jon lester cubs featureThanks for bearing with me over the past few days as The Wife and I did our vacation thing. It was a fantastic trip to New York for us, and an excellent re-charge.

At the same time, I’m eager to get back at it …

  • With his latest stupidly good start, Jon Lester has lowered his ERA to 1.89 on the season, fourth best in all of baseball. His 2.5 WAR is 7th in baseball. His 2.82 FIP is 11th. His 3.15 xFIP is 9th. It’s hard to even remember that five starts ago, Lester didn’t make it through even three innings against the Giants (and, if I could pat myself on the butt, I wrote “Why Jon Lester’s Ugly Outing Doesn’t Concern Me at All”). Since then, all he’s done is throw 30.1 innings over four starts, allowing 2 ER (4 R) on 19 hits and just 2 walks, with 33 strikeouts. Video game numbers, even against the Phillies (twice), Braves, and Dodgers. None of those walks came in his last three starts.


  • The Pirates are in some serious trouble. Not only were they just swept at home by the Cardinals, but they’ve lost 12 of 16 overall, and now stand just one game over .500. Worse, they are a mere two games better than the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central, and are 12.0 games back of the Cubs. Worse upon worse, they just lost Francisco Cervelli, one of the most valuable catchers in baseball overall, for more than a month because of a broken hand. And they lost his very capable backup Chris Stewart to a foot/ankle injury in the next game, though it’s unclear how much time he’ll miss, or if he’ll just play injured. Throw in the fact that ace Gerrit Cole had to leave Friday’s game with triceps tightness and may have to miss time, and it’s all quite a mess. This, right now, is the low moment for the Pirates, and it feels like their season could go one of two ways from here on out. It’s shocking that falling off the table is even possible at this point in mid-June, given how good they were looking in April/May.
  • You will love this read on how the Cubs veterans are welcoming Albert Almora into the fold.
  • The Cubs claimed righty R.J. Alvarez off of waivers from the A’s this weekend, and we’ll have more on him in a bit.
  • It’s no secret that Justin Grimm is off a bit this year, and he tells ESPN that part of it is him needing to work on his focus in games that aren’t as close – when it’s tight, he’s been effective. When it’s been not-so-tight, he hasn’t.
  • Grimm’s former bullpen-mate Neil Ramirez continues to bounce around. After being snagged by the Brewers from the Cubs, the Twins grabbed him from the Brewers when they tried to get him through waivers.
  • Happy 31st birthday to Pedro Strop, who played the part of prankster this weekend, getting bullpen coach Lester Strode with snakes in a cooler.


  • If you missed anything from this weekend, catch yourself up here. And if you missed Luke’s Minor League Daily, including a WHIP quiz and a Vogelbomb, check it out here.
  • Some of you crazy folks are trying to put together an informal BN meet-up for one of the upcoming Cubs games, so if you want to offer input on when it might be, go here.
  • Lastly, because I was a big disc golfer back in college – it’s a lot of fun, you can walk right on and play for free, and it’s pretty cheap to pick up a range of discs if you want – I have to share this video. Having played a lot, I can tell you that this shot for an albatross (in the hole in two on a par 5) is utterly and absolutely insane, and I have watched it many times:




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