Cubs Coffee Talk: Can the team win 40 or more games?
Chicago Cubs: Do the Cubs have the stable of pitchers to win 40?
The group often discussed how Chicago Cubs President of Baseball Operations, Theo Epstein, was trying to put together crazy combinations of pitchers that he saw in his mind as necessary to the team. I even joked recently in an article that Epstein was more like the X-Men mentor Professor X, putting together superhuman pitchers when the Cubs’ recent fourth-round draft pick threw 105 mph at practice; maybe they’ll be called, ‘The Eps-Men.’
“We may just have the perfect combination of pitching personalities to pull this off in a short season, “said Howard. “Our starters are seasoned and smart like Lester and Hendricks but we also have crafty pitchers – like Darvish and Chatwood. Then we have finesse and power with Mills and Cotton. I would add Quintana to that power list as well, but he just had surgery on his thumb this week, “Howard said.
“From washing dishes!” interrupted Russell. “All the Cubs need caretakers; you know like Alfred was the butler for Bruce Wayne’s Batman. Remember Morrow? How does anyone hurt themselves putting on their pants? We’ve got great pitchers on the Cubs, but they can’t do everyday things like drive a car, iron a shirt or…”
“Make the coffee?” Howard asked. Sort of a slap at Russell, who never seemed to be around when coffee needed to be made.
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“I used to think our relief pitchers weren’t so hot, “said Kris. “But now I look at the lineup and it’s awesome! Do you realize the talent we have now? Seriously! Jeremy Jeffress, Kimbrel and Wick coming back…”
“And that’s about it,” said Russell. “The rest of these guys are not proven winners. Some of them we had last season and they were terrible. Now they’re supposed to be much better in one and a half seasons? I don’t buy it. Duane Underwood Jr., Maples and Norwood all have a lot to prove this season,” Russell added.
“What about Casey Sadler?” I asked Russell. “I think he was a great addition for the bullpen, and don’t forget we also have Trevor Megill,” I said.
“Old news,” said Russell. I hated it when he did the ‘old news’ to me. “Those boys are unproven Cubs, “the all-knowing Russell added, but I wasn’t about to be shut down with his ‘old news.’
“For a longer season, you may be right, Russ, “I admitted. “But this is going to be a race to 60 to see who can get the most wins. The Cubs can afford to put in their best in this short season, and you and I know – their best is pretty darn good these days, “I added. “Don’t forget that Danny Hultzen is also out there, and my favorite, C.D. Pelham is just down the road in Iowa,” I added to throw some salt on Russell’s wounds.
“I thought your favorite relief pitcher was Brandon Morrow?” asked Kris. Why was Kris counter-attacking me? Obviously trying to be funny as he knows Morrow is on my crap list for blowing my kid off for an autograph in Los Angeles.
“Yeah, why don’t you do another article on him? The Stumbler!” giggled Russell, obviously being sarcastic and realizing Kris had saved him with the Morrow comment.
I gave another stink-eye look to Kris for making me lose the argument to Russell. I decided to give it one last shot and say precisely what I thought the major obstacle was going to be for the Cubs winning 40 or more games out of 60.