“You can’t turn back the clock, you can’t turn back the tide. Ain’t that shame?” – Queen, These Are the Days of Our Lives
The Cubs sure could have used some common sense last night. The team kept shooting itself in the foot on the basepaths in a 6-4 loss to the Rockies, Kris Bryant was a one-man wrecking crew for Colorado, and the Cubs fell another game behind the Brewers.
Seeing Bryant in that Rockies uniform makes me wonder what next season might be like if Cody Bellinger is playing elsewhere. Bellinger had a rough go of it last night, but he’s the alpha dog in Chicago’s lineup, the same way that Bryant was when he played for the North Siders. I think the Cubs are better positioned to retain Bellinger, and it sure seems like Jed Hoyer wants to, but he’s not coming cheaply.
Bryant had a home run and three RBI in Tuesday’s contest and had a chance to gloat a little afterward.
“To do it against some old friends and make it a little bit harder for them, it feels great,” Bryant said.
A loss to the Rockies, who are challenging the Athletics and Royals for the worst record in baseball, will always leave Cubs fans feeling a little salty, especially when a victory is easily achievable. It’s important to remember, however, that most analysts predicted this club was a 75-win team at best back in March. Few thought the Cubs would challenge for the Wild Card, let alone a division championship.
It’s going to be tough catching the Brewers, who are playing their best baseball right now. The Cubs are four games out and trail Milwaukee by five in the loss column. A three-game series with the division leaders to close the regular season schedule might not mean anything, especially since Chicago travels to Atlanta to play the Braves in the three games prior. But, the Cubs had a shot to pull to within half a game of the Phillies for the top Wild Card spot and gave away yesterday’s game.
Still, and Bellinger’s heroics plus his eventual decision to stay or go aside, Chicago’s roster is being built for long-term success, even if that means a disheartening defeat here and there this year. Justin Steele, Pete Crow-Armstrong, Miguel Amaya, and Jordan Wicks are providing a glimpse of what the next few years are going to look like, and the early returns are very positive.
Cubs News & Notes
- Nick Madrigal has become the Cubs’ answer at third base, though he doesn’t possess the power usually associated with the position.
- Yan Gomes has given the Cubs an unexpected source of offense this year.
- Keith Law of The Athletic admitted he was wrong about the potential ($) of Steele and Shohei Ohtani, among others. Does anybody remember what he wrote about PCA?
- Steele is the new leader in the latest NL CY Young panel.
- Crow-Armstrong put on an outfield clinic, but expects to make those plays look routine.
- The Cubs placed infielder Jeimer Candelario on the IL with a lower back strain and recalled Alexander Canario to take his place on the roster.
- Nico Hoerner is ranked sixth among all MLB second basemen.
- Yoshinobu Yamamoto is coveted by several teams, but Jed Hoyer will personally scout the young man’s next start. That’s saying something because the Cubs are in the thick of the NL postseason race.
- A Cubs-Phillies playoff series would be one of the tastiest matches of the postseason.
Odds & Sods
Jerry Reinsdorf is interested in potentially relocating the White Sox, and I can see why.
That September weekday makeup game crowd at first pitch. First game of twinbill. pic.twitter.com/hlm9BZ6MT8
— Daryl Van Schouwen (@CST_soxvan) September 12, 2023
- Milwaukee (81-63): DEA documents show how Ryan Braun built his Biogenesis doping defense, and how he successfully blamed an innocent man for his failed drug test.
- Cincinnati (75-71): Joey Votto said the Reds have reached the “must-win” stage of their season.
- Pittsburgh (67-78): The Pirates announced that shortstop Oneil Cruz is done for the season.
- St. Louis (64-81): A trade with the Rays that would have sent Jack Flaherty to Tampa Bay fell through right before this season’s deadline. The Cardinals sent Flaherty to the Orioles instead.
With approximately 16 games left in the season, the Braves are the only team that has clinched a playoff spot, and somewhere Rob Manfred is smiling. The Royals, Athletics, White Sox, and Rockies are the only teams that are officially eliminated, but we’re here to talk about Chicago’s North Side Baseballers.
- The Cubs cannot catch the Braves for the best record in the National League.
- The Dodgers are 11 games ahead of Chicago for the No. 2 seed, and seven games ahead of Milwaukee.
- The Cubs trail the Brewers by four games in the NL Central.
- The Phillies hold the top Wild Card spot, 1.5 games ahead of the Cubs.
- The Diamondbacks currently hold the WC3 spot, two games behind Chicago. The two teams play a three-game set this weekend in Arizona. The Reds are a game behind the Diamondbacks, and the Giants and Marlins trail Cincinnati by half a game.
- If the season ended today, the Braves and Dodgers would have first-round byes, the Diamondbacks would play a best-of-three series at Milwaukee, and the Cubs would travel to Philadelphia to take on the Phillies.
Climbing the Ladder
“Now I’ve reached that age I’ve tried to do all those things the best I can.” – Led Zeppelin, Good Times, Bad Times
Seiya Suzuki is tearing the cover off the baseball in Colorado. He was 3-for-4 with a home run and three RBI in Tuesday’s loss, and Nico Hoerner stole his 39th base of the season. Crow-Armstrong was 0-for-4 in his first start but made a couple of spectacular catches in center field. Christopher Morel was also 0-for-4, but with four strikeouts, though he did coax a walk in the 9th inning.
- Games Played: 146
- Record: 78-68 (.534)
- Total Plate Appearances: 5,575
- Total Strikeouts: 1,262
- Strikeout Rate: 22.64%
- Team Batting Average: .254
- Runs Scored: 734
- Runs Allowed: 637
- Chances of Making the Playoffs: 88.7%, 4.93% to win the World Series
How About That!
The Mets are reportedly hiring David Stearns as their president of baseball operations.
Mike Rizzo agreed to terms with the Nationals to remain the team’s general manager and president of baseball operations.
Tuesday’s Three Stars
- Freddie Freeman – The Dodgers star was 4-for-5 with a home run, a double, and four RBI.
- Suzuki – The right fielder has a 1.434 OPS at Coors Field. Son! When you’re hot you’re hot!
- Bryan Woo – The Mariners starter blanked the Angels over 5.2 innings with eight strikeouts.
Just give Crow-Armstrong the next 15 Gold Glove awards and close the balloting.
WELCOME TO THE BIGS, PCA! pic.twitter.com/85Lui7G9K2
— Marquee Sports Network (@WatchMarquee) September 13, 2023
Wednesday Morning Six-Pack
- The Tuesday morning quarterbacks were rougher on Bears OC Luke Getsy than the Monday morning ones. Justin Fields also caught an earful from fans, analysts, and head coach Matt Eberflus.
- An FDA panel concluded yesterday that phenylephrine, the main ingredient in some oral versions of Sudafed, Benadryl, Mucinex, and other household names, doesn’t actually do anything. I think this is how class action lawsuits start.
- Depression starts with your saved playlists, apparently. Half of the Billboard Hot 100 songs today are in a minor key (i.e., sad), up from roughly 30% at the turn of the 21st century and 15% in the 1960s, according to music data analyst Chris Dalla Riva. Heck, we don’t have Steve Goodman anymore to add lyrics about mamas, trains, trucks, gettin’ drunk, and prisons.
- Interested in the AI version of Coca-Cola? I’m scared, even with its catchy name Y3000, but I’d probably give it a go. I can’t wait to see what the technology does with Natty Light, though.
- U.K. pubs have taken the concept of Happy Hour and flipped it on its ass.
- The MTV Video Music Awards are still a thing though the network stopped playing rotational videos decades ago.
They Said It
- “I really appreciate the faith they’ve had in me and the trust they’ve had in me, enough trust to go out and play center field in a playoff race, but the goal is some more wins than we saw tonight.” – Crow-Armstrong
- “[Madrigal] is playing unbelievable at third. The slow rollers, he’s also making some unbelievable plays going back on balls, strong arm. He’s made some incredible plays over there. Established himself as a consistent force. Everybody out there, they’re all unbelievable at what they’ve been doing defensively this year. It helps us just being aggressive, pitching to contact, but keeping the pitch count down.” – Kyle Hendricks
Wednesday Walk-Up Song
Brandon Flowers is an incredibly underrated vocalist.