Last night’s day off gave me a chance to watch a movie last night, and I went with “The Town”. I had been meaning to watch it for a while, and I’m glad I did. All right. I mean, it’s a good sign when my main take on a movie is that I felt like there could have been so much * more * of it. There is so much meat embedded in the background and story that I think if it came about six or seven years later, it could have been built into an eight-part limited series for Netflix or HBO or whatever. Heck, the movie is 10 years old, so maybe they could go ahead and do it.
• Even though they were getting closer to the Cubs on the leaderboard, my warning to being too irritated by the Cardinals was that they were still setting a stretch where they would have to play far more games than there were days left. season. The wall was coming, most likely. And the Cardinals are doing it now, having lost last night to the Pirates, and going 5-9 in the last 1
• Worse for the cardinals, they are suffering friction. Kolten Wong and Yadi Molina are playing with injuries, and last night the owner Dakota Hudson was out after two innings with a strained forearm. As for the overtaking of the Cubs, the Cardinals toast.
• The Reds are now the team immediately behind the Cubs, with 5.5 games. Yesterday they were away from home, like the Cubs, but since the ranking was canceled by the Cardinals ‘strange schedule, it was the defeat of the Cardinals that brought the Cubs’ divisional magic down to 7. Compared to the Reds, however, the divisional of the Cubs the magic number is only 5. I know. It’s confusing, but the number of reds is what might matter most, since I think the cardinals are just a toast and the reds are hot. Oh, plus, the Cubs also have the magic number of the playoffs, which * I * think is also 5, because it would require both the Cardinals and the Reds to pass them. Suffice it to say that if the Cubs win at least 5 of their last 10 games, the division is theirs. We continue to stick to that. The Reds open a series against the White Sox in Cincinnati tonight.
• Speaking of the White Sox, they just took their first place in the playoffs in 12 years. The Twins are also 3.0 games, so winning AL Central is within reach. I say good for the White Sox. See you at the World Series.
• It was great to see Jeremy Jeffress bounce back this week with a very Jeremy Jeffress outing: hit the area, get them hit, watch them fight. More broadly, Jeffress tells NBC Sports Chicago that he feels like himself again, which wasn’t a guaranteed thing this year after a 2019 plagued with injuries and underperforming. His increased dependence on his excellent splitter is doing a lot of work to compensate for his loss of fastball speed, and he could be a guy who made the successful transition to slower throwing very quickly in his 30s ( turns 33 in a few days).
• Happy birthday to Ryne Sandberg:
Happy birthday to the one and only Ryno! 🦏 pic.twitter.com/d3n9DcPvrJ
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) September 18, 2020
• People view former Cubs candidate Jeimer Candelario as a turning point in 2020:
It turns out that the Tigers – a quick surprise, flirting with .500 and a playoff spot – won’t be part of the fun of October. But in the midst of their unexpected season, one thing feels real: Jeimer Candelario, a former potential candidate. @_TonyWolfe_ about his successful campaign. https://t.co/juTo0AgYlD
– FanGraphs Baseball (@fangraphs) 17 September 2020
• Now at 26, the third baseman hitting the exchange is raking in this year (.325 / .381 / .554, 151 wRC +) largely on the strength of a greatly reduced strikeout rate and plenty of barrels in the middle. This is kind of the guy you might see as his roof as a prospect, but it took him parts of five league seasons to translate what he was doing in the minor leagues. It is always worth remembering when it comes to position prospects that debut at a very young age: sometimes it takes a while. The Cubs sent Candelario and Isaac Paredes to the Tigers for Justin Wilson and Alex Avila on the deadline three years ago. Avila was great, but Wilson was a disaster when the Cubs needed him. Avila then left the free agency and Wilson was much better off in 2018, but far from the kind of dominant force that wouldn’t leave you with second thoughts.