After last night’s win, the Cubs are season high 11 games over .500. With the (genuine) ugliness of the 3-3 road trip to Cincinnati and Philadelphia, it’s been easy not to see that the Cubs’ steady ascension continues, but here we are.
It’s funny to think back to this spring, when we were all guilty of saying things like “the Cubs could sleepwalk into the playoffs in this division,” but … well … isn’t that kinda what we’re seeing? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying this division is locked up. A 3.5-game lead on the Brewers and a 5.0-game lead on the Cardinals is solid, but stranger comebacks – much stranger comebacks – have happened in this game.
Instead, I’m just saying that we always regarded the slim possibility that the Cubs would have injuries and underperformance across the board, and even in that instance, we thought they’d still probably win the division. And, like I said, kinda-sorta-here-we-are.
- Ben Zobrist, who homered last night, sounds like he’s on board with the possibility that he’ll continue playing in more of a super utility type role down the stretch, particularly after Addison Russell returns (CSN): “Everybody’s getting kind of partial playing time except for KB, Rizz and Javy. And when Addy comes back, who knows what’s going to happen? It’s kind of the way that it is right now for our club, because we got a lot of capable guys. Sometimes, you don’t know whether we’re playing the hot hand or we’re playing some sort of matrix to figure out who’s going to play that day. We try not to worry about that as players. We just look at the lineup. If you’re in it, you get ready for the start. If you’re not, you get ready for the fifth or sixth. That’s just the way you play it. It’s less about getting a certain number of at-bats and more about just being ready (for) the ones you do get.”
- Zobrist also says he’s starting to feel more like himself with his hands and his wrists after injuries held him back for much of the year. For what it’s worth, Zobrist is hitting .278/.360/.430 in August, which is good for a 109 wRC+.
- You may have noticed that Addison Russell (foot) did not play for Iowa yesterday after starting his rehab assignment there on Monday. No worries: the off-day for him yesterday was planned (ESPN).
- Brett Anderson threw 5.2 great innings for the Blue Jays (allowing just one run against the Red Sox) after he was released by the Cubs. Because of course he did.
- Anthony Rizzo’s family foundation donated $3.5 million to Lurie Children’s Hospital, and Rizzo got emotional during the ribbon-cutting ceremony (Tribune). And why wouldn’t he? It’s a touching, important thing he’s done with his stature.
- The Cubs are doing something great at today’s game to support those affected by Hurricane Harvey:
“Cubs Charities will join the fight to help those affected by Hurricane Harvey Wednesday, August 30, by donating that night’s 50/50 Raffle proceeds to the American Red Cross. The American Red Cross is working to provide safe shelter and comfort for the many people impacted by Hurricane Harvey, the most dangerous hurricane to strike the United States in over a decade.
Fans can purchase 50/50 Raffle tickets from uniformed Cubs Charities raffle ticket sellers starting two hours before the game until the middle of the seventh inning. The winning ticket will be announced at the top of the ninth inning and the winner will receive a check for half of the net proceeds from the game’s raffle ticket sales. The other half will be donated by Cubs Charities to the American Red Cross, which will help them to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from this disaster.
If fans cannot attend Wednesday’s game, they can make a donation to the American Red Cross to support Hurricane Harvey disaster relief and recovery efforts by visitingwww.YouCaring.com/MLBSupports. For more information, please call the 50/50 Raffle Hotline at 773-404-4726 or email [email protected]”
- Koji Uehara gave up another homer last night, already his 7th in 42.1 innings this year. Much more troublingly, six of those seven homers have come in the second half. For a guy who is 42 and works up in the zone without premium velocity – and who just missed time with a neck issue – that’s all very troubling. In late relief, an ill-timed homer can be the difference between a win and a loss, and the Cubs will not be able to afford risking that come October. I’m not sure we’re at the point where Uehara misses the postseason roster altogether, but concerns are not unfounded at this point. Yes, his other peripherals still look fantastic (33.3% K rate and 3.7% BB rate in the second half!), but we’ve seen this before: there comes a point in pitchers’ careers where they can still do everything well … except not get hit really hard too often. We’ll see if Uehara reliably rights the ship before October.
- Dear Cubs players, don’t be this guy: Royals lefty Danny Duffy was arrested for DUI after reportedly passing out in a Burger King drive-thru. Even as the circumstances of Duffy’s arrest probably, understandably, elicit a chuckle, drunk driving is a very serious matter, and Duffy’s arrest is all the more disappointing after he lost a friend and teammate in the offseason in a car accident.
- This guy was getting love last night during the broadcast, and I say why not? If you’re gonna do it, go all out (also, incredible shirt):
- Yo: Fanatics has a 20% off sale going on today with the code ‘BALL’.
- Over at TYL, Mitch Trubisky will start the Bears’ preseason finale tomorrow, and John Fox spoke on a range of topics as the regular season approaches.
- META: I know this will seem petty to many of you, but it actually really does matter for our business. I have grown very frustrated by our inability to become verified on Twitter, despite the fact that we are a professional media organization covering sports, which falls squarely into Twitter’s criteria for verification:
— Brett Taylor (@BleacherNation) August 30, 2017
- To that end, I’m putting out the call: if anyone knows anyone who knows anyone, and can help us figure out how to get verified, I’m wide open to help. Ask around. Maybe you know someone who has an idea or has a friend in high places. I really appreciate your consideration, and would love an email to brett AT bleachernation dot com.