Set Your Hair on Fire, Pedro's Dance, Mills' Save, Alzolay's Future, Kimbrel's Status, and Other Cubs Bullets

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Set Your Hair on Fire, Pedro’s Dance, Mills’ Save, Alzolay’s Future, Kimbrel’s Status, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

Late start today and an early game means it’s time to combine the Scoreboard Watching and the Bullets. You’ll forgive me, I’m sure.

  • With the Cardinals and Brewers kicking off their series, there really wasn’t a bad outcome available, so with the Cardinals smoking the Brewers last night, I guess that’s fine. The Cubs therefore stayed 4.0 games behind the Cardinals in the Central, but took a one-game lead over the Brewers for the second Wild Card spot. I think I’ll be rooting for the Brewers the next two days, though, *IF* the Cubs win. If the Cubs are about to do that thing where they have a huge first game of a series and then take a dump the rest of the way, I guess maybe I’d think about actually rooting for the Cardinals(?).
  • Elsewhere in the Wild Card race, the Nationals lost to the Braves, which means the Cubs are now within 2.5 of that top Wild Card spot. Not a bad consolation prize if the Cubs can get it. The Phillies didn’t play (weird schedule, much?), so they are now 2.5 games behind the Cubs. The Mets and Diamondbacks lost, pushing them 3.0 and 4.5 games back, respectively. So much for the dream of MAX CHAOS by having all these teams tie in the end.
  • Before the game, Joe Maddon was thinking this way about what he wanted to see from his team over this final stretch ( “Just go out there and play the game. I don’t want over-preparation. I don’t want more swings. I don’t want more information. I don’t want more audio, video, whatever-o. Just go play baseball right now. That’s all our guys need to do. Play it hard. Before you walk out there, set your hair on fire and see what happens.” I like that last line.
  • Speaking of hair and playing well, I think we know the real reason the Cubs blew up yesterday. The Lackeys didn’t come for the haircut:

  • The Cubs knew if they didn’t play well … Lackey was coming for them.
  • This GIF is awesome:

  • Also, although the bullpen doesn’t dance anymore for homers (*teardrop), Pedro Strop busted it out, by himself and in the dark, for Anthony Rizzo’s grand slam:

  • Heads up: to celebrate the outpouring of runs, Obvious Shirts is doing a special sale – jump on it:

  • Craig Kimbrel’s next bullpen session is scheduled for tomorrow if he is still feeling good (elbow inflammation). And if that goes well, we *could* see him returning to the big league team at some point mid-week. I doubt he’ll be inserted right into a tight save situation, but there’s not a whole lot of time to pick and choose the perfect spot for a “rehab outing” in a playoff chase. I am still of the mind that he’s probably not going to be CRAIG KIMBREL the rest of the way, and instead might just be a good and useful reliever. Next year, he can go back to being CRAIG KIMBREL.
  • Speaking of save situations, Alec Mills got the save in yesterday’s 17-8 game because he pitched the final three innings:

  • Obviously the save stat is kinda dumb, but it made for a fun situation yesterday. And Mills really did pitch well, as he often does. He’s not everyone’s favorite to be the (or one of the) swing guy in the bullpen next year, but I still think he could fill the role reasonably well. If, for example, the Cubs added to the rotation and then found a taker for the final year of Tyler Chatwood’s contract? Let Mills be the guy.
  • Speaking of that role, I don’t think you’d see it go to Adbert Alzolay, but Bryan does raise good points here about how the Cubs will develop him next year:

  • This was so crazy and so much fun:

  • In conclusion, go Cubs:

(Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)

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.