As the Cubs continue to emulate that “C’mon, do something” meme in real life this offseason, there was a charge of excitement, I don’t know why, when the non-tender list came out. Some of that was from Addison Russell being told to do one, which is understandable. Most of it though is from wannabe GMs who see no problem with the raft of pretty good players being cut simply because they were do a lot of money and want to do everything with the first aim being saving money and looking economical. Welcome to baseball before the 2020 season. Isn’t it grand?

But that’s life these days, so it’s probably a good idea to sift through a couple names that are making the rounds in greater Cubdom that could be help not so expensively.

Blake Treinen – The appeal of getting to make a lot of “Les Weinen” Sideshow Bob jokes is a big one, but that doesn’t really help the Cubs on the field. And Treinen might not either. What gets people’s pants to tighten is that Treinen is only one year removed from being the most dominant closer in the game, with the theory being he can’t completely have lost that. Oh, but he could have!

It’s vital to understand that Treinen’s 2018 had some clearly unsustainable numbers. Namely a .230 BABIP and a 4.4% HR/FB ratio. These are things that are simply not going to happen again. 2019 saw a violent market correction (BABIP is violence, Perry Farrell), with those numbers rebounding to .306 and 16.4%. And Treinen’s ERA went with it, to nearly five with a FIP that was over five.

More worryingly, Treinen’s strikeouts shrank from 31% to 22% while his walks more than doubled. That’s not just bad luck, that’s bad stuff. And that is born out by his fastball losing nearly a mile an hour of velocity and his slider losing both vertical and horizontal movement. It led Treinen to go away from it to a cutter that didn’t do all that much except make his outfielders run a lot.

The hope with Treinen would be that you could rediscover how he could regain some of the movement he lost in his slider or cutter, as well as maybe rediscovering the ways his sinker can turn into grounders again (51.2% ground-ball rate in 2018). And maybe that’s what the pitching lab is for, but it doesn’t appear that his arm angle or release point changed all that much. Remember, 2018 is really the outlier in his career, and though 2019 was excessively bad it more accurately reflects what he had been in DC. If he can find more ground-balls he can be effective again, but he maxes out at a Brandon Kintzler and you already have a Brandon Kintzler. Or you did. Could again.

Kevin Pillar – Oh goodie, an older Albert Almora. Just what I always wanted.

Charlie Culberson – You see how people got here, as he also is only a year removed from a 108 wRC+. But he strikes out a ton without providing much pop, and his infield defense grades out as “Haunted House Prop in May.” The Cubs don’t need him in the outfield, so this is going to be another hard pass.

Cesar Hernandez – Probably still expensive even after getting non-tendered, and his offense has been trending the wrong way for a couple seasons. Hernandez used to be able to get buy a little bit with speed, but was down to nine stolen bases last year which dropped his BABIP to .317 from the heights of the .330s before. He does make a ton of contact, though not much of it is hard. Both his walks and strikeout fell off a cliff last year, which is just weird, but he never struck out much before and you can expect that to continue. Still, he can only play second, and the Cubs at the moment have Bote and Happ who can do that and likely Hoerner at some point. Move along.

Steven Souza Jr. – Intriguing, given that he’ll be dirt cheap after missing all of last year with knee problems and having 2018 basically ruined by a couple injuries. In 2017 he hit 30 homers for the Rays, though that’s getting a bit in the rearview now. He couldn’t buy a bucket in 2018, and might as well put the glove on his head when in right field. He also saw a quarter of his fly-balls leave the park in ’17, which isn’t sustainable. Though his career-rate is 19.6%, so it’s not as outlandish as it might normally be. On the plus side, even in his ravaged ’18 season he managed a 44% hard-contact rate, before it became de rigeur. You have no idea what you’d be getting after a year out, but the dream scenario is he’s Castellanos on the cheap. But if you want that…just sign Castellanos because I know and you know and they know they have the money to do that.

Jimmy Nelson – It would help if he weren’t made of boogers and wish fulfillment. Still, you remember him being utterly dominant in 2017 until his shoulder turned to cheese. Nelson missed all of 2018 and might as well have missed all of last year, starting just three games. He might not be able to even pick up a baseball. Still, he was hesitant to use his fastball last year which had lost some steam, but that could be simply because of the time off. Could be worth a spring training invite just to see if you can regain his downward tilt on pitches, but you wouldn’t be counting on anything here.



Yesterday we went over the putrid recent history of what the Sox have tried to trot out at RF. I’ve save another 300 or so words and remind you that it’s a BIG NEED.

Nicholas Castellanos has been discussed, and there’s no doubt they’ll be linked with Marcell Ozuna, Kole Calhoun, etc, etc in free agency. But Rick Hahn hasn’t been shy in the past to add to his roster via trade when the opportunities on the free market aren’t to his liking (which is seemingly always since 2015). Could Hahn and KW go to an old trading partner to fill the gaping void in their outfield?

Enter the spiralling Pittsburgh Pirates and Starling Marte. The Buccos had a dreadful second half in 2019 to finish dead last in the NL Central at 69-93, claimed to be keeping manager Clint  Hurdle only to fire him a day after the season, then bounced long time GM Neil Huntington (seemingly out of nowhere) while he was conducting the search for the new manager.

Sure sounds like another rebuild coming in the Steel City, and whoa, hey, they happen to have an affordable OF vet still in his prime (kinda) that makes below market value. Make the call, Rick.

Why Him? Starling Marte is about as steady and rounded as they come, a 31 year old OF with at least 3.0 WAR in six of seven seasons he’s played dating back to 2013. Marte is in the 20/20 club for HR/SB the last two years, and has over 20 steals in seven straight seasons, going over 30 all but twice. So he’s got pop, he can run, and while he doesn’t take many walks he also only strikes out in about 18% of PAs and hasn’t been under .312 BABIP in the last three seasons. Marte could slot in pretty much anywhere in the top half of the Sox lineup and greatly improve this team.

Best of all? unlike his freely available counterparts on the open market, he’s a savvy fielder. Marte has won multiple gold gloves and while he’s had a bit of a decline in the field in 2019 in Center, he’d be able to move over to RF while Engel handles CF until Luis Robert debuts in May. If they wanted/needed him to cover CF he’s also got that versatility. No matter how you look at it, Marte improves the defense.

His contract is another plus, as he’s going to earn an affordable $11.5M this season, with another team option at $12.5M next year ($1M buyout). Castellanos and Ozuna are likely to get something for 4-5 years and around $14M-$18M per year. Marte represents a more valuable commitment, 2 years at $24M and the opportunity to qualify him an offer after that for an arguably similar/better player.

You know Jerry loves him a smaller number, every time.

Why Not Him? That one year he didn’t reach 3.0 WAR was because he was suspended for 80 games for PEDs. He claimed it was an accident, of course, but there remains the threat that he could get that second strike and be banned for a full 162 next time. Probably not too concerning, but it’s there.

2019 also saw Marte’s worst defensive season, by far. He went from 5.2 dWAR in 2018 to -5.7 dWAR in 2019, which on the surface looks pretty damn concerning. He’s clearly still got the speed, though, and based on the the JUMP stat (this is a real thing, I promise) that tracks how well OFs read and react to fly balls he was ranked ninth best in the league. Marte has a strong case for positive regression in 2020 in the field, and I’m willing to chalk this up to the Pirates being weird and playing their OF real shallow because they’re idiots. Fight me. At worst he likely needs to be moved off CF and to a corner, which the Sox can accommodate.

There really isn’t issue on the offensive side, but if we’re picking nits his low walk rate would mean that any kind of decline with the bat would be a sharp one. There isn’t any indicator that will happen, but stranger things and all that. You also might appreciate more than ~20 HR from your RF. He’s right handed, so this doesn’t check off the LH impact bat, but if they fucking sign Grandal already everyone can worry less about handedness.

How Much Is This Free Resort Weekend? Herein lies the biggest problem with the idea of Marte – the Pirates don’t need to deal him, and the latest word is they aren’t looking to. Huntington no longer being in charge is also a bummer, as he’s probably out of a job for all the horrific trades he’s been on the wrong side of lately (Ivan Nova notwithstanding).

Still, there is history between these clubs and any remaining scouts are likely familiar with what the Sox have to peddle. Say Reynaldo Lopez straight up, or if that’s too rich for you maybe a package of Blake Rutherford and Dane Dunning. This shouldn’t cost any of the top youths, and if they ask for Jonathan Stiever I’m helping to pack his bags. The Sox won’t be the only interested party, so they can’t really afford to posture on middle tier prospects if the Pirates get serious about making a deal.

In an offseason with little to get excited about for free agent OFs, Marte represents the Sox best option available – if he actually is, you know, available.


Right field has been a black hole of SUCK on the Southside going on, oh, a decade? Magglio Ordonez and Jermaine Dye are the last great players to man the position for the White Sox, and the ineptitude of management to fill the O-E-O/WS MVP sized hole is a bit jarring. Yes, dead last in the entire MLB in 2019 in OPS jarring. The likes of Carlos Quentin, Avi Garcia, and Adam Eaton were passable if unspectacular in stints over the years, but the Sox have also trotted out the likes of Jason Coats, Willy Garcia, Andruw Jones (the ol’ KW past his prime special!), Brent Lillibridge, Rymer Liriano, Alex Rios, Moises Sierra, Michael Taylor, Blake Tekotte, Trayce Thompson and Dayan Viciedo since Dye hung em up in 2009. Folks,,,,, that’s not great!

John Jay was brought in as part of the “recruitment” of Manny Machado last offseason and thought to be the everyday right fielder, but injury kept him out a majority of the year. The cast of characters used to fill in were all way, way under-qualified for every day MLB duty – Ryan Cordell, Charlie Tilson and Daniel Palka all saw far more at bats than any competent team would dare give them and they responded with that league worst performance at the position at the dish. The defense was also meh at best, but with a suspect free agent class the Sox don’t really have the current lineup to hide a defensive wizard they get no offensive production from (otherwise they’d just stick Robert in RF and let Adam Engel patrol CF, but alas).

So who out there is available, plays RF (even barely), can get on base, park a few baseballs into the Rate bullpens and would actually be willing to take Rick Hahn’s checks? Dear reader, you already know him, or got a small taste of him after last year’s deadline.

Nicholas Castellanos, come one down!

Why Him? Castellanos can hit a bit, as the Sox know all too well from being the victim of his bat for almost six years as he came along in Detroit. His 2019 is a little misleading as his high average (.321) helped him to 16 homers and 36 RBI in just 51 games after a trade to the Cubs. That comes out to a scorching 154 wRC+. Prior to the trade, though, he carried just 11 homers and 37 RBI on a .273/.328/.462 line for a wRC+ of 105 in 100 games.

This does help to give him two straight years over 121 wRC+ and that makes him exponentially better than any Sox RF in 2019. He’s also gone .337 and .354 the last two seasons in OBP while averaging 25 homers and 81 XBH, and if he can continue that trend the White Sox probably wouldn’t care if he just hung out in the Goose Island section or had a beer with the #108 guys every half inning.

He’s also only 28, making him pretty young to be a free agent. He won’t come with a QO compensation penalty. Since JD Martinez isn’t available, Castellanos also represents a chance to sign an impact bat this offseason, deal with the defense for a year or two, and plan to use him at DH/LF with Eloy down the road and develop or sign your next RF later. Maybe that plan sees them sign Edwin Encarnacion on a Nelson Cruz-like one year pact (OR SIGN GRANDAL ALREADY LIKE AJ SAID) and just like that you’ve got some instant impact offensive upgrades to a team that sorely needs it.

One other plus – signing him would mean he can’t kill the Sox anymore (or maybe he’d find fun ways to ruin them from within…). This is some recency bias, but since 2018 Castellanos carries 7 HR/22 RBI/.413 OBP/1.065 OPS(!) in 28 games against the Sox, good for a wRC+ of about 185, or otherworldly. Small sample size and all that, but fuckin’ a does he MURDER White Sox pitching of late.

Why Not Him? Oh, that “defense”. Castellanos debuted as a third baseman and Detroit was all too generous to let him try and be that for four seasons while they lost a million games. He made the move to right field in 2018 and is the worst defensive RF in that time, posting -28 DRS (defensive runs saved) and a -17.6 UZR. I don’t know if that all actually makes him the worst RF since 2018, but being responsible for 28 runs scored against seems really bad.

If you want some kind of silver lining, Castellanos did actually improve by 10 full runs in DRS over 2018, and by 8+ points on his UZR, giving him a more palatable -9 DRS/-4.4 UZR in 2019. Still not good by any metric, but not comically bad. He might even be improving, and maybe he gets to a point where he’s league average and look at that I just talked us into Nick Castellanos, league average RF for the Chicago White Sox by 2021.

Honestly, if you sign Castellanos and you already have Eloy Jimenez being the ungraceful elk that he is in LF, you probably need to be ready to take him out of the field within a year or two. So the knock is, will he hit well enough to cover occasionally killing you in the field. And if you’re already looking at re-signing Jose Abreu and you’ve got Gavin Sheets and Andrew Vaughn on deck…is this really the best way to allocate funds/roster space?

How Much Is This Free Resort Weekend? MLBTR comes in with an estimate of 4/$58M and Fangraphs is in agreement with a 4/$56M estimate of their own. Unless some wild market creates itself out of nothing for lil Nicky here I can’t really see him getting more than 4/50, possibly even having to settle for something like 2/25 or 3/35 and a few option years. The bat has enough juice to get him a multi-year pact, sure, but that defense is brutally awful and the game is no longer kind to players of his abilities. Damned kids and their analytics. Without 30+ annual HR potential or a near .400 OBP, there just isn’t any one tool that really carries the weight to justify giving Castellanos that much term, so you’re really banking on his being younger than the rest of the FA OFs and hoping that defense is really improving and the 2018/Cubs version of the bat is the one you’re buying. Whole lotta optimism in there.

The Sox have already been reported to have interest, which probably doesn’t need to be read much into as they should have interest in any OF available via trade or free agency this winter. They’d probably be wise to explore other options and make Castellanos a plan B, waiting out the diminishing market for his type of player to mitigate the commitment for such a walking red flag.

Now that I’ve thoroughly fleshed out that I’m not really on board with a run at him, I have to admit that if the Sox do end up with Castellanos it will be a massive upgrade over the trash heap of career minor leaguers and Machado friends and family that Hahn tried to float by the masses last year. It could absolutely be worse, but I’d hope they explore a few more avenues or wait to see how many other teams are really falling over each other to add what might just be a slightly over league average DH to play everyday RF.


And now the big debate. It’s actually a couple rolled into one. Is Nicholas Castellanos the player he showed for the two months he was a Cub? Is he what came before that? Is he what the final numbers on 2019 with both Detroit and Chicago say? Somewhere in-between? And then you add to those questions whether he should be re-signed or not. It’s a lot to figure out, and that’s before getting into the Cubs’ figment budget questions that they’ve made real.

2019 Stats (DET & CHI)

151 games  664 PAs


27 HR  73 RBI

6.2 BB%  21.5 K%

121 wRC+  .357 wOBA  .883 OPS

-12.6 Defensive Runs Saved   2.8 WAR

Tell Me A Story: You could say that Castellanos was THE story for the Cubs last year, at least on the positive side. He came in at the trade deadline and immediately started hitting, and never really stopped. He inarguably brought a jolt to the Cubs, and they were a team that definitely could have used it. Castellanos was certainly more explosive than either Almora or whoever else he actually replaced in the lineup by pushing Heyward to center.

If you were to only look at his numbers with the Cubs in the last two months, he looks like an MVP candidate. .321/.356/.646 for an OPS of 1.002 and an OPS+ of 151. As Castellanos himself pointed out, the more friendly environs of Wrigley made a difference in his home run production, as he hit 16 in the season’s final two months after hitting only 11 in the first four in Detroit. And half of them came at home, so over a full season that projects out to over 40 homers and near 50 for a season. Of course, Castellanos isn’t going to ever match the 32% HR/FB rate he had in August as a Cub. But even the 14% he had in September was higher than anything he did in Detroit last season, and above his career rate.

What Castellanos did do, regardless of where he was playing, is hit the ball damn hard. He had a hard-contact rate over 40% every month of the season, which the Cubs simply don’t have a lot of. Only he and Schwarber eclipsed that mark for the whole year. For comparison’s sake, the Dodgers had nine guys who did. The Astros seven. Maybe the problem isn’t the amount of contact, fellas?

And that’s just about the story with Nic At Nite. There wasn’t that much of a change from the Tigers to the Cubs. He mashed fastballs and sinkers there, and he did so here, and with a slice more luck and a smaller park, the numbers swelled. He’s a good hitter who got hot and he will almost certainly remain a good hitter.

A key aspect to the Castellanos debate is his defense. It was better in ’19 than it was in ’18, and there isn’t nearly as much ground to cover in Wrigley as there is in Comerica, even if you have to deal with the sun and wind and Ryker from Highland Park throwing beers at you. But it still wasn’t good, The optimistic will tell you it was only his second season playing there and the improvement from ’18 to ’19 will only continue. The pessimistic will tell you he looks awkward as fuck out there, his routes are Dali-esque, has next to no range, and he just doesn’t have a feel for it out there and probably belongs in left. Which probably means the truth is somewhere in the middle as always.

Contract: Free Agent

Welcome Back Or Boot In The Ass: Oh if it were only so simple. Yes, with no budget constraints-perceived or real or self-imposed or necessary–you’d re-sign Castellanos and have him and Schwarber in the corners to mash and you’d find a better solution in center to cover for their defense and maybe provide some offense and consign Heyward to the 4th outfielder role he’s been hurtling toward for four seasons. But life isn’t that simple.

These days, it’s impossible to know what Castellanos can make on the free agent market. A couple years ago, you’d be sure it was over $20M a year for five years at least. Now three years for between $51M-$54M seems the more likely, and even then who knows what the collusion owners will dictate.

But even at that $17M figure, it’s a tough squeeze for the Cubs. Even with just their arbitration raises as projected, the Cubs end up near $180M in payroll. And that’s if they don’t get to extend anyone with a bigger figure. And it could be more than that. That might leave somewhere between $35M-$40M to play with. But if you and Castellanos half of that, is $17M-$20M enough to get the extra starter and bullpen arm or two the Cubs need more desperately? It could be but would be a tight squeeze.

On the other side, having Castellanos on the team most certainly can’t hurt and if he’s anything close to the August-September guy, $17M is a bargain. If a third season sees his defense improve…maybe you can get away with it? Can you live with Heyward for a full season in center? Doubtful. Would you trade Schwarber? That’s production you’d have to find again and probably pay premium, either through money or trade, to do so. Isn’t that running in place?

On the plus side here, I don’t think there are any wrong answers. You can sign Castellanos and just say you’re going to bash the shit out of the ball and hope that’s enough to outrun your at-best subpar outfield defense. Or you can let him walk, use that money for the pitching you don’t have, and mitigate not having that offensive production. And maybe with a smart trade you can get some of it back anyway.

Looking at it though, Castellanos hits the ball awfully hard. The Cubs don’t. They’ll have to answer that somehow.



Records: White Sox 66-86  Tigers 45-107

Game Times: Fri 6:10/Sat 5:10/Sun 12:10




Depth Charts & Pitching Staff

Series Spotlight: The Tigers Pipeline


I don’t hate the Tigers anymore. I really used to, back in the early part of this decade. Much like my hatred for the Vancouver Canucks and Red Wings in hockey it’s just sort of fizzled out, leaving behind a feeling of indifference bordering on pity.

The Tigers are a bad team, perhaps even historically so. With their current .420 winning percentage (heh) the Tigers fall 3rd on the list of worst teams ever since the league went to 162 games in 1961. The other two teams? Last year’s Orioles and the Tigers again in 2003. Not exactly wonderful company to be in. They’ve already past the 2003 version of themselves by 2 games, and need 2 more to tie Baltimore which seems likely but by no means a guarantee.

Detroit already set a team record this past week by losing 17 consecutive games to Cleveland this season. They won the second meeting between the two teams back on April 10th 4-1, then lost 17 in a row to them to finish the season 1-18 setting the mark in the modern era for record against a divisional opponent.

The Tigers got this bad by basically fielding a team full of less than 1 WAR players and Nick Castellanos, who they then flipped to the Cubs at the deadline as he proceeded to go on a tear the likes of never seen in Detroit. They’re dead last in the league in hitting, and the only team that has had a negative WAR production from their offense. The second worst team is the Marlins, and even they have gotten 2.3 WAR out of their hitters, compared to the -1.5 for the Tigers. If you look up the top hitters by WAR on the Tigers, only 2 players are worth more than 1, and that’s Niko Goodrum (who is out with a groin strain) and Victor Reyes. So thankfully Dylan Covey isn’t scheduled to go during the series, as you don’t wanna let an opponent up off the mat when they’re down.

The pitching staff has actually not been as awful as the hitters, currently 10th in the AL out of 15 teams, so that’s an improvement. They’ve also produced 1100% more WAR than the offense, currently sitting at 10.1 for the season. Matthew Boyd has had a solid season thus far, posting an 8-11 record with a 4.34 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP. He features a solid 4 seam fastball and a plus slider which he uses as his punchout pitch. Boyd gets a lot of swinging strikes with it, almost 36% of the time.

After Boyd it’s Spencer Turnbull (who the Sox will miss), then rookie Tyler Alexander who was called up back in June and had his first start against the Sox, in which he went 5 innings and gave up 2 with 4 Ks in a no-decision. The kid has pitched fairly well since then, going 1-3 with a 4.68 ERA and striking out 27 in 6 starts. He was relegated to long relief for a time during August but is now back starting and will go head to head with Nova Saturday.

As for the Sox, the story continues to be the production of The Future™ in the top half of the lineup. Tim Anderson continues his quest for the AL batting title and sits .006 in front of DJ LeMahieu. Right behind LeMahieu is the outfielder the Sox didn’t want in the off-season, Michael Brantley. Hard charging a few behind him is last year’s favorite bust declaration by Sox Twitter Yoan Moncada, who is tearing the shit out of the ball in September to the tune of a .460/.500/.667 slash line.

Taking the mound for the Pale Hose will be Dylan Cease, Ivan Nova and Reynaldo Lopez who basically comprise the only starts worth watching for the rest of the season. Cease should find the waters a bit calmer against the moribund Tigers offense, and maybe help build some confidence in his fastball location.

On paper this should be an easy series for the Sox, but nothing on paper has ever worked out that way for Rick Hahn and company. I just want a batting title for Timmy, and this pitching staff should help with that goal.


Let’s Go Sox.




Game 1 Box Score: Cubs 5, Giants 3

Game 2 Box Score: Cubs 12, Giants 11

Game 3 Box Score: Cubs 1, Giants 0

And now back on top of the rollercoaster. The Cubs return home, where they’ve looked like a genuine class team all season, and though they did their best to drop one or two to the Giants, they also couldn’t break their own resolve. A resolve they only seem to have when donning the blue pinstripes. Still, they’ll enter the weekend in first place, no matter what the Cardinals do with the Rockies tonight. They won every type of game–a shootout, a pitcher’s duel, and your conventional one. Why does the rest have to be so hard?


-You wouldn’t suggest Cole Hamels is “back,” but he had at least enough stuff and enough savvy to kind of Forrest Gump his way through Tuesday’s opener. It was sort of the Jon Lester thing where you feel like he’s about to give at any moment, but gets through the inning and start simply because he wants to. After what he’d done his two previous you’ll take it, but we’d much prefer the dominating one from earlier in the season back.

-It had been a while since Rizzo had won a game for the Cubs on his own. You have to say though that a mark of a great player is that they’re still finding ways to help even when the power game goes. Rizzo has gotten on base consistently even if he wasn’t slugging, but a slugging binge is what the Cubs need.

-I was worried that with two recent starts for Tony Kemp that Joe Maddon had overreacted to two grounders that were outside Ian Happ‘s limited range during that collapse in Philly, but that fear has subsided since. And thank god for that.

-There isn’t much to say about Nick Castellanos at this point, but it is important to remember an unsustainable binge shouldn’t influence you or the Cubs on whether he should be re-signed this winter or not. There’s going to be a huge push to do so, and that may be the right decision, but just try to keep the whole picture in mind. He’s not a .400 hitter. He might be entering his prime right now and could be better than what he’s been before, but let’s try and keep reasoned here if possible.

-There is so much to say about Wednesday’s win I don’t know if I have time. We’ve been over Yu’s work, so we don’t have to go over that again. There were some curious decisions from Maddon, which he got away with because his offense decided they were going to win no matter what. He definitely got caught cold with how quickly it blew up on Darvish, which meant only Derek Holland was warming up. And when he got through two lefties who both got on, that meant he had to face a righty which he never should have to do. Secondly, Joe never seemed to realize that Little Yaz has been better against lefties than righties all season, even having Kyle Ryan deal with him today (which he also got away with).

In the 7th last night, Joe seems determined to make sure that Steve Cishek warms up and comes in double the amount now to make up for the appearances he missed while on the IL. Right into the fire. But there were runners on, lefties up, grounders needed, which is what Brandon Kintzler does. Cishek got out of it with only a sac fly given up, but you wanted things on the ground or Ks. Kintzler probably should have started the inning. Of course, Kintzler gets out of the 8th relatively cleanly. Coudl have used that in the 6th or 7th.

-Luckily, Kris Bryant is still a Cub. That’s three games in a week he’s pulled the Cubs’ ass out of a sling.

-Today’s game looked a lot like one where both teams played too late last night. The sun was the offensive MVP, and the Giants only real chance came after Castellanos got pretty dizzy chasing what would have been a homer from Crawford on 75 other home dates. Still, the Cubs got six outs from the pen to protect a one-run lead without needing Kimbrel or Cishek. That’s an upset.

-Those two outings were the best Kimbrel has looked since becoming a Cub. I won’t count on it to be a trend, as it’s just going to be a weird season for him given the preparation, but 98 MPH is 98 MPH.