“So take the photographs and still frames in your mind. Hang it on a shelf in good health and good time. Tattoos and memories and dead skin on trial. For what it’s worth it was worth all the while.” – Green Day, Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)
Kris Bryant and his Giants teammates owned the Cubs during a weekend sweep, during which Chicago’s former third baseman had four hits in the three-game set with about 15 ovations. It’s over now and we can all move along. After a magical seven-game winning streak, the sub-Cubs have gone 1-4 and are playing pretty much how we should expect them to. The Giants, baseball’s first team to reach 90 wins, took care of business exactly the way a team with the best record in the game should.
The Bay City Bombers thoroughly thrashed their Windy City opponents, outscoring the Cubs 27-10 on the weekend. Seeing Tom Ricketts, Crane Kenney, and Jason McLeod mugging with Bryant before Friday’s game felt forced and awkward, but after watching the three games it felt downright sinister. Bryant is having the time of his life with the Giants while Chicago is fielding what amounts to an AAAA squad in both talent and payroll.
— MLB (@MLB) September 10, 2021
“It was kind of hard to play a baseball game after [Friday’s tribute], for sure, but I really appreciated it,” Bryant said after the game. “When I first started my career here, I don’t know if I could’ve ever dreamed of having that type of reception and the fans welcoming me back like that. Definitely something that is one of the highlights of my career so far.”
Those hoping that the prodigal son will return should probably abandon that dream quickly. Jed Hoyer seems bound and determined to make a clean start with a lot of new faces, and that plays right not the hands of ownership because Hoyer likely won’t be in a position to drop big-dollar contracts on available free agents this winter. In addition to at least two bonafide starters, the Cubs need two outfielders, a third baseman, a shortstop, a backup catcher, and depth at almost every position. Only Frank Schwindel has played consistently well enough to enter camp next season as a guaranteed starter. Patrick Wisdom deserves a chance too, though he has been slumping badly for a few weeks.
In the meantime, Bryant will have his chance to be a postseason hero with his new team this October. If either New York team can make a solid push, Javier Báez and Anthony Rizzo will have similar opportunities. In the meantime, as a writer here at Cubs Insider and as a lifelong fan of Chicago’s North Side baseballers, I’m looking forward to October 4, which is the first day we’ll start speculating what may happen this winter. Hoyer will spend some money, but I think we may have to endure another less-than-stellar season before the new plan truly starts to unfold.
Cubs News & Notes
- By reaching the 100-pitch count for the first time as a professional, Justin Steele took another big step toward solidifying his spot in next season’s rotation.
- David Ross resumed his managerial duties yesterday after having been isolated with asymptomatic COVID-19. The Cubs were 5-2 under the stewardship of bench coach Andy Green while Ross was out.
- It’s worth remembering that Bryant, Báez, Rizzo, and Kyle Schwarber will all be free agents this winter. Though it’s still a little too early to guess, it’s doubtful any of the four will be coming back to the Cubs.
- Nico Hoerner is continuing his rehab with Iowa. He should return to Chicago sometime before the season ends.
- Nick Madrigal spent part of the weekend at Wrigley Field and seems pretty excited to be with the Cubs.
- Iowa has a new addition to their outfield, too.
- Ian Happ has been on a tear since mid-August, though he was 0-for-4 in yesterday’s game.
Odds & Sods
A new hope is now one step away from the bigs, as top prospect Brennen Davis is finishing out the season with Triple-A Iowa. As first teased by Davis himself on Instagram and then confirmed by Tommy Birch of the Des Moines Register, the outfielder will join the I-Cubs in Omaha for the series that starts Tuesday.
Per his Instagram, looks like Brennen Davis is heading to AAA pic.twitter.com/eLpByomJFG
— Cubs Schwinsider (@realcubsinsider) September 13, 2021
I can confirm that the Cubs are calling up top prospect Brennen Davis to Triple-A Iowa. Davis is expected to join the team in Omaha.
— Tommy Birch (@TommyBirch) September 13, 2021
Climbing the Ladder
“I cannot tell a lie, it’s not all cherry pie, but it’s all there waiting for you.” – R.E.M., Everyday is Yours to Win
- Games Played: 144
- Total Plate Appearances: 5,278
- Total Strikeouts: 1,418
- Strikeout Rate: 26.8%
- Team Batting Average: .232
Schwindel had another great series and continues to lead the Cubs with a .340 batting average. The charismatic first baseman was 6-for-12 with a home run in the three games with San Francisco.
How About That!
The Mets-Yankees weekend series was full of one-upmanship, bruised egos, cheating allegations, a near fight, and plenty of star power.
The 2021 MLB season is rapidly winding down, and magic numbers are falling into the single digits for some teams.
Hits were tough to come by for Cleveland in their weekend set against the Brewers. After being no-hit by Corbin Burnes and Josh Hader Saturday, Milwaukee starter Eric Lauer took a no-hitter into the 6th inning of yesterday’s tilt.
Burnes is a legitimate Cy Young candidate this season.
Sunday’s Three Stars
- Francisco Lindor – The Mets shortstop singlehandedly took down the Yankees last night by going 3-for-4 with three jacks and five RBI.
- Max Scherzer – The three-time Cy Young Award winner took a perfect game into the 8th inning against the Padres yesterday, notched his 3,000th career strikeout, and is now 6-0 with an 0.88 ERA in eight games since joining the Dodgers at the July trade deadline. He leads the majors with a 2.17 ERA.
- Lourdes Gurriel, Jr. – The Blue Jays’ super UT had seven RBI on a 2-for-3 afternoon with two home runs, including a grand slam and five runs scored. That will earn you some spiff money.
Scherzer is the best pitcher of this generation, hands down.
3,000 Ks for Max Scherzer, the 19th pitcher to do it. He has only 674 career walks — at the moment, that’s the fewest walks of anyone in the 3,000-K club. pic.twitter.com/CVnvxfNIoW
— Tyler Kepner (@TylerKepner) September 12, 2021
They Said It
- “I mean, this place is home to me. It always will be.” – Bryant
- “The ups and downs of it are what fuel you and the passion. I miss these guys. Being a part of a team, it feels good. Being home by yourself, I realize I don’t like myself that much, so it’s just a lot of appreciation and you feel thankful that you have a job and come to work every day in front of thousands of people.” – Ross
- “That’s part of the process, it’s part of moving forward as a starter. You gotta be able to go over 100 pitches sometimes. You gotta grind through outings and that was one today where you just have to grind through with what you’ve got. Would’ve liked to have left a lower number on the board as far as score but this is definitely a learning experience.” – Steele
Monday Walk-Up Song
November Rain by Guns ‘N’ Roses – Thankfully, only 18 games remain in this absurd season. We’ve certainly learned the hard way that nothing lasts forever. The Beatles broke up, the six-time NBA championship Bulls were blown up, and the 2016 Cubs are only a very nice memory now.