The Rundown: Cubs Offense Starting to Click, Addison Russell 3 Hits — Will Be at Shortstop Again Today, Ross to Bereavement List

The Cubs offense has picked a good time to get hot.

After scoring seven runs on Friday, the Cubs were absolutely locked in yesterday, leading to an 8-6 win. Giants starter Matt Cain didn’t stand a chance, as the Cubs were hitting hard line drives all over the place.

Addison Russell had three hits (two of them doubles) to go along with an RBI and a run scored. His bat seems to be coming alive as of late, which is great to see.

Kris Bryant also had a nice game. He crushed a slider that didn’t do much sliding in the 3rd inning for his 15th home run. It was his first homer since July 27 and only his third since the All-Star break. Bryant finished the game 1-for-3 with two runs and three RBIs.

Really, it was an all-around strong performance by the offense. Pretty much everyone chipped in.

Three in a row over the Giants gives the Cubs a 2.5-game lead for the second wild card spot. They’ll go for the sweep today with Jake Arrieta on the mound. This team is so fun to watch right now.

Roster moves

Yesterday, catcher David Ross was placed on the bereavement list and outfielder Matt Szczur was called up to fill his spot on the roster.

With Miguel Montero returning from the disabled list, the Cubs are back to a three-headed catching montser. Kyle Schwarber has looked comfortable in the outfield, however.

Having Schwarber able to play catcher — and adequately — is so valuable. I’m still curious to see how much time he gets behind the plate now, especially with Joe Maddon in “playoff” mode.

Other notes

* Addison Russell will be playing shortstop again today, Joe Maddon said last night. I’m starting to think this is going to be a fairly permanent thing

* Joe Maddon is a big Kris Bryant fan:

* And here’s Kyle Hendricks talking about fellow Kyle — “Khal” Schwarber. If this is true, it’s so impressive for a guy who has played only for about a month in MLB to have this kind of impact:

* The Double-A Tennessee Smokies had another impressive game yesterday. At the plate, outfielder Albert Almora went 2-for-4 with a walk, run and 2 RBIs. Catcher Wilson Contreras stayed hot, going 1-for-3 with two runs scored, an RBI and two walks. Outfielder Bill McKinney had two hits, a walk and three RBIs. On the mound, starter Pierce Johnson went 7 innings giving up only one run and three hits.

* Rehabbing Tommy La Stella also collected a hit and scored two runs for the Smokies.

* Bad news for baseball fans: One of the best young pitchers in the game, the Marlins’ Jose Fernandez, is dealing with right shoulder stiffness and will see a doctor in Miami about it. Fernandez has missed a lot of the past couple seasons due to injury. He has pitched only 43 innings this year. Of course, in those 43 innings, he has been very good — posting a 2.30 ERA. What an awful year it has been for the Marlins. I thought they’d be much better this season.

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