I would like to give a very large thanks once again to Al and Josh for covering for me while I was in Arizona last week. For those of you who have not been to the Phoenix area, let me tell you first-hand that it is absolutely gorgeous there. The views there are something that will stick with me for a very long time.
And, yes, it's a dry heat.
From Comcast SportsNet Chicago:
- Fun with small samples: After Friday's win, the Cubs were 12-0 with Chris Coghlan batting third. His thoughts: "We feel like we're going to win every game."
- As for who Joe Maddon would start in a one-game playoff, his answer was simple: "Let's win the division."
- There is some creative tension surrounding the Cubs' playoff push, but Joe Maddon is okay with it.
- Are the Cubs close to a waiver wire deal? If you ask Jed Hoyer, there's nothing imminent.
- The subject of Jon Lester and the yips is back in the news again after the Brewers stole five bases against him on Thursday.
- One huge key to the Cubs' recent success, according to Phil Rogers: The Schwarber Factor.
- Starlin Castro is getting used to playing second base, saying that things seemed a little backward at first.
- Jon Lester sent positive vibes out to his former manager John Farrell, who revealed on Friday that he is taking a medical leave of absence to begin treatment for Stage 1 lymphoma.
- MLB Pipeline has updated its list of the Top 10 farm systems in baseball, with the Cubs still sitting in fourth place.
- This just in: Pedro Strop is an emotional guy.
From ESPN Chicago:
- Jon Lester's next stage in his quest to end the yips: Self-deprecating humor.
- Jon Greenberg writes that the difference between the two sides of town right now comes down to one simple thing: It's all about belief.
- Another big key the the Cubs' success right now is that everyone is contributing, writes Jesse Rogers.
- In case you missed it, Edwin Jackson is back in baseball, having been signed by the Atlanta Braves.
From CBS Chicago:
- Bruce Levine writes that the Cubs should still be considering Chase Utley or a player like him.
- Jorge Soler is very strong -- possibly one of the strongest players on the team -- but he's still trying to figure out turn that strength into home runs.
- A lot of people have been talking about comparable players for Kyle Schwarber. How about... Smead Jolley? That's what a 96-year-old caller into the Boers and Bernstein show had.
From the Chicago Tribune:
- Jed Hoyer is not surprised by the success of the Cubs' young players. Expecting them to do it, says Hoyer, "would have been a little bit unfair."
- The series against the White Sox is giving Joe Maddon a chance to give some of his players a rest via the use of the designated hitter.
- Clayton Richard is finally feeling healthy again -- and with that health comes a fastball that had deserted him.
- What fun would a Cub Tracks be if someone didn't complain about something. Today the complainer is Bernie Lincicome, and the complaint is about sabermetrics.
From the Chicago Sun-Times:
- Miguel Montero believes that a change in walkup music is in order for Kyle Schwarber.
- Fun Fact: Schwarber is one of only 23 players in history to hit two homers in two or more of their first 31 games.
- Jason Hammel isn't making a big deal of the early hooks that he's gotten in his past two starts. That doesn't mean that he's happy about it, though.
From the Daily Herald:
- Mike North writes that a major key to the Cubs' recent success is that they're playing loose for the first time in a long time.
- Everyone in the organization has kept mum on the subject of who to start in a one-game playoff. Matt Spiegel says that if the Cubs are in that situation, it has to be Jake Arrieta.
From Bleacher Nation:
- Where will Chase Utley land? Bob Nightengale seems to believe that it's between the Cubs and the Angels.
- Things are looking good from the television market as ratings continue to climb.
- Luke Blaize presents his list of the top 10 Cubs prospects at mid-season.
From Cubs Insider:
- Evan Altman believes that it's not too early to start considering Kyle Schwarber in the discussion for the Rookie of the Year.
- Why has Jason Hammel been getting the early hook lately? Altman takes a deeper look at the numbers.
Today's food for thought: