The Cubs are doing all right. They closed out August with a sweep over division rivals Pittsburgh Pirates 6-5 at Wrigley Field. Jason Hammel kicked it into high gear with his 14th victory of the season. That’s good news for the remainder of the season. If you remember, Hammel was pulled after two innings last Saturday, so it’s really good that he’s back in the win column and regaining that confidence.
“That’s rear-view mirror now,” Hammel said. “Joe and I talked it out. There’s no room for off-the-field b.s. or disagreements or to hold a grudge. He told me how he felt. I told him how I felt. We’re grown men; we solved it. You have to respect each other’s views and opinions. To carry something like that would mess up something special.”
The Cubs pitching staff now has four pitchers with 13 or more wins. That’s awesome now with one month to go in the season.
But let’s talk about Addison Russell‘s amazing catch. Here it is again for you none believers.
“I thought there was no way I was going to make that play,” Russell said of the Gregory Polanco popup. “Just got a good read on the ball. I anticipated him hitting it up the middle, but he hit it the other way. Pounced on it as quick as I can.”
The Cubs are poised to do some really big things this coming month. They’re 15 ahead in the National League Central and en route to enjoying the first overall. Last time was 2008. This was also the first time the Cubs finished with 22 victories in a month since 1945. Again, I’m not a superstitious dude, but it just seems that all the signs are pointing to 2016 being the big year.
“This team is going to be really good for a long time,” Hammel said. “They continue to dazzle — can’t say surprise because we’ve come to expect all these great plays and the big knocks they’re driving in. We’re witnessing greatness with a lot of young kids right now.”
I think guys like Addison Russell have been a huge part of this year’s success. If Kris Bryant, with his 36 home runs is the key to the offence, then Russell has been the anchor on defence. Last night, that amazing catch, man, we’re going to see more of that in October.
“That was one of the better catches I’ve seen,” said Kris Bryant, who had a front-row seat. “I thought it was Matt Szczur‘s ball and Addison comes out of nowhere. It’s no surprise to me; he’s been making plays like that all year long. That was huge in that situation. We had to really work for that win, and that was one of the plays that was a turning point.”