Cubs Post All-Star Hot Streak: Welcome, but Weird

“How about 9-2 since July 11? Sounds a lot better, doesn’t it? Looks and feels different too. Our cross-town rivals, The White Sox, were kind enough to part with starting pitcher Jose Quintana on July 13, and Q has quickly proven a valuable addition to the Cubbies’ bruised staff of hurlers. His July 16 debut at Camden Yards was verifiably historic, with Quintana fanning 12 batters over seven innings – without allowing a run. Holy Cow! A commanding announcement that the Epstein administration’s eye for the right talent at the right time remains unclouded.

The batting averages clearly have room for growth but Kris Bryant is leading the pack at a respectable .278 (at the time of publication). Wilson Contreras is the best catcher in baseball and in the middle of a red-hot hitting streak. Fan favorite Kyle Schwarber is back from a stint in the minors and crawling from the bottom. And the outfield is much better with a healthy Ben Zobrist and Jason Heyward.

Yes indeed Wrigleyville Nation. Things are looking up. The Cubs remain a half-game behind the first place Milwaukee Brewers, but have widened the gap considerably between themselves and the rest of the NL Central. Can we all just take a moment to savor a fourth-place Cardinals club (with all-due love to Dexter Fowler)?

As I mentioned in a Facebook post yesterday, I’m always elated to #FlyTheW. I’m certainly not looking for trouble. That said, and despite all the winning, there’s a few…curious variables at play. Some strange things are afoot with some of our key players that could impact current momentum. As wizened, sober residents of Wrigleyville Nation, we need to keep our eyes on the following…”

Read the full post at Wrigleyville Nation.

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Cubs Seek to Bounce Back from Rough 2017 Memorial Day Weekend

“Anything to take the edge off the reality that the 2016 World Series Champions are a .500 team. Last week was a trying one for the Cubbies and members of Wrigleyville Nation. A road sweep by the Los Angeles Dodgers and a disastrous Monday start to the San Diego series. I believe All-Star first baseman Anthony Rizzo bespoke the surprise and frustration of many fans in a post-game interview exchange transcribed by Comcast Sports Network (CSN):

‘Rizzo couldn’t believe it – ‘Did we walk 10 times?’ – when a reporter mentioned another part of the box score. ‘That’s a formula that usually shoots out more than two runs.’

Indeed, Tony. Indeed. Rizzo continued his extended foray into understatement by concluding, ‘It’s not all peachy right now…We got urgency. We’re grinding. We got a lot of guys that grind and will continue to – no matter what. We’ll keep playing hard…that’s really all you can do.

Nothing seems to be working the way it should for the Cubs. The starting pitching rotation has struggled to bring down a combined 4.58 ERA. After high hopes and much praise for the unconventional genius of the move, Kyle Schwarber has done nothing in the leadoff hitting position, and has been haphazard at best in the field. Addison Russell remains a defensive phenom – with a bat as cold as ice.

And take our bullpen – please.”

Read the full post at Wrigleyville Nation.

Post-Schwarber Injury, Maddon & The Cubs Prove They’re Karma Chameleons

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“Then Schwarber was carted off the field. The 23 year-old lefty hit 16 home runs in 69 games for the team last season, and was anticipated to be an integral part of the Cubs 2016 offense. As he left the diamond with the help of trainers P.J. Mainville and Ed Halbur, you could hear the collective groans inside the park and out. This is how the implosion starts, right?…

In a highly competitive NL Central Division, the Chicago Cubs are off like a shot with a 14-5 record that puts them ahead three and a half games over the Cardinals. It is but April and there’s much baseball to be played, but the Cubs are so stacked with talent, from the office to the dugout to bullpen and field, that the old cynicism model appears hopelessly outdated.”

Read the full post at Wrigleyville Nation.

Kris Bryant’s Rookie of the Year Win is Also One for Hopeful Cubs Fans

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“While I’m sure I’m not alone in confessing myself disappointed by Bryant’s lackluster post-season performance, the announcement offered occasion to remember how truly great he was throughout 2015. Bryant was a huge factor in the Cubs’ 97-game winning season, hitting 26 home runs and driving in 99 RBIs. Both of these statistics represent Cubs rookie records. Bryant also logged a .275 cumulative batting average and stole 13 bases. The numbers tell the story that the pain in our hearts almost occludes us from reading. Bryant had a great year, and under the capable management of Joe Madden, he’ll only get better.”

Read the full post at Wrigleyville Nation.