Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

jake arrieta beard featureToday is suddenly Addison Russell Day, and I’ll have a good bit on that in a little while. Until then, non-Russell Bullets …

  • What may have been the most impressive part of last night’s 5-2 win over the Pirates? The Cubs struck out 10 Pirates, and walked none. The Cubs struck out just 3 times, and also walked 3 times.
  • Jake Arrieta was also deeply impressive last night, as he often is. Despite not having his best command in the first inning – and yielding a lot of hard-hit balls because of it – Arrieta regrouped after the first, and then dominated a Pirates lineup loaded with offensive threats. If you were expecting regression from Arrieta after his breakout 2014 season, he’s not showing it yet. Through three starts, Arrieta’s 1.74 ERA and 1.75 FIP are even better than last year’s ridiculous levels. And, how about this? Last year, Arrieta’s first three starts featured just 13.1 innings total as he built back up from the Spring Training shoulder issue. From there, he only got better and better as the year went on. Just imagine if he did that this year after these first three starts.

  • Arrieta has already accumulated 0.8 WAR through three starts, the highest for any starter in baseball not named Max Scherzer.

  • Bryant and Russell, yeah, but also this:

  • Daren is referring to Soler’s fourth and final hit last night, which you can see in this video. It was a 100mph fastball on the inner half, and Soler didn’t just hit it – he turned on it so quickly that he nearly pulled it foul. It’s a thing of beauty. He hit the thing so damn hard that, despite it getting all the way to the corner and off the wall, and despite him hustling the whole way, it was still a close play at second base.
  • Sahadev Sharma writes about the Cubs’ suddenly dicey bullpen situation.
  • There was a really scary moment in last night’s game when a foul ball off of Starlin Castro’s bat struck a fan in the head through the netting behind home plate. There’s video out there if you just have to see that kind of thing, but really all you need to know is that it looked awful. She was taken out by medical staff, and, thankfully, the Pirates released this statement:

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