In an effort to better express my thoughts outside the confines of 140 characters, but with succinctness in mind, I wanted to try my hand at a weekly recap a sorts. After a win Sunday, the Cubs have won 2 straight series and 5 of 7 games. Not bad for a team that jettisoned 40% of its rotation less than a month ago.
Here's a look at all the Cubs news that's fit to print and a lot that isn't.
E-Jax pitching himself into waiver trade?
Unthinkable after his previous start, Jackson looked sharp against the Dodgers on Sunday afternoon. He went 6 innings, allowing 2 earned runs and striking out 6. While Bad Edwin has taken the mound far too often, Good Edwin might just be enough to entice another team to go Dutch on his remaining salary.
Renteria learning on the job
CSN's Patrick Mooney wrote a nice piece about Ricky Renteria's, um, questionable moves and how they may factor in his retention. There's a certain amount of slack you've got to give the guy as a rookie skipper dealing with a pretty abysmal lineup.
Then again, there are times, when that extra rope might be just enough for Ricky to fashion himself a noose. To wit: bringing in long reliever Charlie Newhouse for a 1-pitching appearance on Saturday night. Situational stuff is nice and all, but that move baffled me, particularly in light of all the extra innings for the team and the 'pen.
I can't see the Cubs showing Renteria the door, but he's got to prove that he can learn to better manage his bullpen and game situations. This team doesn't have a lot of room for mistakes, and still won't next year year either. But Ricky has proven that he can get the most out of his young stars, a huge mark in his favor.
Coghlan playing himself into the future
When he's not busy being generally awesome in the community, Chris Coghlan has been tearing it up at the plate for the cubs. He hit something like .376 for July and has started August with a bang, going 2-3 with a homer, a double and 2 RBI. In fact, that's 5 straight 2-hit games for Coglan.
Coghlan's carrying a robust .292/.368/.475 slash (.844 OPS) right now, but as water always finds its level, so will his stats find theirs. He won't be holding down a starting OF spot for the Cubs down the road, but I'll take him as the 4th or 5th guy every day of the week.
Rizzo's maturation continues
If home plate had an occupancy limit, Chavez Ravine's fire marshal would have been all over Anthony Rizzo for exceeding it. He has made it quite clear that that plate belongs to him and not the pitcher. It's reminiscent of Barry Bonds, sans body armor. But given Rizzo's proximity to the dish and his burgeoning star status, he'd perhaps do well to adopt padding of some sort.
The slugging first baseman has exhibited a confidence that he didn't seem to have in the past, maybe not even earlier in the season. Whether it's taking on the Reds bench, swatting a bomb after being plunked, or making a hard (and totally clean) slide to break up a twin killing, Rizzo has become the Cubs' leader.
Castro is no infidel
After a slump that appeared to be more bad luck than anything, there was a bit of rabble growing about a regressing by Castro, that he was looking like last year's model. But those folks were looking at the numbers, not at the situations. Despite hitting the ball on the screws repeatedly, Starlin was, well, he was getting screwed.
Balls ticketed for the gap were flagged down by phenomenal diving plays and hard line drives were drawn to gloves as if by some metaphysical magnetism. But lately, the BABIP gods have been kind; after seeing his average drop to .268, Castro has collected 7 hits in 3 games, including a clutch 2-RBI pinch hit on Sunday, to climb to .277.
Javy Bombs Away
Baez went yard twice, giving him 23 on the season, further proof that he's made all the necessary adjustments to AAA pitching.
AAA playoffs are not MLB playoffs
I understand the concept of playing in a postseason atmosphere, but I do not subscribe to the idea that it will help guys at the next level. Rather than develop confidence by competing against MiLB talent, I'd rather see them do so in the Bigs.
I am Groot
'Nuff said, but I'll say a little more anyway. Guardians of the Galaxy just posted the biggest August debut of all time with $94 million domestic and a little over $160 worldwide. If you haven't already, you need to see this movie; it might even remind you of the Cubs.
Well, there you have it. What other storylines would you have added? What did you take away from this week in Cubs baseball?
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