pedro strop smile outfielderDid the air smell fresher this morning? Were there baby blue birds perched at your window, lightly chirping you awake? Did your legs spontaneously jolt you into a moonwalk over to the coffeemaker?

Let’s be quite clear: the Cubs are in a miserable stretch of baseball, and one win does not, alone, change that. HOWEVA, the fact that the one win came on the final day of the first half, when there’s a four-day stretch without another Cubs game, was pretty much as good as a single non-playoff, non-clinching win can get.

I’m still floating seven full inches above my chair as I type.

  • Speaking of which, the Cubs head into the break with a 7.0 game lead in the NL Central, which is the largest divisional lead in baseball. That’s probably not as comforting as it would be if the Cubs came into the break on a hot streak, or if the lead was the 11+ games it once was, but still. That’s a good spot to be in.
  • Because of the rough patch, the Cubs’ playoff odds aren’t at the absurd levels they once were, but they’re still incredibly strong. FanGraphs has the Cubs at 92.5% to win the division, and 97.9% to make the playoffs. BP is slightly more optimistic, at 94.0% and 98.3%, respectively.




  • Joe Nathan continues to ready himself at AA Tennessee, and Joe Maddon’s been getting good reports (CSN). For a 41-year-old two-time Tommy John recoveree, who hasn’t pitched in the big leagues since April of last year, your hopes should only be so high. But, after signing Nathan to a big league deal, and given the disarray in the bullpen, it’s impossible to imagine the Cubs not giving him a shot in the final two weeks before the Trade Deadline (assuming he’s healthy and ready). That way, the Cubs can at least get some eyes on him to know a little bit more about what they have before they might have to pull the trigger on a big deal by August 1.
  • Eloy Jimenez did this and this in the Futures Game, added a double, and generally paced the World team … so I’m kinda irrationally salty that he didn’t win MVP honors. That went to Yoan Moncada, who also homered and had another hit in the game (in five at bats, though! Jimenez had just three; and Jimenez doubled Moncada’s RBI and run total in the game – so, you know, QED). The reason I’m salty? That would have given the Cubs their second straight Futures Game MVP – did you remember that Kyle Schwarber took the honor last year? Javy Baez homered the year before, though he did not win MVP honors. Quite a stretch for Cubs prospects in that game.


  • A fun moment from yesterday’s game, if you missed it, that involved a nice Pirates play (the Cubs won, so it’s OK to enjoy it) – Starling Marte had to make a catch in the outfield and then also catch his teammate on the same play.
  • The Prime Deals of the Day continue at Amazon, and tomorrow is Prime Day (when there are a bunch of huge sales for Prime members). You can sign up for a 30-day free trial of Amazon Prime here, which might not be a bad idea!
  • The Cubs’ All-Star crew:

  • If you missed anything this weekend, catch yourself up here.
  • Keep on going! Like a crazy person, I want to give you 39 straight hours at the deadline:




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