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Big Series, Big Walk Totals, Big Slugger, Big Rain, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs News

The Cubs have still been very, very good in the second half, still have a lead in the NL Central, and can still win this weekend series against the Nationals. Thus, I am able to shake off last night’s loss – despite how close and wild it was, and how frustrating – with relative ease. Lose a couple this weekend, and it becomes a little less easy. Which is not to say I would worry if the Cubs lose two of three or are swept. I’d just be a heckuva lot more chapped than I am right now.


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  • The Cubs are welcoming the Nationals to Wrigley Field today for a weekend series, but if we’re being fair and honest, it isn’t just any weekend series, since, if the standings and projections hold, these two teams will face each other in the NLDS. To that end, should the Cubs hold some tricks back? Set some tendencies only to break them in the postseason? For now, Joe Maddon says no, it’s all about winning the games (Tribune). If the series were later in September, then maybe, but Maddon’s not there yet. For me, I agree, though if the Cubs have some solid leads in any of the games, and can approach some of the Nationals hitters in a way that they might not in the playoffs, that wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. Hitters remember.
  • Of course, the Nats, who have a much more commanding lead in the NL East, could be thinking these same things.
  • The Nationals coming to town is also a reminder of two storylines, one in the past and one in the future: there’s the memory of Miguel Montero failing to throw out seven base stealers in Washington, and then pinning the blame on Jake Arrieta before he was effectively booted from the team. Then there’s the teases from Bryce Harper about a possible future involving the Cubs.

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  • Hopefully Willson Contreras gets a rest this weekend. A day after coming in late to Wednesday’s game on his “off” day, Contreras caught a marathon yesterday that he said felt like it was catching 22 innings (Tribune). Lefties have crushed Nationals righty Tanner Roark, so there’s a good bet that Alex Avila starts today.
  • We’ve talked about it before, and, unfortunately, it hasn’t gotten better: Carl Edwards Jr.’s walk rate is now up to 16.3%, and 20.2% since the start of June. Unless you’re striking out the other 80% of the batters you face, that simply isn’t going to fly in high leverage situations, and we’ve seen Edwards’ role decline accordingly. The future is still bright for Edwards, but the timing of the Justin Wilson acquisition was probably especially good for this reason (his first two bumpy appearances notwithstanding).
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
  • When you’ve got a billion rain delay minutes to kill, and you’re locked in a bullpen, you find ways to entertain yourselves and your opponents:

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  • Per Tommy Birch, lefty David Rollins has been released from Iowa. He may be best remembered as the EXTREMELY well-traveled reliever in the offseason, who bounced on the waiver wire from team to team (including the Cubs twice). Kinda hope he lands somewhere and just sticks.
  • I can throw away yesterday’s down Jose Quintana start – he had to sit around for 1.5 hours after readying to pitch, and then he gave up a couple homers to Paul Goldschmidt, who does that to a lot of pitchers.

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  • For the most part, Paul Goldschmidt is just really good against everyone, but, no, it’s not your imagination that he especially kills the Cubs:

  • Wouldn’t mind seeing a Cubs pitcher pull this off:

  • Football season is coming, so make sure you’re checking out our sister Bears site, The Ten-Yard Line. Luis has your Bullets here, the Bears swapped out some rookie running backs, and more. Give it a like on Facebook:

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Brett Taylor

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