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God Bless Willson Contreras and Other Bullets

Analysis and Commentary, Chicago Cubs News

Last fall, after Halloween, the kids and I planted our pumpkin seeds (and chucked our pumpkins, lets be honest) in the woods in our backyard. It was one of those things you do with kids for fun, knowing full well that actually growing pumpkins is not in your future. I totally forgot about it.


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Until this weekend, that is, when we were playing back there and I stumbled upon an actual flowering pumpkin plant – it was growing! How in the world did this happen, I wondered. We literally did nothing except put the stuff in a hole and cover it up. That was it. I was so excited and so were the kids, because it was such an absurd, light, fun, unexpected thing to have happened.

And then yesterday, some butthole rabbit or deer ate the damn flowering bud.

  • With yesterday’s win, not only did the Cubs pull into first place in the NL Central (tied) for the first time since June 6, but they also pulled five games clear of .500 for the first time all year. The Cubs were within one out of being five games over .500 once before this year – the shocking loss against the Yankees at Wrigley Field on May 5, when Hector Rondon couldn’t close things out in place of an unavailable Wade Davis. Interestingly, that’s when Rondon kinda went into the wilderness for a bit, only to emerge a month later as seemingly a new guy.
  • Speaking of which, something I really liked from last night: Hector Rondon got right back out there for a high-leverage inning, and pitched a solid one. The hit he gave up was a dribbler, and the walk was simply a great plate appearance where Greg Garcia spoiled and spat on good pitches. Rondon also touched 100 mph in the inning, so that was pretty cool. New Rondon appears to be a guy who no longer has fantastic command at 96-97, so he instead just lets it all go and hits 98-100 mph, coupled with his freshly-returned sharp-breaking slider.

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  • Jose Quintana had a good outing overall last night, though he was shaky early, as it seemed like everything the Cardinals hit was hard, including a two-run Randal Grichuk homer. It sounds like Joe Maddon suspects Quintana was just being a little too quick on everything early, perhaps a little bit of Wrigley debut nerves (Cubs.com). Quintana gave up a solo homer to Paul DeJong in the 4th, but then went on to strike out five of the final eight batters he faced. Quintana allowed three balls to be hit over 100 mph … all were in the first or second inning.
  • I keep seeing it mentioned secondhand, but I’m not seeing the original, so forgive a lack of specificity here: Willson Contreras’s throw to second base on the double play bunt last night was 89 mph, which was apparently the fastest this year from a catcher to second base. Dude.
  • What can you even say about Contreras at this point? Well, I think Joe Maddon put our speechlessness pretty well, actually (CSN): “He’s doing everything. He’s hitting fourth, he’s catching, he’s handling a really good pitching staff, he’s throwing people out, he’s blocking the ball really well and he’s hitting homers, so God bless him.” God bless Willson Contreras.

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(Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
  • The following catchers have been worth more WAR in baseball this year than Willson Contreras’s 2.4: Buster Posey. End of list.
  • Oh, cool, I’m in the Washington Post! Except, um …

  • My new handle is “Unaware User.”
  • This is certainly a fun fact:

  • Important news update on the state of the Brewers:


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Brett Taylor

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