So a couple weeks ago I run into Fels at a Cub game where the As just completely steamrolled the Cubs. Me, kind of missing writing, and also being in possession of spectacularly bad judgement, decide to tell Sam, “Hey, lemme know if you ever need anybody to write about the Cubs.” So he reaches out after Friday’s shit fiesta and asks if I’d like to recap. I figure, sure, I’m going Saturday anyway so why not?
The Cubs have had this habit all year of turning Wrigley Field into their own ivy-covered death star, obliterating teams that have the audacity to come in with any idea of winning games or series, using homestands to lift them into first place, and making us all think they’ve finally turned the corner, and all the talent they have would finally start translating into wins, before shattering those illusion on the subsequent road trip. I guess winning the last two games away from the Friendly Confines threw the schedule off, because they spent this weekend being perfectly generous hosts to the Washington Nationals, up to and including letting them have the last beer and slice of pizza.
–What in the actual fuck was this? Kris Bryant has feasted on Nationals’ pitching this year, including hitting home runs in three consecutive innings of a game. So whether this bunt was the idea of Joe Maddon or Kris Bryant, it was a bad idea. Kris Bryant should never bunt. Not even in a bunting contest.
-Jon Lester had yet another bumpy outing. Look, everything we know about Lester indicates that he will come out for one of his starts stomping and snorting and just mow everyone down while making the home plate ump melt with his glare. But what if he doesn’t? I’ve still got faith in Lester and his Big Dick Energy.
-Cole Hamels has now given the Cubs a couple gutsy starts in a row. His fastball is barely topping 90, and his control hasn’t been great, but he’s nutting up when he needs to, and gave the Cubs the best start they had this weekend, albeit not a quality start.
-The most heartbreaking development has been the demise of Pedro Strop. I will always remember all the big outs he’s gotten as a Cub, and the swagger he gave the entire bullpen. But it’s time to get the tribute video ready.
-At the risk of this just turning into a Nick Castellanos fan page, if his fly ball in the 10th inning today had left the yard, Tom Ricketts would have been out at home plate holding a new contract. I may be only slightly exaggerating.
-The blown ball/strike call on Ian Happ has been hashed and re-hashed. Kyle Schwarber having a brutal at bat prior to Happ getting rogered by plate umpire Vic Carapazza was a reason why Happ’s getting rung up on ball four stands out. But the cold, hard fact is that we’ve seen fixation over one out of 27. They blew every other scoring chance they had until it was garbage time Saturday.
-What’s the point of MLB having a “Players Weekend” if the main component is to make everyone wear uniforms they hate? The Cubs just gave MLB the finger on Friday by wearing their blue caps, and the Dodgers and Yankees were forced to wear the monochromatic uniforms against their wishes. So a weekend that is supposed to be for the players to celebrate getting back to their roots, while paying tribute to the Little League World Series had half the teams in baseball looking like the sperm scene from “Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Sex”.
-Kyle Schwarber hit his 30th home run, giving him two seasons of 30+. HR number 30 gave his OPS a nudge over .800, and his wRC+ stays a skosh over 100. So while it’s fun to remember the 2016 World Series, and it’s certainly a lot of fun watching him flatten baseballs from time to time, it’s becoming abundantly clear what what you see is what you get with him. He’s basically Adam Dunn.
-They have a 3 game road trip to Flushing to face the suddenly-good Mets, and poetic justice dictates Brad Brach shuts them down at least once. After that though, shit gets very real – they will have 26 games left, and 14 will be against the Brewers and Cardinals. If you wondered what they have hanging in their jocks, we’ll find out before Rosh Hashanah.