rate are clearly anomalous to some degree. He has an excellent matchup against the Padres tonight as they rank 23rd in wRC+ vs. RHP with the highest strikeout rate.