Bats Alive, Darvish Shows Off, Good Fortune on the Bases, Marquez as Hader, and Other Cubs Bullets

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Bats Alive, Darvish Shows Off, Good Fortune on the Bases, Marquez as Hader, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

For the last few month or two, the thought of the Bears kicking back off was pretty important to my fan sanity. The Cubs hadn’t just been struggling, they’d been doing so in the extreme rollercoaster way that was really pushing my ability to simply be happy about a competitive team. So, I thought, at least the Bears are coming back soon, and I can just be happy watching them, even if the Cubs continue to torture me. It’s why it’s good to have more than one sports fandom to soothe you, right?

Little did I know that, for the first Bears game at least, it would actually be the Cubs – who’ve now won six in a row on the road! – who would be bringing me back down to calm after I was feeling pretty dire about the Bears. SPORTS!

  • The Cubs’ 10 runs last night marked the fifth time they’ve gone double digits in under a month. Also, since the day of the Trade Deadline, the Cubs have gone 20-13, a .606 clip. Perhaps not unrelated.
  • In the second half – remember the whole second-half-Joe-Maddon-clubs thing? – the Cubs are up to 29-20, which is a .592 clip (96 wins over 162 games). Are we seeing the second half Cubs?
  • “The Cubs SAY Yu Darvish had a normal bullpen yesterday, but how can we really be sure if we don’t see it for ourselves!,” you exclaim while furrowing your brow and searching for clues that connect Darvish’s forearm issue to a dark alliance between the Masons and the Yeti. Well, how about if Darvish shares part of his bullpen session on YouTube:

  • That is some nerd gold right there. Also, I love that he was throwing a “low spin” two-seamer, and also a “high spin” two-seamer. That’s very Darvish. Here’s hoping he’s good to go tomorrow.
  • Note, by the way, that pitching coach Tommy Hottovy suggested to the Tribune that it’s possible we might see shorter outings from Darvish from here until the postseason, given the workload increase from last year to this year. Frankly, I’m fine with that for almost any of the starters at this point in the year, both because of their workload and anticipation of the playoffs, but also because of expanded rosters. You’ve got tons of arms available for the middle and later innings. It can be annoying to see all the pitching changes, but it’s a way you can disadvantage the opposing hitters just a bit, especially if they never got to see that starting pitcher a third time.
  • The Cubs got really lucky last night that Christian Yelich thought he had a shot at the plate on Anthony Rizzo’s sac line drive in the decisive 6th inning. If he’d had a moment to look at his infield, he would have seen everyone screaming to go to second base, because Ben Zobrist was toast:

  • If Yelich does go to second there, it’s an inning-ending double play before the run scores. We can’t know for sure what would have happened after that, but we do know that Kyle Schwarber’s grand slam came a couple batters later. Whew.
  • As for Zobrist, hey, like I said in the tweet: a little bit of rust. It was a rocket liner off Rizzo’s bat, and Zobrist was trying to cheat so he could score on a single. But the ball is just gonna carry, and Yelich was playing surprisingly shallow for Rizzo in that situation. If you’re worried about Zobrist making mental mistakes going forward, you are probably worrying for nothing.
  • Cool shot of that Rizzo sac fly, by the way:
(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
  • On the 10th pitch of a very long and grinding at bat, in which Jay Jackson seemed frustrated that he couldn’t put Addison Russell away in a big spot by going away away away with sliders, he wound up trying to go in on Russell with a fastball and hit him flush in the ribs with 95 mph:

  • As you could see, Russell was mighty pissed about that one, but I don’t think it was a matter of Jackson giving up on the at bat by chucking one all the way inside on purpose. It was still such a tight spot in the game that I don’t see it (though Alex Claudio came in and immediately struck out Jason Heyward to end the frame). I do expect that the pitch hurt, though.
  • Projectors, coding games for kids, and more are your Deals of the Day at Amazon.
  • This strikes me as a very fair take on Marquez, whose fastball and slider took huge steps forward this year, but the changeup is still that necessary third pitch if he’s going to start long-term:

  • That said, I mean, if you could bank on Marquez being a dominating, Hader-like multi-inning reliever? Wouldn’t you just take that right now? Hader has been among the most uniquely valuable pitchers in the game for the Brewers. Even that said, it’s not like you can *count* on Marquez being an elite reliever just yet. The upside is that of a one or a two in the rotation, but it’s not like elite reliever is the downside – he could fall farther than that. Let’s just be stoked about his huge season, his clear top-100-ness, and how he could continue to develop as a starter early next year.
  • ULTRA REALITY TV coming to baseball – and I have read this, but I still don’t quite understand what it is beyond “bigger, nicer picture”:

  • Eli is doing the podcast thing, too, and his first guest is Michael:

  • META: I’ve seen a lot of folks asking, so I thought I’d mention it here (and you can spread the word if you see other folks asking) – the site banner takes you to the home page, but there are navigation links up at the top of the page at all times that will take you to just the Cubs page if that’s what you want after you read an article. You just click on “Cubs” up there. If you’re on mobile, you just have to open the dropdown to see “Cubs.” Boom. You’re there. I’ll take a look at the code to find more places to add even more navigation back to the Cubs home page, too.

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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.