sad piratesWith yesterday’s win and the Cardinals’ late night loss, the Cubs’ lead in the NL Central is a full 9.0 games over both the Pirates and the Cardinals. The season is very much starting to look like last year, with the Cardinals blasting out to such a huge early-season lead that it wound up not even making sense for the Cubs or Pirates to make big rental moves at the deadline to try and make a run. Of course, each of the Cubs and Pirates blew up late anyway, and the Cardinals faded a bit, so it was close down to the wire (making that huge early-season lead, and the decisions it drove, all the more important). It makes you wonder if the Cubs could do the same thing to the Cardinals and Pirates this year – make the division look so unlikely that they don’t go for huge upgrades at the deadline.

  • Speaking of the Pirates, boy were they frustrated by yesterday’s loss (and, presumably, the four that preceded it this year, and the Wild Card Game loss that preceded this year). In the 4th inning, after giving up two runs, clearly not having great command (he’d just thrown a wild pitch), and reeling a bit, Jake Arrieta hit Jung-Ho Kang with a runner on base. About that HBP, Pirates starter Jeff Locke had this to say after the game (Cubs.com): “I think any time someone like Arrieta hits somebody, you have to assume automatically that one didn’t just get away. He’s been pretty sharp all year … so when he misses like that, maybe you raise an eyebrow or something like that, too .… I don’t know what happened on the pitch. It got him pretty flush, though. It just seems a guy like that, with pinpoint accuracy, doesn’t just miss in.” I have some thoughts on how utterly ridiculous that suggestion is in that particular game situation, but I’ll like the Cubs’ battery take care of responding to anyone saying hitting Kang was on purpose.


  • From Miguel Montero (CSN): “Nah. I mean, c’mon. Really? You guys saw him. He was wild. He walked the pitcher on four pitches. Nah. That’s really stupid. Seriously, that’s stupid to say. [Arrieta] doesn’t want to hit him. I guarantee that.”
  • Then, from Arrieta:

  • For what it’s worth, I also don’t think Locke’s later HBP of Montero (ahead 0-2 in the count, only one out, in a still tight game) was intentional and/or retaliation. But I do think the Pirates still have retaliation on their mind, and they don’t deserve the benefit of the doubt after hitting Arrieta intentionally in the Wild Card Game (which was beyond ridiculous) and hitting Ben Zobrist intentionally in the last series (which was also ridiculous). I hope things are calm today.
  • We speculated about it yesterday upon Miguel Montero’s return, and it sure sounds like it was true based on some of their post-game comments here at Cubs.com – Arrieta works really well with Montero, especially, so it’s good to have him back.
  • Teammates, coaches, manager, and everyone watching is impressed by Addison Russell (Tribune).


  • The Phillies beat the Reds last night thanks to this game-saving play at the plate last night (walk-off defensive play? I think that should be a thing if you end the game on a non-standard, killer play, like that David Ross throw to first base against the Nationals last year, or that Phillies play), improving their record to 22-15. Yes, the Phillies are just 1.0 games behind the Nationals in the NL East, and a half-game ahead of the Mets. If the season ended today, they’d be one of the Wild Card teams! I doubt they’ll actually be there in the end, but unlike when everyone said the Cubs were a year early in 2015 in their rebuild, the Phillies really are a year (or more) early right now. They are going to be very, very good as soon as 2017. The only thing that might hold them back from a true explosion is a weak free agent class – with their resources, they’re going to want to supplement their young core aggressively in free agency when the time is right.
  • Standing desk – anyone got one? Worth it? There’s a good one on sale at Amazon right now, but it’s still pretty expensive. Am I better off just getting one of those ball chair things, or maybe even just stacking some boxes on my desk and putting my computer on there (or getting a small coffee table or something)? Some days my back just tells me I could probably stand to stand.
  • If you missed it earlier, we looked at the Cubs’ crazy double play yesterday, as well as their homers. Luke checked in on the blowout wins in the farm system, and the exit of a popular minor leaguer.


  • A couple guys worth rooting for:

https://twitter.com/ShaneVictorino/status/731492023811903488

  • Harper doin’ his thing:

  • Arrieta doin’ his thing:


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