Today's Game Feels Disproportionately Important and Other Bullets

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Today’s Game Feels Disproportionately Important and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

Happy Mother’s Day to the mothers among you – and to everyone else, may the mothers in your life feel the weight of appreciation today (and every other day).

Speaking of which, I used up the balance of my morning on family time (and writing a lengthy take on yesterday’s slide rule drama), so I’m going to power through these Bullets …

  • With a win today, the Cubs take this series in St. Louis, and do so despite a rash of injuries and unavailabilities, as well as some continued serious and protracted slumps. And, given that the win would put the Cubs back over .500 and keep them nearly neck-and-neck with these very Cardinals in the NL Central, it sure seems like a really big game today, despite the fact that it’s just mid-May. A loss, and the Cubs are under .500, have dropped a third consecutive series, have fallen 3.5 back of the Cardinals, and are suddenly in disarray. Yes, that’s all narrative, because it’s just one game … but, as I said, it feels a lot bigger than that. Tomorrow’s off-day figures to be a relaxing one or torture.
  • Here’s hoping Jake Arrieta is at his best for this one. He’s given up a combined 11 runs in the first inning of his last four starts … but none in the most recent start against the Rockies! Of course, in that one, he wound up giving up 9 runs (5 earned) in just 3.2 innings, so … um … go get ’em today, Jake.
  • Joe Maddon was very complimentary of how well Ian Happ took to the big leagues – not just the homer, but the way he was simply ready to go ( He isn’t saying how long Happ will stay, though, and that could be because no one knows for sure. With Kris Bryant battling an illness, Ben Zobrist with a bad back, Jon Jay with a bad back, Addison Russell with a sore shoulder, and Jason Heyward out with a knuckle injury, it’s really not clear to me how long Happ could stay. I don’t want to say I hope it isn’t long, because he’s good, but I do hope everyone else recovers fully and quickly. Playing so short-handed is going to crush an already-reeling Cubs team.
  • Maddon did say, for now, that none of the injuries/illness seem to be disabled list situations ( Bryant is not expected to start again today (CSN).
  • Kyle Schwarber’s two-out, 9th inning drive went 400 feet and was sent out at 105 mph ( But it was just a fly out to the warning track, not a game-tying homer.
  • I found it funny when, in the process of turning a double play, Tommy La Stella literally laid on former teammate Dexter Fowler’s back to watch the call at first base:
(Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
  • “How you doin’, buddy? St. Louis treating you well? It’s good to see you again. I might take a quick nap.”
  • There was an announced crowd of 47,882 at yesterday’s game, the largest in new Busch Stadium history. #ThatsCub
  • Bryce Harper agreed to a 2018 contract with the Nationals for $21.625 million, which is a ton of money for an arbitration year, and also a bit of an oddity to see a player avoiding next year’s arbitration in May. It’s possible the Nationals did it this way so that the AAV of his deal (this and next year) will be pulled down to the average of this year’s salary and now next year’s (so they basically bump up their luxury tax payroll figure a few million this year in exchange for bumping it down a few million next year), and/or they simply wanted cost certainty going forward. Harper is still scheduled to hit free agency after 2018, and he will be paid handsomely by the Yankees some team. The immediately implication here is that a Super Two superstar arbitration player is making over $20 million in his final arbitration year – I’d say the meter starts there and runs for Kris Bryant in 2021 (as always, pending the service time grievance).
  • Aroldis Chapman is headed to the DL with rotator cuff inflammation, and *inserts joke about Cubs doing this to him, either last year, or last week*.
  • Summer activities are getting underway for the Bears, which means there’s a whole lot to discuss already in the Bullets over at TYL.
  • Coleman summer fun family gear (tents, sleeping bags, camping stuff, swimming stuff) is the deal of the day at Amazon.

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Author: Brett Taylor

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