Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

jake arrietaI’ll have pictures to share soon, but I was pleased to see/learn that (1) the BN group at the game last night for Social Media Night was shown on the WGN broadcast a time or two; and (2) the Cubs welcomed BN on the centerfield scoreboard mid-game. It was very cool to be included in the experience in little ways like that, and I think – whether intentional or not – it typified what something like “Social Media Night” can be all about.

  • After two great starts to begin his Cubs career, the Jake Arrieta that vexed Orioles fans for so long showed up last night: obviously good stuff, not great command, too many walks, getting himself in trouble. It wasn’t like he was going to suddenly live into his potential after coming to the Cubs, so an outing or two like this is to be expected. It’s all a process, and the upside is so obviously high that it’s worth it – for this Cubs team – to stick with him through as many hiccups as there are this season. I suppose that’s probably what the Orioles were saying to themselves for years before finally moving on. Hopefully Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio can work some long-term magic with Arrieta, as he seems to have done with a number of Cubs pitchers in his time with the organization.
  • Although he TOOTBLAN’d to end the game last night, Anthony Rizzo had his biggest game at the plate in a long time. With three hits (including two homers) and a walk, Rizzo raised his OPS 20 points(!) in one late-August night. His line stands at .232/.325/.437 on the year, which, when you consider his .254 BABIP, is actually pretty encouraging.

  • Bruce Miles has Dale Sveum’s thoughts on why he shifted Starlin Castro around so dramatically in the last two games (from 8th to 1st), and on why Anthony Rizzo was in the two-hole last night. It sounds like it is, at least in part, similar to what I said yesterday when the lineup was revealed: there are five weeks left in the season, and the Cubs might as well give these two as many plate appearances as possible.
  • Mark Gonzales does his first mailbag since taking over the Cubs beat for the Tribune.
  • Tony Andracki talks to Brett Jackson, whose struggles continue at AA. Jackson remains optimistic and focused, but it’s kind of a hard read right now, given his struggles. You’d hate to see a guy who is so good in all phases of the game flame out because of one particular struggle in one phase of the game (i.e., making consistent contact – kind of an important one).
  • Jesse Rogers on Logan Watkins, who has been firmly stapled to the bench since being called up three weeks ago.

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