The Rundown: Cubs Stymie Phillies, Davis Has Huge AAA Debut, Wisdom Ties Bryant, ESPN Covers ’86 Mets, Dodgers Clinch, Braun Retires
“It’s a time clock with a late block screamin’ walk that walk or else you’re all talk…” – Marah, Barstool Boys
The Cubs beat the Phillies 6-3 yesterday and though most fans of the Phightin’ Phils believe their team still has a shot at the playoffs, this series against Chicago may prove otherwise. The loss dropped Philadelphia to .500 for the 25th time this season and any time the North Siders can beat up on the boys from the City of Brotherly Love (debatable), that’s entertainment.
The nice thing about the sub-Cubs is they’ve mastered the art of timely hitting and last night was no exception. Sure, they were only 3-for-12 with runners in scoring position, but they grabbed the lead with a four-run burst in the top of the 5th before adding two insurance runs with two outs in the 7th inning. I know the team has virtually no star power, but they rarely give you the feeling that falling behind is a lost cause. I can’t wait until Tom Ricketts tells us this winter that this team is proof that organizations do not have to spend big to win big.
Back-to-back doubles from Frank the Tank and Ian Happ extend the lead! pic.twitter.com/X8kacrwxK1
— Marquee Sports Network (@WatchMarquee) September 15, 2021
In the meantime, we can debate the merits of Chicago’s elderly rookies until the crows roost, but Frank Schwindel had another big hit yesterday, an RBI double in the 7th, and the lanky first baseman now has 36 RBI in 39 games since joining the Cubs. If we were to scale his accomplishments across a full season, admittedly an exercise in folly, Frank the Tank is on pace for 46 home runs and 137 RBI, which, coupled with his .361 batting average since he became the starter, might make Anthony Rizzo jealous. That said, at nearly 160 plate appearances, it’s probably safe to waive the small sample size disclaimer.
The bigger story last night was Adrian Sampson. I watched the home team broadcast last night and Philadelphia announcers Tom McCarthy and Ben Davis were genuinely pissed off that the likes of Bryce Harper, Jean Segura, and Andrew McCutchen could manage just two runs and four hits against the 29-year-old righty. Thompson actually thanked David Ross on-air for pulling Sampson in the 6th after asking rhetorically, “How is this guy getting anybody out?” How the tables have turned.
With the win, the Cubs improved to 66-79 on the season and it’s not impossible that they could grab 7-8 more wins before the season ends. Chicago has two games left against the Twins, three against the Pirates, and they’ll battle the Cardinals seven more times with the notion of ending any postseason hopes for St. Louis fans. Believe it or not, the Redbirds would sneak into the postseason as the second Wild Card team if the season were to end today.
Cubs News & Notes
- Patrick Wisdom hit his 26th homer in last night’s game, equaling the mark set by Kris Bryant in 2015. Though this is his rookie season, Wisdom is actually four months older than Kris Bryant.
- Rowan Wick struck out the side in the 9th to earn his fourth save and looked dominant doing so. Do we still miss Craig Kimbrel?
- Top prospect Brennen Davis is good at baseball. The prized outfielder homered in his first two AAA at-bats. Go crazy, Cubs fans! Let’s just call him “The Natural.”
- Davis said he believes he will be just one in a wave of players coming through the system along with him before long.
- Chicago’s .451 winning percentage entering last night’s game would give them the No. 8 pick in next summer’s draft.
- Joe Maddon is still quite proud of his tenure with the Cubs. The manager who helped break Chicago’s World Series curse wishes he could have had at least two more years with the Cubs.
- If the Cubs decide not to be big spenders in free agency this winter, what does that mean for their current skipper?
- Schwindel and Kyle Hendricks were bright spots this past week despite the sweep at the hands of the Giants. CI’s Ryan Thomure has all the details in this week’s Tuesday Trends.
- Nick Madrigal is finally settling in with the Cubs after his trade from the White Sox.
- The Cubs placed Jason Heyward on the 7-Day Concussion IL and promoted outfielder Trayce Thompson.
Odds & Sods
A new hope.
New level? No problem!
Brennen Davis homers in his first Triple-A at-bat. pic.twitter.com/mKVikg9wMV
— Iowa Cubs (@IowaCubs) September 15, 2021
Climbing the Ladder
“Who propped you up when you were stopped, low motivation had you on the ground? “ – Hall & Oates, Say it Isn’t So
- Games Played: 145
- Total Plate Appearances: 5,316
- Total Strikeouts: 1,428
- Strikeout Rate: 26.9%
- Team Batting Average: .232
Schwindel has a 184 OPS+ since joining the Cubs with 1.4 WAR and a 166 wRC+. He has 53 hits in 39 games, with 22 going for extra bases. A little luck is involved with that sample size, reflected in Frank the Tank’s .383 BABIP.
How About That!
The Dodgers clinched a playoff berth with their 8-4 win over the Diamondbacks. Los Angeles will participate in postseason baseball for the ninth consecutive season.
Attrition may decide which team earns the National League’s second Wild Card entry. It’s basically come down to a race of futility among the Reds, Padres, Cardinals, Mets, and Phillies.
The Red Sox, Yankees, and Blue Jays are in a virtual tie for the two AL Wild Card spots. The Mariners are three games out, just ahead of the A’s.
The Phillies are no strangers to late-season collapses.
For teams looking for a shortstop this winter, Gleyber Torres could be a perfect buy-low candidate. Imagine if Hoyer re-acquired his former top prospect.
Just my opinion, but Clint Frazier may also be a player a team could pry from the Yankees for next to nothing.
Ryan Braun has officially retired from baseball after a 14-year career with the Brewers.
Remember that time Braun accused a courier of being an anti-semitic, Brewers-hating Cubs fan?
Craig Counsell should be the favorite for NL Manager of the Year. Who gets it in the AL? I would think Tony La Russa is a lock.
Tuesday’s Three Stars
- Salvador Perez – The Royals catcher blasted his 43rd home run of the season last night and is now just two shy of the record for catchers held by Johnny Bench.
- Adolis García – The Rangers outfielder broke the team’s rookie record for home runs with his 30th big fly of the season.
- Triston McKenzie – Whoever is in charge of developing pitchers for the Cleveland organization deserves all the accolades. McKenzie, a rookie and another in a long line of very good pitchers developed in that system., shut down the Twins with seven strikeouts in six innings.
Apropos of Nothing
If you haven’t seen it yet, I highly recommend the latest ESPN 30-for-30 documentary “Once Upon a Time in Queens,” a four-part series that offers a detailed look into the 1986 Mets, and the New York of it all. Lenny Dykstra sure was a hot mess, Darryl Strawberry was simply a mess, and the team’s off-field antics, including excessive drug use and a constant parade of groupies, are well-chronicled. It even starts out with a little Tom Waits on its introduction.
Wick is my closer. ‘Nuff said.
.@RowanWick strikes out the side to end it!
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) September 15, 2021
They Said It
- “First of all, the run was pretty darn good. I think sometimes people become confused. I mean four playoff appearances, three NLCS, that’s pretty good work. The one year we didn’t make it, we just didn’t make it. There were a lot of reasons, a lot of injuries at the end of that year.” – Maddon
- “[Bryant] said ‘When you break my record, congrats on everything,’ so that was pretty cool.” – Wisdom
- “[Hoyer and I] talked about some of the guys that were on the field and just how much talent is in the organization overall. There’s definitely some upside in the future for these young guys coming up. It’s definitely exciting to be in this uniform.” – Madrigal
Wednesday Walk-Up Song
The Fire by The Roots featuring John Legend – All musicians featured in today’s post are from Philadelphia except Waits, who hails from Pomona, CA.