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Cub Tracks, KB, and Big G

KB’s back, Hendricks’ good outing, Javy’s 99th, and other bullets

MLB: Chicago Cubs at Philadelphia Phillies
He’s baaaaack
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Cubs evened the series going into today’s rubber game, defeating the home-team Phillies behind excellent pitching by Kyle Hendricks and wide-awake Cubs bats in a game that featured the return of Kris Bryant to the lineup and Javier Baez moving one step away from 100 RBI for the season, among other momentous events that Al will describe in detail in today’s recap.

Jon Lester and Aaron Nola will duel for the decision. Let’s root for some Philly meatloaf today, ‘with’, get out of the City of Brotherly Love and head into a tough ten-game skein with the Brewers, Nationals, and Brewers that might go a long way toward deciding the division’s fate.

Per usual for Sunday’s edition, there aren’t a LOT of new reads, but there are some good ones. Don’t know about you, but I’m interested in Ben Zobrist’s thoughts about batting average and am also wondering about player deployment in the waning days of the 2018 season. As always * means autoplay on, or annoying ads, or both (directions to remove for Firefox and Chrome).

Cubs News and Notes:

A pitcher needs two pitches, one they’re looking for and one to cross them up. — Warren Spahn

Baseball is a game, yes. It is also a business. But what it most truly is, is disguised combat.

For all its gentility, its almost leisurely pace, baseball is violence under wraps. — Willie Mays

In the end it all comes down to talent. You can talk all you want about intangibles, I just don’t know what that means. Talent makes winners, not intangibles.

Can nice guys win? Sure, nice guys can win - if they’re nice guys with a lot of talent. — Sandy Koufax

  • Mark Gonzales (Chicago Tribune* {$}): Ian Happ homer, Kyle Schwarber triple and Kris Bryant double power Cubs over Phillies. “...if we can get Schwarber and Happ to start hurting righties, that makes all the difference in the world. It helps set everything up,” said Joe Maddon.
  • Matt Rappa (Sports Talk Philly): Phillies could protest loss to Cubs following West’s misuse of Rule 6.02(c)(7). “West was not wrong in confiscating the card, however Davis should have also been ejected as a result.”
  • Jeff Burdick (Cubs Insider): 10 things to cross off September to-do list. “Though the Cubs currently own the best record in the NL, much still needs to happen between now and the first Wild Card game on October 2.”
  • Gordon Wittenmyer (Chicago Sun-Times* {$}): Hendricks keeps Cubs’ potential playoff rotation rolling into September. “We have five qualified guys that can go out there and take the ball every fifth day and get the job done,” he said.
  • Mark Gonzales (Chicago Tribune* {$}): Cubs newcomer Bobby Wilson refreshed after trade from Twins. “This is what you play the game, for an opportunity to win a championship,” said Wilson, who has spent parts of 10 seasons in the majors but has yet to reach the playoffs.
  • Evan Altman (Cubs Insider): Ben Zobrist, Baseball’s unlikeliest rebel, thinks batting average should be eliminated. “OPS, to me, is a way more telling stat,” Zobrist said.
  • ESPN: Watch Bryant discuss returning to the Cubs lineup [VIDEO].
  • Mark Gonzales (Chicago Tribune* {$}): Cubs’ Bryant ‘positive’ after going 2-for-4 in return to lineup. “I felt anxious to get out there. It felt completely normal. It was fun to be out there competing,” he said.
  • Carrie Muskat (*): KB’s return sparks Cubs as Hendricks cruises. “To see him do what he did out of the gate is awesome. He’s obviously a huge part of this team. It’s good to have him back,” said Hendricks. Bryant doubled in his return.
  • Gordon Wittenmyer (Chicago Sun-Times* {$}): Who’s on third for Cubs down stretch? ‘I don’t know’. “Bryant, who was back in the lineup Saturday for the first time since July 23, could get most of his starts in the outfield the rest of the way.”

Food for thought:

Don’t trip — we’ll be back Tuesday with more Cubs news. Thanks for reading.