Welcome back to BCB After Dark: the hidden hot spot for night owls, early-risers, new parents and Cubs fans abroad. I’m so glad you stopped in again this evening. The place just isn’t the same without you. Please let us take your hat and coat. There’s a lovely table in the second row for you. Bring your own beverage.
BCB After Dark is the place for you to talk baseball, music, movies, or anything else you need to get off your chest, as long as it is within the rules of the site. The late-nighters are encouraged to get the party started, but everyone else is invited to join in as you wake up the next morning and into the afternoon.
The Cubs beat the Phillies tonight 6-3. Adrian Sampson got his first big-league win with the Cubs and Alfonso Rivas hit his first career major league home run. That line shot by Rivas came in the at-bat right after Patrick Wisdom tied the Cubs’ rookie record for home runs with 26. I’ll say that this team is better than they looked right after the trade deadline—or right before the trade deadline, for that matter. No, they are no match for the Giants, Dodgers, White Sox, Brewers or the other elite teams in the league, but they can hang with and potentially beat anyone else.
Last time I asked you who you thought the Cubs 2021 Most Valuable Player was and maybe I should have saved this question until closer to the end of the season. But I needed a poll question and I didn’t think of anything else. Remember, I’m open to suggestions on poll questions.
In any case, 42% of you went with Frank “The Tank” Schwindel as the Cubs 2021 MVP. The man has certainly become a folk hero in the past few weeks. I’ll also direct you to this article by Kevin Goldstein where he examines the older “unproven” players the Cubs are auditioning in the second-half of the season. The one player he seems pretty optimistic about being a quality player going forward is Schwindel, with a few caveats. Basically, it’s “If Schwindel can adjust to off-speed pitches better, then he can be a productive first-team player going forward.”
Second place in the poll was a tie between Willson Contreras and Craig Kimbrel with 14% each.
Tuesday night/Wednesday morning is the night that I do an abbreviated version of BCB After Dark. Mostly just to keep myself and my workload sane. If you haven’t read yesterday’s essay on Being There, you can go back and read it tonight to get the full experience. But I always have time to pick a jazz video.
I’ve presented videos from guitarist Wes Montgomery before and mentioned his unusual playing style that made him sound different from everyone else. So I heard some Wes Montgomery as I was ferrying my daughter to three different appointments today and I thought I’d share that listening experience with you. While looking for a video, I found this wonderful performance that Montgomery and his band did on the BBC in 1965. The video has been computer colorized—I don’t know how you feel about that. I’m not sure how I feel about that except that I feel the sound is more important than the video. And the music is very good.
Welcome back to everyone who skips the jazz. Today’s question is about Rowan Wick and the closer’s job. Wick picked up his fourth save of the season tonight by striking out the Phillies in order in the bottom of the ninth on 15 pitches: Brad Miller, Didi Gregorius and Freddy Galvis. Not exactly Murderer’s Row, but also three real major league hitters on a contending team and not just random guys up from the minors on a team 20 games out. Wick’s outing was impressive.
Whether or not Wick is now the Cubs’ closer is pretty immaterial. There are 17 games left and there won’t be that many save opportunities to come this year. But what I’m asking is do you think the Cubs have found their closer for next season as well? Is Rowan Wick a guy that David Ross can count on to save games in 2022?
Wick has been very good for the Cubs since his return from an oblique injury that kept him on the injured list until early August. But it’s also only been 15.2 innings. Wick’s track record with the Cubs is good, but he’s had trouble just staying healthy.
Another reliever who has pitched very well for the Cubs since coming over from the White Sox at the trade deadline is Cody Heuer. Heuer only has one save, but he also has a 1.23 ERA in 18 games and 22.2 innings with the Cubs. I know some have mentioned him as the Cubs closer of the future.
So the question is “Who will be the Cubs closer on May 1, 2022?” I’m not going to ask you who the Opening Day closer will be because if Wick earns the job over the next three weeks, he’s not going to lose it in Spring Training. Unless he gets injured, which I admit is a real possibility. But being named the Opening Day closer and still being the closer a month into the season are two completely different things.
So will it be Wick? Or will he be ineffective or injured and Heuer will be called upon to save games? Maybe someone else already in the Cubs bullpen such as Adam Morgan. Manuel Rodriguez or even Adbert Alzolay. Or maybe you think it will be someone not currently on the Cubs—either a current Cubs minor leaguer or someone the Cubs acquire this winter.
So who will be the Cubs closer on May 1, 2022?
The Cubs closer on May 1 of next season will be . . .
Someone else currently on the team (Leave in comments)
Someone new to the team (Leave in comments)
Thanks for stopping by. I’ll have the girl get your hat and coat. I hope to see you again tomorrow night with another edition of BCB After Dark.