wrigley crowd win flagAnyone else really looking forward to ‘Westworld‘? The production delays and rewrites/reshoots tend to make me a little nervous, but it’s Jonathan Nolan and J.J. Abrams on HBO with a killer cast and tremendous material with which to work. My expectations are sky high.

  • Let’s see if I can articulate this in a way that makes sense and doesn’t sound dopey: given how incredibly good this year’s Cubs team is, not just relative to the rest of MLB, but to the rest of Cubs baseball history, it’s actually pretty remarkable that they’ve only just now tied last year’s win total. What I mean is, the margins in baseball between “historically good team” and “oh, that was a good year and a really nice second half in particular” are slim. If the Cubs, resting their regulars, split these final 10 games, they’ll win just five more games than last season, a year in which we thought of the Cubs as very good, but more of a pop-up team than an all-timer. And yet we know a five-game swing can be enormous in baseball, even as we acknowledge how easily five games can swing in either direction. It’s just funny to think about how differently we view the 2015 and 2016 Cubs through the historical lens, and the win totals probably won’t be *that* different. Such is baseball. Also: that 2015 team was damn good.


  • (Obviously we think of this year’s team differently, too, because it’s not just that the record is better than last year – it’s because this team is blowing away the rest of baseball is so many phases of the game. That’s why, even at 97 wins already, the Cubs are way underperforming their expected record, which indicates they should already have anywhere from 100 to 106 wins, based on underlying performance. I guess this was a good year for the Cubs have such terrible luck, eh?)
  • Kyle Hendricks’ next start has been moved to Monday in Pittsburgh, which means he’ll pitch immediately after Jon Lester. That could be the order that opens up the playoffs for the Cubs, but it’s also possible that the Cubs will wait to make that particular decision until they know the opponent – this way, given the off-days after the end of the season, both guys would be lined up to start Game One of the NLDS.
  • I know you’ve heard it before, but Joe Maddon says Jorge Soler (side tightness) is expected to play this weekend against the Cardinals (Tribune).
  • John Lackey looked good and ready last night, and he seems like the type that is built for October (The Athletic).
  • Speaking of which, the Cubs have had unusually excellent starting pitching health over the past several years, which is undoubtedly a credit to the training staff, to the pitchers, to the front office, and to the coaching staff, including pitching coach Chris Bosio (CSN).


  • Michael knows that he’s stretching the limits of small sample sizes and self-delusion, but he can’t help himself:

  • Ankle check: it felt pretty good for most of the day yesterday, but started hurting a bit by evening. This morning it was sore and swollen, but I don’t really see any obvious bruising yet, so that’s good (though apparently it can show up a couple days later).¬†There was an audible and kinda-gross-sounding “pop” when it happened, but as I understand it, that doesn’t necessarily mean it was¬†severe, and it’s not like I’m in severe pain, even when I walk around. Fingers remain crossed that this will be a short-term, quickly forgotten thing, though I’ll probably be wearing a brace for a while, just to be on the safe side.
  • A bunch of NFL apparel is on sale at Amazon today.





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