willson contreras cubs catcherScientists believe they’ve found an exoplanet (i.e., the kind that could theoretically sustain life as we know it) orbiting the star nearest to the Sun, which is really neat; except cosmic distances are so incomprehensibly far that the “closest” star to our Sun is still almost unthinkably far away. The hope is that we can create small probes by 2060 that can travel at 1/5 the speed of light, so that they could reach the planet within 20 years of launch. So, yeah. You’re going to have to live an extremely long time if you want to see what’s what with this planet. Still, like I said, it’s neat.

  • Kyle Hendricks offers the love for Willson Contreras after another successful start together (CSN), and Contreras says he’s much more comfortable now than he was early on after his call-up when he started catching Cubs pitchers. It’s a reminder: this young man, who is only three years into catching, is (1) developing as a catcher at the big league level, (2) while catching a wide variety of big league pitchers, (3) while in a playoff race, and (4) while trying to adjust offensively at the big league level. “Special” does not go far enough in describing what he’s done this year, and what he can be in the future. You simply don’t see young players breaking out the way he has the last two years BOTH with the bat and behind the plate AND moving rapidly from AA to the big leagues (unless you came with the generational pedigree of someone like Buster Posey).


  • After his 8th homer yesterday, by the way, Contreras is hitting .270/.352/.455 with a 117 wRC+. And it’s not really like he’s been getting any match-up protection from day one. He’s thrown in there basically every day. (All right. Calm yourself, Brett.)
  • Your Kyle Hendricks check: leads MLB in ERA by 0.25 runs at 2.19, and has MLB’s longest streak of consecutive starts allowing three or fewer earned runs, at 17 (ESPN).
  • Aroldis Chapman looked incredibly sharp yesterday, averaging just shy of 101mph on his fastball, reaching 103.6mph, and throwing 10 of 12 pitches for strikes as he struck out the side. In case you had concerns. Of note: it was a traditional, start-the-9th-inning save situation.


  • Barring any setbacks – never an ignorable caveat – Joe Maddon says he expects Hector Rondon back at the beginning of September (Mark Grote). Rondon isn’t eligible to come off of the DL until the start of September anyway.
  • Kyle Schwarber did a series of video answers to questions, posted by the Cubs’ Twitter account, and they’re worth checking out for Schwarber’s earnestness if nothing else. On his rehab:



  • On the best dancers on the team:




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