Cubs Lose But Are Probably Still Good, Quintana Throws, Rizzo Leads, Kimbrel Works, and Other Cubs Bullets

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Cubs Lose But Are Probably Still Good, Quintana Throws, Rizzo Leads, Kimbrel Works, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

Got into quite a dust-up in the ole BN writer text thread this morning. I’m often at the center of these things because I’ll have a broad editorial point I want to make about the Bulls, but I have nowhere even close to the basketball/Bulls knowledge of the other guys. I’m still a relative noob. So I’ll know the point I want to make – and might even be correct about it – but I muddy things up when trying to convey it because of the lack of subject-matter knowledge. I really need Bulls basketball to come back so I can continue to brush up. In the meantime, I like that Michael and Luis and Eli push back on me if they think I’m being a dope. (I wasn’t, though, guys!)

•   I have no idea what tonight’s game is going to look like, as the Cubs go to St. Louis to play the Cardinals for their first game since waiting out a COVID-19 outbreak in their clubhouse. Will Cubs players be tentative? Will Cardinals players be rusty? It’s weird. One weird side effect already is that ace Jack Flaherty won’t be pitching tonight because of the long layoff. The Cardinals want to play it safe and get him another side session before he makes a start. Daniel Ponce De Leon will start tonight instead.

•   Jose Quintana got through his 35-pitch sim game yesterday at South Bend, throwing all of his pitches (NBCSC). The plan is for him to stretch out in another outing on Tuesday, at which point the Cubs will try to decide next steps. Depending on the health and performance of the rotation at that time, it could mean Quintana returns to the Cubs in the bullpen (if he can be effective there as a stretched-out lefty, that sure would be nice). Or it could mean something came up, and he’s right back into the rotation.

•   Anthony Rizzo, increasingly leading leader:

•   I gotta believe having strong, accepted, beloved team leaders this year matters more than ever, so it’s great to see how much more Rizzo is leaning into that role with David Ross now around as the manager. From Jason Heyward in that piece: “Even more so now, he’s being a little bit more vocal in areas like having at-bats and approach, just speaking up to make us all aware. He’s not calling anyone out, but just saying, ‘hey guys, this is how I try to approach this.’ …When it comes to that as a group and gelling as hitters, we’ve all been together now obviously for a few years, so I think that’s an area he’s added on to. But as far as him being himself and keeping things light, that’s Tony being Tony.”

•   It was nice that Craig Kimbrel got in an inning of work last night in a blowout. Was it a better performance? I think probably. He did give up one rocket on the fastball and he also walked a guy, but he also got his first swings against the curveball (two different batters, even!). He did a better job avoiding middle-middle, though the fastball still wasn’t really living either up or down (it’s gotta, gotta be one or the other for him, because anything belt-to-bell-button is clearly gonna get crushed until the curveball is sharp and hidden again). He did get charged with a run, though it came on a blooper. So basically it was a rocket triple and a walk, and an otherwise fine outing. Keep getting him that kind of work, please.

•   Did you have Alec Mills down on your bets for which NL pitcher would be the first to take an at bat in the DH era? Well he was last night, as David Ross had taken out his regulars late, which wound up losing them the DH, so Mills took an at bat. Ross told him not to swing, and he successfully struck out looking.

•   This picture summed up the loss for me, but hey, the Cubs still took three of four:

(Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)

•   If you missed my early-morning take on Tyler Chatwood’s performance. The loss brought the Brewers to within 3.5 games of the Cubs in the Central, which, hey, is still a pretty enormous lead through 13 games. Also, the Brewers had help:

•   Ian Happ is the man in two different ways:

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.