Contreras Plays Champion, Flexibility of the Future Role, Steel Wicked, Madrigal Hits and Other Cubs Bullets

I’m not sure how I avoided it all summer yet – I don’t think I was doing anything better or smarter – but I finally got bitten by mosquitoes last night. Sure, the itch is satisfying when you scratch, but I don’t want to do it all day for days.

  • Wilson Contreras played the protagonist of Yesterday with game-winning Homer in “His Return” to Wrigley Stadium, which is perfectly written. You can tell how happy he is to be back:
  • I said it earlier in the week, but let me say it more clearly: If the Cubs really love everything about Contreras and what it brings *except* his ability to catch (and the idea of ​​committing to a long-term hunting in his 30s), there is still a reasonable arrangement to bring him back . Basically, you get the two masks you want – the guys you decide are the best at pickup, game call, mods, whatever (things that seem to interest the league around Contreras behind the board), and they are your main catch. Contreras has become that old fanciful version of what we thought Kyle Schwarber might be for a minute: a guy who hunts once a week (which has added value!), and otherwise splits his time between first base, DH, and perhaps leaving the field for a very rare occasion.
  • Cubs hasn’t had a closed base as it is, and with Patrick Wisdom playing there this week, it’s clear that Cubs are thinking ahead about indoor options. In turn, I think out loud.
  • A couple more Wilson’s love bits:
  • Efficiency clearly wasn’t quite there, but Justin Steele was pretty bad yesterday. He tied his career with 10 hits, this time in just 4.2 runs:

  • Not sure what’s driving it, if anything, but Steele was throwing his tone (1) much faster than usual, and (2) with more spin than usual. The two are related, so it’s possible that he figured out something simple using mechanics to get a phyllo boost (which helped boost rotation), or it’s possible that it was only one of those days where he could really feel his body. But it’s great to see performance like that, see how bad the racquet was, then check the data and see a 1.7 (!) mph bump on the slider, and a 200+ rpm bump on the rev. That was just a nasty, nasty, nasty slide yesterday.
  • It wasn’t a save situation when he entered the game, so we still don’t know for sure he’s the guy who’s going to take the call, but Rowan Wake made a ninth place finish to finish the match. My guess was the guy the Cubs would prefer to take the closing role for the rest of the season, and I think that’s what we’ll see if everyone rests. He obviously had rough patches, but my sense is that the Cubs think the best version of Wick is their best man in the ninth inning. Whether he can be the best version of himself consistently enough to hold the role, say, next season, is a very open question. (Any chance the Cubs will try to fix Free Agent Craig Kimbrel again…?)
  • Meanwhile, Brandon Hughes is already running it. If you remember, he looked great out of the gate, but then actually struggled through his first 18.0 major league innings (4.50 ERA). Over the course of his last 13.0 runs, since the beginning of July, his ERA was only 0.69.
  • Nick Madrigal had a few hits yesterday, capping his best ten matches of the season. A big couple there: (1) the ten-game stretch returns to May 31, since it lost a lot of time, and (2) even in this “good” stretch, it only hits .294/.333/.294/79 wRC+. I’m fine with him getting a decent amount of playing time the rest of the way so the Cubs can get more information before the season is off. But no realistic final couple of months makes them feel like the Cubs have a second base locked in by Madrigal.
  • Rocket City Trash Pandas, like any other minor league team, can’t take out Cubs outfield player Yonathan Perlaza. But unlike the others, pandas are, well, in their name, and they did this:
  • The Rockies claimed Dinelson Lamet was a concession from the Brewers, and since the Cubs would have priority over the Rockies, that meant the Cubs had passed.