The Rundown: Cubs Blast 4 HR’s in Rout, Schwarber to Miss More Time, WC Lead Now 7.5 Games…Over Nationals

There’s nothing like an easy victory to set fans’ nerves at ease, and that’s exactly what the Cubs were able to provide on Friday afternoon.

Facing Zack Godley, one of the prospects traded to Arizona in exchange for Miguel Montero, the Cubs drew 6 walks and Addison Russell hit two HR’s to stake the home team to a 6-1 lead and chase the starter after only 3.2 innings. They would go on to score 8 more runs — all unearned, all in the 5th inning — to turn the game into a laugher.

Schwarber out for at least the weekend

Seeing Javier Baez was special for several reason, not least of which is the possibility of replacing some of Kyle Schwarber’s production. News about the young slugger’s condition had been hard to come by, but we got a little more clarification Friday afternoon.

Scwharber offered up a bit more information on the injury and his status, which is pretty in keeping with what we’ve been speculating here at Cubs Insider.

Rookies of the Year

It’s pretty evident at this point that Kris Bryant should walk away with the hardware befitting his outstanding rookie season, but it’s impossible to overlook the contributions of the other first-year players in the lineup. If Jorge Soler is able to get healthy, it’s entirely possible to see the Cubs start 5 rookies, at least on occasion.

And with Russell’s outburst yesterday, four of those kids have had multi-HR games this season.

Your turn, Javy.

Playoff Odds Increase

Twenty-three, oh, is a magic number. In case you don’t have a reference for that Schoolhouse Rock callback, check out the sweet video below. And in case you don’t understand the concept of a magic number, it’s just the combined total of wins by the Cubs and losses by the team trailing them that would guarantee a playoff spot. You can keep tabs on that number here.

Saying “the team trailing them” wasn’t a dig at the Giants either. In case you missed last night’s results, San Francisco is no long the team closest to the Cubs in the Wild Card standings. That’s because the Washington Nationals have won 3 straight and 5 of 7 to leap-frog the defending champs. But fear not, Cubs fans, the North Siders still hold a 7.5-game lead.

In need of a little more confidence? Consider that the Cubs’ playoff odds increased by 2.2% yesterday, to a nearly-ironclad 97.1%. The Nats have jumped up to 13.9%, but they’re far closer to the Mets (5 games behind) than the Cubs. The Giants, on the other hand, have dropped 7 games in a row and find themselves clinging to a 2.6% chance that might as well be a sliver of driftwood in the ocean.

Even if the Cubs pull a total faceplant and go 9-20 over the remainder of their schedule (which would still put them at 85 wins), the Nats would need to go 16-12 just to force a one-game playoff for the one-game playoff. And I don’t think the Cubs will fall apart.

Other news

*The Myrtle Beach Pelicans’ first round playoff series is set. They’ll face the Winston-Salem Dash beginning Wednesday, September 9th in Winston-Salem.

*Mets pitcher Matt Harvey is in the middle of a disagreement between his team and his agenct, Scott Boras. The team says they’ll continue to pitch Harvey even after he hits the 180-inning mark Boras says is his client’s limit. Weird to hear about a Boras client being embroiled in controversy.

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