Strange schedule for the series this week, eh? A day game on Monday (after a late night game for the Cardinals on Sunday), a night game last night, and then back to a day game today on a Wednesday. It’s getaway day, so I understand it, but the back and forth is certainly strange.
- Kyle Schwarber is back! Having successfully pinch hit last night, it’s tentatively possible that Schwarber will be available to start in today’s series finale against the Cardinals. You’d love to have him in there, together with as many lefty bats as possible: Cardinals starter Carlos Martinez has allowed a mere .275 wOBA against righties this year, but a .337 wOBA against lefties.
- Assuming Schwarber is back for good, one thing not to look for is him behind the plate too much down the stretch (Cubs.com). Not wanting to see him aggravate the rib cage injury or unnecessarily risk anything, Joe Maddon said Schwarber might see time in games behind the plate if needed, but probably won’t start there. It’s already been a long, productive development year for Schwarber in terms of catching, so, even in that regard, it’s perfectly understandable that he’d be done there for the rest of this year. Let the bat do its thing – remember, he’ll have to keep working on adjustments there to continue having success, too – and come up with a plan for his use behind the plate in the offseason. From where I sit, I love the idea of having him as a once or twice-a-week catcher (to optimize lineups), and starting in left field the rest of the time.
- Jorge Soler (oblique) could play in a simulated game (that’s really all you can do when the minor league seasons are over) when the Cubs head to Philadelphia later this week (Cubs.com). Jason Motte (shoulder) isn’t yet throwing off the mound, according to the same article.
- Anthony Rizzo, who proclaimed the Cubs NL Central contenders about a year ago – how right he was – says he doesn’t see why the Cubs can’t catch the Cardinals if they just keep taking care of business (Cubs.com). I don’t want to hide the ball on anyone: the math of the Cubs taking the Central is not kind, with them essentially having to win all but a handful of their remaining games AND the Cardinals have to play sub-.500 ball AND the Pirates have to not be blistering hot. But it’s possible. It would be an historic comeback, but, hey – sometimes historic things happen.
- Also on Rizzo, and something we’ll have to dig in on at some point: ESPN has him leading the league in Win Probability Added.
- John Baker wrote about the Cubs’ success this year and the direction of the organization.
- Scoreboard Watching from this morning.
- If you missed it last night, Anthony Rizzo hit career homer number 100.