Kelly Crull, Jeff Nelson, Nate Poppen and Tony Andracki run down the math and scenarios for the Cubs entering the last week-and-a-half of the season. Is this showdown with the Milwaukee Brewers the biggest series the Cubs have played since 2003? At the very least, the panel agrees it’s the most important/impactful series since that four-game set against the San Francisco Giants in August 2015.
Plus, Insider Patrick Mooney chats with Cubs bench coach Davey Martinez on Joe Maddon, Wade Davis and how the team has come together in 2017.
Listen to the entire podcast here:
The last time Kris Bryant homered, milk was 10 cents a gallon, nobody had ever heard the term "launch angle" and Khalil Mack was still on the Raiders.
OK, it's not been quite that long (except the last point is true), but the 2016 MVP went yard Monday night for the first time in nearly two months.
Bryant's opposite field shot was his first dinger since July 20 or put another way — it was his first homer since the Cubs traded for Cole Hamels and Jesse Chavez.
It was beautiful swing, too, but Cubs TV analyst Jim Deshaies upstaged Bryant by calling the shot and maintaining that prediction the entire at-bat.
Deshaies and Len Kasper teamed up for one of the most incredible calls of the Cubs 2018 season, adding to the joy for fans as they watched the 2016 NL MVP finally get on the board in the homer column.
Bryant hit a solo shot on July 20 against the Cardinals at Wrigley Field, but went on the shelf four days later after aggravating his shoulder injury. He missed more than five weeks before returning Sept. 1 and then went another 49 at-bats before connecting on his first dinger.
That's a great sign for a Cubs offense that has scuffled badly in September and has missed Bryant being Bryant.
When Joe Maddon walked out of the visiting dugout at Chase Field Monday night, Cubs fans were in an uproar on Twitter.
Including Maddon's own son, Joseph.
Maddon opted to take starter Kyle Hendricks out of the Cubs' 5-1 victory with two outs in the ninth inning following Paul Goldschmidt's single up the middle.
To which Joseph responded: "I get why he did it but I still booed my dad for pulling The Professor."
Maddon gets a lot of heat on Twitter, but this was an appropriate, light-hearted take on second-guessing the decisions of the Cubs skipper in a game in which his team cruised to its 88th victory of the season.
For all the crap he takes, this has probably been Maddon's finest season at the helm of the Cubs, who currently hold the best record in the National League despite an exhausting stretch over the last month.
Since Pedro Strop went down with a hamstring injury in Washington D.C. last Thursday, Maddon has had to get creative with the Cubs bullpen, deploying the likes of Dillon Maples, Jaime Garcia, Randy Rosario and Jorge De La Rosa alongside the team's top relievers in high-leverage situations.
The result has been a string of 9.2 scoreless innings from the Cubs bullpen, including the one pitch Justin Wilson threw Monday night before the final out.