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Cubs-Nats Game One Will Feature the Two Best Pitchers in the Second Half? And Other Bullets

Analysis and Commentary, Chicago Cubs News

Long before the postseason schedule came out, The Wife and I committed to an event where we could, with the help of some engineers, construct a mobility car for The Littlest Girl (it’s basically a pow-pow-power wheels car that you retrofit to work for kiddos with delays – she’s gonna love it!). That event is tomorrow, here in Columbus. I’m planning to head to Chicago thereafter to catch Game One of the NLDS in the Wrigleyville area, but to pull it off, I’m going to need you to send out good vibes for NO TRAFFIC PROBLEMS. Heading into Chicago on a Friday late afternoon … gulp.


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  • So, this is awesome, and I think under-recognized:

  • Did you know Hendricks had been *THAT* good in the second half, which just happened to be when he returned from his hand injury? We all knew he’d been fantastic, but best ERA in the NL by 33% over the second place guy? That’s ridiculous. Heck, his full season ERA (3.03) would be sixth best in the NL if he had enough innings to qualify!
  • … but, hey, speaking of having enough innings to qualify, here’s a funny thing: if you drop the second half innings qualification to 60 innings, it’s actually the Nationals’ Stephen Strasburg who is tops in the NL, at a microscopic 0.86 ERA in the second half. Yes, that’s six earned runs in the entire second half (he missed about a month, though).

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  • So, then, the likely Game One NLDS matchup will feature THE two most stingy pitchers in the second half in the National League. (And, because baseball gonna baseball, the game will wind up a 15-14 slobberknocker.)
(Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
  • An absolutely fantastic interview with Theo Epstein by Sahadev Sharma over at The Athletic. It’s informative, but also light, and dense with good stuff.
  • It’s wild to think that, literally hours after the Cubs won the World Series last year, Ian Happ was getting to work hitting in Arizona (NBC).

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  • Thanks to the big potential in his bat, Alex Avila was dubbed the Cubs’ secret weapon in the postseason by Jeff Sullivan: “Out of 301 hitters with at least 250 at-bats, Avila just ranked eighth best [in expected wOBA], between Nelson Cruz and Giancarlo Stanton. Avila could be good for a huge, late home run. He could be good for multiple.”
  • I still don’t have my ticket for Game Three of the NLDS, so I will likely soon be hitting up StubHub myself:

  • The Internet is truly an amazing place:

  • I wouldn’t want anyone to BREATHE on this if I had it:

  • In all seriousness, Fanatics did just today flip over a bunch of new stuff to clearance, so it’s worth perusing the site.
  • An air diffuser is on a big sale at Amazon today, which I mention in part because we haven’t had ours on in a couple weeks, and, for whatever reason, The Wife set it up this morning and it was on when I came downstairs (I was up very late for NL Wild Card madness). I don’t know if any of the essential oil stuff works, but I do know that it always makes me feel good when I get that first blast of lovely scent. Thanks, dear!

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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.