Stepping Up After a Big Injury, Cardinals Coming, Heyward's Swing, and Other Bullets

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Stepping Up After a Big Injury, Cardinals Coming, Heyward’s Swing, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

The big kiddos start school next week, which means today is the last weekday for us to do a little more family fun. So we’re gonna hit up the amusement park (and hopefully The Little Girl’s cast won’t hold up too many activities).

  • We’ll get a more definitive word today (*breathe*), but the report last night had Willson Contreras’s hamstring injury as not as bad as it could have been, but also a legit hamstring strain of the kind that typically keeps a guy out for a month. Without Contreras’s bat, the Cubs will need Alex Avila to be the guy he was with the Tigers in the first half, and will also need the bats they already have to step up.
  • That said, I like the way Anthony Rizzo put it to the Tribune: “This isn’t my first rodeo. I’ve had guys around me go down, guys get traded. It’s part of the game. I’m not going to change who I am and my approach. You start pressing, you’ll find yourself in a bad spot.” Don’t try to be more than you are. Just be the guy your focus and your talent permits you to be.
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
  • The Cubs couldn’t pull it off against the Giants, but after this Diamondbacks series, they’ll face a stretch of 24 straight games against sub-.500 teams. Go worse than 14-10 during that stretch, and the already-reasonable questions about the divisional race will become deafening, especially if the Cardinals don’t stop winning.
  • Speaking of which, old friend Dexter Fowler pulled off the Cardinals’ daily game-winning grand slam, capping a comeback from an early 3-0 deficit against the extremely unhelpful Royals. I knew the loss of that damn Rally Cat wouldn’t do the trick. With that win, and another Brewers loss, the Cardinals are now just a game behind the Cubs in the Central (two in the loss column), and the Brewers are two back.
  • Those Brewers are feeling it now:

  • I don’t think anyone expected the Brewers to be in the race this long (in part because they also would have expected the Cubs to be far, far ahead by now), so it’s a credit to them that they’re even in a position in mid-August to be having these kinds of team meetings. That said, I don’t think anyone would be surprised if this is the start of a fading process.
  • Sahadev and I popped out a new podcast episode, if you missed it.
  • Jason Heyward’s swing work is still in process, interrupted twice this year by disabled list stints. He’s putting up better numbers than last year, but the results have still been quite poor (.258/.312/.398, 86 wRC+). Talented players do go through extended periods in the wilderness, so to speak, before re-emerging, but I don’t think we could describe the offensive campaign from Heyward to date in 2017 as anything but disappointing.
  • Lids has a big clearance event going on, and you’ll want to check out the Cubs deals – lotta really cheap stuff. Also, obligatory: it supports BN when you shop there via our links … so thanks!
  • The Onion gets us, man:

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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.