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There are just nine games left in the season, which ends October 3. The wind down of the season has been bittersweet the last few years: while it feels like the end – finally – of months of agony, it’s also the last few times we get to see the Cubs play until March (or April, if you don’t count Spring Training).

  • The Cubs are off today for the last time this year, while the Rockies play the Diamondbacks. That is of note, of course, because the Rockies are currently a half-game worse than the Cubs (in the win column), and hold the second worst record in baseball. The next two teams behind the Cubs are the Twins and Indians, 5 and 4 games worse than the Cubs, respectively.
  • With a win today, the Rockies could be tied with the Cubs when the two teams start a three-game set in Colorado on Tuesday. I think it’s fair to debate the extent of the difference between picking second and picking third in the 2013 Draft, but you can’t debate that picking second is *some* amount better than picking third. Does that mean that, in the limited context of the series against the Rockies, Cubs fans should be rooting AGAINST the Cubs? Can you even bring yourself to do that? To shift your mindset that way? I’m not sure I can. But the rational part of my mind tells me two things: (1) whether the Cubs sweep the Rockies or are swept, nothing is changing the fact that this team is going to have had a miserable, playoff-less season; and (2) losing to the Rockies could help the Cubs, even if only a minuscule amount, in the future. From there, my mind takes me places I’d rather not confess in print.
  • Dale Sveum admits that now that his team is out of the playoff race, he watches the scoreboard in a different way. “You’re watching the scoreboard all the time to see what somebody’s doing – or not doing,” Sveum said. “If we play a day game, you’re like, ‘Oh, I’m going to get home and watch that.’ It’s just part of the game now.” You gotta take what you can from the game these days.
  • When discussing impressive young players this year, Sveum mentioned three relievers, for whatever it’s worth: Jaye Chapman, Rafael Dolis, and Alberto Cabrera.
  • The MLBullets at BCB check in on the playoff races around baseball.
  • JulioZuleta

    I’m not ashamed to say that I am 100% rooting against the Cubs this week. With the new slotting method, picking second is even more important than picking third than it would have been in the past. At least it looks like a top 3 pick is pretty well in hand.

    • hansman1982

      I prefer to say that I am rooting FOR the Cubs to get the #2 draft pick…

      • JulioZuleta

        I like that. This is the way I will henceforth describe my rooting interests.

        • Shortcircuit

          I understand that these next 9 games are going to be important in deciding on the next draft pick. Even though the Cubs have the potential to receive the number 2 pick, I will be rooting for the Cubs to win as many games as possible. I still want to see more of some of the younger players and see what they can do. I look forward to watching Chapman and Castillo play and gain as much experience as possible. While the draft is important for the Cubs to improve their farm system, it can also be hit or miss. You have the potential to draft superstars and you have the potential to draft flops. More than likely many of the first round picks will be flops. I understand the money structure is also better for the second pick than later picks, because you can acquire better talent especially in the later rounds. However, I would rather see the talent that we already have gain confidence, develop, and play to their potential.

  • BluBlud

    If I’m not mistaken, Russell wants to be a starter. With the success of Shark this year, and minimal options in the rotation, could this be a possibility.

    • AB

      Russell was very mediocre as a starter in the minors.

    • willis

      God no. He was awful when he got his shot, and he is a perfect lefty in the bullpen.

  • Ari Gold

    The Astros passed on Mark Appel last year. Would they pass again? If he has another great year and we end up selecting him, he’s probably in the rotation in 2014. That sounds good to me along with Shark. Sounds like a good 1-2 punch. I’ll be at the game on Wednesday night. I can’t openly root against the Cubbies, so I’ll stay remarkably silent.

  • SoCal Cubs Fan

    The Astros passed on Appel due to signability issues ($$$$). He, Appel, won’t have as much flexability next year as he will out of eligablity.

  • Stinky Pete

    The rational part of your brain should also note that what happens on the diamond is going to be completely unaffected by your thoughts, hopes and desires. I look at the situation as a win-win. If the Cubs win, Super. It’s great when they win. If they lose, ah hell, they’re just improving their draft pick. Win – win.
    BTW, the worst the Cubs could do now is #7. Just sayin…

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      That part of my brain doesn’t exist. If I wear the wrong socks, they lose.

      (Not really.)

      • Jarrod C

        Brett, if you wear socks at all, the Cubs lose. (Get it? We lose a lot…)

  • #23

    Could Bowden be a starter candidate in 2013?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Doubt it. He has decent velocity, but his secondary offerings – to me – don’t look like what you’d want in a starter. The best we can hope for is a 7th/8th inning guy, and even that might be a stretch.

      • Melrosepad

        He was a starter up till the middle of 2010. Don’t think it would hurt to at least give him a try in spring training. I do hope he makes the team in some capacity though.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          I know he was a starter in the minors, but at every turn in the bigs, he’s been relieving. When it’s been multiple years of that, there’s usually a reason (that’s also why the Jeff Samardzija story was such an amazing and unlikely one). He didn’t show me what Samardzija showed in the second half last year, but, I mean, whatever: if he comes to camp in ridiculous shape, with a suddenly incredible third pitch, and wants a chance to start – why not?

          I’d rather he focused on his command and control, and became a quality middle relief/late inning option. That seems a more prudent use of his offseason efforts.

          • Melrosepad

            Fair enough. I’ll admit I’d like his walks down, but do like his under 1.00 ERA for this month.

  • Mick

    I thought I’d just check to see what types of players were projected at the top of the draft next year and was suprised to see multiple mock drafts :)))))

    According to multiple sources, the top-3 are some combination of Mark Appel, Ryne Stanek, and Austin Meadows. The majority of sites had Appel at #1 but there are some rave reviews for Austin Meadows:

    from http://macksmets.blogspot.com/2012/08/the-draft-room-macks-mock-draft-v10.html
    OF – Austin Meadows – Grayson H.S. (GA.) – It is impossible to consider anyone other than Chipper, err… 6-3, 200-pound Austin as the first pick overall. Last year, he went .390, 4-HR, 28-RBI, and 19-SB. He dropped playing football (punter), but remains committed to Clemson, a school he might visit someday to buy some blue cheese. Has an 87 arm from the outfield and 89 on the mound. 6.31-60.

    Having the #2 pick as oppossed to the #3 would gurantee the Cubs either Appel or Meadows. Who knows by draft day next year who will be the top rated prospects but this illustrates to me just how important the #2 pick would be compared to the #3.

  • Drew7

    “I think it’s fair to debate the extent of the difference between picking second and picking third in the 2013 Draft, but you can’t debate that picking second is *some* amount better than picking third.”

    It’s a much bigger difference than most people think, that’s for sure.

    Historically, we’re talking about a total WAR difference of nearly 100 (518 vs 426), but really, it isnt even that close. Of the 426 Wins Above Replacement accumulated by #3 picks, 145 of them (34%) have come from 2 players – Molitor and Yount – that were both drafted over 35 years ago. On top of all that, there are just WAY more complete busts at #3 compared to #2.

    The point is, the MLB draft is just so incredibly top-heavy that any movement among the top 5 picks can be substantial.

  • Stevie B

    Actively wishing for a Cubs loss is inherently wrong. Is it for the betterment of this franchise?? It seems as if that answer is yes. However, I cannot watch my Cubs and cheer when the opposition scores, or we make an error etc etc.
    At this point, we will get a great pick, even if we succumb to the teams behind (or in front??) of us, so I say we win out.

    Go Cubs.

    • hansman1982

      I am rooting for the #2 draft pick; however, I have yet to cheer when the Cubs give up runs or fail to score. I have yet to cheer when the Cubs lose. I still very much want to see them win but when they lose I am simply not upset because of the draft pick situation.

  • TSB

    After awhile, throwing games gets easier. Pretty soon some players will figure out “hey, if playing to lose is good for the team, why not play to lose if it is good for me? I’m smarter than those Black Sox SOBs.”

    • Cubbie Blues

      The BIG difference here would be; they aren’t asking to players to exhibit less effort than normal.

      • hansman1982

        If the Cubs were actively trying to lose above all else you’d see this lineup:

        CF – Clevenger
        C – Marmol
        P – Campana
        SS – Garza
        3B – Valbuena
        2B – Castillo
        1B – Jackson
        LF – Berken
        RF – Camp

        SP – Campana
        SP – nobody else
        RP – nobody
        CL – The fat guy behind the 3rd base dugout

        • Chicago Cubs Security Office

          Alright, Mr. Hansman. We’re taking you in for questioning on suspicion of corporate espionage…

        • cubs1967

          here’s hoping dale quade does not read this site OR you have just given him some ideas…………

          • DarthHater

            dale quade

            And the award for lamest attempt to be clever goes to …

            • Stinky Pete

              Oh my goodness, I think we’re in for a sweep tonight!

  • cubsin

    I stll expect the Cubs’ players to play every game to win. But at this stage of the season, every loss has a silver lining. Now that we’ve finished playing contenders, we’ll presumably see more of the youngsters playing and more time off for the veteran players.

  • MI6

    A team culture of ‘playing to lose’ is not so different from ‘it’s OK to lose’ and can be difficult to shake.

    • cubs1967

      considering 2016 is the “magical” year for team theo and PK McCaskey and family; by then Rizzo will have 4 yrs of losing and Castro 6. Not good for them. look at the pirates and royals; 40 yrs of losing combined………..it’s a tough culture to break from and really not one team theo should be encouraging by their lack of effort and overall tanking of this year and many more to follow. hey uncle bud, this is why the NBA has a draft lottery………….just ‘sayin.

      • Stinky Pete

        I scoff at the notion that a team cannot be good if it’s players have been on losing teams. I have no notable examples at my fingertips or anything, but come on, man. I highly doubt any players are tanking on the field. I would guess the “tanking” is being done roster and lineup wise. Whole different thing there. Just sayin’

  • BlueHorizons

    Even though it is probably in the Cub’s best interest to get the 2nd draft pick, rather than 3rd, but I canNOT root for the Cubs to lose! I especially do not want to see the Cubs lose more than 99 games this year!!!! Four more wins… is that too much to ask for?!

  • auggie1955

    Cubs playing to lose? Maybe that’s we’ve seen so much of LaHair lately.

  • The Cubs “R” Lost

    This Seasom has been an Embarrassment for the Cubs……………The Ownership and Front Office has provednothing,but that it knows how to lose…………Kerry was right Ryno needs to be welcomed back as the Manager………….Ricketts needs to spend money and fire Theo and tell him to take his Lies and Dreams somewhere else…………but no one here can think for themselves……………You all had dreams of winning and now all you talk about is Draft Picks……………..The Cubs will never win a Series without Big name Free Agents…………No matter how much you dream about it…………It soesn’t happen in this day and age………..The nationals this year will prove it when the Lose in the Playoffs and they don’t win a series because they screwed ith there pitching staff and didn’t sign any Big Time Free agents……

    • Cubbie Blues

      The English language really has gone the way of the dodo.

      • mr.mac

        I think…………You meant………..DoDo.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          OR. Possibly ….. DOO-DOO… … .

          • mudge

            Doh!

            • BeyondFukudome

              DohDoh!

    • AB

      This is hilarious.

    • DarthHater

      The nationals this year will prove it when the Lose in the Playoffs and they don’t win a series

      Thank you, Nostradumass.

    • EQ76

      man that’s a lot of proper nouns.and periods.

      • DarthHater

        And the Oscar for “Most Capital Letters and Ellipses in a Melodramatic Role” goes to: [drumroll] The Cubs “R” Lost [awkward smattering of applause]

        • EQ76

          (acceptance speech) – “I just want to Thank the Cubs and Ownership for a Terrible Seasom…….for provingnothing……they screwed ith the Fans but not This Fan… it sosen’t happen to This Guy……..” (cue the music)

    • stillmisskennyhubbs

      Well, since you are so passionately oblivious to what the Cubs are doing, you could open a Bizarro Cubs site: everything that’s the opposite of what is actually happening.
      Enjoy your kryptonite breakfast…..

  • Master Dan

    OMG, they should just play the young guys and sit the veterans. Let them take an early vacation. HELLO, number 2 pick is better then the 3rd pick!!!

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