Alec Mills no-hits the Brerrors

In Postgame by berselius160 Comments

OSS: Just the guy we expected (dying laughing).

Three up:

  1. Early in the game, it looked like the big story would be the Cubs offense finally waking up this weekend. But as the game went on, Alec Mills kept rolling and made it look easy, keeping the Brewers bats as off balance as their gloves were today.
  2. Offensively, it was pretty much a team effort. Jason Heyward got the scoring started with an RBI double in the fourth inning following one (of several) Brewers errors.
  3. Javy’s bat has been cold, but his legs still work just fine. He stole a run off the brain farting Brewers defense as a part of the rare two-run sacrifice fly.

Zero down

I’m not going to complain about anything in a 12-0 no-hit win (dying laughing)

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  1. Perkins

    Perkins:
    If there’s one annoying constant of every Cubs team from 2017 on, it’s the absolute failure to stomp on a rival team’s neck when they have the chance.

    Okay, so series like this weekend are exactly what I was talking about being absent. That’ll do, Cubs.

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  2. andcounting

    I don’t really know how to figure the Cubs’ magic number since the Cardinals stand to play a total of only 58 games. The Cubs-Brewers elimination number is 9, and if the Cardinals were playing all 60 the Cubs-Cardinals elimination number would be 13. I’m reasoning the actual magic number is 12, assuming if the Cardinals were to play those last two games and split them (which would render no net change in the standings) that one loss would drop the magic number by one.

    But the Brewers and Cardinals also have 10 games left against each other and 0 against the Cubs, so the Cubs would have to seriously shit the bed the rest of the way to miss the playoffs altogether or even to drop to the wildcard.

    The other scheduling oddity is that the Cubs’ only remaining divisional games are against the virtually eliminated Pirates. So, aside from their own win total, the Cubs have no influence left whatsoever on their own division with 2 weeks left to play. It’s all just so weird.

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  3. cerulean

    andcounting: the Cubs would have to seriously shit the bed the rest of the way to miss the playoffs altogether or even to drop to the wildcard.

    Thankfully, they have never done anything like that in recent memory…

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  4. Author
    berselius

    To-day’s base ball squadron

    CF Happ
    3B Bryant
    1B Rizzo
    DH Contreras
    LF War Bear
    SS Baez
    RF Heyward
    2B Kipnis
    C Caratini

    P Darvish

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  5. andcounting

    Rizzo the Rat,

    I agree(ish), but I disagree with the prediction about how it would suppress player salaries (beside the fact that everything is going to be up for collective bargaining soon anyway). The article predicts reduced intensity of competition among middle-tier teams because the threshold for postseason money would become so easy to reach. Why sign a free agent or offer an extension if you don’t really need great players in order to get playoff money?

    It seems more likely that competition would become more intense among the bottom 1/2 to 1/3 of teams since the possibility of playoff money is much more attainable, especially if the owners don’t subject postseason revenue to profit sharing. If making the postseason is how a baseball owner makes real money, intentionally tanking for several years will look really stupid, especially if other franchises have less motivation to deal their veterans at the deadline.

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  6. andcounting

    andcounting,

    What I mean is, with more teams competing for playoff spots, getting demonstrably better at the trade deadline seems a lot more unlikely. So starting a season with a mediocre team and hoping to upgrade with a high-priced rental or two if you have a good first half just isn’t going to be a viable strategy in a league with only a handful of sellers.

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  7. Rizzo the Rat

    My main issue is that expanded playoffs would make regular season races less exciting and titles more of a crapshoot.

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  8. Author
    berselius

    Trade deadline stuff is always relatively weird to me anyway – a single player just can’t affect things nearly as much as in e.g. the NBA. The Angels have two of the best players in baseball and are fucking terrible.

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  9. BVS

    Rizzo the Rat,

    Teams with losing records do not belong in playoffs. If playoffs expand to 16 teams it’s certain that sub .500 teams will qualify, even with expansion to 32 teams. (In this icky scenario, I’d give top seeds a bye.)

    So I’m a hard no on 16 team playoffs in baseball. AC won’t be surprised. (dying laughing)

    But I like the 2020 playoff schedule a lot. Fewer off days and relying on more of your total roster? Yes yes yes.

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  10. andcounting

    dmick89,

    It’s a mystery to me, because I don’t know if the standings will ultimately be determined by win percentage or wins. If St. Louis finishes 30-28 (.5172) and Cincinnati is at 31-29 (.5167), is that a tie, or . . . ? I don’t know for sure.

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  11. andcounting

    dmick89,

    I did more digging and now see they could play 1-2 more games against the Tigers the Monday after the season ends if necessary for deciding postseason berths. At this point, with two other teams in close contention for the 2nd-place Central playoff spot (not to mention the 2nd wildcard spot) it seems highly unlikely those games would be irrelevant.

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  12. andcounting

    BVS,

    Yeah, we’ve been over this. I think the basic dividing line between us is the dogma that sub-.500 teams don’t belong in the playoffs. It just seems rooted in some marriage to traditional sports philosophy I don’t really care about personally.

    The records of the lowest seeds in any playoff system tells you more about the league and/or the sport than it does about any one team. With 30 teams, yeah, the 15th and 16th best teams to make the playoffs are quite likely to have losing records. If you have a few super teams, you might see 4 or 5 teams in a 16-team postseason.

    You can minimize that possibility by adding two teams to the league, but you’d be making the league worse. By trying to squash a few teams with sub-.500 records that “don’t belong” in the postseason, you’d instead be adding 50 players who don’t belong in the majors. The league would be worse. The baseball would be worse.

    I’d rather see a league with 30 owners motivated to field good teams and see a 80-82 team in the playoffs than watch a comparatively shitty 82-80 team in a watered-down league advance to the World Series because everybody sucks.

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  13. andcounting

    andcounting,

    It’s easier to picture if you take it to an extreme: if MLB contracted down to 16 teams, those could be some great rosters. Every team could make the playoffs for all I care, because they’d be great playoffs. The quality of the baseball would be fantastic, right? Theoretically, it would be all the players who are above average in the league as it stands, with a few players right on the outskirts. If what you want is teams worth watching, that’s the way to get there, not with some arbitrary .500 winning percentage.

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  14. Rizzo the Rat

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen a hitter get plunked as Schwarber just did and have the umpire say it was his own fault.

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  15. BVS

    andcounting: I’d rather see a league with 30 owners motivated to field good teams

    Perhaps, if you had 30 teams owned by the players, this might happen. Meanwhile, you still are going to have owners like the Tribune, Peter Angelos, and whoever owns Pittsburgh these days.

    Why have a regular season if record doesn’t matter? Or why not ditch W-L and decide standings by team WAR or averaging team ERA+ & wRC+ or something.

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  16. dmick89

    My opinions on the playoffs in baseball have changed over the last few years. For the longest time I wanted the regular season to mean as much as possible and I was in favor of limiting the number of teams in the playoffs to as few as possible (I’d have been okay with just two teams, one from each league). But baseball is failing when it comes to attracting new fans and the average age of its fans gets older and older. I think MLB needs to do whatever it can to add new fans. Increasing the number of playoff teams is one way in which the league can potentially add some fans. Baseball still runs into the whole problem of it being really boring to watch for just about anybody who isn’t a huge baseball fan so I don’t know what they do to fix that issue, but it’s something they should probably look at.

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  17. andcounting

    BVS: .

    Why have a regular season if record doesn’t matter? Or why not ditch W-L and decide standings by team WAR or averaging team ERA+ & wRC+ or something.

    Oh, record should definitely matter. And the regular season should matter. For the longest time, the regular season didn’t matter for anyone but the top team in each league. Expansion to divisional play and the LCS helped to correct that. But it was still possible for the regular season records not to matter for a 100-plus-win second-place team, so the league added the wildcard to resolve that. The glacial progression toward having the regular season take on more significant meaning for more teams instead of a binary, “have the best record or go home” policy has taken the better part of a century to advance into reality. We can see it gives more meaning to the regular season as more teams receive some postseason benefit to winning regular season games.

    I understand not wanting the same postseason reward earned by a 110-win team to be given to a 79-83 team. I don’t want that either. The playoff format should be designed for teams with superior records to benefit competitively. The financial incentives should heavily benefit teams with better records as well. (I like the idea of win totals affecting profit sharing. Teams that lose 90 games or more should see their shares of the profit cut. )

    It’s bad for a 79-win team to get the same benefit as a 110-win team (which doesn’t happen, but nevertheless); it’s much worse for an 89-win team to get a worse benefit than a 40-win team (neither team sees the playoffs, but the shittier team gets better draft position).

    Regular season records aren’t arbitrary, but the .500 cutoff point really is. I understand not wanting to see losing records in the postseason, but they help fill out the playoff brackets and make the postseason more marketable.

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  18. cerulean

    While we’re fucking with the sacrosanct order of baseball, let’s really redesign the incentives to favor non-tanking teams and solve the marketability problem. (If we’re gonna fuck up baseball, might as well fuck it up real good.)

    The problems: too many games that drag on over the summer, too many teams that are out of the race in September, too many shitty teams fielded, and too many teams that basically have the same chance in the postseason save for a couple games of homefield advantage.

    So what if there were 144 games in a season, 120 of which would be like regular baseball as we know it, and 24 games that would be worth as much as all of those games combined, one of them every week. Call it the Power Game or Marquee Game (sorry Cubs) or something that happens every Saturday or Sunday. A points system could be added to easily see who is in the lead.

    With only 24 weeks, it would be possible to have a nine day round-robin where the overall record is used to seed the top 8 in each league by points (1,2,7,8 & 3,4,5,6) to play 6 of these “Power Games” against each other allowing for more well-rounded teams with bad luck during the weighted games to make up ground and decide the playoff seeding. Higher seed gets homefield advantage.

    Then, the top 6 in each league by points are seeded by overall record like the NFL with first round byes for the 1 and 2 seeds. (Does the NFL still have a first round bye? Also fuck the NFL.) A 3-game Wild Card, followed by a 5-game Division, 7-game Championship, then 9-game World Series.

    And don’t count out the losers. The bottom 8 by points do a round-robin to determine order in the draft. Order uses the zipper strategy — best team by record that didn’t make the playoffs followed by worst team by points followed by second best by record then second worst by points — you get the idea.

    It all seems a bit complicated, but it isn’t that crazy. It’s basically Hockey and the World Cup and then the playoffs as we know them. Entry by points favors the lopsided teams while seeding by overall record favors the well-rounded teams, so the best strategy is to have a really good record with just enough points, but there will be plenty of room for lucky cinderella teams to prove they belong. And the zipper draft ensures that the unlucky teams can improve the quickest.

    While we’re at it, let’s change how the salaries are counted against the soft cap. If a player is drafted by a team, 25% of their salary over the lifetime of their career won’t count against their cap. If a player debuts/loses rookie status with a team, another 25% over their lifetime won’t count toward the team’s cap. If a player has been with a team for more than three consecutive years, each year is worth a 5% reduction against the cap. The maximum total reduction is 75%.

    This way, it’s far more costly to buy a team and worth a team’s while to keep their veterans and to call up rookies to give them a chance.

    I think these are interesting if not good ways to ruin baseball.

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  19. andcounting

    cerulean,

    Could some of the power games, instead of being worth more points, be elimination games? Like the losing team gets voted off the island for the year (only to return in a play-in resurrection tournament later in the season? Or maybe we could add a war rule: if the game is tied after 9 innings, the winning team gets all the players from the losing team who have been used and taken out of the game?

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  20. andcounting

    Oh, and there should be no league awards (MVP, Cy Young, etc) this season. The AL and NL don’t exist. There should be three sets of awards, one for each division, since those stats exist in complete quarantined isolation.

    /tedtalk

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  21. dmick89

    cerulean: I think these are interesting if not good ways to ruin baseball.

    I don’t know if it ruins baseball, but I’d love to see some huge changes made. You could even test it out with one league keeping the current rules (LCS becomes that league’s WS) and then the other league playing by these or other new rules). Baseball is such a small sport compared to what it was 30 years ago that they’ve got nothing to lose. They can always revert to the rules that keeps most fans away if they want. It’s not like they’re really going to lose a whole lot of viewers regardless of what they do anyway. I think the easiest changes to make are adding playoff teams and I’d actually favor doing two smaller seasons during each calendar year. Play two seasons of 100 games with 16 teams making the playoffs in each round of playoffs.

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  22. Rizzo the Rat

    David Ross just said Rowan Wick's injury is "pretty bad" and it sounds like it's likely he's out for the rest of the season and whatever playoff run the Cubs make. Ross calls it a "huge loss."

    — Sahadev Sharma (@sahadevsharma) September 19, 2020

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  23. Author
    berselius

    cerulean:
    While we’re fucking with the sacrosanct order of baseball, let’s really redesign the incentives to favor non-tanking teams and solve the marketability problem. (If we’re gonna fuck up baseball, might as well fuck it up real good.)

    The problems: too many games that drag on over the summer, toomany teams that are out of the race in September, too many shitty teams fielded, and too many teams that basically have the same chance in the postseason save for a couple games of homefield advantage.

    So what if there were 144 games in a season, 120 of which would be like regular baseball as we know it, and 24 games that would be worth as much as all of those games combined, one of them every week. Call it the Power Game or Marquee Game (sorry Cubs) or something that happens every Saturday or Sunday. A points system could be added to easily see who is in the lead.

    With only 24 weeks, it would be possible to have a nine day round-robin where the overall record is used to seed the top 8 in each league by points (1,2,7,8 & 3,4,5,6) to play 6 of these “Power Games” against each other allowing for more well-rounded teams with bad luck during the weighted games to make up ground and decide the playoff seeding. Higher seed gets homefield advantage.

    Then, the top 6 in each league by points are seeded by overall record like the NFL with first round byes for the 1 and 2 seeds. (Does the NFL still have a first round bye? Also fuck the NFL.) A 3-game Wild Card, followed by a 5-game Division, 7-game Championship, then 9-game World Series.

    And don’t count out the losers. The bottom 8 by points do a round-robin to determine order in the draft. Order uses the zipper strategy — best team by record that didn’t make the playoffs followed by worst team by points followed by second best by record then second worst by points — you get the idea.

    It all seems a bit complicated, but it isn’t that crazy. It’s basically Hockey and the World Cup and then the playoffs as we know them. Entry by points favors the lopsided teams while seeding by overall record favors the well-rounded teams, so the best strategy is to have a really good record with just enough points, but there will be plenty of room for lucky cinderella teams to prove they belong. And the zipper draft ensures that the unlucky teams can improve the quickest.

    While we’re at it, let’s change how the salaries are counted against the soft cap. If a player is drafted by a team, 25% of their salary over the lifetime of their career won’t count against their cap. If a player debuts/loses rookie status with a team, another 25% over their lifetime won’t count toward the team’s cap. If a player has been with a team for more than three consecutive years, each year is worth a 5% reduction against the cap. The maximum total reduction is 75%.

    This way, it’s far more costly to buy a team and worth a team’s while to keep their veterans and to call up rookies to give them a chance.

    I think these are interesting if not good ways to ruin baseball.

    False

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  24. andcounting

    There’s so little data with this shortened season, but I find it pretty interesting that the home teams in MLB so far are, on average, three games over .500. There are 18 teams with winning records at home but only 10 with winning road records. The teams with the two best home records also have crazy home/road splits: the Twins (16 games over .500 at home, 6 under on the road) and the Yankees (14 over at home, 4 under on the road).

    Again, not a ton of data, but it sure makes it feel like the fans don’t really mean shit. (dying laughing)

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  25. dmick89

    I’m sure somebody has mentioned this before, but what about adding loaning a player to another team. It acts the same way as a trade, but the trading team gets the player back at the end of the season. Last year the Cubs could have loaned out several of their stars and gotten some talent in return while also keeping them around for this season.

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  26. Author
    berselius

    Looks like the Emmy voters actually made a good decision for once, with Schitt’s Creek going 4/4 in the acting categories.

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  27. andcounting

    dmick89:
    If the Cubs offense was worth even half a shit they’d have already clinched this division.

    It’s worth a fart that reminds you you should probably head to the bathroom soon, but it’s not an emergency. Whatever fraction of a shit that is, that’s what the Cubs offense is worth.

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  28. dmick89

    I predict the Cubs score 8 runs in this series and they’ll score all of those runs in 2 different innings. Pirates take 2 of 3. Cubs/Cardinals end season tied in loss column.

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  29. Smokestack Lightning

    cerulean:
    While we’re fucking with the sacrosanct order of baseball, let’s really redesign the incentives to favor non-tanking teams and solve the marketability problem. (If we’re gonna fuck up baseball, might as well fuck it up real good.)

    The problems: too many games that drag on over the summer, toomany teams that are out of the race in September, too many shitty teams fielded, and too many teams that basically have the same chance in the postseason save for a couple games of homefield advantage.

    So what if there were 144 games in a season, 120 of which would be like regular baseball as we know it, and 24 games that would be worth as much as all of those games combined, one of them every week. Call it the Power Game or Marquee Game (sorry Cubs) or something that happens every Saturday or Sunday. A points system could be added to easily see who is in the lead.

    With only 24 weeks, it would be possible to have a nine day round-robin where the overall record is used to seed the top 8 in each league by points (1,2,7,8 & 3,4,5,6) to play 6 of these “Power Games” against each other allowing for more well-rounded teams with bad luck during the weighted games to make up ground and decide the playoff seeding. Higher seed gets homefield advantage.

    Then, the top 6 in each league by points are seeded by overall record like the NFL with first round byes for the 1 and 2 seeds. (Does the NFL still have a first round bye? Also fuck the NFL.) A 3-game Wild Card, followed by a 5-game Division, 7-game Championship, then 9-game World Series.

    And don’t count out the losers. The bottom 8 by points do a round-robin to determine order in the draft. Order uses the zipper strategy — best team by record that didn’t make the playoffs followed by worst team by points followed by second best by record then second worst by points — you get the idea.

    It all seems a bit complicated, but it isn’t that crazy. It’s basically Hockey and the World Cup and then the playoffs as we know them. Entry by points favors the lopsided teams while seeding by overall record favors the well-rounded teams, so the best strategy is to have a really good record with just enough points, but there will be plenty of room for lucky cinderella teams to prove they belong. And the zipper draft ensures that the unlucky teams can improve the quickest.

    While we’re at it, let’s change how the salaries are counted against the soft cap. If a player is drafted by a team, 25% of their salary over the lifetime of their career won’t count against their cap. If a player debuts/loses rookie status with a team, another 25% over their lifetime won’t count toward the team’s cap. If a player has been with a team for more than three consecutive years, each year is worth a 5% reduction against the cap. The maximum total reduction is 75%.

    This way, it’s far more costly to buy a team and worth a team’s while to keep their veterans and to call up rookies to give them a chance.

    I think these are interesting if not good ways to ruin baseball.

    Maybe.

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  30. andcounting

    The magic number is 4 for the division and 2 for the playoffs. I know it all seems moot unless the Cubs can face the Pirates in the first round but we still really don’t know much of anything about how good any division is. We just have no idea how the East would compare to the Central in a full season let alone the crapshoot of the playoffs.

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  31. dmick89

    andcounting: we still really don’t know much of anything about how good any division is.

    To some extent this is true, but I feel like if we wanted to get a picture of the best divisions, we could do that with enough information. Furthermore, I think historically, the NL Central (and the AL Central) have proven to be the weakest divisions in each league and without any evidence suggesting otherwise, I’m okay if we assume the same is true this season.

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  32. dmick89

    I’m glad that Happ has started to fit in better with this offense. He was really struggling early this year, but has turned it around in time and he’s well on his way to being just another shitty Cubs hitter.

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  33. Rizzo the Rat

    Someone should remind the Cubs hitters that they can get four free bases if they hit the ball over the outfield wall.

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  34. Perkins

    dmick89:
    Just wait to see how bad this offense is against some playoff pitching.

    I read an interesting article in Deadspin on how the postseason this year will more closely resemble the regular season because of the lack of off days. The downside is that only makes it more likely the Dodgers run away with it.

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  35. andcounting

    dmick89,

    Not only am I too lazy to research this in any significant way, I’m also pretty sure it’s not even a question worth considering. I mean, it’s difficult enough trying to figure out how reliable this 60-game season will have been in determining the best teams in each division let alone the best teams in each league without any interdivisional play. Were it not for the aforementioned laziness, those questions might be worth investigating, but this Cubs team compared to other teams in history? There’s just way too much screwiness this season.

    This team has been massively frustrating to watch, at least for the second half of the season. But I also really like this team in general. I like how enthusiastic they’ve been with no fans around. They seem like a really cohesive team. They’ve somehow stayed away from COVID thus far. It’s a whole different set of parameters this year that you just can’t compare to any previous seasons.

    I’m not really watching much baseball outside of the Central, but I’m happy with this team, especially the starting pitchers from a purely baseball perspective.

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  36. dmick89

    andcounting,

    Part of it for me is that this team has grown so frustrating over the last 2-3 years that it’s just the accumulation of it at this point. There hasn’t been a swing that KB has taken in more than a year that I didn’t think was going to land him on the IL. Thinking back to 2015 and 2016 when this team had so much young talent and looking at them now is upsetting. What the fuck happened?

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  37. andcounting

    dmick89,

    Yeah, that makes sense. It’s pretty much where I was at the beginning of this season before COVID. I guess my expectations changed after I figured the season wouldn’t happen. Yu Darvish returning to form (and learning how the Astros probably were responsible for him faltering to begin with).

    But yeah. The organization has disappointed. I pretty much file Bryant away in the Mark Prior wing. Yet somehow they’re still winning? Maybe that’s what keeps me hanging on, the fact that they’re still better than I’ve ever experienced on a sustained basis. And World Series and shit.

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  38. Rizzo the Rat

    Every time I feel bad about the Cubs I remember that they aren’t the Orioles and Chris Davis still has 2 years on his contract (plus 15 years of deferred payments).

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  39. andcounting

    The magic number to clinch second place is 1, and it’s 3 to clinch the division (and although I don’t know for certain, I don’t think they’re going to make the Cardinals play their last two games if it can’t affect who makes the playoffs).

    Yet it still feels like the Cubs just got eliminated.

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  40. dmick89

    andcounting,

    Whether they get eliminated in the regular season or the first playoff series isn’t all that much of a difference. This team has no chance of winning a playoff series considering they can’t even hit a little league team.

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  41. andcounting

    dmick89,

    (dying laughing) I have found myself saying “Oh shit, I forgot that happened” pretty much every week, and it’s always something that happened this year.

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  42. dmick89

    I’m about 60% certain that the Pirates are actually a better team than the Cubs. I was about 58% certain of this prior to this series. Neither team is any good.

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  43. dmick89

    I’m honestly impressed the Cubs hitters even try at this point. They’re so bad the only smart decision for them is to go home for the winter and try again next year. Instead, they’re more than thrilled to embarrass themselves every single day.

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  44. andcounting

    dmick89:
    I predict the Cubs score 8 runs in this series and they’ll score all of those runs in 2 different innings. Pirates take 2 of 3. Cubs/Cardinals end season tied in loss column.

    Outside of leaving out a game, this was almost exactly right.

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  45. Perkins

    I enjoyed how after the HBP, the Cubs continued the rout and shit on all the unwritten rules. That’s a lot more satisfying than a retaliatory HBP.

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