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The Bullpen Keeps Playing the Quiet Hero in Cubs Comeback Wins and Other Bullets

Analysis and Commentary, Chicago Cubs News

I am not just a baseball nerd at heart, I am an overall nerd at heart. Thus, I was completely enchanted when I saw this article at Techcrunch about scientists who are going to race “nanocars” – a single molecule of a few dozen atoms, propelled by the interaction of those atoms when a stream of electrons are fired at them. I would definitely watch this race (which we will be able to do, because they’re going to take a scan of the course after every electron fire, and then animate the progress over a certain period of time). The course is 100 nanometers long, by the way, which is about 0.1% the width of a human hair. Yes, these babies are small.

Next up: quark races!


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  • Of yesterday’s comeback win, Cubs manager Joe Maddon said it was just another example of the “we never quit” mentality, which appears on the Cubs’ championship rings (Cubs.com). To that, I would add – as we’ve mentioned a few times already this year, as Cubs starting pitchers have left some shorter outings – that the bullpen never quitting, and grinding away those middle and late innings without letting the game get out of hand, is such a quietly important part of the story. I also really liked that Maddon committed to going with Wade Davis in the 9th inning to keep the Cubs within a run heading into the bottom of the frame.
  • Remember when the bullpen was the big story just a few days ago? How much the Cubs were being crushed by bullpen swoons? Well, early season numbers are funny, man. The Cubs suddenly now have the 12th best bullpen ERA in baseball.
  • Also about the bullpen: Carl Edwards Jr. scored the winning run yesterday, as he’d pinch run in the 9th inning for Miguel Montero. He has scored more runs this year than he’s allowed.
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
  • I mentioned it this morning when talking about the win, but Addison Russell echoes it in a different way: the win set the Cubs up with some extra confidence headed back out on the road now (ESPN). It’s as if they reminded themselves (again) that they can come back in any game.
  • The Cubs walked Eric Thames three times in yesterday’s game after he clobbered them in the first two. Funny note from Bob Nightengale: after Thames homered on Tuesday, his fifth straight game with a homer, he was approached by MLB for a drug test. I still think we’ll really see if Thames is a magical KBO transformation after he passes through the league a second time, but, for now, what a great story, eh?

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  • Ah, the dreaded “it’s important and very Cubs-related so I have to cover it, but arg politics” bullet: according to the Sun-Times, Todd Ricketts will not be joining the Trump administration at this time after all. The Cubs co-owner and board member had been nominated to be the deputy commerce secretary, but, according to the report, was unable to sufficiently disentangle his business holdings – which includes the Cubs and related entities – to serve in the post, per the ethics rules. It’s possible Ricketts could still join the administration in another role, where the conflict of interests rules might be easier to overcome.
  • Albert Almora is playing elite center field defense and hitting .391/.440/.609 through 26 plate appearances on the year. Thus, he deserves a video profile:

  • If you remember that awesome painting Matt Szczur did, he sold it for a healthy sum to benefit charity:

  • Speaking of charity, the Cubs’ annual Bricks and Ivy Ball was last night after the game (boy how the spirits were probably way up after that win!), and it raised a whole lot of money for charity:

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  • Not all heroes wear oversized novelty alligator costumes … but some do:

  • I’m sure Michael was glad to finally be able to get the Cubs onto one of these lists:

  • Heads up on a sale at Fanatics through tomorrow morning at 8am CT – you can get 20% off with the code TAKE20.
  • Earlier, Luke checked in on Cubs minor league pitchers, including the unhittable Dylan Cease.
  • META: As you may have noticed, and will notice at some point in the coming days, I’m doing some layout tinkering to the site to accommodate some new image options we’ve picked up (hooray for some nice, new, beautiful images via Getty!). Everyone’s browser is different, which means a couple things: (1) it’s possible the site’s coding is not working properly for your browser/device – if something looks broken or odd, please let me know; and (2) but it could just be that the coding/styling is taking a hot minute to find its way into your browser’s local cache. So, I would say, if you notice something busted, you can feel free to let me know whenever, but it might just be a matter of the various changes filtering through to you over a hopefully short period of time.

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Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor of Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation.