Zobrist's Comeback, Mills' Solid Outing, Montgomery's Return, and Other Bullets

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Zobrist’s Comeback, Mills’ Solid Outing, Montgomery’s Return, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

I decided to work at Potbelly today after dropping The Littlest Girl off at school. The rub is that it doesn’t open until 11, so I’m working in the parking lot in my car for like an hour and a half. Weirdo.

  • The Chicago Cubs just won back-to-back games started by Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom … and then got blown out in a game started by Jason Vargas. It doesn’t get more “baseball” than that. But as we explored last night, it means the Cubs still won the series – they’ve not lost a series in a month – and you take ’em how you get ’em. Good thing Ben Zobrist knocked that walk-off into center field, eh?
  • On the loss, Alec Mills allowed a first-inning grand slam to Todd Frazier on a meatball, but then pitched four scoreless innings. He once again got a ton of whiffs (10 on his 89 pitches), while striking out five and walking two. There was nothing in that start that changed my early perspective on him: you see some big league back-of-the-rotation potential.
  • Whether Mills gets another turn in the rotation as part of a six-man group remains to be seen. Mike Montgomery returns tonight to face the Braves, and it’s certainly possible that Mills could be the guy optioned back to Iowa to make room on the roster (which, by the way, would not preclude Mills returning to make starts in September). I’d like to see Mills get some more starts right now while he’s commanding all of his pitches. Not only do I think he can be competitive for the Cubs, I like that it gets a little bit more of a breather for the primary starters who may need to pitch deep into October at max effort.
  • Speaking of Montgomery:

  • Just a fantastic read here from Jesse Rogers on the detailed mechanics on how the Cubs wound up landing Daniel Murphy in a waiver trade with the Nationals. Walking through the process on these types of deals is really fun to see, from the moment the Cubs surprisingly got their daily update from the league about which players they were eligible to acquire (Murphy being one of them), to the moment they finally managed to pull off the trade – just two minutes before the deadline expired, according to Jed Hoyer.
  • Back to Zobrist for a moment: the 37-year-old is having such an incredibly resurgent year that he should probably be in heavy consideration for comeback player of the year. After posting a .232/.318/.375 line last year (82 wRC+ (that’s 18% worse than league average)), dude is hitting .312/.391/.461 this year with a 130 wRC+, his highest mark since 2012.
  • Joe Maddon says that Zobrist, who has been rested a lot this year, is “playing with a lot of mental energy right now …. (I) talk to him all the time. He’s definitely totally engaged. And I think, again, he’s fresh. I don’t see him as being beaten up right now.” Zobrist is still just a very, very good hitter. Last year, he was simply not healthy. Now he is, and he’s raking.
  • Where he’ll play when Addison Russell and Kris Bryant return? Well, I think you’ll still see him working in regularly in the corner outfield spots and very periodically at second base, doing so at the expense of Russell, Kyle Schwarber, Albert Almora, and Ian Happ. Zobrist can’t play every day in any case, but that bat is just too good to keep out too often.
(Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)

Sammy Sosa at Coors Field, man. It was something to behold:



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.