Still Quite Competitive in the NL Central, Surprises at Iowa, and Other Bullets

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Still Quite Competitive in the NL Central, Surprises at Iowa, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

Today, I achieved maximum sweat. I cannot fathom sweating more than I sweat today. I like to think I do the Jake Arrieta regimen, which includes a pilates-type class – sh*t is HARD. Not only are you doing all this resistance work and holds and pulses and small muscle targeting, this class is in a closed, heated studio. It’s already hot and humid as heck, so I was dripping sweat before we even started stretching. By the end, it was 100%, no exaggeration like I had jumped in a swimming pool.

But now I can lift a car over my head and throw multiple no-hitters, so it’s worth it.

  • As they enter play tonight, despite a really ugly week, the Cubs are just a half-game back of the Brewers in the NL Central, and are still a couple games ahead of the Cardinals. The ebbs and flows of the season.
  • Speaking of those three teams, they each now begin a stretch of play that will be pretty darn kind to them, in terms of opponent strength, for about a month. Expect to see a lot of winning, and hopefully, for the Cubs, a lot of saves from Craig Kimbrel – he might be arriving at just the right time. Or actually, whatever day he arrives is the “right time,” so I’m not sure why I mentioned that at all. I guess I’m just excited for him to arrive. He is scheduled to make his Iowa Cubs debut today.
  • And a miscellaneous note on the Cardinals:

  • I got some guff in the comments yesterday for my discussion of Addison Russell’s bat-throwing problem. Maybe I didn’t articulate myself well enough: Russell’s problems holding onto his bat began his very first month in the big leagues, when he let loose on a swing, hurling his bat into the stands and injuring a fan. A terrible mistake that could happen to anyone? Yes. Then it was. In the four+ years that have followed, he has lost his bat another, what, 25 to 30 to 40 times? I couldn’t even keep count. When he did it repeatedly in Los Angeles this weekend – leading to the Dodgers making fun of him for it – it pushed me over the edge. It’s dangerous, as he’s sent bats hurtling into the stands, into the dugout, past players standing on deck, by coaches, etc. And when this was on the radar in his FIRST MONTH in the big leagues because of a FAN INJURY, it should have long been addressed by now. I think I’m on pretty solid ground for this criticism.
  • An Iowa Cubs starting pitcher won a weekly award, and of course you already know that, because Adbert Alzol … oh, wait:

  • Oh Alec Mills. The quintessential just-right-there-at-the-cusp guy. He’s shown big league caliber pitching ability at the big league level in very short flourishes, but has never stuck. Injuries haven’t helped, nor has the Cubs’ effort to overload on pitching volume, but he’s talented enough to pitch at the big league level for some team out there, probably in a swing role. Mills, 27, was delayed to start this year, and struggled out of the gate, but in his last four starts, he’s put up a 1.90 ERA over 23.2 innings, with 22 strikeouts, just 7 walks, and just 14 hits. He is currently using up his final option year with the Cubs, so if he stays in the org, he’ll either have to make the 25-man roster in the Spring, or clear waivers.
  • Speaking of AAA Iowa pitchers who have long been right on that cusp but are pretty much at a do-or-die point in the org:

  • And he’s still adjusting, but Trent Giambrone is finally heating up at Iowa – he’s homered in four straight games:

  • The Dead came to Wrigley:

  • A great piece from Ryan Thomure on why it matters that teams have Pride events at sports stadiums:

  • Patio furniture, dog and cat gear, big outdoor power equipment, and more are your Deals of the Day at Amazon today.
  • How well was this executed? Excellent catch, immediate chug, and then the spike:

  • It was a busy, busy day at BN Bulls yesterday:

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.