- Who will have more home runs this season, Rizzo or Bryant?
That’s a tough one, and it wasn’t made any easier with Rizzo’s two homers on Sunday. I’m going with him and here’s why. I think both are going to hit 30+ this season, without question, but I think Rizzo’s pure production showed on Sunday. That’s what makes me think he’ll win that battle, even if by just a few homers. I’m not saying Bryant can’t rake (cue the homers against Cincy, especially the golf grand slam), but I think Rizzo is already hitting insane amounts of homers, and he hasn’t hit his stride yet. If he maintains the pace he’s on, picking up slowly and then tearing through pitchers, he could hit 40.
- Do you think we’ll see Wilson Contreras this year?
I like Wilson Contreras, a lot. This season thus far for him has been stellar, averaging .375 on the year and hitting safely in 11 of 13 games in AAA-Iowa. Contreras has been steadily getting better year by year and it’s not long before he cracks the major league lineup, but is it 2016? I don’t think so, barring a setback of either Montero or Ross. With Schwarber rehabilitating, there’s more of a shot, but with Montero and Ross carrying the load just fine thus far, unless something changes I think Contreras stays put to continue growth through the year.
- Why did Joe put T–Money La Stella in a leadoff spot? #3am
I could cop out and say it’s just a “Maddonism” (Cue Busch Stadium joke, ya know because they’ll try to ban it) but I think it’s more on the basis of playing with what he’s got. La Stella has been really good thus far this season in the time he’s gotten. Hitting .364 in 22 at-bats, La Stella is solid in every category. Is that saying he works in a leadoff role? I still don’t think so. I like the idea of it, however, and it seems like Sunday was a good inclination of what he can do in that role. La Stella hit for two doubles, a homer, totaling 8 bases in the 9-0 win. It’ll be interesting to see if Maddon tries that again as the season progresses.
- During spring training, Chris Bosio predicted the Cubs would have three no-hitters this season. Do you think they’ll achieve that with one already? If yes, will they all come from Arrieta or will another pitcher get his day?
I love Chris Bosio, and I think he’s been the best thing for this pen since I don’t even know. What’s great about Bosio is that confidence. He’s sure of his pitchers, and I think that benefits everyone, not just Jake Arrieta. Arrieta is confident enough, but that extra boost knowing that someone like Bosio is behind you has been key. Look back at this weekend, and the tweet that Cubs fans dug up back where Arrieta said he’d be a dominant starter one day. That makes it all the sweeter to see the success. I think Jason Hammel could be a no-hit kind of guy, if he’s pitching on the right day against the right team. He’s been insanely good, and if he’s on at the right moment I think it’s possible. I do think Arrieta could easily get another, I mean just look at some of the swings in last week’s no-hitter. If you said three no-hitters for any other group I’d say you’re crazy, but with this bunch I wouldn’t put it past them.
- The Cubs are off to a hot start, scoring 119 runs in 18 games, do you think they’ll be able to carry that into October?
It’s been amazing to see the production from this lineup through 18 games. It’s easy to overlook the fact that Schwarber is gone now, when you could find some who thought without him the lineup might struggle. Minus the few games where it seemed like bats weren’t there, you’ll find top to bottom production that’s just scary. When you’ve got LaStella hitting doubles and home runs and doing that at the top of the order, that’s dangerous. Can they keep it up? I thought I’d be afraid to say yes, but I’m not. I think they can, with maybe a few spells of games where production isn’t at the same level. The key is pace, being such a long season, it can really take its toll. It’s too evident to think that they can’t keep it up, especially when it’s an entire lineup that a pitcher has to avoid not just a few certain players.