If you checked out for the holiday weekend, you missed a lot of fun. Catch up here. As for the rest …
- Kyle Schwarber has been sidelined for almost a week now by a rib cage strain, but he could be close to a return. He worked out yesterday at Busch Stadium, taking swings and making throws. He told Cubs.com that he felt good and was “champing at the bit” to get back, but that he has to respect the injury and not take any unnecessary changes at aggravating it. Today’s Cardinals pitcher, Michael Wacha, is pretty split-neutral (this year, righties are actually hitting better off him than lefties), so it offers a pretty good opportunity to give Schwarber at least one more day before possibly bringing him back out tomorrow against Carlos Martinez (who is really tough on righties, but very susceptible against lefties). I italicize that “possibly” because no one is committing to anything at this point. The expectation coming into this series is that Schwarber would miss all three games, so if he is able to come back tomorrow and is 100%, that’s something of a bonus.
- Dan Haren, who was fantastic yesterday, says he’s been working on some minor changes – mechanics, grips, varying speeds – that could help him down the stretch (ESPN). He had a couple rough patches yesterday, but, unlike some of his other starts with the Cubs, he was not giving up a ton of hard contact. I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself, but it was absolutely an encouraging start.
- A side benefit of this team being so young, as pointed out by Addison Russell in this Tribune piece: even when new guys are called up, chances are they’ve played with many of the big leaguers in the recent past. That affords a level of comfort that keeps things loose in the clubhouse, and guards against any kind of disruption.
- Wondering which NL pitcher DRA (BP’s comprehensive pitching stat (Deserved Run Average)) would peg as the NL Cy Young winner? Well, it has the same top three as everyone will have, but DRA goes Zack Greinke (2.00), Clayton Kershaw (2.19), then Jake Arrieta (2.30).
- A reminder: running onto the field at Wrigley is a felony. Don’t do it. Not worth it.
- Scoreboard Watching from a very, very good day for the Cubs.
- The Cubs have a couple minor league batting title champs.