Hello again, everybody. I hope this is a fine Friday for all. The Cubs had a fine trip to St. Louis and proved they can play with the vaunted Cardinals and beat good teams regularly. In fact, they can beat the best team regularly so this should be a good sign for Cubs fans everyone.
While it is September, there is still a lot of baseball to be played, but as I have said before, nothing beats a meaningful Cubs’ baseball in September. I hoped for one game that mattered this month, and it appears all games this month might mean something. Something big. I could not be happier about all of this greatness.
So with that said, let’s get down to the BRASS TACKS and go rambling on a phenomenal, fun and fresh almost fall Friday.
• The Cubs have a nine-game lead in the Wild Card race with 24 games to be played. I have never been good at math, but I think and believe this to be a good thing.
• Honestly, I had my reservations about adding a second Wild Card team in each league, but I did think it was a good idea. The drawback is the one-game playoff, but it keeps more teams, and thus, more fans involved much deeper into the season, and that is never a bad thing.
• How many times can I mention that I predicted Jake Arrieta would win the Cy Young award before it gets old? I am just curious. I am actually asking for a friend. For me, it will never get old.
• I have really taken hold of sabermetrics the past few seasons. There is one that is all about “causing wins” or something to that point. I read this week that Rizzo is ranked first in that category.
• If a player is ranked first in “wins added” then I am not sure how anyone else is considered more valuable. I understand this MVP category always carries a great deal of gray, but this seems pretty obvious to me.
• It has been awhile since Best Pal Sports Incorporated has checked in, but here we go with stats meant to scintillate and satisfy …
• In the second half of the season, the Cubs are fourth in home runs, seventh in runs, third in walk percentage and seventh in slugging. And this is for all of the MLB, not just the National League.
• The starters are fifth in FIP, seventh in ERA, seventh in HR per nine innings, third in strikeouts per nine innings, and 14th in walks per nine innings.
• The bullpen is 10th in FIP, 21st in ERA, ninth in strikeouts per nine innings, 13th in home runs per nine innings and 12th in walks per nine innings.
• The bullpen really, really needs to step it up as October approaches. This group has been something of a roller coaster all season. One great month leads to one horrible month, which, in turn, leads to another great month. This bullpen needs to find consistency.
• However, and to be fair, the bullpen has endured some bad luck as the BABIP is the third highest, which definitely explains the difference in FIP and ERA. Also, the LOB percentage for the bullpen is 26th in all of baseball.
• However, at the end of today, and as of right now, the Cubs FIP is better than the “vaunted” Royals bullpen. How about that … “vaunted” twice in one ramblings. You guys are seriously lucky!
• Has anyone else noticed Starlin Castro’s batting average has jumped over 20 points since being benched? Maybe, just maybe, he is starting to get it. MAYBE!
• Rizzo is still getting on base at close to a 40 percent clip. That is just awesome, as are his 29 homers and 88 RBI. And congratulations to Mr. Rizzo on his 100th career home run (99 as a Chicago Cub). However, I must say, I am still not sure that Cashner for Rizzo swap was a good trade. *SARCASM*
• I will tell you one thing, sarcasm really needs its own font. That would help me and so many others every single day. Wouldn’t it be easier to read something knowing it was a sarcastic barb? I mean, how am I wrong here? Please tell me. I will now stop ending sentences in prepositions. Maybe. Sorry for that tangent, and now, back to baseball!
• I implore you to think back on the past five years of Cubs baseball and Cubs business matters. Would you have ever thought the Cubs would be in the position they are today? Seriously?
• They have the best, or one of the best facilities in the Dominican. They have arguably the best facility in all of Spring Training. They have one of the best minor league systems in the game. And the progress being made on the restoration of Wrigley Field is amazing to see each and every week.
• Oh, and sorry I almost forgot to mention this, they are in great position to make the playoffs for the first time in seven seasons! How is any of this bad? Seriously, how?
• When teams of the future, be it baseball, football, basketball, or otherwise look for a model to rebuild, reinvent, repurpose and redo, the example created by the Ricketts family and Theo Epstein should be the gold standard. I know nothing has been truly accomplished yet, but the trend moving forward on the North Side of Chicago is very impressive, and very impressive at the least. It is truly exciting to sit back and watch every single day.
That is all I have for you fine folks on what is hopefully a fun Friday. I will be at Wrigley Field tonight to take in the Zach Brown Band concert and will be dreaming of many more Cubs victories these next 24 games. Be well, prosper, be awesome and enjoy life.
And until next time …
Stay Classy Cubs Fans!!