Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

jake arrieta beard featureBe advised: DraftKings is rounding out the MLB season with a contest that will win someone $1 million. Like, an actual million bucks. The contest runs next Tuesday, and you can reserve your spot now ($2.5 million in total prize payouts).

  • If you thought you noticed Jake Arrieta using his changeup more often than usual yesterday, you weren’t alone – he threw some nasty ones, which moved more aggressively to the arm side than his two-seamer, and shaved off five or six mph. It was like having available the mirror image of his hard-slider/soft-slider combo. The 11 changeups he threw marked an unusually high number for him, which he later explained was part of the scouting report on the D-Backs (ESPN).
  • Arrieta got another 15 whiffs yesterday, which is just silly. After his eight shutout innings with seven strikeouts and no walks, the tallies: 5.8 WAR, 3rd best in baseball; 2.03 ERA, 2nd best; 2.46 FIP, 3rd best; 2.73 xFIP, 5th best. My personal Cy Young board now reads Kershaw, Arrieta, Greinke, but boy are all three so close.

  • If you missed Luis’s take on just how historically good Arrieta’s been this year, you should check it out.

  • A.J. Pollock summed up one particularly awesome thing about Jake Arrieta after facing him yesterday ( “Arrieta, when he makes a mistake, it’s a 97-mph pitch with cut down the middle. It’s a different mistake than [from] a different guy.” Arrieta’s “mistake” pitches are probably better than most pitchers’ average pitches.
  • Addison Russell is just about a highlight-a-day at shortstop. The latest was a diving catch in the hold:

Before the game in the clubhouse, Ross asked for a hug from Anthony Rizzo, who was shirtless at the time, because they did it the previous game and Ross got a double. He also scored Rizzo in the first on a sacrifice fly.

“It’s not about the hits,” Rizzo said.

“It isn’t for you, but it is for me,” Ross said.

  • If you haven’t been following the Matt Harvey-Mets stuff, it’s fascinating and horrible to observe from a distance. You can catch up here and here, but the gist is Harvey and his agent, Scott Boras, are saying they were given a hard 180-inning limit from his doctor in this, his first full season back from Tommy John surgery. That’s obviously an issue because he’s already almost there, and the Mets could be playoff-bound. Worse, no one seems to have discussed this until now, and it wasn’t really clear that Boras/Harvey were going to insist on a hard cap earlier in the year, when the Mets perhaps could have been doing more to limit his innings. It’s all a bit of a mess.

  • Speaking of the Mets, Bartolo Colon made a ridiculous – not even just a “ridiculous for Bartololol” – behind-the-back play last night.
  • Scoreboard Watching from earlier this morning, if you missed it.
  • Awesome:

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