Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

dan haren cubsOne week from today. It’s going to be something.

  • Dan Haren was pretty awesome last night, albeit against the Reds, not that their lineup isĀ terrible. It was Haren’s second excellent outing in his last fourĀ starts, though there was a terrible one against the Phillies mixed in there. The big question, of course, is whether Haren will get playoff roster consideration. Working in his favor: the Cubs have significant questions about who is going to pick up the early innings in the non-Arrieta, non-Lester games; Haren is a veteran with playoff experience who isn’t going to crack under pressure; maybe in short doses, Haren could be as good as any of the long relievers. Working against him: the Cubs have a bunch of excellent long relief options anyway; Kyle Hendricks and Jason Hammel almost certainly get preference on starts; and Haren’s numbers with the Cubs do not inspire confidence.
  • On that last one, though, Haren’s been much better in September than he was in August, with a 2.36 ERA and a 3.33 FIP over 26.2 September innings. What changed? Well, he stopped giving up homers. Remember when Haren was good for at least a couple homers per start? Well, he’s given up just two this month, which is quite a feat for a guy who doesn’t have much velocity and gives up a ton of fly balls. Is it sustainable, though? Can it be counted on in the playoffs, when one home run can be the difference between moving on and going home? I think this could merit some additional discussion in the coming days, but I’m not yet convinced. Presently, Haren is scheduled to start the Cubs’ season finale on Sunday against the Brewers.
  • There’s a huge feature on ESPN focusing on the Ricketts Family and the Cubs, and you should carve out some time today to read. It’s relatively light for folks who’ve followed things closely the last several years, though it has plenty of interesting atmospherics.

  • Carl Edwards, Jr. got to take an at bat last night … against Aroldis Chapman. He was told not to swing (, which was probably a good idea, because the reverberations from the ball striking Edwards’ bat might have taken his arms right off of his body.
  • Kris Bryant’s preference is still to keep playing third base, but his priority is helping the team win, and he really means it when he moves all over the field (CSN).
  • Cubs TV ratings are up, and so are Cubs radio ratings.
  • Scoreboard Watching from this morning, if you missed it.
  • Luis was on hand in great seats for a few big moments this past week, and he got some great shots.
  • You don’t actually have to watch the following. Just understand that typically I like these kinds of dorky, self-aware, silly team videos … if you can pull it off. They’ve got to be simultaneously clever and knowingly over-the-top, which this is really, really not:

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