We’re going streaking!
If you’re a pessimist, or a cynic, or both, and if you’re on the internet chances are you’re both, it would be easy to point to the schedule and say the Cubs merely did what they’re supposed to to bad teams. And yes, the Braves are a bad team, despite their flirtations with .500. If you’re Gordon Whittenmeyer, that’s what you do. But this is hardly the first time a team has used a slate of games against the nether regions of the league to springboard to new heights.
You’ll recall in 2015 the Mets spent six weeks beating up on the Phillies and Marlins and these terrible Braves to distance themselves from the disintegrating Nationals. The Rangers rode a ridiculous one-run record last year to a division title. Sometimes that’s just how this goes. The schedule remains pretty light until the Brewers at the end of the month. No one’s going to complain if this keeps up even if the opponents suck.
The day started off looking like the Cubs had lost Kris Bryant for about six weeks, because it sure looked like he broke/dislocated a finger on his left hand sliding into third base. It definitely went sideways in a way that fingers are not supposed to. So watching your season go, “POOF” was not the best way to kick off an afternoon. They say the X-rays are negative and he’s day-to-day. You’ll recall however that X-rays were negative on Kyle Schwarber last year, too. Because you don’t use X-rays to check on ligaments. However, maybe this is the extent of it and everything will be fine.
Mike Montgomery continued the trend of pitchers bouncing back from a rough patch, along with Lester and Lackey, by shutting down the Braves for six innings and adding a bomb himself that he couldn’t hide his laughter over. It’s probably his last start in the rotation, as Lackey has staked out that he’s not leaving the rotation for anywhere but his couch. Still, it’s a good way to go out. Monty located his fastball perfect, which sets up the curve and keeps hitters guessing. He’ll be a weapon out of the pen again, and the Cubs could probably use one more out there as it is.
I’m already lining up in my head Monty coming in relief of Arrieta and Hendricks in a series against the Dodgers, who still are helpless against lefty pitchers. It might be the only chance the Cubs have, if they get that far. But that’s for another time.
-I’ve spent so much time worrying about Javy Baez’s approach that I failed to notice he’s got an .850 OPS the past month. Ok he’s still striking out nearly a third of the time but it’s just never going to be perfect. Russell has been on fire on this trip, and Contreras is joining Rizzo as the heart of the team. It can probably stem the tide if Bryant misses a few days. Shoving them all in the lineup will be a trick, though with Bryant missing for a couple that gets easier. Right now it’s Zobrist who should be a little nervous about his ground-ball ways of late landing him on the bench.