The Cubs Have the Best Players in the National League and Other Bullets
The Taylor Family is headed to a wedding this weekend, so I come to you right now from somewhere in the hilly terrain we’re traversing. Typing and reading in the constant up and down is … unpleasant. Glad I didn’t eat much this morning.
- After yesterday’s performances, the Chicago Cubs have the top positional player by WAR in the National League, Dexter Fowler at a whopping 3.0. Wait, actually, now that I look at it, the Cubs actually have the top two positional players by WAR in the NL, as Ben Zobrist is just behind Fowler at 2.8. WAIT. WAIT. Just behind Zobrist, tied for third in the NL, is Kris Bryant, at 2.4! Yes, you are reading that correctly. The top three position players in the entire NL are on the Chicago Cubs.
- Oh, and all five Cubs starting pitchers are in the top 18 in the NL in WAR. So … yeah. The Cubs are pretty good.
- Everyone – the team, the coaches, the fans – really seemed to enjoy David Ross’s 100th career home run yesterday. For his part, Ross enjoyed it, too, telling the Tribune he loved the fans’ enthusiasm for his curtain call, and saying, “My favorite part while this [lead up to 100 home runs] has all been going on is rounding second base and looking in the dugout. It makes me smile every time seeing everybody so happy for me.” Ross will indeed get his 100th home run ball back, as it made its way onto Waveland after glancing off the Nuveen sign. The fan who got the ball asked only for a picture with Ross, which is a pretty cool request when you think about what the fan could have asked for (CSN).
- Fun fact about Ross’s 100 career homers, via ESPN: his first came against former Cub Mark Grace, who was then pitching mop-up duty for the Diamondbacks in a blowout. Ross, himself, has pitched twice for the Cubs, and he didn’t give up any homers.
- Jon Lester, who was very good yesterday against the Phillies after a very short and ugly outing last time out against the Giants, has the kind of attitude about bad starts that you’d want to hear from a veteran of his capabilities – in short, unless there was some obvious mechanical or physical problem, you just continue on with your normal routine in the four days before the next start and don’t change a thing (ESPN).
- Joe Maddon said that yesterday’s off-day for Anthony Rizzo (and Jason Heyward) was like giving him a mini-All-Star break, since it allowed him to have two full days off when paired with Thursday’s off-day for the Cubs (CSN). Given the match-up, it made even more sense, and obviously things worked out just fine.
- Jorge Soler’s blistering hot streak continued yesterday with another single and that monster homer, but it could have been even better, as his seventh inning strikeout featured three balls, and three called strikes, two of which were well in off the plate. I’m mentally crediting him with a walk.
- Dave Cameron wrote about MLB’s plan to raise the bottom of the strike zone slightly, and about why, even if it’s true that it will not reduce the length of games, it’s still a good idea. The purpose of the change, you’ll recall, is not so much about reducing game length as it is about continuing to improve the pace of play, and also to increase offense.
- Over at BIF, two tremendously large college bat flips (careful with those metal bats, boys!), and softball legend Jennie Finch is going to manage a professional men’s team for a game, which is a first.
- The Diamondbacks have placed Shelby Miller on the disabled list with a finger issue, which I’m sure they’re hoping is the reason for his otherwise inexplicable struggles since they paid handsomely in trade for his services this offseason.
- You know you’re getting old when you see “electric, tankless water heater” as a deal of the day on Amazon, and you’re like, “ooh, I wonder what that is!” I am not embarrassed. I am who I am now.
- If you missed it yesterday during the game, Michael took a really interesting look at the numbers behind the numbers behind Ben Zobrist’s huge start to the 2016 season.
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