Cubs Sunday: 1st Place in the Division

So a lot has changed yet again on the Northside.

The Cubs are a game above in the division, and have hit a few win streaks that are causing them to separate from the rest of the pack.

Their last ten has them losing more than winning, but don’t mind that.  Manager Joe has a theory that we need to be playing more night games, and get away from the typical day time shuffle that has been a signature of Cubs baseball since before most of us were born.

Wilson Contreras was on a serious tear.  And then he seriously strained his hamstring.  The Cubs had been riding his stellar plate defense, and his incredible bat for awhile.

Rizzo is batting .262, and band-wagoners are swaying back to whatever rocks they came from.

People are saying this is as good as they’ll get, and they’re going to start descending again.

Have no fear.  I have none.  These guys are real terror, and while they look a bit toppled, they’ve only just begun.  They have less than 50 games left, and they’ve picked a great time to band together.

Some things that have stuck out to me:

Addison Russell isn’t getting better offensively.  He’s not merely in a slump, he’s competing in every at bat, for his skill level, but he seems to be tailing off, making less quality contact with each day.  It’s not improving in any situation.  It’s not improving when facing any count.  It’s not improving when dealing with a certain pitch.  It’s simply not improving.  It may be time to deal him while he still has value.

Ben Zobrist is in hang-over city.  That’s it, nothing else to say about it.

Jason Heyward is settling into what the rest of his career is going to be:  Defensive dynamo, who can hit .250 plus.  I’ll take it!

We need more Albert Almora Jr.  We need more Jon Jay.  With experience these two are going to be clutch contact hitters, with spark plug influence on the line-up.  Put ’em in coach!

John Lackey is going to retire.  There’s no way he’s going to keep pitching at this rate.  It’s sad to think about.

Jose Quintana has become more effective pitch to pitch with the Cubs defense behind him.  It’s amazing what the confidence of routine catches will do for a young hurler.

Hector Rondon is done.  That’s even more gut wrenching than Lackey.  Rondon is a young pitcher who had so much promise, ripped from him through two major injuries, and now he battles minor setbacks in the wake of recovery, along with limitations his body now places on his natural form.  He’ll finish his career as a Cub this year, and that will be it for him.

Eddie Butler has presented himself as an interesting puzzle piece.  We’ll need a bit more tape to sort it all out, but optimism says he’ll find a spot at the tail end of the rotation.

There’s far more in Wrigleyville than my synopsis, but let’s watch the rest play out.  I know I will be!  Eamus Catuli!

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