The Rundown: Plenty of Blame to Go Around, Hamels Questions Brewers Fans, Walk-Off Central

For the record, Kris Bryant should have thrown home, but that play hardly cost the Cubs as much as shoddy relief pitching did. As tough as it would have been to make, you never assume the double play and Bryant, who has missed a number of games this season, really underestimated the speed of Christian Yelich.

‘‘I can totally live with that,’’ said Bryant, who was the target of immediate social media second-guessing for his decision to step on third and try for an inning-ending double play rather than throw to the plate. ‘‘It was a great play; it just happened to not work out in my favor. But if it did, I look like a hero. It’s funny how this works.’’

Why aren’t we talking about the team’s relief corps?

To recap:

  • Anthony Rizzo had put the Cubs ahead with a dramatic two-run homer off Josh Hader in the top of the 8th, the first home run Hader has allowed to a lefty batter in his career.
  • The Brewers tied it in the bottom half of the inning when Carl Edwards Jr. walked Mike Moustakas with the bases loaded.
  • The winning rally came courtesy of a walk (to light-hitting catcher Erik Kratz) and two hit batters by Steve Cishek.

Why did the Cubs stick with Edwards and Cishek when Pedro Strop was pulled last week after just 11 pitches? And where was Strop? Oh yeah, he has yet to be anointed. So what we are really saying is that unless Brandon Morrow comes back, and that’s no guarantee, the Cubs will enter the 2018 playoffs with no established closer. Yikes. Maybe Jesse Chavez is the answer. Yes, I did say that and yes, I am just as frightened as you are that that is far closer to reality than any of us are comfortable with.

How will the pitching staff look this postseason? Strop, Edwards, Cishek, Chavez, and (if healthy) Morrow are locks from the right side. Mike Montgomery will likely be folded back into the pen, joining Justin Wilson as the lefty relievers, and four starters make 11 total. If Morrow can’t go, who do you take? Brandon Kintzler? Brian Duensing? Maddon may pitch Chavez until his arm falls off.

Cubs News & Notes

Cole Hamels dissed the Brewers fans yesterday and yes, it definitely seems as if there were more Cubs fans than Brewers fans at the game. In defense of Milwaukee, this was the weekend of Harley Davidson’s 115th anniversary. That’s a bigger deal than the Brewers no matter how well the team is playing.

The Brewers now have 10 walk-off victories, tied with the Cardinals for the most in all of baseball. The Cubs have lost in walk-off fashion 10 times, the most in the NL.

With 21 pinch hits through Monday, Cubs infielder Tommy La Stella now owns the team record. The Rockies’ John Vander Wal set the major-league record with 28 in 1995.

Maddon and Edwards, Jr. were ejected in the 8th inning yesterday for arguing balls and strikes. But Rizzo found a silver lining or two despite the loss. The first baseman is on a tremendous roll of late and had another great game, going 3-for-4 with a home run and two runs driven in.

How About That!

Mets ace Jacob deGrom surrendered just one earned run in Monday’s game against the Dodgers, making history in the process. The Cy Young candidate has now allowed three or fewer runs in 25 straight starts, tying a modern-era MLB record. The 30-year-old right-hander exited after six innings Monday with his ERA falling to 1.68 for the season. It was another no-decision for deGrom, whose record stands at 8-8.

Through shrewd trades and a strong minor league system, the Tampa Bay Rays are quietly building a team that should contend in 2019 and for years to come.

With 52 saves this season, Mariners closer Edwin Díaz is just 10 saves shy of tying the major league record set by Francisco Rodríguez of the Angels in 2008

The Nationals came back to beat St. Louis 4-3 in 10 innings to improve to 69-69. Bryce Harper tied the game with a two-run homer in the 9th, then won it with a sacrifice fly in the 10th. The Cardinals’ loss coupled with the Brewers’ win gave the Brew Crew a 1 1/2 game cushion for the first Wild Card position. The Cardinals went 22-6 in August but they are now 0-3 in September.

The Rockies beat the Giants yesterday and with the Dodgers loss to the Mets, Colorado is the third team in four days to lead the NL West. The Dodgers pushed back the Diamondbacks over the weekend and the Rockies pushed past the Dodgers last night.

The White Sox accomplished a rare feat yesterday, homering on both the first pitch and the last pitch of the game. Nicky Delmonico led off with his tater and Matt Davidson walked it off in the bottom of the 9th in the 4-2 victory over the Tigers. The ChiSox have now won 8 of 11 games.

Monday’s Stars

  1. American Workers – Happy Labor Day to you all. A well-deserved day of rest is reward for your hard work and dedication to your jobs.

They Said It

  • ‘‘I think we know what’s at stake. If you look at the way that we’ve been playing, this is — what? — the third loss in two weeks. That’s where you really just kind of look at it as we lost a tough one to a good team. But we do know how to come out tomorrow, and we do know how to turn the page and accomplish what we need to accomplish.’’ – Cole Hamels (author’s note – that’s the definition of leadership right there)
  • “For some reason, the games that we’re playing here against the Cubs, it doesn’t matter how it starts out — it’s going to finish something like that. It’s been pretty consistent. You better make sure you have a ticket for it.” – Craig Counsell
  • “It’s good to get smacked in the face a little bit. Everything isn’t gonna go our way all the time.” – Anthony Rizzo

Tuesday Walk Up Song

Man on the Moon by R.E.M. – this band is my go-to desert island band, for the record.

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