The Rundown: Cubs Rolling, Darvish Has No-Hit Stuff, Schwarber Can’t Sing, Deadline Rumors

After yesterday’s 5-2 win over the Reds, the Cubs are now 5-1 on their homestand to start the second half while playing as well as their talent dictates they should.  A streaky team, nobody can beat the North Siders when they’re rolling. Right now they’re on a downright heater.

Yu Darvish is finally pitching like the top-of-rotation starter we all envisioned when he signed late last winter. If he continues to pitch like he has in his last two outings, one can confidently assume the Cubs will make their fifth straight playoff appearance.

Big Yu was in beast mode yesterday and finally earned his first win at Wrigley Field and I’m sure the Cubs clubhouse staged one helluva party afterward. There’s nothing like making an emphatic statement that serves notice to the rest of the league that you’re finally back. In two starts since the All-Star break, Darvish has 15 strikeouts and has yet to give up a run. He took a no-hitter into the 5th inning in both starts and has allowed just four hits with one walk in those games.

The last time Darvish went back-to-back outings with at least six scoreless innings was April 2014, the season before he had his Tommy John surgery. His final pitch of the day completely dismantled Reds’ slugger Yasiel Puig.

“How ’bout it? Good for him,” Joe Maddon said. “Yu just keeps trending in the right direction. That last out, he pretty much — as they say — emptied the tank and it worked out pretty well.”

The Cubs did some nice things offensively and Kris Bryant stroked his 20th home run of the season to give the Cubs a 1-0 lead in the first, but yesterday was Darvish’s day. The big right-hander has really picked up his fellow starters since Cole Hamels went on the IL. Hamels is ramping up in rehab and should join the rotation in about two weeks if all goes well.

“It’s going to be nice to get the band back together,” Maddon told ESPN’s Jesse Rogers after the game.

Cubs News & Notes

How About That!

Entering Wednesday, the Braves hadn’t lost a series of any length since early June, going 9-0-1 over a month of match ups. The Brewers ended that streak yesterday.

Padres starter Chris Paddack took a no-hitter into the 8th inning of yesterday’s game against the Marlins before Starlin Castro went yard to break up the bid. The young hurler was originally a member of the Miami organization before being sent to San Diego in a July 2016 trade for veteran reliever Fernando Rodney.

The Diamondbacks scored 19 runs against the Rangers, setting a franchise record by scoring 12 runs in the first two innings. Texas has now lost four in a row and is starting to look like a team that will sell at the deadline.

Count Dodgers’ followers among those fanbases who are now happy that Bryce Harper signed with the Phillies.

White Sox outfielder Eloy Jiménez was placed on the IL with an ulnar nerve contusion suffered during an outfield collision the other night.

If you haven’t seen this monstrous home run by the Mets’ Pete Alonso, do yourself a favor and take a look.

The correct answer would be “service time,” but Blue Jays minor league shortstop Bo Bichette is having a hard time understanding why he isn’t playing in the majors.

Wednesday’s Three Stars

  1. Darvish – a statement game for Big Yu, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.
  2. Chris Paddack – The Padres starter almost had his first career no-no. The Cubs will miss Paddack in their weekend series with the Friars. The rookie finished with 8 strikeouts in 7.2 innings, allowing just a single hit and one walk.
  3. Amed Rosario – The Mets’ shortstop had a 4-for-4 day and scored four runs. He also had a home run and plated three runners.

Deadline Intel 

Despite a red-hot run that has brought the Giants to within three games of a wild card berth, San Francisco GM Farhan Zaidi is not deviating from his plan and intends to be a seller this month.

Per ESPN’s Jeff Passan, the Giants tried to move Madison Bumgarner a month ago, but didn’t receive any substantial offers. It’s a buyer’s market, gang.

According to Jon Paul Morosi of, there’s a chance Cincinnati would move ace Luis Castillo for the right gaudy package. The Dodgers, Astros, and Yankees would be interested, as they seem to be in on every available pitcher.

The Reds are at a crossroads in their season. Their front office would prefer to be buyers, but they have the second-worst record in the National League. Yesterday’s loss dropped Cincinnati 7.5 games out of first in the NL Central.

The Diamondbacks could move as many as six players in the next two weeks.

The Cardinals are looking to add a dependable starter and may have interest in Orioles’ outfielder Trey Mancini also.

Brewers general manager David Stearns would like to make an addition or two. Milwaukee badly needs pitching, both starters and relievers.

These nine players would have the biggest impact on this year’s playoffs if they are moved ahead of this month’s deadline.

On that note, these seven teams should exercise restraint and pass on any potential trades to add to their teams.

Mike Minor, Trevor Bauer, Shane Greene and the Cubs’ Ian Happ lead the list of players most likely to be moved before July 31.

Extra Innings

No Wagon Wheel covers, please and thank you. I don’t care how many taters you hit.

They Said It

  • “[Darvish] is more of an animal on the mound. The grunting there in the sixth. Reaching back when he needs it. Being smart. He’s got confidence in his fastball. It’s fun to play behind.”Anthony Rizzo
  • “He kind of had no-hit stuff…He still takes some time in between pitches, but how he’s spending that time seems to be better. I don’t think he’s wondering what to do next. I think he’s calculating what to do next. And when he gets back on the rubber, ‘here we go.'”Joe Maddon

Thursday Walk Up Song

The Four Horsemen by Metallica. Darvish, Jon Lester, José Quintana and Kyle Hendricks have kicked off the second half with strong starts. The Cubs need them to keep the pedal to the metal this weekend against the Padres. By the way, can you guess the theme to this month’s walk up songs?

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