In our last installment, we concluded our trip to the Waste Lands and fled across the desert. The Cubs and the Cardinals both meatloafed through the weekend series, which unfortunately featured sides of roasted bullpen Saturday and Sunday.
Today we play two against the Brew Crew, who come from the land of sky-blue waters and are mired in fourth place, just ahead of the hapless Reds. They still have some decent players, such as the thoroughly despicable Ryan Braun, after dealing the most useful players on their roster before the non-waiver trade deadline, but, on paper, Milwaukee’s best are weak sauce and the Cubs shouldn’t have much trouble with them.
The Cubs and their fans are living the high life, intoxicated by the possibilities of a momentous season, drinking the Blue Kool-Aid by the gallon and keeping the champagne of beers on ice.
I don’t know about you, but the song in my heart is “Go Cubs Go”, and I am drunk on the awesome sauce. I don’t think a couple of bad hops would spoil the mash, but I would just as soon keep things smooth, the bubbles tiny, and drink deeply of the Cub’s tremendous season. Here’s a little infotainment for you to while away your time with. As always * means autoplay on (directions to remove for Firefox and Chrome).
- ESPN*: Week 19 Power Rankings. The Cubs still stand on top of the mountain.
- Mike Bates (MLB Daily Dish): Nobody is more excited than Cubs fans right now. “...fans flocking to praise Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer, and their leadership teams.”
- Jason Diamond (Rolling Stone): Chicago Cubs are still the best team in baseball — and that’s terrifying. “Numbers don't lie, but they also don't always mean your team will break the curse.”
- David Haugh (Chicago Tribune*): Cubs are 30 games over .500. Can we save the angst for October? “The organization has decided this is not the season to draw philosophical lines in the sand.”
- Michael Cerami (Bleacher Nation): Cubs Off-Day check-in: Everything’s better than ever, if you can believe it. Rosy projections and data to back it all up.
- Matt Snyder (CBS Sports): NL MVP Power Rankings: Cubs duo sits atop our top 10. Who would win NL MVP if voting were held now?
- Cliff Corcoran (Sports Illustrated*): Cubs roaring away from Cardinals with NL Central title in sight. “...if the Cubs merely go .500 (23-23) the rest of the way, the Cardinals would have to go 34–10.”
- Buster Olney (ESPN*): Kris Bryant: “I take pride in everything I do”. [AUDIO]
- Steve Greenberg (Chicago Sun-Times*): Will Addison Russell ever hit on road like he does at Wrigley? Russell’s splits are not good this year.
- Doug Miller (MLB.com): David Ross reflects on playing career. "I've gotten to live my dream, and now it's time for me to fill my family's life," Ross says.
- Mark Simon (ESPN*): How good is David Ross? [AUDIO]
- Adam Nissen (Sports Mockery): Skills camp brings out the best in Dexter Fowler. 150 kids can attest to Fowler’s character.
- Aldo Soto (Sports Mockery): This is the most horrifying Jason Heyward stat of 2016. Lack of slugging is Heyward’s 2016 hallmark.
- JJ Stankewitz (CSN Chicago*): Chris Coghlan embraces intermittent role with Cubs. “It’s easier to do, to put your ego aside, when you’re chasing history,” Coghlan said.
- Chris Kuc (Chicago Tribune): Surging starting pitchers have been the backbone to Cubs’ success. The five of them have been consistently good.
- Cat Garcia (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): John Lackey proving offseason doubt wrong. “...he’s adding something to Cubs culture that was much needed.”
- Jesse Rogers (ESPN*): If Cubs are interested, Jon Lester endorses acquiring Jonathon Papelbon. Lester says don’t worry about the Cubs' clubhouse. It'll be just fine.
- Patrick Mooney (CSN Chicago*): Why Jonathon Papelbon’s crazy act makes sense for the Cubs. “...the Cubs are in a position to throw relievers out there and see what sticks in their bullpen.”
- Evan Altman (Cubs Insider): Papelbon would further test Cubs’ likability, might not even improve pen. “Papelbon isn’t the same pitcher he once was.”
- Larry Scott (Today’s Knuckleball): Papelbon to Cubs is a no-brainer. Scott figures Papelbon replaces Joe Smith.
- Jesse Rogers (ESPN*): Cubs’ slide in the pen will require some fixes. "We just have to figure this out," manager Joe Maddon said.
- Tim Huwe (the zygote 50): Bullpens and Einstein riddles. Relievers are a mystery and a puzzle.
- Nicholas D. Blazek (Cubbies Crib): It’s time to be honest about Tommy La Stella. Story has more legs than the Rockettes.
- Ken Schultz (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): Tommy La Stella: The other way around the whole time. “It’s not an extended fit of petulance.”
- Brett Taylor (Bleacher Nation): Joe Maddon “Very optimistic” Tommy La Stella will return. September’s coming up fast.
- Ryan Davis (Cubs Den): Jeimer Candelario searching for consistency at the plate. “...this is a player that historically has been inconsistent...”
- Paul Sullivan (Chicago Tribune): A Cub next door? Players embrace Wrigleyville living. “The Cubs' president, along with several players, coaches and clubhouse men, happily live in the shadows of Wrigley Field, where walking to work is not only possible but possibly therapeutic.”
- Elle Eichinger (Splash): A league of their own. “Irmarie Marquez, Brittany Arrieta & Jessica Delp defy the ‘WAGS’ stereotype.” Good article about some of the Cubs’ wives and girlfriends.
- John Silver (ESPN): Ben Zobrist’s massive family takes photo near Wrigley. Zobrist hosted a family reunion recently.
- Tom Pipines (Fox6): “A terrible disease:” Former Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy, Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo team up to fight cancer. Chris Carter stepped up when Lucroy was traded.
Food for thought:
- Elizabeth Dwoskin (The Washington Post): Putting a computer in your brain is no longer science fiction. Neuroprosthetics is the name of the science. The primary results will be for the sick.
- Jennifer Ouelette (Gizmodo): The science of how and when we swear. Relevant to game threads and other living things.
- Rachel Lallensack (Science): Dogs would rather get a belly rub than a treat. Intriguing premise needs a little more work.