This has been an exciting week as the Cubs took 3 out of 4 in Pittsburgh and the first game at home against the division leading Cardinals. With a San Francisco loss last night, the Cubs magic number is at 7. It won’t be long before the Cubs clinch. The Pirates also lost last night, so the Cubs are one behind the Pirates in the wild card. Come Monday, the Cubs have 13 games with only 4 against teams with winning records – 3 of them against Pittsburgh next weekend at home. Before the Cubs get to that point, here are Ten Things I Think about the Cubs.
- I’ve gotten a lot of nice comments on the move to this new address. Most of them have to do with the name of the site. Traffic is getting there and I think it will be there in the next week or so. I think what has really made me pleased is just the simplicity of how easy it was to do it thanks to WordPress. It still feels a little strange, but I think after a few months I will be used to the new name. Making a Facebook page with this site is also going very, very well. Go and give it a like as well!
- I think as the season starts to wind down, it’s pretty clear-cut who the player awards should go to for this year. In the National League, Bryce Harper easily wins the MVP. Although I’m preferable to Jake Arietta, Zack Greinke clearly had the better year based on a lower ERA. Rookie of the Year is pretty simple. It’s Kris Bryant. No one else is even close to him in RBIs. Within the next two weeks he’s going to have over 100 which is amazing for a rookie. When it comes to Manager of the Year, clearly that goes to Joe Maddon as I don’t think anybody expected the Cubs to be what they are – a playoff team. I thought in April that maybe they might get to 85-87 wins and fall a little short. Good thing I was wrong.
- Instructs start this weekend. It’ll be interesting to see exactly what is going on there. Two places to check on action are The Cub Reporter and Cubs Den. I hope to see Ian Happ playing second base. In fact, over 90 minor leaguers will be there for the Cubs.
- Next week, the Arizona Fall League begins and it should be interesting to see just exactly what all of the eight prospects Cubs sent are going to be doing. Looking back at the post from a few weeks ago, the ones I’m most interested in our Pierce Johnson and Mark Zagunis. I’d like to see how Johnson does against the excellent competition and the same will be true newness of Zagunis.
- Heading into October in a week, I don’t really have any expectations about how good the Cubs will be in the postseason. I think I am just going to ride the wave and enjoy the Cubs being back in the playoffs. Looking back at what happened in Pittsburgh this week, it gave me a little bit of expectation watching Cole pitch against the Cubs and then again watching Arrieta pitch against the Pirates. It’s going to be something else for just one game!
- The Myrtle Beach Pelicans won the Mills Cup championship series this week!In a back and forth first game, the Pelicans won in extras with David Berg getting the win. The Pelicans eked out a 2-0 shutout behind Tyler Skulina while Victor Caratini drove in two runs in game two. The third game was a walk off win on infield single by Pin-Chieh Chen. Catcher Victor Caratini was named MVP of the Mills Cup. He was 7-11 with 7 RBIs in the series! Congratulations to the Pelicans!
- It’s easy to enjoy the season for what it is, the rebirth of the franchise. It’s easy to enjoy the play of Bryant, Schwarber, Soler, and Russell. Sometimes I catch myself thinking about how next year is going to be even that much better. Russell, Bryant, Soler, and Schwarber will all be a-year-old and wiser. Hopefully Soler and Baez will be healthy for a full season. I get goosebumps thinking about that lineup for years to come. And I didn’t even get to mention Rizzo.
- When the playoffs come, the Cubs won’t need a fifth starter. But when 2016 comes around, Kyle Hendriks will probably be in that role. I think the Cubs might try to get a top-of-the-line pitcher for next year but via a trade. Cueto, Price, and Zimmerman may be too expensive/exorbitant. I wonder if the Cubs would be willing to pay large amounts of money after spending millions on Jon Lester last winter. Jacob Turner could be an option but he hasn’t shown that he can be healthy. Tsuyoshi Wada is 37 now and will be a free agent this winter. Ryan Williams and Pierce Johnson are options but I don’t know if the Cubs are willing to go the rookie route just yet.The Cubs have prospects that are blocked like Dan Vogelbach, Willson Contreras, and Christian Villanueva who could be moved to bring back a starting pitcher.
- When it comes to the bullpen, the Cubs are having some issues in September. When it comes to the playoff roster, it should be interesting to see who Joe Maddon takes for the first game, and if they win the wildcard playoffs, who he takes for the divisional series. Right now, the only pitchers who have had good Septembers are Clayton Richard and Travis Wood, the two lefties. Rondon, Strop, and Grimm have all had their fair share of failures ad successes. The great hope from Friday was that Neil Ramirez came in for the ninth throwing 94-95 with a wickedly awesome curve/slider.
- I think the biggest acquisition the Cubs could make this winter might be the signing of Eddy Julio Martinez. The 20-year-old Cuban is going to sign soon. When the season ends, the Cubs will have more money to sign him for next year. Problem is, whatever they sign up for, they will have to pay a dollar for dollar fine. He might be worth it. In fact, part of me says, pay Martinez the $12 to $15 to $20 million it takes. That’s just a one-time fee. Martinez might be the better value in the long term over a fifth starter you might have to pay $20 million to every year.
I am really looking forward to each game on its own merits. I try not to think ahead too much. Sometimes it is hard as Myrtle Beach won this week with some dominant pitching and a couple of nice young bats. And then later in the week, the Cubs made the Pirates look stale. But soon, very soon, the moment Cub fans have been waiting will be here.