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Figuring Out the Cubs’ Starters, Russell’s Foot, Bullpen Performance, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs News

It was a late-night kind of week last week with some very long, September-style games against the Mets, so I’m hoping a little extra sleep this past weekend will recharge the physical battery a bit.


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So far, no dice. And now I try the caffeine train …

  • The Cubs are still TBA on their starter for Wednesday’s game against the Rays. Jake Arrieta, if he were ready to return, would line up in that spot nicely, but the Cubs then face the Brewers in four games thereafter, and you’d probably rather save Arrieta for that series. Because of the off-day today, the Cubs could go with John Lackey on normal rest (and he didn’t throw a full complement of pitches on Friday anyway, thanks to the ejection), and I’d have to guess that’s what they’ll do. Otherwise, they could give Jen-Ho Tseng another start, but I kinda doubt it. They also probably won’t start Mike Montgomery in that game, knowing they may very well need him throughout the Brewers series. Lackey’s pitching so well right now, you’d like him, too, to pitch against the Brewers, but it’s not as if guys like Kyle Hendricks and Jose Quintana aren’t pitching really well, too. [UPDATE: WELL ACTUALLY BRETT … it’ll be Montgomery going on Tuesday, and Lester on Wednesday. Technically, I said they wouldn’t start Montgomery on Wednesday, and they’re not! So I was right!]
  • I sure hope Addison Russell’s foot is feeling as good as he makes it look like it’s feeling:

  • Russell played through seven innings yesterday before being replaced, as expected. Hopefully he feels good for today’s off-day, and is ready to play again in Tampa Bay.

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  • Koji Uehara, who hasn’t pitched since September 2, is dealing with a back issue in addition to the knee infection (Cubs.com). There’s still a chance he comes back and makes the postseason roster (if the Cubs make the postseason), but time is running short for him to come back fully healthy and show that he can be trusted not to give up a key homer late in the game.
  • Hector Rondon remains out with elbow inflammation, but he said he was “back to normal” after his workout yesterday (Cubs.com).
  • Still, the Cubs’ bullpen was nails against the Cardinals: nine innings pitched, no runs allowed. That’s how you pull off a sweep in games that were generally all contested late.
  • One of those scoreless performances was a high-wire act from Brian Duensing, who allowed two to reach after getting the first two outs in the 8th, was asked to intentionally walk Stephen Piscotty to load the bases, and then got a huge strikeout against Matt Carpenter to end the threat. Duensing had some very interesting comments about that Carpenter at bat (Cubs.com): “I felt like the way Carpenter swung at the slider, I thought he was kind of on it a little bit or knew it was coming, and I didn’t like it. We changed the signs and we started off first-pitch fastball middle, then fastball away, slider, and we got to 1-2 and switched it up and went changeup. We got him to swing over the top of it.” *thinking face emoji*

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  • After the K, Duensing was rightly pumped up, celebrated, and almost wiped out:

  • Speaking of the bullpen and funny GIFs, look who got in on the action yesterday after Kyle Schwarber’s bomb:

  • And speaking of dancing, I am very here for the Javy Victory Dance:

  • The legacy Joe Maddon hopes he leaves in baseball? You guessed it: softening up the dress code (CSN).
  • Wade Davis notched his 30th and 31st saves this weekend, finishing all three games for the Cubs. It’s a good day for an off-day.
(Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
  • Remember this incredibly scary moment:

  • Colvin’s season ended there with a punctured lung, and it stinks – he’d hit .254/.316/.500 (113 wRC+) for the Cubs that year as a 24-year-old rookie, and then came back in 2011 and put up a 27 wRC+. Yes, a 27 wRC+. Thereafter, he was included in the infamous Ian Stewart/DJ LeMahieu trade, and actually had a really nice first season with the Rockies (another 113 wRC+, in fact) before falling off in 2013.
  • The Bears lost a truly ugly one yesterday (here’s my EBS on the matter), and we’re wondering just how long the looming quarterback controversy can be strung out. For his part, John Fox isn’t keen on putting the blame on Mike Glennon.
  • Big sale at Fanatics today (ends at midnight): you can get 25% off all orders if they’re $35 or more.
  • A twitterer asked me yesterday to remind them about the backpack I always recommend, which prompted me to find it and see BOOM, it’s on a big sale again. I use it for all my travel (typically two to three-day trips), because it can carry everything I need, including my laptop. It’s extremely comfortable as a backpack, even when loaded to the gills. I’m sorry, I’m just an extreme evangelist for this backpack.

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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.