Reminder: there’s a DraftKings fantasy football contest today with a $1 million prize pool. It’s $3 to enter or FREE with your first deposit.
If you prefer fantasy baseball, the big daddy is coming on Tuesday: a $2.5 million prize pool with $1 million to the winner. I am going to win that million bucks.
- I was going over last night’s loss in my head before I went to sleep and again this morning, and I keep coming back to the same series of thoughts: (1) it’s troubling that the best guys in the bullpen are the ones struggling right now, but that doesn’t mean they’re toast; (2) it was so impressive that the Cubs rallied back when they did and easily could have won that game; (3) even good teams lose games to bad teams sometimes; and (4) we all get so frustrated about Cubs losses because they’re almost always close (the kind where one or two decisions/bounces/plays could swing it) … which are the kinds of losses you see good teams having, because they’re good enough to keep games close. I would have felt, emotionally, better about the game continuing on as a 5-1 loss last night than the way it actually played out. But it played out the way it did because the Cubs are good. The curse of being good, I guess.
- A lot of folks were questioning why Joe Maddon stuck with Justin Grimm as long as he did last night after the first walk, the Anthony Rizzo error, and the Ryan Howard double, but I’d imagine that part of the philosophy there is knowing that, if the Cubs are going to continue to be successful the rest of the way, they’re going to need Grimm. Maddon discusses a certain Pedro Strop usage in this Cubs.com piece, which suggests he’s thinking big picture with some of his relievers. Maybe that’s a part of what was going on.
- On Grimm, though, it’s been an extremely rough stretch. After a season of dominance, his last nine appearances: 7.36 ERA, 8.05 FIP, 5.91 xFIP, 18.4% K rate, 18.4% BB rate. His control and command are off right now. We’ve seen him go through these stretches before and come back as good as ever. So I wouldn’t say I’m worried, but I do think it’s fair to acknowledge that the results lately haven’t been flukey.
- Baseball America looks at the overall records for the various MLB teams’ minor league affiliates. While we know that a minor league team’s performance does not necessarily correlate to its prospect prowess, it’s interesting to see the teams at the top: Astros, D-Backs, Pirates, Phillies, Cubs, Twins, in that order. All except the Diamondbacks are known for having strong farm systems right now, for what that’s worth. I also believe that the Cubs have made it more of an organizational imperative to see their minor league teams winning games so that their prospects can get a sense for that indefinable quality of knowing what it takes to win. With a .540 overall farm system winning percentage this year, the Cubs certainly did that.
- One of those teams is still going, by the way, with the Pelicans starting the championship series for the Carolina League today.
- Scoreboard Watching from earlier today.