Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

javy baez ballOn my way home from Chicago yesterday, a stray piece of metal on the highway – might’ve been a muffler that fell off someone’s car – hit the underside of my car with a healthy bang. Although I was unfortunately unable to avoid it because I was boxed in by other cars on all sides, I was fortunate that it didn’t wreck me or immediately render my car immobile. I was able to get home, but the sudden grinding and scraping sound in the engine and the front axel told me something was jacked up. Sure enough, I just got the call from the shop that a couple things are broken. Thanks a lot, mystery metal loser.

  • We’ll find out soon enough, but Joe Maddon intimated that he might change the lineup up a bit for tonight’s game against Madison Bumgarner ( In games one and two of the series, Maddon opted for maximum defense while still keeping Ben Zobrist’s bat in the lineup (and the only way to do that is to put Javy Baez at second base and Zobrist in left field). Against a lefty who is tough on everyone but especially other lefties, you’d like to see the Cubs figure out a way to get another righty or two in the lineup. The rub is that Miguel Montero will very likely be catching Jake Arrieta, closing off one option for a righty bat (I’d call David Ross *possible*, but I think Willson Contreras is unlikely). Then you’ve got Jason Heyward in right field, where you’d love to leave him tonight, because that’s not an easy right field to play. If that’s the case, then, you can’t get both Jorge Soler and Javy Baez (for two examples) into the lineup at the same time, unless you were going to sit Kris Bryant or Addison Russell or Ben Zobrist, and none of those things are going to happen.

  • Kyle Hendricks was sore a day after taking a line drive off his pitching forearm, but the Cubs aren’t anticipating it costing him any time ( I’ll reiterate that he wouldn’t be needed again until Sunday at the earliest – and he could be pushed another couple days and still be able to make two NLCS starts – which would give him over a week between starts.
  • Joe Maddon’s interview from yesterday’s workout day is here in transcript form if you want to give it a once over.
  • Among David Laurila’s Sunday Notes, David Ross calls Javy Baez the best defensive player he’s ever seen, which is pretty high praise from a guy whose been in the league as many years with as many teams as Ross has.
  • Also in those notes at the top, Adam Eaton talks about how the addition of Austin Jackson to the White Sox’s outfield gave him the confidence to be more aggressive in the gap, and thus generate better defensive metrics. Makes you wonder how much of the spike in Dexter Fowler’s defensive production (much of which is legitimately tied to better positioning) could be tied to the confidence of playing next to Jason Heyward.
  • Among other topics discussed this weekend, Commissioner Rob Manfred didn’t dismiss out of hand the possibility that the schedule – either the 162 games or the 183 days or both – would change in the next CBA (ESPN), but also wouldn’t really comment beyond saying that it’s a matter for collective bargaining.
  • So far, the Diamondbacks aren’t having much luck in getting top candidates to interview for their open GM position (Hardball Talk).

  • Just a little fun, and no this is not a serious calculation/projection:

  • Or maybe the Blue Jays were just the better team, as virtually all underlying metrics suggested (or anything can happen in a short series (or any of a bunch of explanations that have nothing to do with sitting around, which hasn’t seemed to bother the Cubs)):

  • I literally eat ice cream every night – that is not an exaggerated use of “literally,” either (it’s part of my routine) – so a big sale on a fancy ice cream scoop is something that jumps out at me on Amazon. The reviews are unkind, though. That’s when I realized there are 362 reviews for an ice cream scoop. I’d make fun, but, again, I’m someone who eats at least a little ice cream every single day, so obsessing about the minutia of the scooping process is right up my alley.

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