The Rundown: Cubs Beat Royals, Alzolay Struggles, Smyly Back in Rotation, Brewers Sweep Rangers

“Chippin’ around, kick my brains around the floor. There are the days it never rains but it pours.” – David Bowie and Queen, Under Pressure

The Cubs took two of three from the Royals and lost a game to the Brewers because they shredded and swept the Rangers. The fight to win the NL Central, a division that nobody has aggressively tried to win all season, isn’t going to be easy, is it? Things are heating up, but the good news is that the Cubs have a one-game lead for the third Wild Card spot and they trail the Giants by 0.5 games for WC2.

I am a little worried about the back end of Chicago’s bullpen, however. I’ve not had full faith and confidence in Adbert Alzolay all season, and he did a good job of making a point in my favor this weekend. Some on social media lament that the young pitcher is overworked, but he’s pitched 55.2 innings this year and he used to be a starter. He’s given up earned runs in seven of his last 10 appearances. Perhaps David Ross should consider allowing Michael Fulmer to close, or at least going back to deploying the closer-by-committee.

If the Cubs win two of every three games for the remainder of the season, they’ll finish with 91 wins and the division championship. They’re 39-27 (.591) since June 3, but they have a high number of games remaining against weaker opponents. It’s certainly not unthinkable.

Cubs News & Notes

Odds & Sods

Can you guess which one is Gabe Kapler?

Central Intelligence

Climbing the Ladder

“Windmill, windmill for the land, turn forever hand in hand. Take it all in on your stride, it is ticking, falling down.” – Gorillaz, Feel Good, Inc.

Suzuki hit his third home run since August 9 and is batting .343 with six RBI during that stretch. Cody Bellinger had two home runs on Saturday and now has 20 on the season. He’s also slugging .561 on the year. The Cubs are sixth in home runs among all 15 NL teams, but they’re third in runs scored and stolen bases. Nico Hoerner has swiped 32 bags this season, tops on the team. That’s the most since Juan Pierre stole 58 bags in 2006.

Yesterday’s game lasted two hours and two minutes, the fastest nine-inning game at Wrigley Field since a 2-1 win over the Phillies on May 8, 2005.

  • Games Played: 123
  • Record: 64-59 (.520)
  • Total Plate Appearances: 4,712
  • Total Strikeouts: 1,102
  • Strikeout Rate: 23.39%
  • Team Batting Average: .254
  • Runs Scored: 617
  • Runs Allowed: 552
  • Chances of Making the Playoffs: 63.1%, 2.0% to win the World Series

How About That

The Yankees have lost eight in a row for the first time since 1995, and it may cost Brian Cashman and Aaron Boone their jobs. Let me be the first to nominate Derek Jeter to replace Cashman.

Scherzer moved into 11th place on the career strikeout list with 3,343, passing Phil Niekro.

Julio Rodríguez set a major league record with his 17th hit in four games, helping to lead the Mariners past the Astros 10-3 for their fifth straight win Saturday night.

The Nationals defeated the Phillies 4-3 in last night’s Little League Classic.

Sunday’s Three Stars

  1. Brandon Belt – The Blue Jays first baseman was 2-for-5 with two homers and three RBI in Toronto’s 10-3 win over the Reds.
  2. Dallas Keuchel – The veteran Twins starter took a perfect game into the 7th inning against the Pirates and was removed after surrendering a double to Bryan Reynolds.
  3. Kyle Bradish – The Baltimore starter pitched six innings of two-hit baseball with eight strikeouts in the Orioles’ 12-1 win over the A’s.

Extra Innings

I get angry at Ross for a lot of managerial decisions I disagree with, but batting Suzuki lower in the order has taken a lot of pressure off of the outfielder.

Sunday Morning Six-Pack

  1. The deadline to claim your piece of Meta’s $725 million class-action settlement over Cambridge Analytica is Friday. If you were a Facebook user between May 2007 and December 2022, fill out this form.
  2. The Bears lost 24-17 to the Colts on Saturday but UDFA QB Tyson Bagent outplayed QB2 P.J. Walker. Bagent-mania immediately ensued.
  3. We have a new writer at Bears Insider, Cole Tamarri, and he wrote a nice feature piece about Bagent.
  4. The first GOP presidential primary debate will take place in Milwaukee on Wednesday. Seven candidates have qualified to take the stage, but former President Trump, who leads opponents by almost 40 points in recent polls, will skip the event for an interview with Tucker Carlson.
  5. Pickleball, the fastest-growing sport in the country, is starting to move indoors.
  6. Devo announced that the band has retired from touring.

They Said It

  • “I’ve actually never experienced [a timeout] before. I think it was really great for me because I was able to learn a lot of things while not playing. That can really benefit you as a player in the long run as well. I’m glad I was able to use that time wisely. I feel really good. I feel like I’m being really aggressive at the plate and making the right decisions. I’m just having fun a lot right now playing baseball.” – Suzuki
  • “To come in here and play in this atmosphere with the guys, it’s special, for sure. You want to do your best all the time. You want to put yourself in a great position to help the team win. Yeah, man, it’s a special group, a special fan base. What can be better than this?”Jeimer Candelario

Monday Walk-Up Song

I am unable to embed videos this morning so you’ll have to click this link for today’s masterpiece.

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