Again Sampson, Alzolay looked great, Hughes, Quiroz’s Big Moment, Wisdom’s Finger and other Cubs bullets

At 63-85, with 14 games remaining, last night’s win ensured that the Chicago Cubs 2022 couldn’t lose 100 games! POP THE CHAMPAGNNNNNNNNNE !!!

  • Another start from Adrian Sampson, and another day saying the same thing: he didn’t miss a lot of clubs, but he stayed in the strike zone, stayed off the barrel and performed well. It was his third consecutive start of at least 6.0 innings and he hasn’t allowed more than one run. He continues to do so. (Even his FIP, 3.75, is now better than the league average!)
  • How long does Sampson have to do this before he says he needs to be locked in a 40-man seat this off-season? I don’t think there’s anything he can do to say he’s locked up one day of opening place in the roster (much less a place of rotation!), but keep it in the organization? A guy with options left over who has shown some success in the big leagues and can swing between rotation and bullpen? Keeping him around 40 seems like a good idea at this point.
  • This is just a funny thing:
  • Adbert Alzolay was fantastic last night in his second outing of two innings:
  • Alzolay was once again heavy with the four seams and curved balls last night (like his first appearance), after becoming more of a sinker type last year (which, as you may recall, was an evolution from him. PREVIOUSLY be more four- stapler and heavy curveball!). Ranking systems call some of his curved balls a slider (at least he thinks that’s what’s going on), when in reality it’s just about strengthening the curve ball this year (he has a lot less drop and more speed) – unless he suddenly is throwing his slider much slower than last year and with a movement profile similar to a curve ball …
  • So far, through two appearances and four innings, Alzolay has looked exactly as he hopes on his return from his long absence: healthy, in control and capable of making more innings. Really that’s all you need to see from him until the end of the season to be sure that, if healthy in the spring, he can be a multi-inning weapon in your bullpen in 2023.
  • Speaking of the Cubs bullpen, where Brandon Hughes looked in shape again last night at 9:
  • This is not to say that you MUST build the back of your bullpen on the cheap, but it does mean that the Cubs have been very successful in that area this year, even without the highest dollar investments. They just seem to find a lot of those guys in free agency (and get the most out of them), and now they’re developing them in-house too.
  • Esteban Quiroz scored his first big league successes in his maiden big league start last night, and he was also showing off the glove:
  • “It was a very humbling experience, really,” Quiroz said of his early start, via interpreter Will Nadal, for “I dreamed of this moment, I thought about it a lot. It’s something I’ve worked for. … I had the three bats in Chicago [and] I didn’t really perform the way I wanted, so I wanted to make sure I go out there and perform well. I didn’t do anything [yet]. I’m here to work hard and do the best I can ”.
  • It’s been a long way for Quiroz, and whatever happens next, it’s just nice to see him living these moments. It’s also nice to see that, in a situation where he wouldn’t hurt them in either direction, the Cubs have chosen to give this opportunity to a veteran like Quiroz. We’ve discussed this earlier, but when it comes to attracting future minor league free agents, being known as an organization trying to do good to those guys can only help. Also, in general, can we all be like that? Kind and helpful when possible?
  • Willson Contreras trained on the pitch yesterday as he continues to recover from his ankle injury (Montemurro).
  • If you’ve noticed that Patrick Wisdom isn’t playing much, even though he’s been out of the IL, that finger injury is likely still bothering him (Tribune). It’s an unfortunate problem to deal with in a season where production slipped and the glove didn’t look that strong, and when the Cubs have a crowded group of 40 men to consider this off-season. I tend to think that Wisdom is still too valuable to simply bet, but it would probably have been helpful for him to finish on a healthy, strong note so that the Cubs would at least explore trading options if they wanted to.
  • The vaccine requirement on the Canadian side of the border will reportedly be dropped later this month, which would have a noticeable post-season impact for teams traveling to Toronto to face the Blue Jays (assuming they return to the United States. United States is not a problem).
  • The Reds Are Coming For The Cubs’ Most Beloved Record:

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