Stewart Steps Up, Javy's Curtain Call, Nance, and Other Cubs Bullets

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Stewart Steps Up, Javy’s Curtain Call, Nance, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

The Chicago Cubs are alone in first place on June 1. I’m not sure I saw that coming on May 1, when the Cubs were alone in last place. It’s a tough month that lies ahead, but if the Cubs can just hold serve, it becomes very plausible that they are buyers in July, particularly in the rotation. I won’t make all the same Yu Darvish jokes, but I will simply say: this Cubs team might be able to win the NL Central, but I have a very, very hard time seeing them make a real run in the postseason without at least one additional dominant starting pitcher to pair with Kyle Hendricks.

•   In the meantime, we’ll enjoy the starting pitching that is here, including a great five-inning fill-in start from Kohl Stewart. The former top Twins prospect has long had the stuff to be a quality starter, but the results just didn’t quite match (in weird ways). The Cubs love to get their hands on guys like that, and given the 26-year-old’s success at Triple-A Iowa and yesterday in Chicago, it seems it’s been a very good fit:

•   Stewart, who was filling in for Trevor Williams, is likely to get another start later this week. Although a return from an appendicitis might not take multiple weeks, it’s hard to imagine Williams being out just five or six days. If nothing else, it’s a good opportunity to see how Stewart looks a second time out (with an eye toward him being a rotation candidate in 2022 and beyond).

•   Javy Báez, who homered twice and got a freaking awesome standing ovation, said yesterday’s game felt like a playoff game. He also homered for the second time WHILE the crowd was chanting his name:

•   We have all missed this so much:

•   Cubs President Jed Hoyer is paying close attention this month (NBCSC): “I think we’ll learn a lot about this team over the month of June because to go out there and have success [against that schedule], that’s certainly a mark for a team that has a chance to compete in the postseason, because I think that’s the kind of environment you’re going to have to play in during the postseason. You’re going to have to go to the West Coast, given right now at least that those three teams in the NL West certainly have been the cream of the National League so far.”

•   I really, really enjoy watching Tommy Nance pitch:

https://twitter.com/MLByahoosports/status/1399509315908681732

•   So that clip there of Nance ending the game with 97 mph running 20 inches laterally (lol) was first put out by MLB.com’s account, and then re-shared by – among others – Yahoo’s MLB account. I mention that because I’m reminded of times I’d see national baseball accounts sharing clips of pitchers on other teams and I’d be like, “Holy crap, who the hell is that guy? And where do the Rays/Dodgers/Astros keep finding these guys?!?” Well, for today – for this year, really – that team is the Cubs.

•   Cool shots:

•   Oh no:

•   Boog and OS doing good:


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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.