Grinding for the Clinch, Cy Young Considerations, Bryant's Value, and Other Cubs Bits

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Grinding for the Clinch, Cy Young Considerations, Bryant’s Value, and Other Cubs Bits

Chicago Cubs

I’ve been thinking about how I will watch anything set in the ‘Alien’ universe, and I basically enjoy all of them at some level, even the real stinkers. Like, I know that ‘Alien 3’ and ‘Alien Versus Predator’ are stupid and terrible and poorly-executed movies. And yet I just enjoy that world so much that I’ll still watch ’em. Any movie universe (besides the obvious ones!) get you like that? Also: ‘Prometheus’ is just criminally underrated.

•   Anthony Rizzo – whose homer last night snapped a 60-inning homerless streak for the Cubs – on the Cubs clinching a postseason spot in a year like this, and what lies ahead:

•   Although merely making the playoffs this year isn’t the goal, and although the playoff field is significantly expanded, nothing at all about this year was a given back in July. So, yeah, let’s smile about the clinch a bit. These Cubs earned it.

•   Also, since Rizzo homered late to tie last night’s game, I’m just gonna pretend for a minute like it was his homer that clinched the playoff spot for the Cubs, as they happened almost simultaneously last night.

(Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)

•   Kyle Hendricks gets back out there tonight for the Cubs, in what will be his final start of the regular season. On the whole, it’s been an exceptional year for Hendricks, whose 2.0 WAR over just 11 starts would extrapolate out to – by far – his most valuable big league season. Moreover, his 2.93 ERA is his best since being a Cy Young finalist in 2016. Hopefully he goes out strong on the road in Pittsburgh, and earns himself some down-the-ballot Cy Young votes. He won’t be in the mix to win the award this year, but he’s gonna deserve some recognition for how good he’s been.

•   Speaking of the Cy Young award, the contention for which Yu Darvish has arguably also fallen out of (though an absurd final start could bring him back), there is a weird wrinkle this year beyond the shortened schedule:

•   Now, is it possible that the pitching *overall* is just so much better in the Central divisions that it drives down the offense overall, so you’re actually inventing a problem where there isn’t one? Yeah, it’s possible. I actually do think, looking around, that the pitching in the NL and AL Central is better than their East and West counterparts. But I also don’t think it’s unreasonable to suggest that, yeah, there are a whole lotta better offenses out there than in the Central divisions. Then again, it’s like, if you’re *on* one of the best offensive teams – the Mets and Dodgers are in the top three in baseball – are you really facing a whole bunch of offensive juggernauts, since you don’t get to count yourself?

•   … but yeah, I mean, the best offense in the NL Central right now is the Cardinals, with a 95 wRC+, and 19th in baseball. That’s just bad. The Cubs, at 91 and 23rd, are just bad. I guess that’s kind of a separate point, but while looking at this info, it stood out. The Cubs aren’t just in a slump or just missing a couple guys’ performance or whatever. They have, affirmatively, a bad offense this year. It’s not all because of the pitching they’re facing.

•   Hey, game one of the opening round of the postseason starts for the Cubs in exactly one week. It’s still TBD what their seed will be, who they’ll play, and where they’ll play. It remains most likely that they’ll play at Wrigley Field for that series, facing one of the bottom three seeds.

•   A few defenses of Kris Bryant, who is down – but not necessarily completely out – with an oblique injury, coming at the tail end of an injury-filled, disastrously-performed 2020 season:

•   An inauspicious, and yet HISTORIC, start to his Cubs career:

•   Big stuff happening in the Bulls world:

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.