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The Cubs and Maddon Excel in the Second Half, Schwarber Catching, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs News

The Little Boy has a minor procedure today, and there is nothing quite as perspective-shifting as spending the day at a children’s hospital. I’m going to be counting blessings all day today, and wishing well to many others.


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  • Today is the Waiver Trade Deadline, so keep your eyes peeled for activity around baseball. For the Cubs, it could mean a backup shortstop is acquired (if they want that player to be playoff-eligible; if not, they could simply wait to make a deal next month if necessary).
  • Another day, and it’s another high-water mark for the Cubs, who moved 12 games above .500 with their huge win last night. Although the team still doesn’t have an overwhelming record in the scheme of all of baseball (six teams have a better record), what they’ve done since the All-Star break is truly remarkable: 29-15, which is a .659 winning percentage.
  • We could dissect the many reasons for the turnaround (guys stepping up performance, player additions, positive luck regression), but I think it’s fair to point out how common this is for Joe Maddon-led teams. They seem to perform at their best in the second half, and it’s not as if he’s not constantly doing things early in the year with an eye toward later in the year. In 2015, the Cubs were 50-25 (.667 winning percentage) in the second half. In 2016, it was 50-23 (.685). Both were marked improvements over their first half records. Credit is due.

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(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

  • Joe Maddon believes Koji Uehara is actually pitching really well right now (Cubs.com), despite the homer problems we discussed recently. He wonders instead if it’s just some minor thing the Cubs can identify on video, because from the side, Maddon thinks Uehara looks the same as he did earlier in the year.

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  • I can’t quit you:

  • It’ll be interesting to see what the Cubs plan for 2018 behind the plate. Willson Contreras will be the starter, and you’ve gotta believe a veteran backup will be brought into the mix. But will Kyle Schwarber see actual time as a third catcher? Given his lefty bat, you’d like to see him able to catch in situations where a matchup can be optimized. With an extra year in there to recover from his knee injury, perhaps he’ll be more ready to go. The flip side, of course, is that catching exposes him to slightly more risk of injury, and as we’ve seen, his bat can be so very impactful.
  • If you haven’t already seen the Taylor Davis staring video, go here and watch it. You won’t be disappointed. After that, check out the GIF an Iowa Cubs photographer put together – because Davis did the thing in pictures, too:

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  • For the Bears fans among you, I’m reminded of watching Kris Bryant go nuts in Spring Training in 2015 (also, give TYL a like on Facebook folks!):


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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.