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Lackey as a Postseason Starter, Otani Rumors, Maples, and Other Bullets

Analysis and Commentary, Chicago Cubs News

The Family is headed to a wedding today, so there will be rugs to cut up later. The only problem for me is that I lost my black belt that goes with my suit. How do you lose a belt? It’s not something you just misplace – it’s a very specific thing that goes in a very specific place (OK, well, in my case, there are about four specific places I would have put it … but it’s not there!).


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Belt! BELLLLLTTTTTT!!!!!

  • John Lackey had the good stuff going yesterday, as he was getting swings and misses, and taking advantage of his fly ball tendencies on a day with the wind howling in. It was one of Lackey’s best starts of the year, which followed two clunkers (which, in turn, followed a really nice stretch in the second half). Since the start of July, Lackey has posted a 3.90 ERA and a 4.36 FIP, which are both very solid for this offensive environment, and are better than a couple of his rotation-mates.
  • Good enough that you’d pick him for a playoff start over the other four/five starting pitchers? If they’re healthy, you can obviously lock Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester into playoff starts. From there, it sure seems like a healthy Kyle Hendricks and Jose Quintana would also be locks (albeit perhaps with short leashes). Mike Montgomery, even if he stays in the rotation for September, and even if he continues to dominate, probably pitches out of the pen in the postseason. And Lackey? I don’t know that he’ll be as effective out of the bullpen, but I also don’t know that there’s going to be a playoff rotation spot for him. There’s still a long way to go. Maybe someone gets hurt. Maybe Lackey just keeps getting better and forces the issue.
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
  • Well, unless he’s ready to accept a $300,000 signing bonus, this would be bad news for the Cubs:

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  • The Cubs are in the IFA penalty box until the next signing period opens up in July 2018, so if Otani comes over this offseason, unless some crazy new loophole emerges, they’ll be out of the running. And I will have a sadz.
  • MBDChicago got some fantastic shots of Javy Baez as he scored from second base on Kyle Schwarber’s swinging bunt yesterday:

  • I love this read at ESPN and this read at CSN on new Cubs reliever Dillon Maples, who very nearly quit baseball this past offseason after years of injury and ineffectiveness at the lowest levels of the minor leagues. The success this season has been as much mental as physical, as Maples said he decided in the offseason to just compete at baseball like he does every other sport he plays for fun: don’t feel that anxiety. (Adding a devastating slider to the mix didn’t hurt.) Hopefully the Cubs can help him keep that frame of mind now that he’s in The Show, where that internal mental pressure can really ratchet up. Joe Maddon seems like a good manager for a young player to have, eh?
  • God I love going to Wrigley Field:

  • They are entirely different cases and you’d be advised not to take anything from this one other than the timetable for an investigation: Derek Norris has been suspended for the rest of the season by MLB after a domestic violence allegation was levied against him by his wife on social media around midseason (the same week as the allegations from a third party were posted about Addison Russell). Clearly, MLB goes through a very deliberate process in investigating these claims, and resolution can take a while. At last check, we’ve heard almost nothing about the Russell process.

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  • Speaking of the swiftness of process, the Cubs are still involved in litigation with at least one rooftop about the outfield signage (remember that?), and the Cubs just won at the appellate level.
  • Good Deals of the Day at Amazon to kick off Labor Day weekend, with outdoor furniture and bed furnishings. Ooh la la.
  • A whole bunch of Cubs stuff flipped to clearance at Lids, including the gold championship cap:


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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.