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Official 2016 World Series Chicago Cubs Season Thread: (103-58) - Page 35

post #1021 of 3741
Thread Starter 
Come on Soler, please...............

Edit, they are intentionally walking him. Damnit.

Base loaded, 1 out, AGAIN. laugh.gif
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post #1022 of 3741
Thread Starter 
Cubs win!!!!!

Jesus Christ why do we make everything so difficult? laugh.gif
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post #1023 of 3741
Can't say I've ever seen a game end like that before but a win is a win. Looking forward to going to the game tomorrow.
post #1024 of 3741
Thread Starter 
Bryant's first 100+ At Bats or so.


99 AB
27 Hits
17 Runs
5 2B
1 3B
4 HR
24 RBI
22 Walks
38 K's
2 Steals

.273/.407/.465 and climbing. pimp.gif


Obviously the power is coming, 4 HR's in the last 7 days. Warmer weather obviously agrees with him.

Leads the team in walks, and RBI already.

He and Rizzo back to back are DYNAMITE right now.
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post #1025 of 3741
gotta do some about this bullpen. luck was on our side today. we need a great day from Lester tomorrow. feels good not to be in last place for a change
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post #1026 of 3741
Quote:
Originally Posted by CP1708 View Post

Bryant's first 100+ At Bats or so.


99 AB
27 Hits
17 Runs
5 2B
1 3B
4 HR
24 RBI
22 Walks
38 K's
2 Steals

.273/.407/.465 and climbing. pimp.gif


Obviously the power is coming, 4 HR's in the last 7 days. Warmer weather obviously agrees with him.

Leads the team in walks, and RBI already.

He and Rizzo back to back are DYNAMITE right now.
he's going to be really special once he cuts those K's down. hell, that whole offense will be very special once they cut the K's down laugh.gif
post #1027 of 3741
Thread Starter 
I think about how raw Rizzo was at 22, and what he is now, at 25.

Then I think about Bryant, Russell, Soler, Baez, and Schwarber at 25.

And realize Rizzo and Castro will only be 28.

Then I cry, softly.

laugh.gifpimp.gif
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post #1028 of 3741
Thread Starter 
Today in the minors:

Baez, Schwarber, Almora, Vogelbach go a combined 10-15 with a couple homers, steals and not sure how many RBI.

Man. mean.gif


I think Vogelbach is most likely prospect to be dealt, not as main piece, but part of a package. Rizzo is here thru 2020, Vogel can't play any other spot. He'd be a good fit in AL, 1B/DH combo, lefty bat, good approach. Just need a trade partner.
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post #1029 of 3741
vogelbach can't play any outfield? i'd take a big lefty bat on the Mets but first base isn't an issue for us.
post #1030 of 3741
Thread Starter 
I "suppose" you could Pete Incavilia him in LF, but he is pretty slow afoot, would hamper a defense.

Tho, Lagares might be able to shade that way, might work.
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post #1031 of 3741
eh if he's slow i wouldnt even wanna risk it with how vast Citi is. have you heard anything about who the Cubs would want for Baez let's say? I'd love it if the Mets can put together a package of Montero and like Cechinni for Baez.
post #1032 of 3741
Thread Starter 
There are zero rumors on us trading anyone. Cubs management only says focus on developing players, not using them as bait.

Baez is killing in Iowa right now tho. Up over .300 and hitting everything hard.
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post #1033 of 3741
You think if he keeps it up they eventually move Bryant to the outfield?
post #1034 of 3741
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnnyRedStorm View Post

You think if he keeps it up they eventually move Bryant to the outfield?

Ideally, yes.

But, then we limit Schwarber to only Catcher, and his bat is so good, I think they'd prefer LF as a fall back.

But, in terms of depth, you catch Schwarber 1-2 times a week, put he and Bryant in LF.
Then move Bryant to 3B on days Schwarber is in left,let Russell/Baez/Castro get a day off here and there.

Nice bat off the bench each day, alternate rest for guys, versatile team, lefty/righty matchups, just gives whole lineup options for Maddon. So, so beautiful.


Lester today. pimp.gif


6 straight.
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post #1035 of 3741
Thread Starter 
Schwarber with two bombs already today. pimp.gif

Need a big game from Arrieta today. Please. nerd.gif
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post #1036 of 3741
Thread Starter 
Quote:
So, with Fulmer off the board, where do the Cubs turn? The BA pick is a surprise, but it is a pick that I think shows that this publication has been doing their homework on how the Cubs’ front office likes to draft. The pick for the Cubs is a guy who was not thought to be a first round talent before the season started, has been perhaps overlooked by a lot of scouts for various reasons, but who has put together a great season and may well be the best college hitter in the draft. No, that isn’t a description of Kyle Schwarber. Ok, so it is a description of Kyle Schwarber this time last year, but it is also describing Arkansas sophomore center fielder Andrew Benintendi.

Benintendi was not known for his power or his hit tool before the season began, but in the very tough SEC all he has done this season is rank among the nation’s leaders in SLG while batting over .400 and mashing 17 homers. And he has excellent speed that makes him a true stolen base threat. And he hits left handed. And he has a very good chance to stick in center field.

Other analysts have Benintendi now listed as very likely to go in the first fifteen picks, so the Cubs taking him at number nine would not be a stretch. And you can immediately forget any thoughts of waiting to try to snag him in the second round.

I’m honestly not sure how I feel about this one. I love the idea of taking an excellent college hitter who had success in a major conference, and I love the idea of taking a center fielder who can hit for average with left handed power and speed, but I am also just a little leery of a guy who exploded up the boards in a single spring. If you are looking for a potential sleeper the Cubs could steal with their first round pick, though, this could be the guy.
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post #1037 of 3741
Thread Starter 


Baez is taking the Rizzo approach. Stand on top of the plate and force mistakes.
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post #1038 of 3741
Thread Starter 
Cubs trade C Wellington Castillo to the Mariners for 26 year old reliever Yoervis Medina.

Saves us about 1.5 million in salary and opens up a roster spot for more depth on the bench. (Alcantara? nerd.gif )
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post #1039 of 3741
Thread Starter 
Quote:
A writer I respect once told me this about Starlin Castro, especially in the days when there was nothing else to write about: He moves the needle.

I am more of a science geek so I think of it in terms of gravitational pull. If the Cubs starting 9 were a solar system, Castro would be Jupiter. There are some that say the occasionally brilliant planet was once destined to be a star, but it never quite developed into one.

That seems appropriate.

Let me start by saying that Castro has earned some of the grief that gets thrown his way. It may be disproportional in terms of frequency and intensity, but it is not completely unwarranted. For better or worse, Castro has been a very visible Cubs player since his 6 RBI debut back in May of 2010.

Baseball is a large, big picture game, yet it is filled with small nuances throughout. It is nearly impossible to take it all in at once or understand the consequences of each event. We need to break it down into pieces, but those pieces aren't broken down equally. Sometimes a defender will make a great play in the 3rd inning that saves a run and the team ultimately wins 1-0. That play is often long forgotten but it could have changed the course of the game. We can take a big picture snapshot of players overall performance with metrics like UZR/150, but baseball is also a game of sequence. Each play affects the next. If the defender doesn't make that play in the 3rd inning and the team falls behind early, perhaps it has to pinch-hit for the starter and use its bullpen earlier than it would like. In that situation, could we realistically expect a 1-0 win? Maybe, maybe not.

If the shortstop makes an error with a one run lead late in the game, however, it becomes much more visible. The sequence of events that follow are much easier to track -- and indeed, fans will follow it more closely because the game situation warrants it. If that leads to a late run, then that play seemingly has a more direct impact on the outcome and as such we are less likely to forget it.

That seems to make sense, but from that perspective the Addison Russell error that was every bit as crucial -- and perhaps more because it ultimately led to a two run deficit. Yet, the reaction was not the same. Russell is still in the honeymoon period and (thankfully) did not get the same scrutiny. The same could be said of Kris Bryant's error that started the Padres rally in the 5th. All were key points in the game and all equally affected the outcome, but we did not perceive it that way. As usual, Castro attracted much of the negative attention.

Castro is by no mean an innocent bystander in the creation of that bias. He has frustrated every observer at one time or another. He's largely perceived as a player who makes far more than his share of physical and mental errors, but that perception has had a lot of help. It was brought to the forefront of our collective conscience by Bobby Valentine and we've been reminded about his flaws (whether they be real, perceived, or exaggerated) almost daily since then. The Castro narrative has grown seemingly exponentially. It is now pervasive throughout the baseball universe.

It's unfortunate that Castro has had to develop under such scrutiny. He'll probably never get a fair shake here with some of the media or a large segment of the Cubs fan base, especially now that expectations have risen for the team as well as for individual performances. Where Castro was once the biggest light in the Cubs nighttime sky, he is now being eclipsed by bigger potential stars like Bryant and Russell.

The hope is that those players can develop in a way that Castro hasn't. And, in a way, the focus on the Castro mistakes serves a somewhat ironic, unintentional purpose.

You see, the massive gravitational pull of Jupiter acts as a sort of a cosmic vacuum. There are asteroids that would be pelting our planet on a relatively regular basis if it wasn't for that pull. Jupiter absorbs the collisions that might otherwise be destined for all of us and so, in a way, it's very presence allows us to blissfully live on with our happy little lives.

And without the immense gravity of Starlin Castro, fan scrutiny may have otherwise landed squarely on the young shoulders of Bryant and Russell yesterday. As it is, while Castro regularly gets pelted with criticism, it at the very least allows the Cubs' newest budding stars to continue to grow in relative peace.

At least for now.
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post #1040 of 3741
Thread Starter 


Quote:
BILLY BEANE HAD championship aspirations and two pitcher-sized holes to fill. So last April, when Oakland's GM chatted up Cubs president Theo Epstein about right-handed starters Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel, he casually mentioned that he'd be willing to discuss star shortstop prospect Addison Russell in trade conversation. Epstein already had an All-Star shortstop in Starlin Castro and a top prospect at the position in Javier Baez. But that didn't matter. As soon as Epstein heard the name Russell, he began stalking the deal relentlessly. Two months later, the trade was complete, and one month ago, Russell, at 21, became the youngest player in the National League.

Later in 2014, Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington, who worked for Epstein in Boston and replaced him when he left for Chicago, began to follow the same approach. He acquired, over three months, third baseman Pablo Sandoval and outfielders Rusney Castillo and Hanley Ramirez, just a few of the many collectibles in his own position-player hoarding.

For the past two decades, with MLB under an offensive explosion, the formula for winning baseball has been clear: Get arms. From the '01 Diamondbacks and '03 Marlins to the '05 White Sox, '08 Phillies and '12 Giants, teams with a few top aces -- often veteran ones -- could trump a full house of sluggers. Pitching was the prized art form, GMs the collectors. Yet here were the Cubs and Red Sox, buying bats in bulk. What were they doing?

WHENEVER HE FINDS himself stumbling upon highlights of Boston's 2004 World Series title, Epstein will cease channel-flipping and settle in to watch. The former Red Sox GM doesn't do this because he's sentimental or he needs to relive the joy but because he doesn't remember them. He literally wonders what comes next.

He does remember edging down to the runway leading to the Sox's dugout in Game 4 because he wanted to know what a Boston championship looked like. He couldn't see home plate, but he heard the ball hit the bat and saw pitcher Keith Foulke bounce off the mound in pursuit of that final out. Epstein knows he hugged somebody. He isn't sure who. And he can recall seeing longtime Boston player, coach and manager Johnny Pesky -- born in the months after the previous Red Sox title in 1918 -- weeping openly, as Epstein did. "A lot of the rest of it," Epstein says, "is very blurry."

But what Epstein, Cherington and the rest of his front office did manage to retain was a formula -- the brawny formula upon which they'd built the Sox -- the idea that a team's margin for error could be solved by an overwhelming lineup. They had identified hitters and stacked them throughout, from Twins castoff David Ortiz to former replacement player Kevin Millar to Bill Mueller, who won a batting title in 2003 at the bottom of the Boston order. "When you have a feared offense, one through nine in the American League or one through eight in the National League, it shows up every day," Epstein says.

And it compensates for weaknesses. A starter might have a rough game, or a fielder might make an error, but eventually Johnny Damon, Ortiz and Manny Ramirez would swing their team into the game. "An epic offense," Cherington recalls.

"For whoever was pitching, we wanted 27 outs to be as excruciating as they could possibly be," says Josh Byrnes, who worked for the Red Sox at the time before serving as 
a general manager for the Diamondbacks and Padres, and, most recently, as a senior vice president for the Dodgers.

The only problem: sustaining it. By 2005, as the implementation of tougher testing for PEDs loomed, execs predicted that offensive production would decline. But they could not have anticipated by how much. In 2000, 47 hitters had 30 or more homers; in 2014, 11 hitters reached that mark. In 2001, two pitchers had ERAs below 3.00; by the end of 2014, 22 pitchers did.

In 2000, 28 teams posted on-base percentages of .329 or higher. By the end of this April, just seven teams were at or above that mark. That those teams included Cherington's Red Sox and Epstein's Cubs was not at all an accident.

IN MAJOR LEAGUE baseball, ideologies are viral; they travel on the backs of host executives. And in 2011, when Epstein left the Sox, he carried with him his unique strain of thought.

Jed Hoyer was part of the Epstein rat pack in the 2004 championship and had been hired by the Padres as general manager in 2009. Two years later, when Epstein vaulted to the Cubs, Hoyer left San Diego -- where his standing was tenuous -- to become Chicago's general manager. And now, as those two men and the rest of the Cubs' new staff began meeting in Epstein's office at Wrigley Field, they studied the theoretical free agent classes of pitchers and position players for the years ahead. That forecast for hitters, they thought, was ugly. Teams were increasingly signing their best young players early in their careers, from Evan Longoria to Troy Tulowitzki, Ryan Braun and Joey Votto. And the free agents who did reach the open market tended to be far out of the Cubs' price range. Albert Pujols signed that winter for $240 million. The next year, Prince Fielder would pocket $214 million. Despite speculation that the Cubs would be heavy bidders on both, they effectively passed.

Although the Cubs believed they could find pitching in the free agent market, they saw investing in position players as the safer play -- like picking U.S. bonds over startup stocks. Still, Epstein and Hoyer determined that they couldn't rely on the market for position players; they would have to find their own, at a time when MLB started building restrictions on how much teams could spend on international players. "It's hard to find bats, but it's even harder to find them in free agency," Hoyer says. "Our thought was, let's be aggressive and build our offense and build our lineup for a long time."

They started by trading pitcher Andrew Cashner to San Diego for the then-unproven 22-year-old first baseman Anthony Rizzo, whom Epstein and Hoyer both knew from previous deals. Two days before the new rules went into effect, the Cubs signed Jorge Soler, a defector from Cuba, for $30 million over a nine-year deal. In the 2012 draft, the Cubs had the sixth pick and selected a prep outfielder, Albert Almora, who three years later has reached Double-A.

The Cubs had the second overall pick in 2013, which meant they were at the mercy of the Astros, who picked first. There was, at the time, a fairly overwhelming consensus about who the best available player was: Kris Bryant, a third baseman from the University of San Diego. Says a rival executive whose team didn't have a top-10 pick: "When we started ranking our board, it was like, 'Kris Bryant's No. 1, right? OK, move on to the next guy.'"

Assuming that the Astros would pick Bryant, the Cubs were prepared to take a starter in Jonathan Gray or Mark Appel. Then the Cubs got lucky: The Astros tapped Appel -- a pick that now appears destined to be as second-guessed as the Trail Blazers' selection of Sam Bowie over a guard named Michael Jordan.

Meanwhile, back in Boston, Cherington was forging his own path after a tumultuous first season as GM (aka the year of Bobby Valentine). In 2013, drawing on the experiences of 2004, he began to remake the team, filling the lineup with veteran hitters who would compete throughout at-bats -- Mike Napoli, Shane Victorino, Jonny Gomes. It worked well. Famously well. The Sox won the Series on the strength of their bats -- and a postseason pitching run by Jon Lester (4-1, 1.56 ERA).

Their strategy was working, but with Lester barreling toward free agency, Cherington and his staff faced a test of their resolve. While studying pitcher metrics for market inefficiencies, they noted that the age at which pitchers tend to peak was in retreat. Cherington won't reveal the metrics favored by the Red Sox, but the numbers mined by ESPN Stats & Information are striking. In the seasons from 1998 to 2003, an average of 49 pitchers in their 20s posted a WAR of at least 2.0, and 38 pitchers in their 30s did so. Compare that to 2010 to '14, when an average of 61 pitchers in their 20s posted a WAR of 2.0 or higher, but just 24 pitchers in their 30s did the same. The trend was notable and suggested that PEDs had been extending the careers of pitchers every bit as much as hitters. The takeaway for the Sox front office? High-end position players were a better, safer investment, particularly at a time of dwindling run production. So Cherington, like Epstein, began serially dipping into the market's selection of available hitters.

So it was that in the summer of 2014, Boston traded Lester to Oakland for slugger Yoenis Cespedes. Then, the Red Sox signed two Cuban defectors, center fielder Castillo and infielder Yoan Moncada, for about $135 million combined. During the winter, they bid heavily on two experienced hitters known for doing damage against good pitching -- Sandoval ($95 million) and Ramirez ($88 million). And they refused to consider trading catcher Blake Swihart or outfielder Mookie Betts for 31-year-old Cole Hamels, despite the clamoring from Red Sox fans. "You need both pitching and hitting, but maybe there's more you can do to help pitching than hitting," says a GM who's watched the Red Sox work. "It's easier to get pitching."

To build his rotation, Cherington targeted younger, less expensive pitchers. The 35-year-old John Lackey was traded for 26-year-old Joe Kelly. The Sox secured 26-year-old Rick Porcello with a four-year deal for $82.5 million, then traded for 28-year-old lefty Wade Miley and abstained from bidding on 30-year-old Max Scherzer and 33-year-old James Shields.

The upshot is that the Red Sox, like the Cubs, are now sitting on a surplus of bats, with the infield and outfield seemingly two- and three-deep at every spot. (Says one NL executive, "What the Red Sox have done is like a big-market version of the Cubs.") Cherington's peers assume that at some point this season the GM will use his stockpile to swap for precisely the kind of pitchers Boston now covets -- younger, closer to those peak years. "They have the resources to get anybody they want," says one AL executive. "They could probably outbid anybody if they wanted to."

Ironically enough, what Cherington wanted, early this winter, was to get Lester back. Even more ironically, Epstein wanted him too.

WHEN EPSTEIN SET his sights on Lester this offseason, he eschewed the hokey college recruiting stuff and showed Lester and his wife, Farrah, a video, a 15-minute promo with Ryan Dempster and Kerry Wood talking about playing in Chicago. Epstein wanted the whole thing to feel like a family reunion, an appeal from an old friend. But he was also prepared to do whatever was necessary. Knowing Lester's affinity for hunting, he sent him camouflage gear dotted with Cubs logos. "I was ready to soak myself in deer urine if necessary," Epstein later joked with reporters.

For the Cubs, the fight over Lester was an organizational statement, the first real superstar free agent target in Epstein's tenure. Epstein and Hoyer knew the pitcher well from their days together in Boston and knew they'd be landing a rotation anchor. And it was possible, in part, because of how Epstein and Hoyer had collected cheap, young position players, freeing up money.

Of course, the Sox had deep pockets too. The question was whether they'd spend. The previous winter, Boston had offered Lester $70 million over four years, reflecting its reluctance to invest in older pitchers. It wasn't close to where Lester perceived his market value, and some of Lester's teammates were angered by what they thought was a lowball offer. Lester's side ended the negotiations, and for weeks the Sox tried to persuade him to re-engage. On June 29, 2014, manager John Farrell met with Lester, trying to coax him to the table. But after Boston signaled that it would push its offer just a little beyond $100 million, in the range of Homer Bailey's $105 million deal with the Reds, the in-season talks ended. Lester was traded.

Once Lester reached free agency, his market price shot upward; the Cubs pushed, recruiting Lester's personal catcher, David Ross, and their offer to Lester reached $155 million. If Boston was going to land Lester, it needed to go all-in. But for a pitcher beyond his 30th birthday -- even someone they knew as well as they know Lester, his arm and mind -- Red Sox owner John Henry wasn't prepared to do that. Boston offered $135 million, but in the last 48 hours, there were those in the organization who knew it wouldn't be enough. Epstein got Lester, and Cherington went in a different direction -- and it appears he will have to keep doing so.

As Cherington leaned against the Fenway Park batting cage on May 3 and watched Ortiz lash line drives toward the Green Monster, he was aware the Red Sox had the worst rotation ERA in baseball. Just four days later, Boston would fire its pitching coach, Juan Nieves. Help will most surely be needed. A time zone away, Epstein has his own challenges, some inherent to a team relying on all those young players. It may be that the collective potential of Rizzo, Soler, Bryant and Russell -- or Swihart, Castillo, Moncada and Betts, for that matter -- won't fully manifest this summer. But Epstein and Cherington are steps ahead, already in a place other teams are now trying to get to, on the leading edge of baseball's never-ending quest for the undervalued asset.

"Boston's lineup is a joke," a rival general manager told me, meaning that as a compliment, "and if you were picking a team to win multiple World Series in the immediate future, you'd pick the Cubs. They can be that good."

Let the leaguewide hoarding begin.
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post #1041 of 3741
Thread Starter 
No plan tho. laugh.giflaugh.giflaugh.gif
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post #1042 of 3741
Wada mowing down the Padres. Straight dealing out there. 7 K's thru 3 innings.
post #1043 of 3741
Wada nthat.gif

After that brutal ending to the Bulls season, I'm ready to make the jump into full baseball mode.
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post #1044 of 3741

Not sure if posted, but just watched back to the future 2. In the movie it had Cubs winning it all this year 100-1 longshot :smokin 

post #1045 of 3741
Thread Starter 
HUGE game tonight. pimp.gif

Bryant with a two run bomb in the 1st, Russell added a solo shot later, and Hendricks throws a 5 hit shutout with no walks and 7 K's. eek.gifpimp.gif

We take 2/3 on the road, give the pen a night off, now flip the rotation back over to Lester/Arrieta/Hammel. Outstanding.

23-17 in late May now.
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post #1046 of 3741
didn't catch the game but Hendricks seemed like he was brilliant. Cubs getting good pitching outside of Arrieta and Lester.
post #1047 of 3741
Thread Starter 
Likely coinciding with Montero getting more work after the Castillo trade.
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post #1048 of 3741
I've always liked Montero as a catcher. Underrated at his position.
post #1049 of 3741
Kyle Hendricks was cooking last night. Complete game. HR from our young studs in Bryant and Russell last night. we only 3.5 games out of 1st place. Let"s go Boys!!!!!
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post #1050 of 3741
Quote:
Originally Posted by CP1708 View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by CP1708 View Post




This is an nice article. Great Read
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NikeTalk › NikeTalk Forums › The Lounge › Sports & Training › Official 2016 World Series Chicago Cubs Season Thread: (103-58)