OSS: Javy Baez doing Jazy Baez things.
- Javy Baez continues to do it all. In this game he hit his 25th HR of the year to give the Cubs the lead in the sixth, then doubled in an insurance run in the eighth. He also made a spectacular diving play at third base, snagging a liner right on the foul line and throwing the batter out at first from basically shallow LF. I thought the Javy for MVP talk that started percolating last week was dumb, but now I’ve moved to just kind of dumb. 4.1 fWAR doesn’t exactly scream MVP to me, but it’s good enough for third in the NL among position players, and I don’t think any of the pitchers have a shot at crossing over this year. Maybe it’s not as ridiculous as it seems. He’s been the best player on the best team in the NL.
- Cole Hamels had another solid start, though not as strikeout-y as his last one. In his two Cubs starts combined, he has 11 IP, 10 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 11 SO. Considering the bar most of us had set for him after the acquisition was merely better-than-Chatwood, that looks pretty good indeed.
- Ben Zobrist had a solid night against his former team, hitting a triple and an infield single and scoring a run on a wild pitch.
- The Cubs let their best chance to blow this one wide open slip away in the fifth, when they had the bases loaded with just one out. However Royals pitcher Jacob Junis (who I kept calling Jake Jortles in my head) got Zobrist and Heyward to ground out and escaped the Cubs threat.
- Willson ran into another out on the basepaths on this one. The Cubs are an aggressive baserunning team and definitely come out ahead on balance, but it’s been touch to see some of the TOOTBLANs over the past week or so.
- Ian Happ came away with a golden sombrero in this one.
Next up: Monty takes on RHP Brad Keller at 7:15 PM CT. Keller is a swingman with a low strikeout rate that keeps the ball on the ground.