Losing the World Series Bullpen, Kimbrel's Velo, Lifeless Offense, Happy on Base, and Other Bullets

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Losing the World Series Bullpen, Kimbrel’s Velo, Lifeless Offense, Happy on Base, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

Yesterday was a good day.

Not only did the Cubs beat the Cardinals to move back into a tie for first place atop the NL Central, but I also got to hang out with the entire BN crew (Brett, Luis, Bryan, and Eli) at the Nisei Lounge (along with many other friends), watching the Cubs and Cardinals do battle. It was a great night and we had a lot fun.

But, of course, after Brett’s *sixth* shot of Malort (and Eli’s first three shots of Malort ever (like I said … it was a fun night)), I knew I’d be handling the bullets this morning, which is perfectly fine. Nice job, Brett. You did a very good thing and we’re all genuinely proud of you/this place.

Oh, and here’s Brett taking his sixth shot of Malort next to a giant, inflatable swan:

  • Speaking of the Blogathon, the final tally – as of now – is $18,180 for Make-A-Wish, which means we sponsored over THREE FULL WISHES this year. Words could not ever express how meaningful that is. So whether you donated, participated, or just shared this effort in any small way, please accept this complete and heartfelt THANK YOU.
  • As for the Cubs trade deadline deals and roster implications, stay tuned, because we’re going to get into all of that (and a lot more) throughout the day. Robel Garica is already being optioned back to Iowa for Nick Castellanos, but there should be more roster churning, so hang around for the full breakdown. In the meantime, here’s the long and short of the deals, themselves:

  • Pedro Strop is now the only remaining reliever from the Cubs 2016 World Series bullpen. How weird is that?

  • And Strop is on the injured list, so … where muh bullpen gone?
  • As for last night’s game, well, yeah the Cubs won … but does anyone really feel all that great about it? Miles Mikolas managed to shut this team down once again (5.2 IP, 6H, 0ER, 1BB, 3Ks) and they managed just 2 runs on 8 hits and 2 walks (7 strikeouts) overall. By all accounts … that was another terrible performance by the offense – and it’s not like this was against a lefty, so … no: Nick Castellanos wouldn’t have likely been a savior in this one. Ditto Tony Kemp for other reasons.
  • On the bright side, Kyle Hendricks delivered an absolutely brilliant outing (more on that later), but I do want to point this out right now, because I love it 3000:

  • Craig Kimbrel, by contrast, let things get dicey yet again in the ninth, as yet another no-name Cardinal – Rangel Ravelo – hit a huge double that got the tying run in scoring position late. But ultimately, Kimbrel did lock things down, earning his 8th save in a Cubs uniform. More importantly, after three games of a fastball in the 94-95MPH range, Kimbrel was back up over 96 MPH last night. Ideally, he’d be working 97-98 MPH, but there’s still a little time left for him to get there. It is, of course, always possible that it’ll never happen for him again.
(Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

  • He’s still susceptible to the high fastball – and he’s always going to have swing-and-miss in his game – but you just hope the good generally outweighs the bad. So far, he’s been productive.
  • This wasn’t quite a “tarp catch,” but I still cheered when Anthony Rizzo let this one fall into his glove:

  • In case you missed it, here’s a recap of all the big non-Cubs deals that went down during deadline day. There was a lot that trickled out at the last minute.
  • We’ll have more on this from Bryan later, too, but Brailyn Marquez, the Cubs top pitching prospect, threw 6 no-hit innings last night, with just 1 walk and 8 strikeouts. He is very quickly turning into the highest ceiling pitching prospect this organization has had … as long as I can remember.
  • And just speaking of him, I am very glad to see the Cubs make improvements at the deadline without giving up any of their top-five prospects: Nico Hoerner, Brennan Davis, Miguel Amaya, Brailyn Marquez, or Cole Roederer. They didn’t make “huge” moves, but they added a reliever for lefties and righties, a bat for the bench, and an impact bat for almost everyday. To do all that without giving up you best young players is huge and I can respect that.
  • Happy birthday, Mr. Kintzler. You’ve been absolutely HUGE for the Cubs this season.

  • The best thing the Bears ever did was trade for this guy:

Author: Michael Cerami

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