Embracing the Division Win, Magic Chains, Kimbrel's Ascendance, Alzolay's Role, and Other Cubs Bits | Bleacher Nation

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Embracing the Division Win, Magic Chains, Kimbrel’s Ascendance, Alzolay’s Role, and Other Cubs Bits

Chicago Cubs

It’s not like winning the NL Central this year was preordained. Maybe because of the crazy hot start we got it into our heads for so long that we too easily forget that you earn a division title over the course of an entire season – even a pandemic-shortened one. So I don’t see any reason, especially now the day after with time to reflect, why we wouldn’t hold this division title right up there with any of the others. Moreover, it’s really cool to say that this is the Cubs’ third division crown in the last five years. Hang the banner. It can be a little one. But hang it just the same.

•   Craig Kimbrel came out last night at his best, which is so encouraging not only for the postseason run, but also for 2021, when he’s still under contract:

•   Also a -0.36 FIP in September. Negative. The two strikeout pitches there are just BRUTAL. I mean, 99 mph just above the top of the zone when you started working a guy from down-to-up. And then the knuckle curve down and away after you moved the guy down and out with fastballs? Batters have no hope when Kimbrel executes like this. It’s why he was so dominant for so long.

•   To Bryan’s point here, if Adbert Alzolay comes out today with the new slider looking just as legit as last time, I’m pulling him after three innings to make sure he’s available all series:

•   Cookware, bedding, green tea, and books are among your Deals of the Day at Amazon. #ad

•   Amid the fun of Kris Bryant dropping a naughty word, it’s notable that he did not say he was feeling 100% or that he’s got his timing down (The Athletic). I would love nothing more than him to rake in the postseason and turn every story on its head, but the “issues” are probably still there the rest of the way, and they certainly seemed to be a huge drain on his power.

•   Random note on numbers in a short-season – it’s not even like Bryant had a huge night:

•   Bonus fun, though? You saw the two chains, right? Well, yes, Bryant DID get those from Anthony Rizzo – they are originally Mike Napoli’s – for good luck:

“I just had the feeling before the game,” Rizzo said, per Cubs.com. “I go, ‘Hey, you trust me right?’ He’s like, ‘Yeah.’ I go, ‘All right, come with me.'”

Rizzo retrieved two gold chains that belong to Mike Napoli, the Cubs’ quality assurance coach, and Bryant put them on for the game. Then, the third baseman connected for the single and the slam.

“Maybe I’ll wear them until there’s no magic left,” Bryant quipped. “I’m not really a jewelry guy, especially not two big gold chains. But I’ll do whatever works for the team.”

•   We are all idiots:

•   If you missed my stupid little celebration last night, I want to share it again because I mean it when I say we gotta just be happy about this stuff when we have the chance:


•   Hunter Pence announced his retirement:

•   Heads up before today’s games kick off:

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.