The Rundown: Cubs Could Help Brewers Take Division But Probably Won’t, Darvish May Stay, Maddon May Not

A quick one today, woke up late.

At this point, the losing streak is almost comical. The Cubs haven’t won a game since September 16, when they entered play with just about a 75% probability of reaching the postseason. If you’re looking for positives, there was a point during their current nine game losing streak where the North Siders clinched third place. Take that Cincinnati.

Joe Maddon will continue to be the hot topic this weekend, as the sand in his Cubs hourglass continues to dwindle. It doesn’t seem like he will be retained once his contract expires on Sunday afternoon.

I was trying to decide who the team’s unsung heroes should be in this disaster of a season and I’m going with Kyle Schwarber and Yu Darvish.

Schwarbs started to rake right after the All-Star break and has continued to produce and stay focused regardless of the team’s poor play. He has also served as a cheerleader of sorts, and was probably the last team member to throw in the towel on this season. He carries a robust  1.086 OPS in 94 September plate appearances heading into the weekend series with the Cardinals, a true no-quit guy.

Darvish has been spectacular, with a second half performance that rivals those of Rick Sutcliffe in 1984 and Jake Arrieta in 2015. His September ERA sits at 2.36, and since he is unlikely to pitch again this month, he’ll finish September with an absurd 46/4 strikeout-to-walk rate. Big Yu finishes his 2019 campaign with 229 punch-outs in 178.2 innings. He’s also the team’s comeback player of the year.

If it seem like the Cubs have nothing left to play for, they do have a shot at determining who wins the NL Central. The Cardinals sit just one game ahead of the Brewers, and Chicago can help Milwaukee jump over St. Louis for the division title with a couple wins at Busch Stadium.

The Cubs will be playing their “B” squad in that series, which likely hurts the Brewers chances. But don’t tell that to Joe Maddon because he really doesn’t give a shit about it, and, as much as I’d like to see Milwaukee overtake the Cardinals, I applaud Maddon for his position here.

Cubs News & Notes

  • Darvish has not entertained any thoughts (so far) about opting out of his contract this winter. Everybody breathe a sigh of relief.
  • The Angels would appear to be willing to dismiss manager Brad Ausmus in favor of Maddon if the Cubs skipper becomes available.
  • Jon Lester said he will honor the final year of his contract and not ask to be traded if the front office decides to blow the whole thing up and rebuild. ‘‘I’m not walking away from anything; I’m not a quitter by any means,’’ Lester, 35, said. ‘‘So I’ll be here next year, if they want me.’’
  • Everyone seems to agree that the Cubs lost their chemistry somewhere between 2016 and today. That may dictate some of the moves that Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer make this winter. Hopefully it also means retaining Nicholas Castellanos.
  • Castellanos may not be as expensive as one would think, despite a proclamation by Bryce Harper that “the dude is gonna get paid.”
  • If you’re interested in what a drastic overhaul of this Cubs’ team may look like, Matt Snyder of CBS Sports offers six big changes that could effectively re-open the organization’s championship window, one of which is firing Epstein.

On Deck

It is the end of an era for Felix Hernandez in Seattle. The face of so many Mariners’ teams over the last 15 seasons made an emotional exit after getting the first out of the sixth inning in last night’s game. The 33-year-old will be a free agent at season’s end and he finished this injury-plagued season at 1-8 with a 6.40 ERA in 15 starts. He’s 1-16 with a 6.38 ERA dating back over 26 outings (25 starts) since last July.

Extra Innings

I made my first ever trip to Lambeau Field last night, watching the Eagles down the Packers 34-27. I’d say Green Bay’s iconic stadium is the NFL equivalent of Wrigley Field, so if you ever have the chance to see a game there you should. The stadium is beautiful and modern and sits surrounded by residential homes, all of whom treat game day like it is a national holiday. The fans, however, are the NFL equivalent of the St. Louis Cardinals. It can be a little over-the-top at times, though there are really no negatives to rabid fandom.

A couple of ex-Bears were the difference for the Eagles.

They Said It

  • “I’m not thinking anything about it right now. I have talked to my agent and family too. But I’m so comfortable here. I really like this organization.” – Yu Darvish
  • “We’re going to put a good team out there, but of course they’re going to bitch. Of course they are. I get it. But quite frankly, there are certain things I don’t give a shit about and that would be one of them.” – Joe Maddon
  • ‘‘What [Maddon] did for this organization . . . you talk about rebuild, you talk about signings, all that stuff, he was the first guy to write his name on that paper. He believed. Him believing made other people believe. What he’s done not only for this organization but for this city is huge.’’ – Jon Lester

Friday Walk Up Song

I and Love and You by the Avett Brothers. Be prepared to say goodbye to a few of those who brought the Cubs their first championship in 108 years. It’s truly the end of an era.

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