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BCB After Dark: Keep on swingin’

The cool spot for night owls, early-risers and Cubs fans abroad asks if you think Seiya Suzuki needs to swing more often.

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Chicago Cubs v Cincinnati Reds Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

Welcome back to BCB After Dark: the cool spot for night owls, early-risers, new parents and Cubs fans abroad. Just come on in. We’ll find room for you. No cover charge. There’s a two-drink minimum, but you’ve got to bring your own beverage. The show will start shortly.

BCB After Dark is the place for you to talk baseball, music, movies, or anything else you need to get off your chest, as long as it is within the rules of the site. The late-nighters are encouraged to get the party started, but everyone else is invited to join in as you wake up the next morning and into the afternoon.BCB After Dark is the place for you to talk baseball, music, movies, or anything else you need to get off your chest, as long as it is within the rules of the site. The late-nighters are encouraged to get the party started, but everyone else is invited to join in as you wake up the next morning and into the afternoon.

Tonight’s 9-3 Cubs’ loss to the Orioles was just depressing. Other than Christopher Morel’s leadoff home run there wasn’t much joy in that game for me. There were a few good things, like Alec Mills pitching decently in his first game of the season, but the game was already out of hand at that point so it was hard to get too happy. I hate to be a downer tonight, but the Cubs beat me to it.

Last night, I asked you if you thought Justin Steele would be a part of the “next great Cubs team.” I didn’t ask you if he’d be a star, just if he’d be good enough to have a job for a contender. A bare-majority of 51 percent of you thought that yes, Justin Steele will be in the pitching rotation when the Cubs are contending next. Another 33 percent of you thought he’d be in the bullpen, so the good news for Justin is that 84 percent of you think he’s going to be on the team for a few years.

On Tuesday nights/Wednesday mornings, I don’t have time for a film essay, although you can go back and read what I wrote about director John Ford’s 1941 film How Green Was My Valley. But I always have time for some jazz, so those of you who want to skip that can do so now.


Tonight we’ve got some contemporary jazz, with a selection from saxophonist Kenny Garrett’s 2021 release Sounds From The Ancestors. This one is “Hargrove,” Garrett’s tribute to his late friend, trumpeter Roy Hargrove, who passed away in 2018. It’s a funky number that adds some touches from Motown and Garrett’s hometown of Detroit. And there’s a little nod towards John Coltrane at the end, which you will certainly pick up on if you listen to the track.


Welcome back to everyone who skips the jazz.

Cubs outfielder Seiya Suzuki has experienced many of the highs and lows of Major League Baseball since he came over from Nippon Professional Baseball. Suzuki was outstanding in the month of April, hitting .279/.405/.529 with four home runs and 14 RBI. May hasn’t been so kind to him as he hit just .211/.279/.338 with no home runs. Then he ended up on the injured list at the end of the month after spraining a finger trying to steal. He hasn’t played since May 26.

I don’t think anyone expected that Suzuki’s rookie season in MLB would be without at least some difficulties. The transition from NPB to MLB isn’t an easy one and most mortal players have a period of adjustment. (That excludes Ichiro, who is not mortal.) Certainly one bad month is nothing to get too concerned about. Especially when almost everyone else on the team was having one.

But this article in The Athletic by Shahadev Sharma wonders if some of Suzuki’s issues aren’t because his selectivity at the plate has crossed the line over into passivity. (subscription required, of course) Suzuki has the third-highest strike-looking rate in the majors and he’s fifth in the majors in taking a called third strike.

Sharma asked Suzuki whether he thought he should be swinging more often and he said (through a translator) that he’s considered it, but he doesn’t want to get away from what has worked for him in the past. When Sharma noted that umpires seem to not be giving Suzuki the benefit of the doubt and mentioned that Suzuki is in the top ten of strike calls on pitches that Statcast says should have been called a ball, Suzuki rejected the idea that he needs to “protect the plate” and swing at pitches that are close but out of the zone.

Not that Seiya Suzuki needs you telling him what to do, but it’s a good simple question for debate tonight. Do you think that Suzuki needs to be more aggressive and swing at more pitches?

Poll

Should Seiya Suzuki be more aggressive and swing at more pitches?

This poll is closed

  • 26%
    Yes. Major league pitchers are exploiting that
    (19 votes)
  • 32%
    No. He knows what works for him.
    (24 votes)
  • 41%
    Not now, but maybe. Ask me again in August.
    (30 votes)
73 votes total Vote Now

Thank you again for joining us tonight. I really didn’t want to be miserable alone. Get home safely. We’ll call you a ride if you need one. Make sure you didn’t leave anything at your table. And join us again tomorrow for another edition of BCB After Dark.