The Rundown: Castellanos Doesn’t Mind Nick Name, Wick Sick, Bryant Clutch, Here Come Cards

I have been struggling with this since the Cubs made their big splash at the trade deadline and Bruce Miles of the Daily Herald was nice enough to get to the bottom of it of for me. When speaking to Nicholas Castellnos, Miles asked him, “Do you prefer ‘Nick’ or ‘Nicholas?'”

“Nick is OK,” the outfielder replied. “Save you some space.”

Thank you. I have preferred calling him the former anyway. Still, anyone who rakes the way Castellanos has since coming over from Detroit should be called anything he wants.

In 11 games, he is 17-for-46, slashing .370/.408/1.169 with four home runs, six doubles and six RBI, and has nestled in nicely as the team’s number two hitter. When the front office said they needed a professional hitter, I’m sure Cubs fans never dreamed Castellanos would be this good, nor that he would make it look this easy.

And what the right fielder does singularly pales in comparison with the depth he provides for the rest of the lineup. Whether Victor Caratini or Jonathan Lucroy is catching, and as long as Albert Almora Jr. is used as a reserve, the Cubs have no easy outs one through eight in their batting order. It’s easy to dream of what the lineup may look like in September with Willson Contreras catching and a hopefully near-normal Ben Zobrist alternating with Ian Happ at second base. Only the Dodgers boast similar length in the National League.

That leave the Cubs with an imposing bench for September — and a potentially deep playoff run — with Almora being a smart play as a late-inning defensive replacement, provided Joe Maddon avoids hunches and premonitions. Sure, the starters will need a day off now and then, but it would behoove the Cubs’ skipper to run with whichever hot hand he is dealt.

For Castellanos, playing for Chicago is a complete 180 from his time with Detroit this season. The Tigers were  31-72 on the day the Cubs acquired him.

“It’s definitely like an extra boost of energy, that’s for sure,” Castellanos said after the trade. “We weren’t exactly having the best year over there, and as a competitor, you take pride in winning.”

It would be nice if the Cubs can figure out a way to keep Big Nick Energy in the fold beyond this season. He has quickly become a fan favorite.

Cubs News & Notes

How About That!

Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. can flat out hop. He’s good at baseball.

The Blue Jays bludgeoned the Rangers on Monday night, and Bo Bichette was a big reason. His two doubles gave him 15 extra base hits in his first 15 MLB games. No player has done that in the history of this game. That’s insane.

The Orioles have now allowed 248 home runs this season, a new AL record, and there’s still over six weeks of baseball left. The MLB record belongs to the 2016 Reds, who served up 268 long balls.

The Cardinals play 24 of their next 30 games against teams with losing records. Heads up, Cubs fans, the race to win the NL Central remains piping hot.

Nationals’ closer Sean Doolittle is really struggling lately and nearly blew another save last night.

Kenley Jansen has had a rough go of it for the Dodgers, too. Most of the playoff-bound teams have struggling bullpens right now.

A second consecutive game-winning homer by Carlos Santana has propelled the Indians into sole possession of first place in the AL Central. Last night, Santana walked it off against the Red Sox.

Phillies starter Jake Arrieta might be having second thoughts about trying to pitch through the bone spurs in his elbow.

Aristides Aquino hit another mammoth home run last night.

Monday’s Three Stars

  1. Gleyber Torres – The Yankees’ shortstop was 4-for-8 with three home runs and seven RBI as the Bronx Bombers swept the Orioles at Yankee Stadium. New York is 15-2 against Baltimore this season. Torres is hitting .413 with 13 home runs in the season series.
  2. Bo Bichette – The rookie shortstop was 4-for-6 with two doubles and a stolen base as the Blue Jays destroyed the Rangers 19-4. Bichette also scored three times.
  3. Trea Turner – The Nationals shortstop was 2-for-5 with a home run and four RBI in Washington’s win over the Reds.

Not a Star – Ex-Cubs reliever Carl Edwards Jr. had a rough go at it for the Padres last night, giving up four earned runs in two-thirds of an inning in a 10-4 loss to the Rays. It was his second consecutive poor outing since he was traded and the reliever now has a 32.34 ERA since joining San Diego.

Extra Innings

Yesterday was the one-year anniversary of the “David Bote Game.”

 

They Said It

  • “Incredible. The more I talk about [playing in Wrigley Field] is going to do it injustice. So I’m just going to leave it at incredible.” – Nick Castellanos
  • “[Wrigley Field] is a beautiful ballpark and these are some of the best fans in baseball. You get that energy once you arrive at the park and see the grass and the ivy and the dirt. You get excited to go out there and compete. To be here, on this team, is definitely something special.”Tony Kemp
  • “Those are the personalities [the front office] looked into. When they look into the kind of players they’re going to draft, they’re going to trade for, they do their homework and they want it to mesh well.”Cole Hamels
  • “We’re good. The lineup has gotten longer. We’ve got people that are out that are going to be coming back to us that are very good. We just have to maintain serve while we’re going through this moment.” – Joe Maddon

Tuesday Walk Up Song

Home Sweet Home by Mötley Crüe. The Cubs still have their home whites in tow and could use some good juju tonight when they take on the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. Also, this is one of the most underrated videos ever, if only for it’s extremely liberal use of slow motion sequences and because I’ll forever be reminded of the closing credits of the movie Hot Tub Time Machine whenever I watch it.

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Michael Canter

Favorite Quote: "Look Ma! Top of the World!" Cubs fan since I was five years old (1969): lover of B&W movies, the Oxford Comma, classic rock, and of course, baseball; annual roto-champ; partial insomniac; I detest the liberal use of the word 'albeit' by baseball writers; Nice guy, though somewhat brooding. Comment me, please and thank you.

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