So much on the line in Sunday's baseball action. Not just in the Central, but also in the American League. It's gonna be one heck of a ride.
From Comcast SportsNet Chicago:
- The Cubs believe that Jake Arrieta will be unstoppable in October. Patrick Mooney gives the reasons why they believe that to be so.
- How does Arrieta feel? After Friday's win: "Everything's where it needs to be."
- When it comes to the wild card game, the Cubs have been running all the numbers to gain every advantage they can get. It's part of the reason why Kyle Schwarber has played a couple of games in right field.
- Jason Motte is still hoping to pitch for the Cubs in the playoffs. He's heading to Arizona to work in simulated games and work on getting back to full strength.
- Kris Bryant may not say that he believes that he should be the Rookie of the Year, but Mooney writes that the decision should be a slam dunk for the voters.
- While the Cubs' win total may have been surprising this year, Jason Hammel doesn't believe that it was never a possibility: "We're good. And we know it."
- A key component that the Cubs worked on before Saturday's game: their bunting. Oh, and did you know that the wild card game is sponsored by a major beer company? I wonder who gets to sponsor the Division Series.
- You've probably heard all of the numbers on Jake Arrieta's second half, but in case you missed it: his 0.75 ERA since the All-Star break is the lowest in the history of baseball in that time span.
- Phil Rogers looks back at the trade between the Cubs and the Astros which sent Luis Valbuena and Dan Straily (remember him?) to Houston for Dexter Fowler. Rogers questions whether there was any trade in the offseason that was better than that one.
- First there was Kris Bryant in Elsa's dress from "Frozen". Then came a "Frozen" duet with his girlfriend that is just scary in how spot-on it is.
- Which Cub player are you? You can find out in this quiz.
From ESPN Chicago:
- Who's the easiest team to root for in the playoffs? Jim Caple presents his "rootability index" for all of the teams headed to the postseason.
- here's one main reason that Joe Maddon would like to play the wild card game at Wrigley Field: "For me it's all about the fans."
- You may have noticed that Addison Russell has been bunting and stealing bases more recently. According to Russell: "Just testing the waters a little bit, especially going into the wild card game."
- Chris Coghlan hasn't been getting as much playing time recently. He's not sure why his time has gone down, but he's also trying to not read into it too much.
- And in case you want to see Jake Arrieta's crazy second-half numbers again (or still haven't seen them yet for the first time), here they are.
- A GoFundMe campaign was recently set up in an attempt to get Steve Bartman to the wild-card game, an offer which Bartman politely declined. The funds that were raised through the campaign will instead be donated to the Alzheimer's Association.
From CBS Chicago:
- Chris Emma gives his list of the top 10 moments of the Cubs' regular season. I think that if everything breaks the right way today, that should find its way into the top 10.
- Tim Baffoe would like everyone to know that he never gave up on Starlin Castro. And he's only going to gloat about it a little.
- Just how scary would the Cubs' rookies look in princess dresses? Well, look for yourself.
From the Chicago Tribune:
- Not only have the Cubs been working on their bunting, but they have also been working on other fundamentals just in case the Pirates attempt a different plan of attack against Jake Arrieta.
- Paul Sullivan examines the question: Who is Theo Epstein, and how did he get here?
- David Haugh recently sat down for a conversation with Tom Ricketts. One of Ricketts' big messages: "I don't want you to make it sound like I'm satisfied at all. We haven't won anything yet."
- With Kris Bryant poised to win the Rookie of the Year this season, Fred Mitchell looks back at the road taken by Billy Williams to his rookie season.
- Bernie's back, this time to take postseason celebrations to task for feeling too staged, rehearsed and commercial.
From the Chicago Sun-Times:
- Quintin Berry is ready for his role on the postseason roster, a role which Jed Hoyer says is a huge one.
- Joe Maddon looks back to his debut with the Cubs this season compared to his debut with the Rays in 2006, saying that the first day with both teams was "two different worlds entirely."
- Rick Morrissey is ready to bury the narrative that the Cubs are a year ahead of schedule, writing that this year's team is talented and resilient enough that anything is possible.
- Deadspin's Drew Magary introduces readers to the Cubs and why people should root for them in the playoffs. If you're at work on this Sunday, you might want to hold off on opening this link until you get home.
- Anthony Rizzo is leading the Cubs to the playoffs, and that's a great feeling for friend and former teammate Adrian Cardenas.
Today's food for thought:
- Now that NASA has sent a space probe to Pluto, what should be their next target?
- The "blood moon" was a popular subject last week during its lunar eclipse, but it's been a phenomenon that's been chronicled back to 19th-century Thailand.
- And, finally... if you're looking to change the way you use your brain, perhaps you should consider playing a game of Scrabble.