Why Him--Pirates 5 Cubs 1

The Cubs lost a baseball game. It may result in the Cubs being up a mere game and a half by the end of the night. However, I find myself mostly frustrated by Francisco Cervelli transformation into Johnny Bench any time he visits the friendly confines. It is becoming so bad that I honestly think I'd rather the Cubs have to face Mike Trout than Cervelli in a key bases loaded, two out situation (otherwise known as a Bote).

Cole Hamels pitched well but it wasn't enough with the way Jameson Taillon is throwing the ball. Hamels was victimized with a first inning blip once again. This time it happened with two outs as Josh Bell bounced a single back up the middle for the games first hit. That gave Francisco Cervelli a chance to hit in the first inning, and he crushed a two run blast to get the Pirates on the board. Corey Dickerson drew a walk before José Osuna flew out to end the inning. Hamels settled in and retired the Pirates in order until it was time for him to come back to the plate.

Cole Hamels tried to do it all himself. He led off the third inning with a great at bat. He worked the count and then crushed a fastball to put the Cubs on the board. It was the first Cubs hit of the night but wouldn't be the last. It would be the last run scoring hit from the Cubs though as Taillon found the pitches he needed in a few key spots.

Hamels walked Cervelli to start the fourth inning and Osuna's one out double put the Cubs in danger of falling further behind. Hamels dug deep to retire the next two Pirates hitters in Jordan Luplow and Kevin Newman, whom I've been assured are real baseball players. The Cubs had a chance to tie the game in the bottom half of the fifth inning. Jason Heyward had the Cubs second hit with a soft single into right. Victor Caratini hit a two out single bringing Daniel Murphy to the plate. Murphy hit a groundball that the shortstop was able to knock down, but it loaded the bases. This brought the guy Cubs fans most want to see at the plate right now in this situation, but an easy groundball to Bell at first base ended the inning.

Cervelli hit a groundball down the third baseline with one out in the sixth inning. Bryant threw the ball into the stands, and Cervelli was credited with a single and error. Corey Dickerson was punched out, but Osuna doubled to put the Pirates ahead 3-1. Luplow hit a popfly Báez grabbed to end the inning. Báez singled to start the Cubs half of the frame. Anthony Rizzo drew a walk which meant that Kyle Schwarber had a chance to put the Cubs ahead with one swing. Instead his one swing resulted in two outs, and the Cubs never brought the tying run to the plate again.

Jaime García started the seventh inning and he started by walking Newman to start the inning. Newman! reached second on a Jameson Taillon sacrifice bunt. Taillon would pitch a clean bottom half of the inning afterwards for the exclamation point on his night. After Adam Frazier flyball resulted in the second out of the inning. Joe Maddon decided to insert Steve Cishek in the game. Pablo Reyes hit a run scoring single to push the Pirates lead to 4-1. Cishek walked Josh Bell to bring him back to the plate one last time. The Cubs decided to go off script and actually retire him this time.

It didn't matter much as Brian Duensing gave up a two out blast to Reyes in the ninth inning while Richard Rodriguez and Felipe Vázquez each pitched around a single single in their innings. The Cubs offense or lack there of is going to draw the headlines, but Steve Cishek is the larger story in my mind. The Cubs desperately need him to be the steady presence he was throughout the season, but as he continues to add to his career high in appearances each time out it feels less likely.


Source: FanGraphs

Random Reference
I found myself yelling at the TV a lot when the Bryant error happened. It looked a little something like this.


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  • At this point, I'm not gonna be very surprised if the Cubs have to play the wild card game.

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    We lost, Milw won. Nuff said.

  • MIL won, COL also won, so no changes in the Magic Numbers: 5 for the division, 2 for the playoffs.

    COL and StL are now virtually tied for the second WC, each with 70 losses.

  • Cishek isn't the first BP guy Maddon has ruined thru overuse.

  • In reply to veteran:

    Not fair to blame maddon , most of the starters couldn’t go 5 early in the season. Took a toll on the whole bullpen

  • In reply to bolla:

    Nobody is ruined and bullpen still performing well

  • It feels like the cubs are limping to the finish line. Don’t feel good about the 2018 teams chances, the brewers look destined to win the nl. Really don’t like that potential nlds(if the cubs can hold on)match up

    Tonight is the real test, archer has struggled since the pirates acquired him.if he looks like a cy young finalist then heads need to roll this offseason.

  • Opposing catchers seem to do damage. Kratz seems to get 3 hits with a 2B and a HR. Then I look up and he sits at .223 with 3 bombs. Crazy how this game works.

  • If the cubs don’t make significant changes this off season I think it’s safe to say we might be a third or even forth place team in this division next year. This offense hasn’t clicked in two years and our pitching is not getting any younger and we have slim pickings in the minors. The window could close fast for this young team.

  • In reply to TheSarge#36:

    This is some extreme hyperbole. There are not 2 let alone 3 teams in the division better than the cubs.This is a year where every fa signing underwhelmed(to be nice),heyward,bryant(2x),morrow,strop,edwards,russell,darvish all were on the dl.Rizzo struggled the 1st 2 months,contreras numbers are way down and the starting pitching was just as inconsistent as the offense the 1st 3 months of the season. the cubs lost their closer in july,then their secondary closer and starting ss in the last 2 weeks, since the asb they've had a bottom 5 offense with several players struggling. Despite all this The cubs still have the best record in the nl. I think after some moves this off season they will steamroll the nl in 2019 personally

  • In reply to bolla:

    Agreed. Wade Miley and Jhoulys Chacin are not going to continue to remind people of Cy Young in 2019 for one. The Cubs will, if we pick up Hamels option and Darvish come back healthy, go into the season with the best starting 5 in the NL. The bats have had different issues in 2017 and 2018 so it's difficult to make that comparison. Mallee was an extreme launch angle guy and that helped some of our guys and we won a lot of games by the long ball. Chili Davis is a different kind of hitting coach who has helped some guys, particularly Baez, and hurt others and has diminished our chances of winning by the HR. I think they need to find a balance and spend some real time looking for the right hitting coach. Dave Hudgens in Houston has an approach that could work here and while he might not be available Jeff Albert, his assistant and long time minor league pitching coordinator might be. I'm sure they'll look at others as well. The team needs a couple of bats and you always need to reset your bullpen, but thinking that the team is going to collapse when guys like Bryant, Contreras and Rizzo should all have better seasons is a little alarmist to say the least.

    This year is a different beast, of course. This is a team that has to depend on a little luck, some favorable sequencing and guys stepping up at the right time. The Cubs aren't a bad team, it's hard to imagine they win less than 94 games, but the Brewers are also a very good team which makes this feel like a tough slog. Heck, it IS a tough slog. What will be will be. We're not going to roll over the playoffs, and it's unlikely the playoffs will roll over us. We'll make our hay in the middle.

  • In reply to bolla:

    The Red Sox are a good example of what you're saying. They have performed pretty well in the past few years but haven't quite gotten it done. Maybe they will this year. The Cubs need some tweaks and I'm not pleased with the current coaching, but those things can be accomplished in the offseason. A good-hitting up-the-middle infielder to replace Russell will be a good start.

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    In reply to Cliff1969:

    Whit Merrifield, if they have the prospects to pull it off. Unless they want to spend millions on Machado and move him to 2b or 3b. For get Harper. He's good, but aways getting injured & we already have a good OF.

  • In reply to bolla:

    Cubs pitching has been the best in majors since mid August.
    If you believe pitching and defense wins in the playoffs the Cubs might be in better shape than most are predicting.

  • In reply to TheSarge#36:

    Really? They have the best record in the NL and you come up with this take? C’mon. That is a bit extreme.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    C'mon. You know it is impossible for young hitters to improve. This offense is doomed for all eternity.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    And it is not like the Cubs did nothing but draft pitchers for two straight years knowing their pitching staff was getting older. This FO is trash and does not have that kind of foresight.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    Yes. You are correct. Trash is the perfect word to describe them. They should have built the team around Starting Pitchers like the Mets. That is the model franchise in baseball. Position players are a waste of time because pitchers always develop and do not miss time with injury.

    Theo, Jed, and Jason should be fired!!!! LMAO!!!!

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    The Brewers have a very good team, and I think I might trade their CF and RF for ours (I would never trade for Braun.) Now while Cain is 32, Yelich is only 26 and he is going to be a star and all around player for years to come. I love Albert A but he doesn't have the speed or power that Yelich does and both are very good defensively. We still have a team that mostly hasn't reached their peak and to think of what they've done so far is commendable. I do see changes coming. Happ or Schwarbs may be gone. I don't see a position player coming in and playing, although Nico might be challenging in the later part of the year and I don't know if one of our pitchers may be ready.
    The only aspect of our team that I would change is it's consistency and I'm sure Joe and Theo are saying that to each other each day. From all the criticism we have the best record in the NL, we've won 90 games 4 years in a row, not done for 100 years, and gone to the NLCS 3 yrs in a row. We are not old, not decrepit and supremely talented, and probably have the MVP on our team and he's only 25. Our pitching staff has been terrific the last month, both starting and relieving. We're mentally tough, having come from behind and won games over 45 times this season, and we're still in first place. A win tonight will help us immensely and we've shown we can do it.
    So, let's do it.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    We lost the first game of the White Sox series too, and that turned out ok. Tallion pitched well, but Cervelli turned that game after two outs In the first. He really likes
    playing the Cubs. In fact, I think he just likes playing. The Cubs have dealt with these let downs all year and have bounced back.

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    In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I honestly don't see Schwarber going anywhere. His defense is improving & he always has great AB's, great obp, great LH power hitter, etc. Maybe But Happ gets dealt, but I doubt that also.

  • If anyone ever "earned" the right to pause and admire his HR, it was Cervelli.

  • In reply to DropThePuck:

    I read that was only the 4th ball hit (in-game) on to Waveland all year. That blows my mind.

  • Cubs 2nd half:
    91 wRC+
    .393 SLG
    -2 run differential.

    On one hand, this team has way too much talent to carry those numbers for that long; on the other... how they have won 57% of their games is a minor miracle.

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    Imagine where we'd be without Javy.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Likely fighting COL for a 2nd WC spot.

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    All the different factions of our team, offense, defense, starting pitching, and the pen, never have clicked together for any prolonged stretch this year. I'm an unapologetic optimist but I think the chances of that happening for the first time during this postseason run is unlikely.

    The offensive numbers you posted are miserable. The starting pitching has been what has carried us to that winning percentage during the second half. I can't complain if that is going to be our most effective unit going forward.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I don't even know how to view this team. The offense has been bad over a large enough sample that it's somewhat predictive of future performance, but the talent in the actual lineup is capable of steamrolling anyone. They just haven't done it. They haven't really showed glimpses of it for more than a couple games at a time.
    Playoff series are weird. The Cubs beat Washington last year in 2 games where they scored 3 and 2 runs respectively. I believe their batting AVG in the first 4 games was under .200. They beat LA and CLE in '16 despite getting shut out twice in each series. We say it all the time, but anything can happen if you just get there. There are tons of ways to win 1 game, or 3 games, or whatever. Getting there is what worries me. Archer, Nova, Williams is no picnic, and then they get Mikolas, Flaherty, and Gomber. Cubs pitching has been good, but I have no confidence day-to-day that the offense will be able to muster anything at all.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    And, there you have it. I keep reading about "the best record in the NL" and different stats that are averaged over the season that purportedly show that the Cubs are really, really good and can't help but prevail. Yet, this is a team that just can't put it all together. Sure, there have been injuries and developmental disappointments, but they have the depth (supposedly) to overcome. So, while we celebrate the fourth consecutive 90-win season, I'm worried about losing the NLDS to the hungrier team.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    We certainly could lose in the NLDS, or even (gasp) a WC game. 2016 was a magical season we will never see repeated. We were clearly the best team in baseball from start to finish. We had breakout performances from kids and the steadying guide of grizzled vets. An MVP and multiple Cy Young candidates. We acquired the best closer in the game and, most importantly in my mind, turned in what was likely the best season of team defense in baseball history. And an injured Cleveland squad still took us to extra innings in Game 7, which we may have lost without a timely assist from Mother Nature.

    We don't have to be the most dominant team to win it all. We're as clearly not that now as we were that then. There will never be anything that can compare to ending that long drought. But this season could be more satisfying for different reasons. Some solid starting pitching, a couple hot hitters, unexpected lightning out of the pen, and some El Mago and we can do it again. No one can convince me otherwise until that last out.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I have been banging on this Offense for 3 years. It’s a bunch of mis-fit parts that we all pray on for a “ceiling” to appear. Fact is Willson, Bryant, Rizzo, Almora, Heyward, Schwarber, Happ have all under-performed or call into question how good they can be. I claymores for Machado this off-season to punt on Russell. I believe in Schwarber, but he is disappointing. Happ stinks. Almora has been brutal. Rizzo sucked for more than 1/2 the season. Willson has been lost. Bryant injured. So what do we really have? Not much.

    Baez is the only guy to step forward.

    I welcome wholesale changes. I personally go get Harper and Machado.

    Russell, Heyward, Happ would be goners. I would include Q in any trade with Heyward to move him. Happ or Schwarber for a closer, perhaps. Russell for a bag of balls?

    Changes are coming I suspect.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    I'm with you 100% on this .Machado is my #1 target this offseason. Quintana ,Heyward can both go.Seriously shonei otani has more power than jason heyward, great teammate great guy but he doesn't produce for what he gets paid. I'd keep Happ though he just needs to tweak a few things with that swing,get walkwood,brian duensing & kinztler off this team.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    Does Machado hurt the Cubs defensively? I get it, the player with Machado's bat and Russell's glove doesn't exist, but is there a 2B / SS with bat control they could get without Machado's payroll hit?

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    I want no part of Machado as a SS. I'd rather get a good defensive SS who can't hit (don't want Russell back personally). If Machado plays 3B, sign me up.

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    Machado’s WAR makes your point moot. A defensive SS who can’t hit is less valuable than an average or slightly below average SS who can mash.

    I know you are a DRS guy. I think defensive metrics stink. They are nowhere near solid in terms of analysis. Machado has great hands and a great arm. He makes routine plays. That’s what is needed at SS.

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    I disagree with this. I think defense and run prevention is more valuable than offense. Defensive metrics aren't great, but they all say Machado is poor. I want good range too. I want a SS who takes baserunners and runs away. I don't want someone who simply "makes the routine plays." If that's the case, then just stick Zobrist over there.

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    Yea machado at 3b not ss, he's elite at 3b not at ss.Move bryant to the outfield.That's what I meant

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    What do you disagree with? That Mike Freeman is more valuable to the Cubs at SS versus Machado? Really?

    You hang your hat on metrics that even Fangraphs admits are flawed to write off a premier talent who was a very good defensive SS in the minors before BAL inexplicably moved him to 3B as a 19 yr old for JJ Hardy. I have a lot more faith in Machado as a player versus the flawed Fangraphs metrics.

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    I agree on Machado. I see no possibility of signing him as a SS to appease his desires. If that's a deal-breaker for him so be it. But mostly at 3B with Bryant in a corner OF spot would work, and he could play some SS to give Javy a rest. But him at SS and Javy at 2B or 3B on a regular basis will not happen.

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    "What do you disagree with? That Mike Freeman is more valuable to the Cubs at SS versus Machado? Really?"

    I guess the "can't hit" part of a good defensive SS who can't hit is relative. I'm saying Russell at SS is more valuable than Machado at SS. The guy can't be completely useless with the bat. A top 3 defensive SS who is slightly below a league average bat, is better than a bad defensive SS with a great bat.

    "You hang your hat on metrics that even Fangraphs admits are flawed to write off a premier talent who was a very good defensive SS in the minors before BAL inexplicably moved him to 3B as a 19 yr old for JJ Hardy. I have a lot more faith in Machado as a player versus the flawed Fangraphs metrics."

    The fact that the metrics are flawed does not mean they are useless. There are problems with them in that they are not to be relied on with the same confidence that we have in offensive statistics. But when every metric we have tells us the same thing about the same players, there's something there. Baltimore moving him to 3B paid off as he proved to be the arguable best overall 3B in baseball, and an elite, elite defender there. He and Arenado are virtually the same player, offensively and defensively. You can have all the faith in Machado the player that you want, but he has never been a good defensive SS at the big league level, and he's only getting older. Why would you not want to maximize his value and put him at 3B?

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    I'm not sure why everyone just assumes Machado isn't going to improve at SS. He was a solid defensive SS in the minors and only moved to 3B because of a player already being there. I think given a little time he'll be fine. I think he makes the most sense for this club.

  • In reply to TC154:

    FG has him as the 20th best defensive SS in baseball this year, and 10th best in the 2nd half. Even if he improves, he's still bad. Throw in the fact that he's an all-world defensive 3B and it makes no sense to keep him there.

  • In reply to TC154:

    The negative on Machado is the DRS and UZR/150 scores. Look at how Russell has dropped over 3 years and tell me those are reliable metrics. They are not.

    Machado is more than adequate at SS. Dallas Green said give me a 2 out SS and I will show you a good SS. I agree with what he said—make the routine plays. Machado does that.

  • In reply to TC154:

    Kramerica—how’s is an Upper 1/3 of MLB SS “still bad”? Makes zero sense.

    Given his skill set, how can you say he couldn’t get the job done?

  • In reply to TC154:

    My point in all of this is that you don't play Javy at 2B or 3B so Machado gets his wish to play SS. I'm not saying Machado couldn't be a good SS, he could be and likely would improve with more reps. But Javy at SS, Machado at 3B, and KB in the OF is clearly the best alignment.

    Machado was a SS his whole life and moved to 3B because of another player. So was Javy, who moved to 2B for the same reason. I also believe that given the same playing time Javy is as good a SS as Russell. I think the reason Baez moved instead of Russell was that the Cubs realized Javy had the ability to do so. He had the mentality to handle the uncertainty of moving around and still remain productive. Russell has the physical tools to play 2B, SS, and 3B, but not the baseball aptitude to handle that role like Javy. Nobody does. I think that's why Russell was the SS, not because he was better.

    If Machado came I think Javy is clearly the better SS and would be going forward.

  • In reply to TC154:

    His contract does not make sense for this club. The long term high dollar deals almost never work out.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    That’s what I said earlier and got ridiculed by many posters. This team needs some changes or Milwaukee and St. Louis will pass us by.

  • In reply to TheSarge#36:

    As players age, they move to the left side of the defensive spectrum without fail.

    Machado would be no exception, so 3B and then the OF is his most likely defensive position future

    The defensive spectrum is:

    Designated hitter – First baseman – Left fielder – Right fielder – Third baseman – Center fielder – Second baseman – Shortstop

  • I think it's fair to say that the 2nd half version of this team has overachieved.

    The lingering concern I think most of us have is can they sustain this performance level and be successful in the post season?

    We all know for a short series anything can happen in the postseason since it is such a crap shoot and that someone could step forward for a short period (see Orel Hershiser in the 1988 or Madison Bumgardner in 2014) and be the difference maker for enough games to carry his team through the World Series.

    None of us can know that answer but I think I would feel better as a fan if the Cubs were clicking on all cylinders and, with this offense, that is just too much to expect at this moment.

  • This is really silly because I'm trying to predict the outcomes of 11 remaining games...
    but as I look at the schedule the most likely outcome looks to me like:
    Cubs split their remaining 6
    Brewers split with STL and sweep DET

    ...resulting in a tie. Quintana would be lined up to pitch that tie breaker. Have to believe that was done intentionally.

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    I try to stay away from reading too much into the future as baseball can be very non linear.

    I just try and keep an even keel and enjoy the ride knowing and accepting that the outcome is outside of my control or influence.

    Winning a World Series has given me a different perspective than I had before 2016.

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    Nah. We win the division and the Brewers win the WC game. We face Milwaukee in the NLDS, which is funny because we'll have home-field advantage for every game. :)

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Is having the home-field advantage vs. the Brew Crew any real advantage considering how they have knocked us around at Wrigley this year?

    I agree with you that the Cubs will win the division (maybe by only a half game) but I can see the Brewers and Cardinals giving us fits in any NLDS.

  • In reply to DetroitCubFan:

    They can't win the division by a half game. That game would have to be made up.

  • In reply to DetroitCubFan:

    That's a good point. I'm not a big believer in home-field advantage in baseball, at least compared to other sports. I actually think not having it in the 2016 WS may have been a blessing. I was just making fun of a Cubs-Brewers NLDS where even in Miller Park there would be more Cubs fans.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I mean, for what it's worth I'd pick the Cubs with Q over Milwaukee in a tie breaker game. I just don't have much confidence in this offense doing much at all against the opposing pitchers they're going to face the next 6 games. And the Brewers get Detroit at home.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Lol.....that’s COLD

  • I'll remain positive and I really hope the cubs can be better offensively but it's hard to envision that too many hitters struggling , and it's been going on for months.Hope they can get in a collective rhythm these next 6 games.Especially with the starting pitching overall being great the last month(outside hamels az outing,quintana and lesters last starts)

    The prospect of potentially being eliminated by the brewers or cardinals is legit possibility and it makes me sick to think about, but just being honest both teams look hungrier.

    Change may be necessary because the 2004 red sox won after a long drought then the 2007 red sox had several different players when they won it.

  • In reply to bolla:

    I think it is a fair and very probable event that the next Cubs WS team will be composed of several different key players than the 2016 team.

    Baseball dynasties are rare and not part of the modern era (so far at least).

  • In reply to JK1969:

    I definitely agree

  • In reply to bolla:

    I don't disagree with anything here except the "hungrier" part. That's always rung very hollow to me. They all "want" it and it's rarely effort that tips one team over another. It skills, sequencing, the right mix of players getting hot at the right time, etc. but to say that professional athletes somehow "want to win" more or less than other guys just seems like something fans say.

  • In reply to TC154:


  • In reply to TC154:

    Also you have to keep this in mind, on 8/1 the Cubs were up 1 game on the Brewers with a 62-45 record compared to the Brewers 63-47. 2 ahead in the loss column. Today the Cubs are at 91-65 and the Brewers at 90-67. The Cubs are, still 2 games ahead in the loss column. This is not one team collapsing and the other team surging. This is the story of two very good teams winning in different ways. Their records have been basically identical and the gap between the two clubs has been also. Not sure how you can say that one is trying harder than the other. In fact, given how poorly the cubs have hit, if I did believe in the "want to" thing I might give that to the Cubs for literally willing themselves to win games when they weren't posting big numbers.

  • In reply to TC154:

    But on 9/1 the Cubs were 4.5 games up on the Brewers with a 81-55 record. It's true that the Brewers deserve a lot of credit (15-7 since then), but to say the Cubs aren't limping to the finish line is generous. They're 12-10 in September with a +1 run differential.
    At one point they had a 5 game division lead. If you blow a 5 game lead in September (when 6 of your games were head to head with the team directly behind you), the words "collapse" and "choke" are absolutely in play.

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    When I look at a larger sample size and see that the difference in games is exactly the same on 9/25 as it was on 8/1 all I see is sequencing. They got hot at different times. If the Cubs ultimately lose the division to the Brewers, then it's a new ballgame. Criticize them then. Until then the Brewers still haven't caught them and they are still unlikely to. The fact that they very well may catch them is
    not relevant to the discussion IMHO.

  • In reply to TC154:

    True. They're the first place team until the Brewers actually catch them. And statistically they're something like 80% to hold on. But when I look at the upcoming matchups for each team, and how the Cubs have hit, I'm not confident.
    The sequencing thing is a good argument. I'm looking at it more like the Cubs built up a 95% chance to win the division on 9/1 (as opposed to 8/1 when they were closer to 70ish %) and have a very real chance at letting that slip away. Win one more game heads up against the Brewers and this thing is done by now. If that isn't a choke, then what is? Do chokes exist?

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    What were the furthest out the Cubs have been this year? 4 1/2....5 1/2?

  • In reply to Wickdipper:

    Yeah like, 4 months ago. Blowing a lead that big in 4 weeks is much more of a "choke" than blowing it in 4 months.

  • In reply to TC154:

    I do think there are times, though, when teams have less desire to fight to win, but those are exclusively bad teams with chemistry issues at some level. Not top teams. We've seen talented but troubled teams give up and not play to their potential. But in crucial matchups among top teams I think one team's "will to win" is much of a factor.

  • In reply to TC154:

    "The Will to Win. Gimme a bunch of guys who want to win a ballgame."

    -Ken Harrelson

  • In reply to Kramerica20:


  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    Could possibly be the Hawk quote that's gotten him the most ridicule. TWTW. I've always thought it was really dumb.

  • In reply to TC154:

    The actual interview it originated from, with Brian Kenney, is incredible.

  • In reply to TC154:

    What I meant was the brewers want what the cubs got,the division,then world series title.They kind of remind me of the 2015 cubs going after the cardinals in the '15 postseason.The cubs wanted what the cardinals had.The cardinals are a different team post matheny and they were beating the cubs with matheny at the helm.I feel like they're care free and believe they can beat the cubs.

    I genuinely believe next years cubs team will be much stronger with new additions and better health.Not using it as a excuse because the cubs have maintained despite this but This years team has been ravaged by injuries.

    Hopefully I'm wrong and the cubs show their resiliency and experience these last 6 games and beyond.

  • On a side note, I've noticed that when we win, and especially when we win and the Brewers lose, everyone is clamoring for Norway. "Can't wait for Norway" and "Where's Norway?". He's a popular guy. But after a night like last night... crickets. Poor Norway.

    Here's to hoping Norway is in high demand in tonight's recap.

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    Here is my prediction for the rest of the season.

    Brewers finish the season 4-1

    Cubs finish the year 3-3

    Tie for the NL Central

    Both teams play Monday in Wrigley for the NL Central title

    Loser hosts the Wild Card game Tuesday

    Buckle your seats boys n girls.

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    In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    I'm taking it one day at a time. This is like the post season where every game is so important. If we can win 3 I'll be happy but I don't want to look farther than tonight.
    Home field is important, but look at the WS. We had Schwarbs in the DH field and if we had home field we wouldn't have. We have better starters than they do and they have the better bullpen, so our starters have to do what they've done the last month or so.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    You're right. Every win/loss at this point swings the Cubs odds of a division title by 5-10%.

    I value home field hugely because I want to face the WC winner in a 5 game set rather than LA. If the Cubs play the WC game and win, I'll favor them over the Brewers or Braves in the DS.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    This is pressure time, and I love it. Much more satisfying than the vast majority of the other Cubs seasons during most all of our fandom. I don't mean to be rude (especially to you, Jonathan, but Cubs fans in general), but this isn't supposed to be easy. Like hunting isn't called killing, or fishing isn't known as catching, this is known as a pennant race.

    Every win now is critically important. I will be grateful for each, and will wonder openly if and when I may be able to partake in such joy again. Or something like that.

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Nope, Cubs win the division out right, although the Brewers won't wilt either. The Cubs are just the best team in the toughest division in baseball, when you look top to bottom. Their resilience is the difference. They always find a way to bounce back from tough losses. Doesn't hurt that they have played more big games than any other team over the last 4 years.

  • As our favorite American 12 step program advocates

    One day at a time

  • Machado said he would play 3b for the right team and right before he was traded, a source close to machado said if he was traded to the cubs he believes he would re-sign with the cubs BEFORE free agency.The source told fan rag sports reporter robert murray who printed it.

    The rumors said the yankees would be the team but they don't need machado they have torres(2b/ss),gregerious(ss and is invaluable to them) and andujar(3b) so unless they plan on moving andujar to 1b they have no need and andujar is good and cost controlled.Why displace him to add another infielder when they need pitching?

  • In reply to bolla:

    Yeah, I can't believe Machado would refuse to play 3B with something like $250M and a potential championship on the table. It looked to me from the beginning that he moved back to SS to maximize his value in FA. I have to believe his agents are telling him his value is maximized at 3B.
    The fact that he's very close with Almora doesn't hurt either I suppose.

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    Unless Almora is gone. I don't mean to be snarky, just saying. You mentioned that as an afterthought, which it is. The narratives the national media spin to suggest that Machado could sign here because of Almora or Harper due to Bryant are ridiculous pandering. And you said as much.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I think there's a real chance Almora could be gone.
    I agree, i think it's mostly an afterthought. But it could be a big deal. We have no idea what motivates guys. Chatwood said a big factor in choosing the Cubs was the way they treated his pregnant wife. Almora and Machado are apparently like brothers. I'd imagine the idea of playing together is super appealing (they've both said as much). Same for Harper and Bryant. I think other factors like money and comfort living in a respective city for 6 months probably matter more, but i do think those friendships matter.

  • Tonight is a big game for everybody no doubt but even bigger for the Cardinals......they KNOW they need 2 out of 3 from Milwaukee or else just rely on only the Rockies for their chances.
    They have to play their best ball and I look for them to try.....which makes it as important for us to win.......probably actually the biggest game of the year so far for all involved.
    Must see TV I guess they call it!

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