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Is Kris Bryant in the MVP Race Yet? Cubs Win Bullpen Battle, Rondon Elbow, and Other Bullets

Analysis and Commentary, Chicago Cubs News

After last night’s game, when I was still a little too jacked up to sleep, even though I knew I’d totally be hurting this morning. (I am.) So, like a totally normal, stable person, I started looking at pictures of Pennywise. You know, the clown from ‘It.’


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Basically, for whatever reason, I got curious why I find the original Pennywise, from the TV miniseries, so much scarier than the updated version from the new movie, which admittedly I have not seen (hence, in part, why I was looking at a bunch of images of him).

My 1 am thoughts on Pennywise versus Pennywise: maybe it’s just because, like so many people in my rough age range, Tim Curry’s Pennywise haunted the crap out of our dreams. But maybe it was a little more subtle than that. I look at the two Its, and in the newer version, I see a really scary looking monstrous clown. Cool. Mission accomplished. But the older Pennywise hits me so much worse. It’s like he’s trying so hard to look like a totally normal clown, and not quite pulling it off. It’s deeply unsettling. Like you could almost buy he’s just a nice, friendly circus clown … but actually, underneath he’s bubbling over with desire to consume you.

Bullets …

  • We noted it at the end of that Pirates-Brewers series and after the Cubs got blown out by the Rays, but the Cubs really benefited from the Brewers playing close games in their series (depleting the bullpen), and the Cubs getting to rest their top relievers because of the blowout. Can we say that Corey Knebel would definitely have closed that game out? No, not for certain, but the guy has a 1.52 ERA and a 41.5% K rate this season. Fill-in closer Jeremy Jeffress is at 4.67 and 17.0%. So.

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  • Speaking of the bullpen: some props are coming for Wade Davis, but how about a moment for Justin Grimm? Dude was called upon with two on and one out in the 8th inning after the Cubs had just lost the lead, and he immediately struck out two to end the inning and keep the Cubs within a run.
  • Yeah, that’s pretty nuts:

  • More on Bryant:

  • For the record, if I were voting today, I’d still probably take Giancarlo Stanton in the NL MVP race. But Bryant should be in the conversation.

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  • The thing about Bryant’s RBI total holding him down is that I’m not entirely sure it’s unfair when you’re talking about the MVP. Sure, RBI are a terrible stat for predictive and evaluative purposes, but they do note something that actually happened – a run was driven in by a guy. Sure, some guys have far more opportunities to drive in runs than others, and some have better luck with bounces in those situations, but that doesn’t mean a thing did or didn’t happen. Should that factor into the “Most Valuable Player” discussion for a given season? I am still mulling that. I think I’m probably 60/40 that it shouldn’t matter (a guy was as valuable as he was in his overall, INDIVIDUAL production, and it’s unfair to ding him for a lack of opportunities or sequencing bounces), but I’m interested in the other side’s perspective.
(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
  • Jon Heyman reports much more specifically on Hector Rondon’s elbow inflammation: according to Heyman, it’s actually bone chips in the elbow (it’s what Jon Lester has long had in his elbow, for what it’s worth), and Rondon received a cortisone shot to relieve the discomfort. I suppose that’s better than the issue being tied to a ligament in there, but it’s also worth pointing out that Rondon had Tommy John surgery as a prospect in the Indians’ organization back in 2010, and then broke his elbow while coming back from that (which was how and why the Cubs were able to pluck him in the Rule 5 Draft). It’s unsurprising, then, that he’d have some potential issues floating around in there. It doesn’t mean he can’t still be effective, and in some ways I suppose it’s a good thing to know there’s a reason for the discomfort. Rondon threw without issue earlier this week, and I’m sure the Cubs would love to get him into some game action soon in the next few days to start lining up decisions about the postseason roster.
  • Speaking of which, how crazy is it that Justin Wilson will plausibly not be on the Cubs’ postseason roster after being the main piece in their big Trade Deadline deal this year? I’ll hold out hope that an offseason re-set can make Wilson a quality high-leverage reliever next year, but it’s virtually impossible to see him earning high-leverage trust in time to get those opportunities in the postseason this year, even if he makes the postseason roster.
  • Sports broadcast fees have soared past the ad revenue those broadcasts generate. That doesn’t mean rights fees are a bad deal (there are still carriage fees that the networks get, and ancillary benefits from having the rights), but it is a reminder that the broadcast world is changing at the same time the Cubs continue to shop their TV rights.

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  • Thoughts/prayers/well-wishes/positive vibes out to the families and friends of Cubs players (and anyone, really) in Puerto Rico.
  • Kato took the loss hard, as he does:

  • Oh. OK:

  • The Cubs posted this:

  • So I had some fun:

  • Man. That’s just awesome:


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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.