The BN Blogathon is underway, and your generosity has led to more than $11,000 raised for Make-A-Wish and also 40 straight hours of CONTENT. Just about time to go get my first coffee, which I’ll probably do while I’m drafting these Bullets. Don’t forget, you can still donate – get that tax deduction or whatever! – for the next two days. If we somehow were to get up to $15,000 by the time the Cubs are playing, I’ll go ahead and grab a nacho helmet in the bleachers, eat what I can, and then wear the dang thing, nacho cheese dripping and all. And yes, I am setting that number artificially high!
• Hopefully we’ll get a positive update on Nico Hoerner today after he was removed last night with a right oblique issue. By this point, I don’t have to tell you to be afraid of oblique issues, but it’s also true that sometimes it’s just tightness, you exercise caution, and it doesn’t become a strain. Hoerner NEEDS plate appearances. Lots of them. He’s doing some great things, but his development for next year is pretty critical if the Cubs are going to compete in 2022. He just need reps upon reps upon reps this year.
• If Hoerner can’t go today – good guess that he won’t – and if Javy Báez (heel) is still sitting, who plays shortstop? It was Kris Bryant sliding in for a couple innings last night, but my guess would be David Bote (or an emergency Sergio Alcantara call-up if the Cubs already knew an IL stint was coming). On Bryant, it was fun to get to see him play shortstop, though the only ball that really came his way was the groundout when he was shifted over to second base. So basically, he played shortstop AND second base last night, completing his tour of the entire non-pitcher/catcher field this season.
• Here’s Ross on Báez’s situation, by the way (Cubs.com): “He’s still a little timid. He’s getting kind of reassessed. Talking to the trainers, they said he’s still a little in between, but it should be any day. I think it’s one of those lingering bruises that’s just still bothering him a little bit. And I don’t want to put him in a situation, especially playing middle infield, where he can’t plant and be secure on his feet.” For so many obvious reasons, the Cubs aren’t going to have Báez start at shortstop when he’s still impacted by the bruise. There’s no sense in risking a compounding injury this week. Although no trade offer was likely to come through and be sufficient for Báez anyway, again, there’s just no sense in risking it.
• It’s still pretty hard to actively root for losses, but I will note that losing the last two to the Reds effectively ensured that they not become sellers to compete with the Cubs, but also left them alone in second place in the Central, 7.0 games back of the Brewers and 5.0 games back of the second Wild Card. So, as we’ve seen with a couple bullpen moves, they’ve been buying. Having other Central teams buying this year is just a good thing. And the Cardinals, while not buying, are probably going to at least stand pat (pretty hard to sell off when it might be your final year of Yadi-Wainwright, and you also just acquired Arenado), so it could be a completely lost year for them. Shame.
• Patrick Mooney makes the well-articulated argument that even if the Cubs extended the core, they wouldn’t necessarily be any better next year for it. The time has come to try something different, even if you weren’t just thinking about getting stuff in trade.
• Hey, how about what Joey Votto is doing? Homers in five straight games, and seven total over that stretch? He’s just in a ridiculous zone right now. I can’t help but like the guy after all these years, and I’ve quietly loved how he’s embraced this pseudo villain role whenever he’s on the road. He crosses home plate, mugs while saying “ME ME”, turns his back to the crowd and points to the back of his jersey like he’s a WWE heel. It’s funny:
• Apparently it’s a ‘Ted Lasso’ reference and isn’t necessarily about taunting the crowd (even in that case, it’s a joke anyway):
This is fun. If you’re not a Reds fan, Votto should at least be the villain you can’t help but love. https://t.co/b0cNHYdnm0
— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) July 29, 2021
• Anyway, it’s just a joke, so it’s not worth getting beefy about:
Cubs starter Zach Davies on Joey Votto gesturing at the Cub dugout after his two home runs. “ He hit a ball out that’s on me.but if there is disrespect that is an issue”
— Bruce Levine (@MLBBruceLevine) July 29, 2021
• I was reminded last night that I really do like the JD-Boog-Dempster trio in the booth. I almost never like three-person booths – it’s just too much – but those three have developed a good rhythm. And when he’s just doing analysis and humorous commentary (as opposed to doing a schtick), Dempster is really quite good in the booth. I think he’s gotten a bad wrap from some folks because of the Harry Caray stuff.
• Wow, old friend can still go get it:
Look at this catch by Albert Almora Jr. for the Syracuse Mets.
— Michael Mayer (@mikemayer22) July 28, 2021
• Oh my, the Mariners were *VERY* pissed about the Kendall Graveman trade, and are *VERY* pissed at their front office:
— Red Sox Stats (@redsoxstats) July 28, 2021
• When you simultaneously do want something to happen and also do not want something to happen:
We’re up over $11,000 for @MakeAWish @WishIllinois and the #BNBlogathon. And, yes, if we somehow got to $15,000 at some point during the Cubs game today, I will do the nacho helmet thing (you eat it, and then you wear it, cheese drippings and all): https://t.co/AVFin8UZ9B pic.twitter.com/gsmt4EoQxF
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) July 29, 2021