Impressive and Urgent Win, Cubs Rotation Shuffling, Baez Hot, Happ Still Down, and Other Bullets

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Impressive and Urgent Win, Cubs Rotation Shuffling, Baez Hot, Happ Still Down, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

The Cubs lost another road series, yes, but at least their one win came before the off-day. Coulda been a lot more miserable today otherwise.

  • And, hey, that was a really impressive win, too. The Cubs had to use a fill-in starter at the last minute, and he was great. Then they had to get five innings from the bullpen, and they were great, too. They had to survive Kris Bryant going out with an injury. They had to survive Anthony Rizzo being ejected.
  • The Cardinals won again, as did the Brewers, so the NL Central standings were unchanged at the top:

  • And now the Cubs go out to face the Brewers, then the Cardinals, on the road. Big series, my frents.
  • Quite a bit of rotation shuffling coming, with Jon Lester (illness) now pushed to Saturday against the Brewers (Kyle Hendricks goes tomorrow, Jose Quintana goes Sunday), and Cole Hamels potentially – but not definitely! – finished with his rehab assignment and returning as soon as next week against the Cardinals. Since the Cubs didn’t lose the game, Lester’s illness pushing him back may have actually given them more options for an ideal rotation with Hamels returning.
  • (And boy would it be nice to get a healthy Hamels back for those Cardinals games, because he has owned them this year.)
  • Javy Baez has gotten hot lately to turn around his July, giving him a .317/.317/.585 (129 wRC+) slash for the month. You’ll gladly take that, of course, but it’s kinda wild that Baez has not walked this entire month.
(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
  • Joe Maddon used the words “cautiously optimistic” when discussing the possibility of a Ben Zobrist return this year (Sun-Times). Recall, we’ve been hopeful of learning a plan – one way or the other – this week, because it has so many potential trade deadline implications for the Cubs, including how much money the Cubs will have to work with.
  • Thanks to the starting pitcher (Tyson Miller) getting pitch-limited out of the game in the first inning, the Iowa Cubs had to make due:

  • Ian Happ had another couple hits in that Iowa Cubs game, continuing his scorching hot streak. Good bet at this point that he’s going to stay down at Iowa through the trade deadline, and then – if he’s still around – the Cubs will assess how to incorporate him. I hate it, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the fact that he was down so long made it so the Cubs had to consider whether to call him up, or whether to leave him down during any possible trade talks (because then if he’s traded to a rebuilding team before he’s called up, they could get an entire extra year of control by keeping him down the rest of the way). A 24-year-old Ian Happ is a lot more valuable in trade to a rebuilding team if he comes with five more years of control rather than four. Kinda gross? Yup. But now that we’re just six days away from the Trade Deadline, it would be unwise to call up Happ right now if there was even a chance he was going to come up in trade talks.
  • … but I really hope he doesn’t, because I’m still pretty darn high on his future.
  • This deal ends today at Obvious Shirts:

  • It’s hard to see, realistically, how Danny Hultzen will get a shot with the big league team this year, absent a massive rash of injuries, but it’s still a great story to follow:

  • Pirates righty Jameson Taillon is going to be shut down again with forearm discomfort, the description of which sounds ominous. The 27-year-old righty has shown some incredible stuff since being the number two overall pick in 2010, but so many arm injuries, surgeries, and even a battle with cancer have kept him off the field. It’s actually remarkable that he made 32 starts last year.
  • You’re out:

  • The Cubs’ second rounder is raking at Eugene (though he departed last night early after running the bases, so hopefully it’s not an injury situation):

  • Training camp SZN is here:

  • Just five days left, and we need the support:

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.