We’ve reached the part of trade season where rumors and news happens constantly, and at random times, which makes things like going to see your kids’ end-of-summer-camp shows a little more tense than usual. I’ve got two of those today, which absolutely take the priority over breaking news and rumors, but it’s not like I want to totally drop the ball on coverage. So there’s a delicate balance there.
- Meanwhile, the Cubs also start a big series today after enjoy the fruits of an off-day well-deserved. Coming out of the break, the Cubs have won six straight, and closed the gap in the NL Central to just 1.0 game behind the Brewers (the Cubs are now actually ahead in the loss column). This weekend, the Cubs will host the Cardinals for a three game set, with the I’m-not-exaggerating chance to end the Cardinals’ season. How? If the Cubs were to sweep the Cardinals, who are currently three games below .500 and 4.5 games out in the Central (in fourth place), I’m thinking the Cardinals decide that’s that and become sellers. While that wouldn’t literally end their season, it would render their ability to come back all but neutered, not only because they’d lose a useful piece or two, but also because they wouldn’t buy where they have areas of need.
- Given the weight of the series – and, hello, the rivalry – the Cubs put out a hype video this morning, and I’m loving it:
Let’s have some fun this weekend. pic.twitter.com/vXeW0WL0Kt
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) July 21, 2017
- Did you catch the brilliant and beautiful trolling mid-video? Tim McCarver: “He’s not gonna throw to first base” … as Jon Lester picked off Tommy Pham.
- Meanwhile, and it’s not like I’m trying to pile on, but it just happened – here’s how the Cardinals lost yesterday:
- The Cardinals blew a late lead, and then, in the 9th inning, Trevor Rosenthal got a grounder to end the threat and head to extra innings … but he simply forgot to cover first base. Walk-off. Cardinals lose. Ouch. You wonder if that’s one that’s a little hard to regroup after. Matt Carpenter was extremely irritated after the game, especially because that’s apparently the second time Rosenthal has done that this month.
- CSN has a piece about Willson Contreras’s evolving leadership on the Cubs, and all the things he’s doing besides being a great baseball player.
- I loved this write-up at ESPN on the Cubs’ “wave” celebration when they reach base. Turns out it was Kyle Schwarber who brought it to the team from his college days, and it produced magical moments like this:
Greeting the off-day after a six-game Cubs winning streak. pic.twitter.com/e7h1EdQaoZ
— Brett Taylor (@BleacherNation) July 20, 2017
- Bonus: some guys have started to do other things in the second half, including a Ben Zobrist maneuver that a lot of folks have been calling a force choke:
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) July 18, 2017
- The ESPN piece has the explanation on that one, and I won’t spoil their thunder. It is not a force choke.
- If you missed this morning’s big rumor, it has the Cubs inquiring with the Rangers on Yu Darvish.
- Deals of the Day at Amazon include various pet supplies, and a big sale on a Black and Decker vacuum.
- And look at what you wonderful folks have done! The Blogathon is now up to 34 hours:
— Brett Taylor (@BleacherNation) July 21, 2017