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An Invisible Offense, Sammy’s Flag, Needed Rest, and Other Bullets

Analysis and Commentary, Chicago Cubs News

Baseball has unquestionably made mistakes over the years, but no one could say they didn’t handle the response to 9-11 about as well as any national organization could have. With appropriate deference, respect, and aid, MLB stepped away when necessary, and then returned when necessary, giving us all something to focus on together, and an opportunity to heal.


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I cannot think about 9-11 and baseball without thinking of Sammy Sosa, and his first game back at Wrigley Field after the tragedy:

More on the moment there between Sosa, the fans, the country, and Billy Williams waiting and ready at first base.

  • As we discussed this morning, the Cubs stand just two games clear of their nearest two competitors in the NL Central, with the weight of “don’t screw this up” sitting on their shoulders, while those other two teams have nothing to lose. Perhaps today’s off-day will help the Cubs rest up, physically and mentally, and get back after it tomorrow. The travel aspect wasn’t too arduous, but the Cubs did just finish up a stretch of 20 straight games without an off-day. Even last year’s dominating club struggled during that 24-game stretch to finish up the first half, particularly at the end, when the players seemed a little worn down. Hopefully, maybe, that’s all we’re seeing here for the Cubs.
  • Jason Heyward is absolutely correct about this, but it still leaves you feeling a bit hollow after such a significant weekend series sweep (CSN): “I’m not saying, ‘Oh, OK, so what,’ but that’s just a part of the game. Teams are going to pitch well sometimes. Sometimes, you’re not going to hit well. Sometimes, balls are going to go at people. Sometimes, (that’s) going to be what it is.”

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  • Joe Maddon didn’t offer too much in the wake of the series sweep, noting that the Cubs “chose not to hit.” (Cubs.com)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
  • The offense, in particular, has been in a serious team-wide slump, scoring just 16 runs total during this 2-6 stretch. That’s just two runs per game, and *HALF* of those 16 runs came in a single game in Pittsburgh. So, it’s really been more like barely a run per game, and it’s not as if the bats have necessarily deserved more and have simply been struck by bad luck with sequencing. Instead, it’s been a parade of strikeouts, weak contact, and no walks.
  • Consider: In the Brewers series, the Cubs drew 6 walks, had 4 extra base hits, and struck out 32 times. Deus meus. Throw in the fact that one of those extra base hits was simply misplayed by an outfielder, and two came late in the Saturday blowout after the game was extremely over, and it would be unfair to say that Cubs did nothing offensively this weekend. Nothing at all.

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  • Credit the Brewers’ pitching for some of that, of course. They sent out their three best starters, used their best relievers, and everyone pitched extremely well.
  • It was a bad weekend, my friends. The seas were angry:

  • Heh, God Bless America indeed:

  • (Also, Michael is almost *too* subtle in his excellent graphics work. Do you see it in that Price picture?)
  • The Bears came within a finger tip (a few times) of upsetting the Falcons yesterday in the closing seconds of Week One. We’ve got all kinds of stuff on the loss over at TYL, including the breakout of Tarik Cohen, Mike Glennon’s very uneven performance, an Enhanced Box Score(!), and more.

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  • Big time Deal of the Day on a Bosch drill and a laser guide at Amazon.
  • There’s a one-day sale going on at Lids, which is home to a number of Cubs exclusives (especially caps, if you’re looking to have ones that none of your friends do):


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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.