Most players enjoy big boosts to their hitting when they visit Coors Field, home of the Colorado Rockies. That has normally been the case for Harrison as well considering he has a career slash line of .344/.394/.492 at the offensive equivalent of Disney World. In the first two games of a three-game set with the Rockies this weekend, however, Harrison has not been banging the ball around the field as much, with just one hit in 11 plate appearances. Now, that one hit was a double and he did walk three times and score each time he got on base, but the continued cold hitting in July is still concerning. On Saturday, in a 7-3 setback against the Rockies, Harrison had an abysmal -.305 WPA (win probability added), which followed another negative performance from the night before.
Happ started on Friday but was only used as a replacement in Saturday’s contest. As the Cubs faced the rival Cardinals, Happ batted sixth in the order on Friday and went 1-for-4 in an 11-4 loss. Happ’s play in the field helped him stay above water in WPA, as he posted a largely negligible 0.02. On Saturday, he came in to hit for starter Jon Lester in the bottom of the eighth inning but he struck out looking. The Cubs still managed a dramatic three-run rally in the inning to win the game.
What is the definition of pitching a gem? Most would argue you go deep into the game and give up zero runs, one at the absolutely most. If you sprinkle in a heap of strikeouts, that helps as well. By that measure, Atkinson added to his collection of jewels on Friday with an excellent start against the Lake County Captains. Admittedly, he did not go super deep, lasting six innings, but that’s still more than solid. In addition, he let up just one run on three hits and no walks while striking out 10 batters. That marks the fourth-straight game Atkinson has had at least nine K’s. Clearly, he has developed some swing-and-miss stuff in the lower minors, as he has 134 strikeouts in 105 innings pitched this season.
Walsh has yet to pitch this weekend as the Birmingham Barons continue a five-game set against the Jackson Generals.