Quick Thoughts on a Few Cubs Topics as Playoffs Loom
This is probably how I should structure The Rundown, but since that has morphed into more of a long-form piece, I wanted to bullet out some thoughts here with the postseason looming. Thanks as always for reading, I hope this will be worth the lessened time I force you to spend doing so.
• Kris Bryant is a straight-up freak. His decreased power and the lack of consistent hitting in front of him for much of the season have led to slightly lower power and RBI numbers, but most of his stats are better than during his MVP campaign. And this comes during what many have categorized as a “down year.” Bryant (21.6) is second to only Mike Trout (24.5) in fWAR since 2015 and he’s showing that he can still be better. The Cubs need to do everything in their considerable power to lock him up for the entirety of his prime and then some because he will eventually go down as the greatest player in franchise history. And I don’t think it’ll even be particularly close if he manages to avoid some sort of catastrophic injury in the next five years.
• The Cubs are about to lock up their third straight playoff birth for the first time since 1906-08, which is pretty incredible when you think about it. Whether they are able to win another title, or even escape the NLDS, this season, the fact remains that this front office has done exactly what they said they’d do when they came to town. The goal was to create a team that would consistently compete for a title and that’s exactly what the Cubs are doing.
• I am not a fan of either Yadier Molina or the St. Louis Cardinals, but I sincerely hope the veteran catcher is okay after taking two direct hits to the facemask with foul tips Monday night. He appeared woozy and actually vomited while being escorted off the field, strong indicators of a concussion. Mike Matheny was forced to retire after repeated head injuries, so I hope that leaves the Cards even more cognizant of the need to take care of Yadi.
• Speaking of players leaving games following fouls, Javy Baez was lifted for a pinch runner after fouling a ball off of his kneecap Monday night. He writhed in pain in the dirt for a while before getting back to his feet, resuming the at-bat, and singling to left on a nice piece of hitting. As good as it was to see, this guy is the walking wounded right now. This latest incident was at least the third time in the last two or three weeks in which he appeared to be injured but then stayed in the game, with an eye contusion and wrist tweak accounting for the others. Perhaps Javy is just so demonstrative a player that he oversells things, but it sure looks to me like he’s been legitimately dinged up. Now I just hope he can avoid further issues.
• Many of you have probably had different experiences, but I’ve really enjoyed my trips to St. Louis to watch the Cubs. Same goes for seeing the teams at Wrigley, though you figure the home-field thing gives more of a buffer. In our last trip to Missourah’s armpit, my kids and I sat surrounded by Cards fans in a game lost in walk-off fashion in the 10th. Greg Garcia had homered off of Pedro Strop in the 8th, which I believe may have been what inspired Bob Costas to discuss the lamentations of the pitcher’s dead relatives. In any case, everyone around us complimented my kids on how well-behaved they were and we were treated really well in general. Which is part of why I enjoyed the whole Nacho Man thing so much. It was neat to see Addison Russell bring those fresh nachos out and take selfies with the guy.
That’s all for now, just some thoughts I wanted to share on a few topics.