Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

rizzo bryantThe question is, does last night’s ridiculously awesome episode make up for the otherwise uneven and frequently disappointing fifth season of ‘Game of Thrones’? And if the next two weeks are equally awesome, does this suddenly become a great season? I’d say the answers, for me, are “almost” and “yes.”

  • Which two teammates make for the top hitting duo in baseball? My instinct to say Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion (or whoever is batting next to Mike Trout or Miguel Cabrera or Bryce Harper on a given day), but David Schoenfield says no, it’s right here on the Cubs: Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant. I’m certainly not going to argue, and, if I’m building a team, that might well be the duo I take. But if you look at the FanGraphs leaderboard of wRC+ (a league and park-adjusted measure of total offensive value), Rizzo and Bryant are not the highest pair this year (in terms of the average rank of the top two) believe it or not, at 6th and 26th. There are actually a handful of teams that have at least two hitters in the top 25. The Dodgers have the highest duo, with Adrian Gonzalez at 7th and Joc Pederson at 16th … tied with the A’s Stephen Vogt at 4th and Josh Reddick at 19th. How about that? If you saw that coming, I applaud you/call you a liar.

  • I enjoy the discussion of David Ross’s walk-off hit here at, complete with Rizzo joking that Ross crushed it, and Ross joking that he drove it into the gap. In all seriousness, I agree with Joe Maddon that, even if the numbers aren’t great for Ross, he does work a good at bat each time. Sure, if you get him in the zone with nasty stuff, you can strike him out on three straight pitches. But, outside of that, he’s not going to cheat himself. As we’ve seen (and Luis discussed), Ross is a near perfect batter to have in front of the pitcher spot in terms of his ability to lay off junk.

  • The nasty weather on Saturday cost the Cubs a late-September off-day, but Joe Maddon says it’s no big deal (CSN). He likes his guy to be playing more late in the year, and not have too much downtime as they’re making their playoff push. Setting that aside, I think it could be pretty interesting to have that one game on September 28 against the Royals. Both teams could be in the playoff hunt, and the Royals might have to come to Wrigley for just one day, ditch their DH, and try to win a critical game. I don’t envy their position, but it could make for an exciting day. Here’s hoping it’s meaningful for the Cubs at that point.
  • Carlos Portocarrero takes an interesting look at the Cubs’ system over at BP Wrigleyville, trying to identify their potential Terrance Gore (i.e., late-season super speed guy call-up).
  • If you missed anything this weekend, here’s your catch-up, and here’s Luke on the action in the minors from the weekend.
  • The Cubs are headed to Miami for a three-game series starting tonight, and they are ready:

Omw to miami con los homie @pstroop @jorgesoler68 @juniorlake #flowmiami #1eroDios 🙏🙏⚾️⚾️⚾️

A photo posted by Starlin Castro (@starlincastro1424) on

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