Whether it’s a carton of ice cream, a great book, or a fun day, nothing good lasts forever. It’s a real bummer. Just as true, though, is that nothing bad lasts forever. The 2021 Cubs have certainly been a trial for all of us but, friends, I’m here to tell you that we’ve almost made it through. We can do it.
Ed. note: I just saw Guns N’ Roses at Wrigley Field last Thursday, so I keep singing November Rain each time I see “nothing lasts forever.”
As we approach these final weeks, which Cubs are standing out? Let’s dig in.
Matt Duffy: Who’s got two thumbs and has been hitting pretty well of late? Well, Duffy certainly qualifies. The former Rookie of the Year runner-up is hitting .286/.333/.571 in his last seven games, with that slugging standing out in particular.
After hitting just one homer in his first 225 plate appearances, Duffy has now hit four in his last 47 PAs. That stretch includes going yard in back-to-back games in Philadelphia last week.
Power has typically not been a huge part of Duffy’s game. Other than his rookie year in which he smacked 12 home runs, his career high is five, a number he’s matched this year thanks to four home runs over the last month.
Ian Happ: The outfielder’s bounce-back has largely continued over the last week as he batted .280/.419/.640 with two home runs. Happ’s numbers over the last month are straight-up obscene: .351/.400/.739 with 11 home runs over his last 30 games. That’s just enough to bring his season-long wRC+ up to 101, a tick above league average.
It remains to be seen just how the Cubs view Happ’s role going into next year, but he’s undoubtedly salvaged what was an absolute disaster of a season.
Rowan Wick: The Cubs were certainly thrilled to see Wick get off to a hot start in his return from a long stay on the injured list for an oblique issue. The stout righty solidified himself as a strong option for the back end of next year’s bullpen by striking out nine in 7.2 innings pitched while surrendering only three runs. September initially saw even more success, with Wick giving up only one run in his first nine innings pitched of the month.
Things have taken a bit of a nasty turn in the last couple outings, however, as he has allowed six runs in just 1.1 innings pitched. There have been baserunners aplenty, with Wick putting 10 men on through an equal number of walks and hits.
His struggles certainly don’t invalidate his strong start, but they’ve ballooned his overall numbers due to his small sample so far. Wick now has a 5.00 ERA that just doesn’t feel quite right. He should get the lion’s share of late, high-leverage opportunities in what’s left of this season as he tries to build some momentum toward the closer role for next season.