First Half Good Fortune, Don't Mess with Len and JD, Futures Game, Mills, and Other Bullets

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First Half Good Fortune, Don’t Mess with Len and JD, Futures Game, Mills, and Other Bullets

Analysis and Commentary, Chicago Cubs News

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  • Joe Maddon sums up the first half appropriately (Cubs.com): “Of course you’ve got to feel fortunate [to be in first place]. It’s a cannibalistic kind of division, so we have to be able to separate ourselves at some point – I just can’t say it enough. I really like a lot of what we’re doing. We just have to be that more consistent offensive group.” More consistent with the offensive group. Yup. That’s about the size of things.
  • I liked in that article that, although Kris Bryant acknowledges that the Cubs have consistently been very good in the second half under Maddon, you cannot simply presume that’s going to happen again and rest on that. “Every year is different.” You have to actually do it.
  • I make it a habit to listen to opposing broadcasts throughout the season, not necessarily for the purposes of comparison and contrast, but so that I can get a sense of how opposing fans are receiving (from their own broadcasters) information about the Cubs and their opponents. It’s just nice to get that sense. For example, I can tell you that Brewers fans don’t act the way they do because of their broadcasters, because those dudes are pretty darn good and fair. The Pirates crew is prone to fits of foot in mouth. The Reds crew is as annoying homer-y as it gets. The Cardinals crew ain’t so bad when Tim McCarver is off the mic. And so on and so forth.
  • I say all that because I can offer with some confidence that, although they do skew toward the homer-y side (some of that is appropriate on a home team broadcast!), few in the game can match Len and JD’s combination of intelligence, modernity, fun, and – most importantly – actually covering the game very well while it’s going on. Thus, I don’t know where this is coming from:

  • The Cubs and Sinclair and Marquee would be absolutely bonkers to not pair Len with JD for the foreseeable future. If they want to incorporate Dempster in some way, I don’t mind that. But the dedicated broadcast pairing absolutely should remain Len Kasper and Jim Deshaies.
  • It’s a bummer that there are no Cubs in the Home Run Derby tonight, and when Christian Yelich backed out because of his back, it’s a bummer that old friend Dan Vogelbach wasn’t chosen to replace him. Who wants to see Matt Chapman in the Derby? Come on, now. I guess now it’s Vladito all the way for me.
  • Just a touch too much velocity for an eephus, but a heckuva lotta fun all the same:

  • Mills has actually been one of the best pitchers in the PCL since May 30, notching 43 Ks and just 13 BBs over 8 starts and 49.2 innings, with a 2.72 ERA. Much like Colin Rea, who has been getting great results all year, you wish there were some kind of safe way to see how it plays at the big league level before the Cubs have to risk losing these guys at the end of the year, but this is the way it is sometimes. I have liked the way Mills looks at the big league level as a back-end starting pitcher, but the opportunities (and health) just haven’t been there at the right time. Dollars to donuts says if there were an immediate need for a fill-in start, Mills would be just as likely to get the call as Adbert Alzolay, depending on who is closer to regular rest.
  • The Futures Game was last night, and it featured a brief and uneventful appearance for catching prospect Miguel Amaya. The game, itself, ended in a tie, even after trying the tiebreaker dude-at-second-base thing.

  • Adbert Alzolay was also a Cubs rep, but having just pitched at Iowa, he was not available for the game. He spoke with the Sun-Times about his demotion back to AAA, and the good thing is that there isn’t even a whiff of him not understanding that this is all part of the process. He wanted to stay in the big leagues, of course, but he knows what his future holds.
  • From the AAA team, the Cubs have released outfielder Jacob Hannemann and infielder Cristhian Adames. Hannemann has been a long-time (in and out) Cubs farmhand, but the superior athleticism never quite showed up at the plate enough for him to become a big league piece. Adames was an early-season (and Spring Training) darling, but a crowded infield picture squeezed him out after an injury. Both will have a chance to catch on elsewhere.
  • The Reds were rocking sleeveless uniforms yesterday, so I joked about my own sleeveless uniform, and it turned into an offer for the Blogathon:

  • I think I’m going to enjoy watching Coby White:

  • Congrats to the US Women’s National Team for winning the World Cup yesterday. If you’re gonna get any celebratory gear, get it here and support BN in the process:

 


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Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.