Thank Goodness for a Win, Dansby Joins Ernie, Solid Steele, Quality Cubs, and Other Cubs Bullets

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Thank Goodness for a Win, Dansby Joins Ernie, Solid Steele, Quality Cubs, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

When you haven’t worn a particular shirt in a very long time, and then it feels suspiciously tight, and you convince yourself it’s simply because you’re getting stronger …

  • At last, an off-day. The Cubs have played 16 straight, and had just one off-day over the past 26 games. I expect they are happy to get a little rest before heading up to Minnesota to play the Twins tomorrow night. And they’re definitely happy to beat the Cardinals to end their homestand and shake off some bad feelings. “To end the homestand with a win like that, especially against the Cards, I think it’s big for us and our momentum and our morale,” Patrick Wisdom said, per the Sun-Times. “Even though we have a great clubhouse in there, it’s just nice to go out there on the field and score a bunch of runs.”
  • And all I can say is I am EXTREMELY happy that the Cubs won last night. It doesn’t entirely take away the sting of the preceding three games (or two weeks), but there is NOTHING worse than an off-day that follows a bad loss or string of losses. You just stew in it.
  • So instead, we get to enjoy a win with today’s off-day. For example, enjoy the highlights of the Cubs’ 10-4 drubbing of the Cardinals:

  • Among the big games last night, Dansby Swanson had another couple doubles, capping off a tremendous series for him agains the Cardinals. In fact, he joined Ernie Banks with a little history:
  • That’s kinda crazy to me that guys like Javy Báez or Starlin Castro never did that. Then again, six extra-base hits in a three-game stretch is a whole lot. Consider that Swanson entered the series hitting .271/.382/.357/112 wRC+, with an .085 ISO. In just those three games, he raised the slash line to .289/.392/.423/129 wRC+, with a .134 ISO. It’s obviously very early, but so far, Swanson – whose defense has continued to look outstanding – has been exactly who you would (unrealistically?) hope he would be.
  • Speaking of guys who are all you could hope they’d be, Justin Steele hurled another Quality Start last night, even as his two-runs-or-fewer streak finally ended. By Game Score, that was Steele’s worst start of the year, and worst since July 28 of last year. I offer that not as a criticism of his performance last night, but as a lofty compliment: when going 6.0 innings, allowing 3 ER on 7 H and 3 BB, with 3 K, is your worst outing in 10 months, you’ve probably been crazy good.
  • That was already the Cubs’ 19th Quality Start this season – if that sounds like a lot, it is. That ties the Cubs with Blue Jays and Pirates for the most in baseball (Pirates have played one more game). It’s also juuuuuust a few more than the Cubs had last year at this time:
  • I’d kinda forgotten how absurd that whole thing got last year, with starter injuries, starter ineffectiveness, and short outings. Imagine it taking another TWO AND A HALF MONTHS from now to get to the same number of Quality Starts as it took this year’s club in just a month and a half total. The starting pitching has been so good and consistent this year, which in turn, has assuredly helped the bullpen.
  • Per reports, Nico Hoerner was doing baseball activities yesterday, which would lead you to believe there’s a very good chance he can be back in the lineup tomorrow night – he’ll have gotten three full days to rest. If he’s not good to go, that’s the point at which the Cubs will have to make an IL decision with the maximum allowable three days of backdating. Otherwise, they’d be playing shorthanded for no reason.
  • Hoerner’s absence made it a lock that Christopher Morel could play the last couple games without any hemming and hawing about sitting someone else down. Morel has responded by absolutely BLISTERING the ball. That double to right center last night was particularly beautiful – it was an oppo shot that the right fielder should’ve been able to track, but it was hit so hard that he undercut the ball by quite a bit and it went over his head. Morel needs to remain in the lineup most days, even after Hoerner returns.

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.