Cubs

Pedro Strop won't pitch for the Cubs until the playoffs

Pedro Strop won't pitch for the Cubs until the playoffs

There are two very important games left in the Cubs' regular season schedule, and they won't have Pedro Strop for either of them. Strop had suggested in the past that he might be ready to pitch in this weekend's series against the Cardinals, but on Saturday he said that won't happen.

"We’re still looking for playoffs," Strop said. 

Before Saturday's game, Strop said that he was focusing on jogging to make sure that his legs feel good enough to do things like cover first in a game. The picture for when the playoffs will begin for the Cubs remains unclear, but Strop said he doesn't see himself being needed until the division series at the end of next week.

"Thursday. Don’t tell me about Tuesday," Strop said, in reference to Tuesday's NL wild card game. "That’s the B plan, and we’re looking for the A plan."

Both Strop and manager Joe Maddon said that the fact that he has not been sidelined with an arm injury is a silver lining. And, Maddon said, if the Cubs can take care of winning the division this weekend, it will create an opportunity for a few days off so that Strop can possibly throw a sim game before Thursday to really see how he's feeling.

"He’s been throwing. It’s not like he’s not been able to throw this whole time, so that’s the good part," Maddon said Saturday. "The fact that he’s not been disabled with his arm, that really matters a lot. It shouldn’t be as bad as you think once he gets back out there. If he was just sitting around and not able to throw and you expect a good result, that’d be more difficult."

Strop said that he has been able to test his arm quite a bit during his stint on the disabled list and keep it as sharp as possible for the playoffs. 

"That’s been the most important thing. I’ve been able to throw it, so my arm is in shape," Strop said.

Maddon added that Strop has looked good both in action and "on paper," as the team trainers have indicated that there's no reason to think he won't be ready to pitch in a game next week, even if his leg is not quite at 100 percent.

Strop might still be feeling the hamstring during his delivery a little bit, he shared Saturday, but not in a way that concerns him.

"Obviously you’re going to feel it when you get an injury that’s supposed to heal in 5-6 weeks, and in 2 weeks you’re already throwing. I expect to feel it a little bit, but it wasn’t nothing major," Strop said. "Nothing like I reinjured or anything like that. And I knew it was going to hurt at some point, so I’m not afraid of it."

Before he was a Cub,, Kyle Schwarber was a high school singer, football player

Before he was a Cub,, Kyle Schwarber was a high school singer, football player

Kyle Schwarber will go down in Cubs lore for his dramatic return from a torn ACL and LCL in time for the 2016 World Series. Despite not facing big league pitching in six months, the catcher-turned-left fielder put on a hitting clinic that series.

Schwarber hit .412 in five games, which includes the rally-inducing single to leadoff the 10th inning of Game 7. That game, of course, was played in Cleveland, which is a perfect Segway for a few off-the-field facts about the Cubs slugger.

1. Schwarber was born in Middletown, Ohio and grew up a Cincinnati Reds fan. As a former catcher, his role model was Johnny Bench — the Reds Hall of Fame backstop.

2. Schwarber attended Middletown High School, where he was a linebacker on the football team. Here’s a legendary photo of him trying to tackle future Ohio State quarterback and NFL wide receiver, Braxton Miller.

3. Not only was he an athlete in high school, but Schwarber was also a member of his school’s show choir. You need this content in your life, and I’m happy to provide it to you.

There’s Schwarber, front and a bit off-center:

For good measure, the Cubs had Schwarber and other players reenact the performance back in 2016 — with future manager David Ross taking a playful shot at Schwarber:

Like I said, you need this content.

4. Schwarber has one brother and three sisters. His dad is a retired police chief, a big inspiration for the Schwarber’s Neighborhood Heroes campaign — which recognizes first responders and their sacrifices.

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The 16 most underrated players in Cubs franchise history

The 16 most underrated players in Cubs franchise history

Banks. Sandberg. Sosa. Rizzo.

In addition to being a potential “Cubs Mount Rushmore,” these players are synonymous with ones who fans remember — and likely cheered for — the most. Odds are you’ll find more Ryne Sandberg jerseys in the stands than, say, Terry Mulholland or Steve Trout.

But an astute fan of the 2016 club would mention that John Lackey nearly had as many strikeouts that season as Jon Lester or Jake Arrieta. Or that fan favorite Mark DeRosa led the 97-win 2008 team in runs scored (103). 

These are the glue guys. The grinders. The players that hold teams together.

So, with a nod toward the 2016 World Series champs, here is the list of the 16 most underrated Cubs of all-time:

The 16 most underrated players in Cubs franchise history 

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