Cubs

Are Cubs feeling drained? The clubhouse is divided

Are Cubs feeling drained? The clubhouse is divided

For the second straight week, Kyle Schwarber halted his postgame media scrum to get something off his chest.

Standing at his locker — the same spot he stood exactly a week prior — the Cubs slugger got about as forceful as he's ever been with the cameras rolling.

Are the Cubs drained right now?

"Never. Nope. Not at all," Schwarber said. "I'll shut you down right there — we're not running out of gas at all."

Really? 

You gotta admire Schwarber's grit. He's got that linebacker/football mentality still locked and loaded in mid-October after a brutal first three games of the NLCS.

But...come on. The Cubs aren't drained? They're not tired or weary or mentally fatigued?

Schwarber says no, but it doesn't look that way on the field. They look like the high point of the season was that epic Game 5 in D.C. It was one of the craziest baseball games ever played, very reminsicent of Game 7 in last year's World Series.

Only one thing: Game 7 was the ultimate last game. They left it all on the field and that was cool because there was no more season left. Last week's wacky contest wasn't the final game of the season. It was just the final game of the FIRST series of the postseason.

So if the Cubs aren't feeling any weariness — emotional, physical, mental or otherwise — they must be superhuman.

Yet Anthony Rizzo — the face of the franchise — backed Schwarber's sentiment.

"I'm 28 years old right now," Rizzo said. "I could run laps around this place right now. I've got a great job for a living to play baseball.

"We have a beautiful life playing baseball. You gotta keep that in perspective. So if you wanna try to get mentally tired, realize what we're doing."

Rizzo talked that talk, but his performance on the field has hit a wall. After his "Respect Me!" moment in Game 3 of the NLDS, Rizzo went hitless in his next 16 at-bats before a harmless single Tuesday night. He then struck out in his final trip to the plate.

Bryzzo's other half — Kris Bryant — actually took the opposite stance of his teammates.

"Yeah, [that Washington series] was pretty draining, I think," Bryant admitted. "Some good games there that I think were pretty taxing for our bullpen and pitchers, too. 

"Kinda expect that around this time of year. The games mean a lot."

It's not surprising to hear those words from Bryant. In fact, it wouldn't even be mildly shocking to hear every player in the clubhouse share the same point of view.

The Cubs played all the way past Halloween last fall, then hit the town, having epic celebrations, going on TV shows, having streets named after them, etc. 

Then, before you know it, there's Cubs Convention again. And shortly after that, pitchers and catchers report. 

From there, the "title defense" season began, featuring a lackluster first half and a second half that took a tremendous amount of energy just to stave off the Milwaukee Brewers and St. Louis Cardinals in the NL Central and get into the postseason.

Oh yeah, and then that series with the Nationals where the Cubs squeaked out a trio of victories by the slimest of margins.

These Cubs have never really had anything resembling a break. 

However, they're now just one game away from getting that rest they so badly need (and deserve).

Get hyped: Kris Bryant took batting practice as he marches toward a return

Get hyped: Kris Bryant took batting practice as he marches toward a return

The Cubs' wild Tuesday continued with star Kris Bryant taking a round of batting practice in Detroit.

The 2016 NL MVP has been out nearly a month with a left shoulder injury, his second bout on the disabled list with the issue this season. 

Over the last couple weeks, Bryant has worked his way up from being pain-free to dry swings and tee work to taking ground balls and now hitting in batting practice. 

There's still no set timetable for when he will return to the Cubs lineup and with so much time off, he'll likely need a short rehab stint in the minors to get his timing back. So it would be shocking to see him back before rosters expand Sept. 1, but crazier things have happened.

This is great news for the Cubs, who added more depth to their infield and lineup with the acquisition of Daniel Murphy Tuesday afternoon. Murphy's main position is second base, but he can also play third and ensure the Cubs don't have to run Bryant into the ground immediately after returning.

Nobody knows how Bryant's shoulder will hold up for the remainder of the regular season and into the playoffs and there is a concern that any one swing can reaggravate the issue, as it did last month. 

But he has laughed off any notion that he would let this shoulder injury keep him on the bench as the Cubs march toward their goal of a second World Series championship in three seasons. Even if Bryant isn't 100 percent upon his return, he still brings a major presence and stellar on-base percentage to a lineup that badly needs him at the moment.

Bryant has an .854 OPS in 76 games this year despite a low power output (11 homers). The shoulder injury clearly affected his power, as he's hit only 3 homers in 42 games since May 15, but he posted a .352 OBP during that time thanks to an elite walk rate.

Yu Darvish out for remainder of season with stress reaction in elbow

Yu Darvish out for remainder of season with stress reaction in elbow

Yu Darvish's season is officially over. 

Earlier this afternoon, Darvish was diagnosed with a stress reaction in his elbow. 

Darvish, who hasn't pitched for the major league club since May 20th, will be shut down for six weeks and miss the rest of the Cubs season. 

The news comes only a few days after Darvish was pulled from a rehab start in Single A South Bend after one inning of work

He threw 40 innings for the Cubs this season, posting a 4.86 FIP. During that time he also posted career-worsts in WHIP (1.43) and BB% (11.7)