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- Not unlike the last time the Cubs lost – against the Pirates almost two weeks ago, also a Dan Haren start, if you track such things – I really have a tough time getting too upset about yesterday’s loss. There is not only the fact that now, in the last 10 games, the Cubs have lost just that one time, but also the fact that it’s just two losses in the last 17 games. Then you factor in that the Cubs were facing Chris Sale when he was particularly on, and they were doing it with their number five starter on the road … shrug. That’s a game even good teams probably lose 60+% of the time. And the Cubs did win the series.
- That said, because the loss was coupled with wins by both the Pirates and Giants, the Cubs’ playoff odds did take a healthy hit. Going into the game, they’d reached as high as 91.8% at Baseball Prospectus, but dropped all the way to 86.3% after the game. That’s still super high, obviously, but that’s about as big of a drop you’ll see from a single day’s worth of action in mid-August. At FanGraphs, the drop was less significant – about 3%, down to 88.1%. Maybe this is all a little silly to follow so closely, but I find it fun to see the context for the wins and losses at this stage in a competitive season, and to know how the various projections say the Cubs look over the rest of the way.
- Both systems say the Cubs still have over a 5% chance at the division, by the way. It’s not nothing!
- Justin Grimm coming in for love (Tribune). A frequent subject of praise around here, Grimm has been the Cubs’ best reliever since July 25, 2014 – I choose that date because I remember the outing before it well. Grimm gave up hit after hit after walk after hit after walk in an appearance in San Diego, and it was clear afterward that there was a recalibration of his approach. Since then, his LOL-worthy numbers: 1.52 ERA, 1.87 FIP, 2.31 xFIP in 59.1 innings pitched, with a 33.3% K rate and a 6.9% BB rate. The guy has been one of the best relievers in baseball for over a year now.
- The Cubs didn’t “win” the offseason, but they’re winning now (CSN).
- If you missed anything from the weekend, catch up here. Luke’s got your minor league bits here. And this morning’s Scoreboard Watching here.