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Today’s Game is Surprisingly Serious, Injury Updates, Reliever Notes, and Other Bullets

Analysis and Commentary, Chicago Cubs News

Being that it’s Week One for the Bears in the first season we’ve covered the team at our sister site The Ten-Yard Line, I will be unabashed in my requests to you. It won’t be like this all season long. I swear. But today, I gotta.


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  • Hey, so today’s game is suddenly pretty darn important, eh? I mean, I guess it was always important – two-game-swing games are huge at this stage of the season – but against the backdrop of two straight losses to open the series, and breathe new life into the Brewers (who were JUST SWEPT BY THE REDS), a win today would be enormous. A loss, well, would be bad, mmmkay.

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  • Anthony Rizzo wants you to know today’s game is serious business. Because it is:
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
  • Kyle Hendricks faces his less-established, less-successful Milwaukee doppleganger Zach Davies, who has a very similar style and repertoire to Hendricks. Hopefully the Cubs’ bats, who’ve been held down for a week, are up to the task. And hopefully Hendricks continues his masterful run, which has seen his results match the increasing improvement in his velocity and command. He touched 90 mph in his last start!
  • It still sounds like the final week of the regular season is the optimistic goal for getting Addison Russell back, but even in that case, the Cubs will have to be creative about getting him in-game experience to ramp back up (CSN). The minor league seasons are ending, and there’s only so much a rehabbing player can get out of simulated games.

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  • Also, on Russell’s injury: I’m going to have to learn more about plantar fasciitis, because apparently what happened in his setback at the end of August was a “pop” … but that’s a good thing? (Cubs.com) Something about the way it has to recover. Trust the process, I guess.
  • As for Willson Contreras, he’s back with the Cubs, and could be activated any day now, depending on how ready he feels (Cubs.com). Jake Arrieta is still resting and feeling better, but he hasn’t thrown yet.
  • It’s kind of weird that Mike Montgomery’s two SERIOUSLY disastrous outings both came against the Brewers. I wonder if there’s just something about the match-ups there that throws off his approach, because in both outings, the command was simply not there. I still believe in Montgomery as a starter, but if he’s still in the rotation come September 21-23 when these teams play again, maybe the rotation can be maneuvered so that he doesn’t pitch in that series.

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  • Kris Bryant has reached base in 34 consecutive games. So that’s cool. Somebody drive the guy in, though. Or maybe just hit a few homers, Kris.
  • Brian Duensing is not feeling the love, but he doesn’t mind (Tribune): “I notice nobody notices, and I don’t care nobody notices. The only people I hope notice are the guys in the clubhouse. … No one knows who the heck I am. I’m just some guy … the most generic person ever.” With apologies to Duensing, I think thoughtful Cubs fans have *definitely* noticed how consistently solid he’s been this year, especially in a bullpen full of tumult. The 34-year-old lefty’s 2.63 ERA is bested in the bullpen only by Wade Davis and Mike Montgomery. His 0.8 WAR trails only Davis’s 1.0, and his 3.20 FIP is the best of the whole bunch.
  • Also, while perusing Cubs reliever stats, I found something I bet you would never guess: which Cubs reliever has the largest difference between his strikeout rate and walk rate (K%-BB%)?
  • … it’s Koji Uehara (28.1% and 6.7%). Those numbers are *excellent*. It’s the 1.47 HR/9 that’s the problem.
  • The shame. THE SHAME:

  • One last TYL pimp before moving to Cubs for the day (smash that follow button, Bears fans!):


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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.