MLBits: SF-LAD Rumble, PIT Sends Top Prospect to TB, Nelson Not Coming Back, STL Hot, Acuña, More

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MLBits: SF-LAD Rumble, PIT Sends Top Prospect to TB, Nelson Not Coming Back, STL Hot, Acuña, More

Chicago Cubs

Starting tomorrow, the Cubs have a very winnable stretch of baseball (Pirates, Tigers, Reds, and Mets for 13 games) followed by a very tough stretch of baseball (Braves, Phillies, Brewers, Nationals, Brewers for 14 games).

With a thin first-place lead, you have to hope they do well enough in that first stretch to mitigate the risk heading into the second stretch. The Cubs should get some reinforcements in the form of Kris Bryant, Brandon Morrow, and Yu Darvish by the time that second stretch starts, but still.

Or they could just play balls out during both stretches so that they have a comfortable second half of September to prepare for the playoffs. That’d be cool, too.

Here’s some news from around the league …

  • Hundley apparently told Puig to stop complaining and get back in the box, so Puig got in his face and “when I [Puig] got into his face he [Hundley] told me to also get out of his face, so that’s when I got upset.” So, Hundley got mad at Puig for being mad, and then Puig got mad at Hundley because Hundley was mad at Puig? Roger that.
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
  • In any case, it seems the tight NL West race is re-igniting the rivalry. The Giants may be in fourth place, but they’re just 5.0 games back and the other three teams in the race (D-Backs, Rockies, and Dodgers) are all within two games of first.
  • As expected, the PTBNL in the Chris Archer trade was actually a very significant one – indeed, the Pirates gave up their 19-year-old first round pick (12th overall) from 2017:

  • Baseball America had Baz as the Pirates third best prospect at the start of the season, and he’s since made 10 starts with a 3.97 ERA (3.91 FIP) in rookie ball, which is quite good. The Pirates paid a whole lot for Archer and his team-friendly contract.
  • The Brewers traded for a depth/swing-man pitcher in Jake Thompson yesterday, grabbing him from the Phillies in exchange for cash. Thompson isn’t much of a difference maker, but he is a solid pickup for the stretch – especially as the Brewers continue on with no clarity over Jimmy Nelson’s future:

  • That’s Brewers GM David Stearns saying “It’s probably a little bit tougher to see him making a significant impact during the month of September for us.” And when pressed on if Nelson could at least return in the bullpen, Stearns repeated essentially the same thing. From the sounds of it, Brewers fans shouldn’t expect him back this year in any capacity.
  • The stupid Cardinals have won a season-best seven games in a row, thanks, primarily to an increasingly unbelievable stretch by Matt Carpenter. Since that 5 for 5 game against the Cubs just after the break, Carpenter has slashed .320/.439/.790 with 14 homers in 123 plate appearances, good for a 212 wRC+.

  • I hate them. And thanks to the Cubs’ slow start out of the break, the Cardinals are now within 4.0 games of first place. Sigh.
  • Ronald Acuña has not just hit a home run in five straight games, he’s hit six total home runs in four days thanks to a double-header. And before that stretch, he went 3-5 with a double, 1-4 with a homer, and 2-5 with a homer. Yep, since August 8th, exactly one week ago today, Acuña  – who is 20 – has EIGHT homers, two doubles, 13 runs scored, 15 RBI, and two stolen bases. He is on fire. What a debut it’s been.

  • You can run, but you can’t hide:

Author: Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami covers the Chicago Cubs, Bears, and Bulls at Bleacher Nation. You can find him on Twitter @Michael_Cerami