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An update on Javier Báez, Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and other former Cubs

With two weeks to go, some of these guys will have to get hot for their teams to make the postseason.

Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images

With two weeks remaining in the 2021 regular season, again the only one of the “Big Three” — Javier Báez, Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo — who appears guaranteed of a postseason spot is Bryant. Here’s how those three, and some other former Cubs, did over the past week.

Javier Báez

If you watched the ESPN Sunday Night Baseball game between the Mets and Phillies, you heard Matt Vasgersian, Alex Rodriguez and Buster Olney wax poetic over Javy’s newfound “ability” to draw walks.

It’s true, at least for the last week, in which he hit .300/.462/.450 (6-for-20) with six walks. Six! Báez only walked 15 times in 361 plate appearances with the Cubs, but now has 11 bases on balls in 147 PA with the Mets.

Is this a change in his plate discipline? I’d say probably not, it’s more likely a week’s worth of random noise in his season. Also consider that three of the six games he played were against the Cardinals, who have issued the second-most walks in the National League this year, and that four of the six walks issued to Javy this past week were by St. Louis pitchers.

On the other hand:

Overall, Báez is hitting .305/.381/.565 (40-for-131) with the Mets with nine home runs. He’s also struck out 40 times, so that hasn’t changed much.

Also, all of this didn’t help the Mets much — they lost five of the six games they played last week.

Here’s a good thing Javy did last week:

Kris Bryant

Bryant hit .368/.520/.684 (7-for-19) with three doubles, a home run and six walks, but the Giants went just 3-3 in those six games. Those numbers could very well get him a National League Player of the Week award — and he’s already won one of those this year, for the week of April 26-May 2, when he was with the Cubs.

The Giants are locked in a tight race with the Dodgers for the NL West title. San Francisco currently leads by one game, with a 97-53 record to L.A.’s 96-54. The two teams don’t meet again this year.

Interesting note about how they view KB in the Bay Area:

Anthony Rizzo

The former Cubs first baseman went 5-for-20 (.250) last week with two walks and one double. The Yankees went 4-2 despite playing four of the six games against really bad teams, the Twins and Orioles.

Rizzo hit .248/.346/.446 with the Cubs with 14 home runs in 323 at-bats. With the Yankees he’s hit .250/.340/.424 with six home runs in 132 at-bats. That’s... remarkably consistent, and also pretty mediocre compared to his previous career norms. Those numbers aren’t going to get him any sort of big-money contract. He probably should have accepted the five-year, $70 million offer the Cubs reportedly made just before the season began.

He did make one of his signature foul-territory catches last week [VIDEO].

Jon Lester

After a slow start in St. Louis, Lester has a 2.12 ERA and 1.125 WHIP with 20 strikeouts in 29⅔ innings over his last five starts.

Last Wednesday, he posted his 199th career win in an 11-4 Cardinals victory over the Mets. He is scheduled to start Tuesday in Milwaukee against the Brewers. That would put him on target to start the game Sunday, September 26 against the Cubs at Wrigley Field, the final Cubs home game of 2021, as well as likely starting against them again in the season’s final series the following weekend in St. Louis.

Could he post his 200th career win against the Cubs? Stay tuned.

Kyle Schwarber

In the last edition of this series, I noted Schwarber’s poor week — 3-for-20 with nine strikeouts.

He wasn’t much better this past week — .231/.286/.308 (3-for-13).

His hot start in Boston has him still with good numbers in 30 games there: .276/.406/.457 (29-for-105) with four home runs. The Red Sox are currently leading the American League wild-card race and have a good chance of hosting the wild card game. They still have an outside chance of catching the Rays for the AL East title, 6½ games behind with 11 remaining.

Craig Kimbrel

The White Sox are using him sparingly. Kimbrel pitched just once last week (one scoreless inning Saturday vs. the Rangers).

In last week’s installment, I noted the “Kimbrel Kid,” who was imitating the reliever’s stance in the stands on the South Side.

This past week, the two met: