A Division-Winning Pace, Stroman Great Again, Gomes Ascending, Morel's Company, and Other Cubs Bullets

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A Division-Winning Pace, Stroman Great Again, Gomes Ascending, Morel’s Company, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

So, the Deadpool-Wolverine thing is gonna be a prank of some kind, right? I feel like Hugh Jackman has been so clear about not playing the part again, and Ryan Reynolds is always riffing on it … I just feel like they’re gonna reveal it’s a joke for a Super Bowl ad or something. I know there was a release date mentioned, and all that stuff. I just don’t want to be let down, because it would be awesome …

  • The St. Louis Cardinals have won the 2022 NL Central. How swell for them. It’s now been a decade since a team other than the Cardinals, Cubs, and Brewers won the Central, which, as I type it, I realize is just another way of saying the Reds and Pirates haven’t won the division in a decade. The Cardinals have won it five times, the Cubs three times, and the Brewers twice.
  • The Cardinals clinched at 90 wins, if you were curious about mentally generating a POSSIBLE 2023 baseline that the Chicago Cubs MIGHT have to reach in order to have a realistic CHANCE of winning the Central. The Cubs are 34-29 since July 17, which is a .540 winning percentage, and translates to 87.5 wins over a 162-game schedule. Soooo just sayin’, the Cubs have played the last two and a half months at a clip that is close a division-winning pace … that coming mostly after the trade deadline, without a built out roster, and with significant injuries across the board. Again, juuuuuuust saaaaaayin’.
  • Marcus Stroman, great last night and great lately:
  • Stroman’s season ERA is now down to 3.66, which more or less matches his career mark of 3.64. The only peripherals that aren’t quite matching career norms are the groundball rate (very good at 50.8%, but he has had many seasons closer to 60%) and the home run rate (1.09 per 9 is the highest of his career – it’s not terrible or anything, but he’s usually much better). Overall, though, Stroman is settling into Stroman because of a fantastic second half. You have to feel much better about having him in the rotation for next year.
  • Yan Gomes had the game-winning knock last night, driving in Ian Happ with a 7th inning double:
  • Gomes has his season line up to .232/.259/.360/71 wRC+, which is obviously still bad, but it’s way better than it was as recently as mid-July (.204/.217/.299/41 wRC+). I’d say he’s just about reaching the level, offensively, where you’d need him to be in order to be OK with him as a 1A catching option (not quite a full-time starter, but like 60%?). You don’t expect much offense out of Gomes – he’s there to be an exceptional game-planning-and-execution catcher – but there is a line below which it does become a problem.
  • Christopher Morel accounted for the other Cubs run last night with a homer, but he actually “deserved” two homers in the game:
  • The Wrigley wind giveth and taketh away and all that, but I think this season we had way more days than usual where the wind was not a factor in either direction. Feels like it, anyway. I can remember only a couple days where it was HOWLING out, and maybe a few more than that where it was really blowing in hard. Just seems like it wasn’t much of a story this year compared to a typical season.
  • As for Morel, the homer gave him 15 on the big league season, which, together with his 10 stolen bases, put him in a special group:
  • Jackson wound up a decent contributor for a number of years, Cowan did not, and Bryant was Bryant. So my advanced math metrics say Christopher Morel has a 67% chance of being a decent future contributor or better.
  • If you were wondering why Seiya Suzuki didn’t start last night after returning to the team from an extended paternity leave (congrats!), it’s because the Cubs first wanted a chance to more fully examine his hand (Sun-Times). Remember, he’d gotten hit on the hand/wrist just before he went on paternity leave, and it makes sense that the Cubs would want to confirm all was well after the time off.
  • This is just a lovely shot of Wrigley Field, as the clouds pass overhead:
  • Craig Kimbrel had another disaster outing for the Dodgers last night in the 10th inning, walking three, including the game-losing bases-loaded walk:
  • If you were curious just how bad things had gotten for Kimbrel in the eyes of informed Dodgers fans:
  • On the flip side of the reliever spectrum, I just feel like 99 mph isn’t supposed to move like this:

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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.