Cubs

Cubs think Pedro Strop has turned a corner against the Cardinals

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Cubs think Pedro Strop has turned a corner against the Cardinals

If you were looking for Pedro Strop at Wrigley Field Sunday, you probably couldn't find him because he was at the beach.

Joe Maddon joked Saturday that Strop earned himself some time off at the beach because he's been working so hard lately ... and the Cubs manager was true to his word:

 

 

"Strop is not available," Maddon said Sunday. "He'll be at the beach."

Maddon and Strop's Cubs teammates carried the same sentiment: Break well deserved.

Strop had worked in four of five Cubs games prior to Sunday. He came in to stop the bleeding Saturday and put an end to the Cardinals' rally.

[MORE: Cubs make another statement Saturday win over Cardinals]

Strop picked up the save in the Cubs' fifth straight win, but the more important thing was who he did it against.

The Cardinals have had Strop's number this season, but he tossed back-to-back shutout innings against St. Louis in the first two games of the weekend series at Wrigley.

"My numbers against them have not been the greatest, but you know what? That's in the past," Strop said. "I'm always looking forward and hopefully I can just keep doing my thing against them and against other teams, too."

Strop came into the year with a career 1.64 ERA and 1.00 WHIP against the Cardinals, allowing just two earned runs in 11 innings.

He also started the 2015 campaign with 1.1 shutout innings against the Cubs' division rival, but then the wheels came off.

In seven outings against the Cardinals from May 4 through Sept. 9, Strop allowed nine earned runs on eight hits (including two homers) and five walks in only four innings.

Maddon doesn't know exactly why the Cardinals - in particular - gave Strop fits, but he acknowledged it may be mental.

"Some of it's been pitch selection and what he's throwing in different counts," Maddon said. "Stuff's always good. I think it's like anything else.

"I've talked about us having to learn how to win in St. Louis and Pittsburgh and feeling good about it, but there are times where a player will see a team with a uniform on and automatically do well - or sometimes not so well - against that team regardless of who's in the uniform."

[MORE - Joe Maddon, Cubs tirade-free after ejections against Cardinals]

Maddon also believes Strop has gotten over the hump against the NL Central leaders, thanks in large part to working out of Saturday's two-on, no-out jam.

"I just think he had to get through some negative mental thoughts and push beyond that," Maddon said. "What he did [Saturday] was spectacular. That was not easy to do.

"So you gotta give him a lot of credit. What he did [Saturday], that's the thing you're looking for moving forward, to really have him feel much better about pitching against this team."

Strop couldn't put his finger on why exactly the Cardinals owned him for four months this season, but he was sure to tip his cap to a St. Louis organization that has been tough on nearly every opposing pitcher the last 15 years or so.

The Cubs are going to need to rely on Strop in the postseason, whether that's in the one-game wild card playoff or a five/seven-game series.

If the Cubs do advance beyond the wild-card game, they'll likely have another showdown with St. Louis awaiting them.

Strop is a fiery guy, known for his fist pumps and primal shouts. He loves being in a pennant race.

"This is awesome," he said. "Anybody should want this, pitching in this kind of situation where you know everything counts for a reason.

"This team hasn't been in this situation in a long time and I'm so happy to be a part of it."

Kyle Hendricks takes in a Blackhawks game with... Bastian Schweinsteiger?

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NBC Sports Chicago

Kyle Hendricks takes in a Blackhawks game with... Bastian Schweinsteiger?

A Cubs pitcher taking in a Blackhawks game in a suite is nothing special, but doing so with a World Cup winner is... different.

Kyle Hendricks was spotted by the cameras of Thursday's Blackhawks-Coyotes broadcast on NBC Sports Chicago. The guy he was standing next to was none other than Chicago Fire midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger, a World Cup with Germany and Champions League winner with Bayern Munich.

Hendricks is known for being reserved on the mound and in his interviews with the media. Meanwhile, Schweinsteiger was filmed yelling "Bear Down" in the hallway of Toyota Park after a Fire practice earlier in the day.

There's no telling what inspired Schweinsteiger to do this, but he has definitely embraced Chicago sports teams since joining the Fire in March of 2017.

Makes you wonder what Hendricks and Schweinsteiger were talking about. Best places to get brats in Chicago?

Ben Zobrist provides a hilarious glimpse into how he's spending a free October

Ben Zobrist provides a hilarious glimpse into how he's spending a free October

Ben Zobrist won't win the Comeback Player of the Year award this winter, but maybe he can take home a Grammy for Best New Artist?

The Cubs veteran infielder/outfielder posted a hilarious video on his Instagram Wednesday night showcasing how he's been spending October after the Cubs were unceremoniously ousted from the playoffs after on the third day of the month.

It's a fantastic music video of Zobrist lip-syncing to Mumford & Sons' "I Will Wait" while he nearly knocks the TV off the wall of his home by swinging the bat indoors pretending to hit off Clayton Kershaw and frolicking around a field that looks shockingly similar to Hershel's farm from the second season of "The Walking Dead":

View this post on Instagram

It always takes me a few weeks to process the season and begin the offseason. Here are my thoughts.....along with a unique way of making light of the postseason that should have been......... (special thanks to @dimtillard for help with Video) Maybe you feel the way I do. It was a very quick and abrupt ending to a good season for us. It leaves a sour taste in my mouth. But let’s not forget all the good that happened. This game and this team gives us something to pass the time, to express our love and passion, to feel the joy of the wins and the pains of the losses, and it calls us to unity when we so easily can be divided about so many other things. Each game is a microcosm of life. The game itself is not Life, but it helps us deal with life in a way. I’m thankful for even the painful losses at the end. The game can be a great teacher. I felt privileged to play with this team and play for our fans all year. We were stretched and we grew in new ways as individuals and as a group and that is always a good thing. We strive to win championships, but more often the process is the goal. We will be stronger because of all that we went through this year. What will I do now? I will travel and watch my wife crush her book tour. I will be in and out of Chi-town. I just got back home to Franklin, TN. I will find joy in raising and watching my kids grow and continue becoming their own person. I will rest and begin preparing for next season. I will work hard in mind, body, and spirit. I will help other players with @patriotforward and @showandgo. I will focus on personal growth and charitable endeavors and become a better man, teammate, friend, and player. To Baseball and Fans: For the next 5 months until I play next year.... I will wait for you....

A post shared by Ben Zobrist (@benzobrist18) on

Zobrist also posted a lengthy caption on his perspective on the Cubs' disappointing end to the season:

It always takes me a few weeks to process the season and begin the offseason. Here are my thoughts.....along with a unique way of making light of the postseason that should have been......... (special thanks to @dimtillard for help with Video) 
Maybe you feel the way I do. It was a very quick and abrupt ending to a good season for us. It leaves a sour taste in my mouth. But let’s not forget all the good that happened. This game and this team gives us something to pass the time, to express our love and passion, to feel the joy of the wins and the pains of the losses, and it calls us to unity when we so easily can be divided about so many other things. Each game is a microcosm of life. The game itself is not
Life, but it helps us deal with life in a way. I’m thankful for even the painful losses at the end. The game can be a great teacher. 
I felt privileged to play with this team and play for our fans all year. We were stretched and we grew in new ways as individuals and as a group and that is always a good thing. We strive to win championships, but more often the process is the goal. We will be stronger because of all that we went through this year. 
What will I do now? I will travel and watch my wife crush her book tour. I will be in and out of Chi-town. I just got back home to Franklin, TN. I will find joy in raising and watching my kids grow and continue becoming their own person. I will rest and begin preparing for next season. I will work hard in mind, body, and spirit. I will help other players with @patriotforward and @showandgo. I will focus on personal growth and charitable endeavors and become a better man, teammate, friend, and player. 
To Baseball and Fans: For the next 5 months until I play next year....
I will wait for you....

Come for the Zobrist lip sync, but stay for the 37-year-old using a bat as a guitar while wearing a sleeveless shirt and rocking an old-timey top hat.

A year ago, Zobrist completely reshaped his offseason workout plan after three straight years of playing deep into October. It appears he's added another new trick to his winter workout — hopping over fences even though there is a clear opening just a foot away.

Hey, whatever works...