Must Buy Stocks:
Jose Quintana: How good has Quintana been as of late? In two starts against the Brewers this week, Q pitched a total of 13⅓ innings, surrendering only two runs while earning the win in both outings. Quintana has been heating up at the right time; he owns a 1.84 ERA over his last five starts. Your number three starter in the playoffs, ladies and gentlemen.
Victor Caratini: Since August 1, Willson Contreras has a wRC+ of 65. That’s no bueno. It’s been a down year offensively for Contreras, but it’s being felt even more so as we are in the final weeks of the season. Enter Caratini. Over the last week Caratini has gone 5-for-11 with six runs batted in, including a grand slam with an even better bat flip against the Nationals on Saturday. Joe Maddon has said he would ride a hot bat in the bottom of the order if one emerged, does this recent (albeit limited) success from Caratini mean less playing time for Contreras?
Ben Zobrist: The old man just continues to hit. Zorilla went 8-for-21 this week with four runs batted in, boosting his season line to .312/.385/.455. His 127 wRC+ is one point higher than that of Anthony Rizzo’s. After the World Series win in 2016, anything that Zobrist provided on top of that was gravy. But he’s having a stellar season in 2018.
Addison Russell, Defensive Replacement: You saw Tuesday night just how valuable Addison Russell is defensively to this team. After coming in as a defensive replacement in the 9th, Russell proceeded to make two stellar plays to help Pedro Strop lock down his 13th save of the season. If you had any doubt if Russell would make the playoff roster, last night should have dispelled any doubts.
Anthony Rizzo: Rizzo has finally begun to cool off after a blistering month and a half; he only went 4-for-22 this past week. Rizzo is a notoriously streaky hitter, so look for the Cubs’ captain to turn it around any time now.
Javier Baez: Another staple to the Cubs lineup, Baez hit a bit of a funk this week. Baez went just 4-for-23 with 10 strikeouts, looking like the Javy of the past by flailing at breaking pitches low and away. Maybe it’s time for a night off?
The Washington Nationals: Since the Nationals aren’t making the playoffs it almost seems as if they are trying to sabotage the Cubs chances too. The Cubs endured nearly 11 hours of rain delays over the weekend, and the Nationals didn’t help the cause either by honoring Jason Werth on Saturday in game two of the doubleheader with imminent rain approaching. With another rain out occurring on Sunday, the Cubs now have to travel back to Washington, D.C. on Thursday for one game just as Hurricane Florence makes landfall. If the Cubs don’t win the division, or entirely miss the playoffs, this series’ debacle could very well be the one to blame.
Buy: The offense is hurting. When Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez, and Kris Bryant aren’t hitting, things just don’t seem to go well for this offense. We thought this lineup 1-8 would impose fear into any starting pitcher, but with down seasons from Ian Happ, Willson Contreras, and Addison Russell, when the middle of the order doesn’t hit, the offense will continue to struggle.
Sell: It’s time to panic. Even with the heart of the order not producing, the Cubs are still finding ways to manufacture runs. It might be Victor Caratini one night, or Ben Zobrist the next, but these team doesn’t quit, even when its best players aren’t hitting.
Does Victor Caratini need to start over Willson Contreras?
This poll is closed