A miscellaneous Taylor Family note: we’re still a little under a month shy of the projected arrival of Kiddo Number Three, but obviously we’re entering that window where anything could happen at any time. I’ll keep folks posted on how/if it impacts the goings-on around here, but if you notice a sudden lapse in coverage or a sudden uptick in someone else taking the reins, you’ll know it probably means the baby is on her way.
- Kris Bryant’s big day will get plenty of attention in a separate post, but within the context of the MVP race brewing on the Cubs, I enjoyed the discussion from Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, and Joe Maddon here at ESPN. It’s still very early, and it’s also not necessarily a lock that the race comes down to these two guys, but right now, you’d have to give the slight edge to Bryant, because of the defensive value. Rizzo, to be sure, is an excellent first baseman who does things like this, but Bryant’s ability to play quality defense both at third base and in left field (plus he’s a better baserunner) makes him slightly more valuable overall (in fact, by WAR, it’s a blowout right now, with Bryant at a whopping 6.3 to Rizzo’s still-excellent 4.2). Offensively, though, it’s incredible how close these guys have been all year, and it remains today: Bryant has a .296/.392/.564 line (152 wRC+). Rizzo is at .291/.395/.566 (151 wRC+).
- (Of course, if you go by the context-dependent Win Probability Added (i.e., how much everything a player does has actually impacted the team’s odds of winning a given game), Rizzo is running away with it, at 4.35. Addison Russell, perhaps unsurprisingly, is next at 2.66. Then Ben Zobrist at 1.66. Then Bryant at 1.55.)
- We’re still waiting any kind of formal resolution to last night’s mystery roster move stuff, but if you’re looking for clues in the Iowa Cubs box score: both Josh Collmenter and Joe Thatcher pitched, so they would seem not to be quite ready to be brought onto the big club. Jose Rosario closed the game out in the 9th, so it’s unlikely he’s getting the call immediately, either. Felix Pena did not pitch, though he threw 2.2 innings the night before. Armando Rivero did not pitch, though he also appeared the night before. And, as you already know, Rob Zastryzny did not make his start, as previously scheduled.
- Joe Maddon knows Jason Heyward is struggling at the plate – everyone know Jason Heyward is struggling at the plate, including Jason Heyward – but, no, Joe Maddon has no plans to bench Heyward anytime soon because there remains everything else he does to help the Cubs win (CSN).
- Tommy La Stella is day-to-day, per Joe Maddon, after being hit in the foot by a pitch in his second at bat with Tennessee (Tribune). Hopefully he gets back in there soon, because the Cubs are now without Chris Coghlan for a while (rib contusion), and the bench includes just one lefty bat (Miguel Montero).
- Hey, that ultra-portable, super bright lantern is 50% off at Amazon again (we have two of them, they are excellent if you want a small, dimmable lantern).
- Get ready for another Cubs onesie trip (woo hoo!); the team will be doing it once again on the way back from Los Angeles next week (Tribune). I can only assume that means whoever is starting on getaway day will throw a no-hitter, and then don the ceremonial mustache onesie.
- If you missed it this morning, Munenori Kawasaki hit his first career Minor League Baseball homer.
- It’s possible it happened before, but it can’t have been this direct before: Travis Wood finally got nailed playing the bullpen chicken game, and he was completely unfazed because he’s a hoss.
- A well-deserved honor for the former and long-time Cubs exec:
Diamondbacks Special Assistant to the GM Tim Wilken will be inducted Friday into the Professional Baseball Scouts Hall of Fame in Fort Myers
— Mark Gonzales (@MDGonzales) August 19, 2016
- I can hear Anthony Rizzo whispering it, can’t you:
#Cubs Rizzo has reminded Bryant that when Cabrera won triple crown, Fielder batted behind him. Riz now says to KB: "I'm your Prince"
— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) August 18, 2016