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Scary Series on Deck, Another Good Montgomery Start, Rizzo’s Super Choke, and Other Bullets

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We had some friends over on Saturday, one of whom was a law school classmate of mine, and he reminded me that it’s now been 10 years since we graduated law school – one of those unbelievable checkpoints for me. I can’t believe that was 10 years ago. And it was six years ago that I stopped practicing law in favor of writing at this here site full-time.

  • It was another three-run first inning given up for the Cubs yesterday, and that time, it doomed them. The Cubs have given up multiple first inning runs a whopping 18 times this season, which of course leads baseball (Rogers). Having played just 75 games this year, that means the Cubs have given up multiple first inning runs 24%(!!!) of the time. That’s utterly insane.
  • The Cubs begin a big (and terrifying?) four-game series in Washington tonight, and the sad reality is that you’d have to be very happy about a split. The Cubs don’t miss Max Scherzer or Stephen Strasburg in this one, it’s on the road, and winning a four-game set is hard in any case. So, a split will satisfy me. A series loss will cause me to shrug, being swept will cause me to weep, a series win will cause me to irrationally scream “TURNING POINT!”, and the Cubs pulling off a sweep will cause me to disappear into a bunker for fear that the apocalypse looms.

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  • With those Bryce-Harper-wants-to-play-for-Cubs rumors earlier this year, the series will have that fun bit as a side story. Probably not a side story? The Cubs walking Harper intentionally every time he comes to the plate. Unlike last year when the Cubs pulled it off (incidentally, as part of a four-game sweep at Wrigley!), the Nationals now have a VERY productive trio of Ryan Zimmerman, Daniel Murphy, and Anthony Rendon hitting behind Harper, so you’d walk him at your own peril. My lord, the middle of that Nats lineup is just crushing it this year … eep.
  • At least the Nationals’ bullpen is still a mess. It’s so bad that it actually killed a fan. (Probably not really, but he blamed them in his obituary.)
  • I wrote about it this weekend, and then, sadly, it came to life: the Cubs finally tried a hit-and-run yesterday, and it bit them, as Willson Contreras missed a sign, and Ian Happ was thrown out at second base in an inning that otherwise would have produced runs. Again, that’s the thing about the hit-and-run: it sounds beautiful in theory and when it works, but you’re exposing at least as much risk as you are by just having the guys play it straight.

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  • Hey, so that was another very good start for Mike Montgomery, eh? Keep it going, buddy, because right now is a clear opportunity to seize a rotation spot, and hold onto it for the next five years. Through his four starts this season, Montgomery has posted a 1.71 ERA, a 3.23 FIP, a 3.98 xFIP, a 21.4% K rate and a 9.0% BB rate. Best of all, his groundball rate has been a scintillating 63.0%.
(Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
  • A reminder that the Iowa Cubs play tonight at 7:08pm CT, and Kyle Schwarber is expected to be in the lineup.
  • Anthony Rizzo doesn’t mess around with his two-strike choke-up, which was even more extreme yesterday (and it worked!):

  • The Cardinals are dealing with injuries, just like every team, and the latest has Dexter Fowler headed to the DL with a heel spur. Not solely for that reason, but also because they are scuffling mightily, the Cardinals will soon confront the buyer-seller decision.

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  • This made me smile when I noticed it last night:

  • This also made me smile:

  • I don’t know whether Michael or Luis is responsible for this pun (it wasn’t me), but the catch is very good:


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Brett Taylor

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

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