Losing to the Brewers is Standard, Wick's Night, Hoerner's Return, Boddy Out, and Other Cubs Bullets

The Family is doing pictures today, so I am gonna have to gussy myself up shortly. TIME FOR MY FINEST T-SHIRT AND GYM SHORTS!

•   The Cubs have now lost 10 straight against the Brewers, many of them falling into the “OOF” category like last night’s blown lead. Ten games is almost the entire difference between the Brewers and the second place Cardinals in the Central. Playing the Brewers has not been great for the Cubs this year. Or in recent years.

•   Speaking of the blown lead, I’m not gonna beat up on Rowan Wick after the heater he’d been on. Consider how it actually went: strikeout, single, strikeout, walk, and then a single to right that was a blooper that really should’ve been caught for the third out. And then even after it wasn’t caught, it resulted in a play at third base that was a fraction of a second from ALSO being the third out. If either of the outs happen on that play, the inning is over, and we don’t really think too much of the appearance. But they weren’t recorded, Wick issued another walk and gave up a single (he was definitely laboring at that point, as his pitch count approached 30 in the inning). It was not a good outing overall, and I won’t say otherwise. But there was definitely some fluke to it.

•   Something to watch as Wick is still kind working his way back from very little competitive action the last couple years: by the time he passed pitch 20 in the inning, his fastball velocity had SERIOUSLY dipped. You expect some drop-off in an inning like that, but not going from 96 mph down to 92/93 mph (and the command falling apart). I presume that’s just a matter of getting himself more ramped up, which – if he stays healthy – he’ll have a better chance to do next year.

•   It sounds like Nico Hoerner is tentatively expected to return to the big league Cubs today, at long last, where he would presumably start at shortstop (NBCSC). My fingers are crossed for a couple healthy weeks for him, showing he’s still got his line drive stroke at the plate, and can play capable shortstop. It’s really too late in the year for Hoerner to “prove” anything to the Cubs as far as offseason decisions go, but it’s not too late for him to get some more experience. That’s really the purpose at this point.

•   Major news in the Central (and baseball, in general), with Kyle Boddy departing the Reds:

Press release regarding the #Reds and myself. pic.twitter.com/D1D6Wbrj1J

— Kyle Boddy (@drivelinebases) September 17, 2021

•   Boddy and the Reds had a really unique situation going, where he was still in charge of Driveline (an independent pitcher development shop) and also in charge of Reds pitching development. It kinda seemed like a dream scenario for the Reds, and it’s entirely possible they are now in tremendous pitching shape under the hood in the farm system. But only two years, one of which was a pandemic, is interesting. I wonder what the separation is about, and whether the philosophies just didn’t align as well as they thought originally. Whatever the case, Boddy is almost certainly going to be highly sought after by other organizations, at least at a consultant level. The Cubs were reportedly in those conversations two years ago when the Reds hired Boddy.

•   Obligatory Frank Schwindel enjoyment:

Frank Schwindel gets his daily jog in. pic.twitter.com/Xctq6PW6vF

— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) September 18, 2021

•   I don’t really know what else to say on Schwindel except that I’m no longer sure the “adjustment” period is going to come before the season ends. He’s now hitting .366/.414/.689 with the Cubs (190 wRC+) and he’s seen his strikeout rate keep plummeting, now down to just 14.4%. And he’s getting better every dang week. In September, he’s hitting .406/.449/.781 (223) with matching 7.2% BB and K rates. Yup. Schwindel has a .375 ISO this month while striking out 7.2% of the time. That kind of streak and combination is just … you should not be able to do that.

•   Something will change, because of course it will. But we’ve reached the point where the Cubs would be pretty nuts *not* to plan to give Schwindel the majority of first base starts in the early going next year. I know he can’t sustain THIS. And I know teams and pitchers will make adjustments over the offseason. And I know he turns 30 next year. But what he’s doing is just so extreme and not easily explained away as a total fluke. As in, he’s not a 190 wRC+ at a true talent level (RIGHT?!), but how he’s doing this suggests he is plausibly in that 140-150 true talent level at this precise moment in time, which is NUTS.

Every day I find myself struggling to describe how implausible it is that Frank Schwindel is making THIS much contact while still hitting the ball THIS hard.

In September, he has an absurd .375 ISO despite an absurd 7.2% K rate. Those two things just … don't go together.

— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) September 18, 2021

•   Samsung tablets and gear, curtains, scales, cameras, and more are your Deals of the Day at Amazon.

•   Good on Javy Báez for really exploding with the Mets and perhaps changing the entire course of his offseason:

Javier Báez through 68 PA in September: .397/.485/.724 with 5 homers, 11 RBI, 15 runs scored, a 10.3% walk rate, and a 20.6% strikeout rate. All good for a 222 wRC+. Finishing the year as strong as he can. #Mets #LGM (via @SNYtv) pic.twitter.com/J36qGzJKdB

— Matt Musico (@mmusico8) September 18, 2021

•   Ryno birthday:

Happy birthday, Ryno! pic.twitter.com/DGQgLmvv5p

— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) September 18, 2021

•   Make sure you take advantage of this offer if you’re able:

Caesars will hook you up with a free authentic Bears jersey when you make a $100 bet!

New customers are also able to claim a $5,000 risk-free bet when they sign up for a new account.

📲 Go here: https://t.co/UajmOI4ZlZ pic.twitter.com/e8rbhxVcGo

— Bleacher Nation Bears (@BN_Bears) September 18, 2021

•   Tons of stuff happening in the Blackhawks world right now if you want to start catching up before the season arrives. Ditto with the Bulls:

"It's Getting Better Each Day:" Coby White Comments on Shoulder Injury, Offseason Regimen https://t.co/Y5BhYBSoR7

— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) September 17, 2021

More Evidence That Zach LaVine Wants to Stay in Chicagohttps://t.co/b55YK4vTJI

— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) September 17, 2021