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Cubs Injury Woes, Cardinals Streaking, Prospect Profile, and Other Bullets

Analysis and Commentary, Chicago Cubs News, Cubs Minor Leagues and Prospects

If you missed it this morning, I spent some time ruminating about yesterday’s ugliness for the Cubs, and how we as fans get past those moments.


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As part of that process, I mentioned that I doubled up on exercise classes last night, and I knew I’d be feeling it big-time in the morning. Sure enough, I’m incredibly sore all over. Walking is adventurous. But, truth be told, I feel really good. I think mostly I just feel good about how (relatively) maturely I handled my own emotions at a low point in something I care a lot about. I hope you are feeling good about yourself today, too, even if you’re not feeling good about the Cubs.

  • Speaking of which, the Brewers lost again last night, so the Cubs’ lead in the NL Central, despite a brutal week, is still 1.5 games. The rub, though, is that the Cardinals did not lose (thanks in part to a dang rally kitten), which they haven’t done in nearly a week at this point. They are now tied with the Brewers, just a game and a half back of the Cubs. By the end of the night, that could be a single game. Even without Willson Contreras, I still believe the Cubs are the more talented club, but man alive, they sure have to play like it, or they risk being passed by the Cardinals in a season they reasonably thought about selling at the deadline. I … do not want to think about the offseason chatter if that happens.
  • And speaking of Contreras, the morning update on his status is here, if you missed it. Joe Maddon is hopeful that the injury will somehow galvanize the rest of the offense, knowing they will have to pick up the slack (ESPN).

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  • And speaking of Contreras’s injury, if he hits the DL, as expected, Victor Caratini will be called back up to resume back-up catching duties. Something I loved to see? After he was sent down, Caratini didn’t go through a period of adjusting to life back on the bus. Instead, he appears to have simply remembered that, yeah, I can rake at this level. Dude is hitting .370/.433/.741 in his seven games since heading back to Iowa.
  • Also: here’s hoping Alex Avila is ready to catch Jon Lester.
  • Buttoning up the crumminess of yesterday’s game: the bullpen allowed two runs to the Giants, and they came one each off of Brian Duensing and Pedro Strop. Strop hadn’t allowed an earned run in 16 appearances. Duensing hadn’t allowed one in 20 appearances. Natch.
  • It will get lost in the wake of the Contreras injury, but I read this as semi-bad news on Addison Russell’s foot injury:

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  • Russell has been on the DL since August 2, and the Cubs have very much been missing his glove in the overall infield mix. He would have been eligible to return this Sunday in Arizona, but if he’s not going to be back until the latter part of the next homestand possibly, then he might not be back until next weekend, turning his precautionary DL stint into a nearly three-week affair. Here’s hoping he feels ready to go long before that, because Javy Baez is good, but he’s not Russell at short. And Ben Zobrist and Ian Happ are doing their darnedest, but they are not Baez at second.
  • OK, you want to feel good about something: read this profile/analysis on pitching prospect Thomas Hatch, who is having a MUCH better year than the numbers show (and the numbers ain’t bad). More than that, remember the crazy hot run he went on about halfway through the year? He made minor mechanical adjustments at that point, which appear to have taken hold, and further improved his results. Also, remember the circumstances of Hatch’s draft and signing: although he was “only” a third round pick, he was the Cubs’ top overall pick last year after being the Big 12 pitcher of the year. He lasted to the Cubs because he’d missed the previous season with a UCL injury, and then put in a heavy workload in 2016 (teams were understandably concerned about using a high draft pick on a pitcher who might immediately need Tommy John surgery). Further, Hatch was a redshirt sophomore, meaning that he could refuse to sign, and return to college with two more years of eligibility, significantly increasing his leverage. In short, Hatch was always a much better talent than a back of the third round pick – he just came with a whole lot of risk if you pulled the trigger on drafting him. The Cubs took that risk, and so far, they’ve been rewarded for it.

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  • The Cubs have set playoff ticket prices for season ticket holders, ranging from $71 in the NLDS to $481 in the World Series (Tribune).
  • The cropped version of that Contreras picture up there that worked perfectly for this post is actually not a sad picture at all:
(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
  • There’s a metaphor there, but I’m too tired to come up with it.
  • Take your shot, little dude:

  • Make sure you check out the Nike/Under Armour sale at the MLB Shop before it ends. Many of my favorite exercise shirts there, among other things. Also: back to school backpacks are the Deal of the Day at Amazon.

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  • Meanwhile, the Bears kick off their preseason today, so you should definitely check out our sister site at The Ten-Yard Line, and follow them on Twitter:


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Brett Taylor

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