Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

jake arrieta cool catI think I would say that last night’s win by the Cubs was the best all-around game by the team this year. Plenty of offense, coming in a variety of ways. Great pitching. Good defense. Easy win. And the night before also included three solid innings from the bullpen. So maybe we’ll say the last two wins were best all-around two consecutive wins by the team this year. Just thinking out loud with a smile on my face.

  • After his latest dominant start, Jake Arrieta is now up to 1.5 WAR (4th best in baseball), down to a 2.34 FIP (3rd), down to a 2.75 xFIP (7th), up to a 27.0% K rate (12th), and up to a 20.8 spread between his K rate and BB rate (12th). The guy is just a stud. A freaking stud. What else can you really say?
  • It sounds like Arrieta and Miguel Montero have a nice rapport going ( It certainly looked like they were working well together last night.

  • Luke talked about it this morning, but I’ll add a little here: Tsuyoshi Wada was scheduled to start yesterday for the Iowa Cubs, but then was bumped. He’s healthy, according to his manager and his pitching coach said they just wanted a couple extra days to work with him before his next start (via Tommy Birch). It’s entirely possible that’s all there is, though it’s notable that Travis Wood is scheduled to start for the Cubs on Thursday, and Kyle Hendricks on Friday. It’s at least conceivable that the Cubs wanted Wada’s schedule to better line up with those two in case they decided to make a move next time through the rotation. Wada’s rehab assignment (groin) at Iowa is essentially up this week, and, although it can be extended if he’s still injured, I’m not sure what hoops that would involve.
  • You know what I love most about reading things like this from Patrick Mooney on the new “Bash Brothers,” Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant? I start thinking about Jorge Soler reaching his ceiling alongside those two, and I think about how nightmarish it will be for pitchers to face those three guys in a row for years and years. Obviously we don’t know if thatĀ will happen – or if someone else will pop up into the equation – but it makes you tingly to think about it.
  • If I told you the Cubs had a 24-year-old outfielder at AAA hittingĀ .295/.415/.449 over 95 plate appearances with a 15.8% walk rate and 12 stolen bases, you’d be like, wait, wha? Who? Well, that’s what John Andreoli is doing right now. The righty has been a sleeper with the Cubs since they took him in the 17th round back in 2011 out of UConn where he was teammates with Mike Olt. He’ll need to get that strikeout rate (23.2%) down a bit if he’s going to be a potentially useful bench guy in the big leagues (because that .411 BABIP won’t stick around forever), but he’s got a good approach at the plate and some speed. To his credit, Luke’s been talking about Andreoli for years as he quietly ascended the Cubs’ ladder.

  • Love the look of the new video board in right after games (and, recall, the left field board does something cool after wins, too):

  • Sometimes I include my own tweets here, mostly because it’s a gentle reminder to follow BN on Twitter for these kinds of pearls:

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