Posts tagged Cubs
Ball Don't Lie EP 66 - "Get Giannis Some Harold's"

Dan Molloy steps in to wrap with Scott and Pierce about the week in the NFL, the elite Bears defense, more Chicago shit, Giannis' chances of staying with the Bucks, and predictions for Week 5!

Play in the biggest NFL season long tournament EVER! Join the $3.5 Million Dollar Best Ball Championship on DRAFT! Download the DRAFT app on the app or play store or head over to draft.com/barberschair and join today! Use the promo code BARBERSCHAIR for a FREE entry to a Best Ball draft when you make your first deposit!

Throw your diamonds up for more than a decade of heat with the new TIDAL-exclusive Roc La Familia playlist from The Barber's Chair! The greatest hits from the most prolific label in hip hop history.
Listen here: https://tidal.com/playlist/dfcd8a98-7eb0-473e-8666-170acc564443

As Justin Bieber readies to drop much anticipated new music, enjoy this Barber's Chair playlist of the best hits in Bieberveli's arsenal! 
Apple Music: https://apple.co/2HdG2yN
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/2HbTcME
Tidal: http://bit.ly/bieberveli

Listen to the new bangers playlist on Spotify, Tidal, and Apple Music!
Tidal: bit.ly/tidalbangers
Spotify: bit.ly/spotifybangers
Apple Music: bit.ly/applebangers

WrestleMania might be over but you can still rep Becky Two Belts with the brand new #FreeTheMan tees up now on the Barber's Chair Net merch shop
teespring.com/stores/the-barbers-chair
or
teespring.com/freetheman

The 40/40 Club EP 8 - The Amazin's

Mike returns to talk with Scott and Pierce about his Mets and the run they've been on since the Marcus Stroman trade. Plus, Grienke to Astros, the Yankees staying idle, the Cubs window possibly closing, looking ahead at the 2020 White Sox, who's the best rookie in baseball, and who's the overall MVP: Trout or Bellinger?

Play in the biggest NFL season long tournament EVER! Join the $3.5 Million Dollar Best Ball Championship on DRAFT! Download the DRAFT app on the app or play store or head over to draft.com/barberschair and join today! Use the promo code BARBERSCHAIR for a FREE entry to a Best Ball draft when you make your first deposit!

As Justin Bieber readies to drop much anticipated new music, enjoy this Barber's Chair playlist of the best hits in Bieberveli's arsenal! 
Apple Music: https://apple.co/2HdG2yN
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/2HbTcME
Tidal: http://bit.ly/bieberveli

Throw your diamonds up for more than a decade of heat with the new TIDAL-exclusive Roc La Familia playlist from The Barber's Chair! The greatest hits from the most prolific label in hip hop history.
Listen here: https://tidal.com/playlist/dfcd8a98-7eb0-473e-8666-170acc564443

Listen to the new bangers playlist on Spotify, Tidal, and Apple Music!
Tidal: bit.ly/tidalbangers
Spotify: bit.ly/spotifybangers
Apple Music: bit.ly/applebangers

WrestleMania might be over but you can still rep Becky Two Belts with the brand new #FreeTheMan tees up now on the Barber's Chair Net merch shop
teespring.com/stores/the-barbers-chair
or
teespring.com/freetheman

The 40/40 Club EP 5 - Jose Valentin Can't Switch Hit

Sportscaster Dan Molloy hops on the fifth episode of The 40/40 Club to talk about his beloved White Sox, Lucas Giolito's hot start to 2019, Tim Anderson's beef with the Royals, Ricky Renteria's job security and how many All Stars will come from the South Side. We'll also talk about the Cubs signing Craig Kimbrel, Ben Zobrist's future on the North Side, and fire off random obscure players from both clubs.

As Justin Bieber readies to drop much anticipated new music, enjoy this Barber's Chair playlist of the best hits in Bieberveli's arsenal! 
Apple Music: https://apple.co/2HdG2yN
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/2HbTcME
Tidal: http://bit.ly/bieberveli

Throw your diamonds up for more than a decade of heat with the new TIDAL-exclusive Roc La Familia playlist from The Barber's Chair! The greatest hits from the most prolific label in hip hop history.
Listen here: https://tidal.com/playlist/dfcd8a98-7eb0-473e-8666-170acc564443

Listen to the new bangers playlist on Spotify, Tidal, and Apple Music!
Tidal: bit.ly/tidalbangers
Spotify: bit.ly/spotifybangers
Apple Music: bit.ly/applebangers

WrestleMania might be over but you can still rep Becky Two Belts with the brand new #FreeTheMan tees up now on the Barber's Chair Net merch shop
teespring.com/stores/the-barbers-chair
or
teespring.com/freetheman

Ball Don't Lie - "Drew Brees Don't Know Choppa Style"

KOLR-10 sports anchor Dan Molloy joins Pierce and Scott this week to talk about the MLB hot stove and the White Sox pursuit of Manny Machado. Plus Dan's been covering the Kansas City Chiefs all year, so we'll get his thoughts on Championship Sunday, the Bears possibly signing Kareem Hunt, the trailer for Spider-Man: Far From Home and much much more!

Topics:
White Sox offer contract to Manny Machado
Possible collusion in MLB
Odds Manny signs with White Sox
Bears end-of-season press conference
Chuck Pagano hired as DC
Cody Parkey's future in Chicago
Nagy not shooting down Kareem Hunt to Bears
AFC Title Game preview
NFC Title Game preview
Kyler Murray declaring for NFL Draft
James Harden having another MVP season
Kyrie Irving and the Celtics' woes
Spider-Man: Far From Home trailer
Goofy Mog of the Week


Follow Flows on Twitter: @Flowsandolini
Follow Scott on Twitter: @Scott_C-oh yeah...that's right nvm...
Follow Pierce on Twitter: @HennyOmega
Follow Dan on Twitter: @DanMolloyTV
Follow the Barber's Chair: @BarbersChairNet

Celebrate your division champs by grabbing one of the NEW shirts straight from The Barber's Chair merch store!
teespring.com/stores/the-barbers-chair

Nearly Canceled: Entourage drops January 2019 exclusively on the Barber's Chair Patreon! Become a patron of The Barber's Chair on Patreon! $5 a month will get you a thank you on Ball Don't Lie and guarantees you access to Nearly Canceled: Entourage, along with more exclusive premium content from The Barber's Chair!
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Ball Don't Lie - "WTF is going on?"

Joe misses his first of an expected six episodes this season, but don't fret. Scott & Pierce hold it down for you on this TWO-HOUR edition of Ball Don't Lie.

Topics:
Sound Off
Jimmy Butler/KAT/Wiggins/Timberwolves Drama
NBA Media Day
Why ‘Kyrie to the Knicks’ makes no sense
Ending the ‘Everyone wants to be a Laker’ narrative
Expectations for the NBA season
NFL Week 3 recap
Jimmy G torn ACL
Rams injuries
Saints-Falcons
Carson Wentz return in Philly
Lions-Patriots
Patrick Mahomes & the Chiefs are 3-0
Can the Jags win the Super Bowl with Blake Bortles playing like mid?
NFL Week 4 predictions
First impressions of 'The Joker'
Can the DCEU, X-Men right the ship?
Mini-35th and Addison
The Cubs folding down the stretch
Grading the 2018 Chicago White Sox
The return of 'Red Shirt Tiger' sundays
Shoutouts
Goofy Mog of the Week

Follow Pierce: @HennyOmega
Follow Scott: @Scott_CEOofSUH

35th and Addison EP 9 (ft. @SD2Mics)

35th and Addison is back for the September playoff run! We're joined by ESPN 1000 producer Shaun Davis to talk the future of the White Sox, Michael Kopech's first few starts and where the Sox can go in 2019? Plus our expectations for the Cubs this season, and more!

Follow Pierce: @HennyOmega
Follow Scott: @Scott_CEOofSUH
Follow Shaun: @SD2Mics

As the White Sox get a glimpse of their future, the present-day Cubs push for playoff dominance

Tuesday August 21st, 2018 could go down as a memorable day in Chicago sports history. On the day the White Sox unleash one of the stars of their very bright future, the hard-throwing right-hander Michael Kopech, the Cubs - always looking to steal the spotlight from their south side cousins - trade for Washington Nationals infielder Daniel Murphy, better known in Wrigleyville as the 'Cub Killer'.

If the hype around the Sox top pitching prospect is real, then tonight is the dawning of a new era of White Sox baseball. Kopech, ranked 13th among prospects by MLB Pipeline (fourth among pitchers), was the prize beside Yoan Moncada in the Chris Sale deal to Boston more than a year ago. The 22-year-old flamethrower is reminiscent of other Texans before him, like strikeout king Nolan Ryan, the great Roger Clemens, and Cubs fan favorite Kerry Wood.

On Monday, Kopech received a ringing endorsement from a Hall-of-Famer who knew how to get a K; Pedro Martinez. “I believe Kopech has the biggest up and coming arm in baseball," Pedro said. "Excited to watch his debut with the White Sox.”

And Pedro isn't the only one. Attendance at Guaranteed Rate Field - the butt of Cub fans jokes for years - is expected to be plentiful for Kopech's debut against the Minnesota Twins tonight. The Sox have averaged just over 19,000 fans a game this year, ahead of only Oakland (a playoff team playing in cavernous stadium with a fan base tormented by fire sale after fire sale), Tampa Bay (a mediocre team with sporadic fan interest and a dud of a dome) and Miami (see Dan Lebatard, Stugotz and the Shipping Container for all the problems they have).

Sox fans have gotten a bad wrap for showing up for games, a long-standing belief that's accurate in numbers, but if you did deeper than the attendance report you'll find a fan base that's simply tired of being 78-84, and the distant second team in the second city. The Cubs championship win in 2016 - whether or not they want to admit it - lit a fire under the Sox ass, front office and fan alike. Thus the rebuild began, and there have been some very lean years in the Bronzeville/Armour Square community.

Be honest, would you come out to watch the 2017 White Sox? Or even the club this season up until this point? $6 Stubhub tickets be damned! Chicago is too gorgeous to be spending my summer watching a bad ballclub. I'd know. I watched sorry ass Cub team after sorry ass Cub team.

Tonight's game signals the true beginning of a new hope on 35th and Shields, and if Kopech delivers and Eloy Jimenez - the 'other' prospect at the top of the chain - gets called up before the season is over as well, the sights, sounds and feelings of old White Sox baseball could be reinvigorated sooner than we think.

As the Pale Hose usher in the ace of their future, the Chicago Cubs, née White Stockings, look to extend their championship hopes in the present-day.

When the fruits of the Cubs rebuild started to show in their magical 2015 playoff run, it was Daniel Murphy who reminded Cubs fans just who they were. Then with the New York Mets, Murphy was the Billy Goat, Black Cat and Bartman all rolled into one as the Metropolitans steamrolled the Cubs in the 2015 NLCS.

Three years and a Chicago World Series title later, Daniel Murphy, the 'Cub Killer', is now a Cub.

The Nationals finally gave in and started their yard sell, trading Murphy to the north side for a minor-leaguer and a player to be named later. President Theo Epstein and the Cubs will almost certainly have to answer questions on their decision to add a man who doesn't believe in the "gay lifestyle" to their supposedly tight brood, but they made the same decision with Aroldis Chapman in 2016 after his domestic violence suspension, and Addison Russell (accused of DV in the alleged cheating scandal last year) remains on the team. The Cubs organization can paint it however you want, but the ugly truth is Theo, GM Jed Hoyer and the baseball operations are focused not on winning PR battles, but World Series' instead.

As for the player they're getting, Daniel Murphy is a machine with a bat in his hand. He missed the first two months of the season following right knee surgery. Since the All-Star break, Murphy has shined as the Nationals faded out of the playing picture, hitting .340 with a .904 OPS post-break. Not only is he a strong lefty bat to insert into the lineup, it takes away a potential bat that could kill the Cubs on the road to another title.

Acquiring Murphy could be the Cubs adding to their embarrassment of riches, or it could be a sign of deeper problems within the 25-man roster. Russell has been playing with a hand injury for a while that's "been bothering him more than he's saying" according to ESPN's Jesse Rogers, and he hasn't hit well when in the lineup. Former NL MVP Kris Bryant is dealing with a shoulder injury that's kept him on the shelf for significant portions of the season. Murphy, a second-baseman who can spell Anthony Rizzo at first base during the September stretch, gives them room to move MVP candidate Javy Baez around to short (for Russell) or third (for Bryant). But it does create one hell of a logjam that any team would kill to have.

The Cubs, holders of the best record in the National League, have had their ups and downs throughout the rollercoaster baseball season, but Murphy gives them a murderers row and a proven postseason warrior, necessary for a proven team themselves who happen to go cold at times. The insurance of adding Murphy makes the Cubs, at full strength, the team to beat in the National League. In a few months, we could be looking back on this day as the day the Cubs stamped their ticket to the World Series.

And years down the line, we could look back on this day as the day a legend was born in Chicago.

What a time to be a baseball fan in Chicago. Any tickets left for the Crosstown Classic next month?

35th and Addison EP 8

This week on 35th Pierce calls out Jose Quintana for having the worst season of his career, while telling Cubs fans to chill the hell out. Scott explains why he doesn't care if Eloy Jimenez or Michael Kopech get called up this season anymore, and we chat about the rise of the A's and Braves and the falls of the Yankees, Dodgers and Astros.

Follow Scott: @Scott_CEOofSUH
Follow Pierce: @HennyOmega

Inside the 2018 MLB Playoff Race

It’s August and the games are starting to matter in the Major Leagues. One bad stretch of games in August could leave you on the outside looking in come playoff time. Let’s look at the close divisional and wild card races still going on.

Rex Sox rising, Yankees folding in AL East

For a team that boasts one of the deepest lineups 1-through-9 in the league, the loss of Aaron Judge (wrist injury) has really hurt the Bronx Bombers.  Entering Monday, the Yankees have lost five straight, including a four-game sweep to the rival Red Sox, who now hold a 9 and a half-game lead in the AL East.

Keep in mind that the Red Sox did all of this without the help of ace Chris Sale, who is expected to return from shoulder inflammation this weekend in Baltimore.

 

Second half magic puts Oakland in the thick of the Wild Card hunt

The Oakland Athletics keep winning, I don’t know how… but they just keep winning. The A's took off in June and July to push them right in the middle of the American League Wild Card hunt.

If you look at their roster, your kneejerk reaction is probably “Who are these guys???”. Their rotation consisting of guys who have bounced all around the league (I’m talking about you, Edwin Jackson), their starting lineup can flat out MASH, like Khris Davis (the major league leader in home runs since 2016) and the two Matts (Chapman and Olson). If the A’s find themselves in the Wild Card game, they will be the reason why.

Are the Phillies for real?

There’s a lot of winning going on in Philadelphia this year (shoutout to Meek) and surprisingly the Phillies have kept the trend going. They’ve won five straight and have a game and a half lead over the Atlanta Braves.

Most of their damage has been done at home, with a NL-best 37 wins at Citizens Bank Park. If they want to hold off the Braves and Nationals (there’s still hope for Bryce Harper and Washington), they’ll have to improve on that 25-30 record away from Philly.

The Cubs are finally playing to their potential

The Chicago Cubs hold the best record in the National League, despite missing key members for long periods of time (Kris Bryant, Yu Darvish, Brandon Morrow). They're only a game ahead of the Brewers in the NL Central coming into Monday, but even without those stars they're playing to everyone's expectations.

The Cubs were relatively quiet at the trade deadline, acquiring Cole Hamels and a few relievers to add the pen. The Brewers have been a nice story, but it’s going to be a tough task matching wins late in the season with a team as good as the Cubs. Milwaukee may eventually have to turn its focus on maintaining its lead in the wild card race.

How the (NL) West is won

On paper, the Dodgers are the clear favorite to win the NL West for a sixth straight year, but it’s still wide open out west. They're tied atop the division with the Arizona Diamondbacks, who have been solid behind MVP candidate Paul Goldschmidt. The Colorado Rockies have also managed to hang around behind their star Nolan Arenado. Even the Giants sit five games back in the West.

There can only be one division winner, but the added incentive for these teams is to avoid that one game playoff. This race will certainly come down to the last week of the regular season.

Key series to watch

Philadelphia Phillies (62-48) @ Arizona Diamondbacks (62-50)
August 6th-8th

The margin for error for both teams is extremely slim. Can the Phillies get some wins on the road?

Los Angeles Dodgers (61-51) @ Colorado Rockies (58-52)
August 9th-12th

The Dodgers have a chance to distance themselves from the Rockies in a packed NL West.

Milwaukee Brewers (65-49) @ Atlanta Braves (59-48)
August 10th-12th

A potential preview of the NL wild-card game.

35th and Addison EP 7 - Bring that boy home

Long Live Rico! Scott and Pierce are back to give their trade deadline grades. Plus A-Rod's comments on Yu Darvish in the Cubs clubhouse, the Nats not selling Bryce Harper at the deadline, Jon Lester & Sean Doolittle's dope responses to baseball's recent storm of bigoted tweets, what Scott wants to see from the Sox in the offseason, and how many more boxes does Eloy need to check before Hahn calls him up?

Follow Scott: @Scott_CEOofSUH
Follow Pierce: @HennyOmega

35th & Addison EP 6 - Second Half Preview

Scott & Pierce return to look back at the first half of the season and preview the second. Scott drops some inside information that should make White Sox fans happy, Pierce pines for Javier Baez some more, and the crew predict who will be playing into October.

Follow Scott: @Scott_CEOofSUH
Follow Pierce: @HennyOmega

What to watch for in MLB's second half

The second half of the MLB season unofficially starts Thursday night with Cubs-Cardinals in primetime at Wrigley. You're probably thinking "baseball started?" Don't worry, you're not alone... the rest of America is too.

While the commissioner is busy blaming players for not being marketable (isn't that your job, chief?) we know you've been busy with the NBA Playoffs, World Cup and tons of better shit to do than watch baseball. But now it's summer, the other sports have died down and baseball is starting to heat up. The MLB is center stage, and it's time for you to get ready for second half action. Here's a few things you should look out for in the final 2 1/2 months of the season.

Dodgers going for broke

Patrick Smith, Getty Images

Patrick Smith, Getty Images

After a poor start to the season, the Dodgers are back in first in the NL West, holding a half-game lead on the Diamondbacks. They went all in Wednesday, sending five prospects (only one - Yusniel Diaz - is in MLB.com's Top 100) to Baltimore for soon-to-be free agent Manny Machado, to replace the injured Corey Seager at short. It's a sign from Andrew Friedman and the front office that they're looking to quickly put last year's World Series failure behind them and end LA's 30-year championship drought.

The Dodgers are still in the market for relievers to help closer Kenley Jansen, but adding Machado restores LA as likely the most dangerous lineup 1-9 in the National League. Manny has somehow raised his game in 2018, hitting 24 home runs and clubbing a .963 OPS in the first half. Now you plug him into an offense that has averaged a .793 OPS and 5.1 runs per game in the team's 37-17 run since May 17th. The Dodgers are still dealing with the decline of Clayton Kershaw, but its offense is more potent than ever.

The American League playoff race is loaded

Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

The National League has more teams in playoff contention because it's the lesser of the two leagues, but the AL is bringing some firepower among its top teams. The Red Sox, Yankees and Astros are all at 62 wins or above, and feature stacked lineups with some consistent arms at the front end of their rotation.

The Red Sox got off to a great run as they go for a third-straight division crown, but also their first time out of the ALDS since the 2013 World Series team. Mookie Betts is on another MVP tear (.359 BA, 23 HRs, 1.139 OPS), and core guys Andrew Benintendi & Xander Bogaerts have provided strong offense. But the addition of JD Martinez in the offseason (.328 BA, 29 HRs, 80 RBI, 1.037 OPS) has pushed Beantown to the best record in baseball. There's also FOUR 10-game winners in their rotation, with Chris Sale (10-4, 2.23 ERA, 188 Ks) and Eduardo Rodriguez as their anchors. They could afford to tighten up their bullpen behind closer Craig Kimbrel, but all-in-all the Red Sox are best positioned to win the AL Pennant for the first time in five years.

The Bronx Bombers have withstood an underwhelming start from Gary Sanchez, thanks to their big boppers Aaron Judge (25 HRs, .973 OPS) and Giancarlo Stanton (23 HRs, .864 OPS), the emergence of young guns like Gleyber Torres (.294 BA, 15 HRs, .905 OPS) and Miguel Andujar, and the dominance of ace Luis Severino (14-2, 2.31 ERA, 144 Ks) and closer Aroldis Chapman. They're not done adding to their club - they're in the market for more starting pitching and kicked the tires on Manny Machado before the Dodger trade - so to be only 4.5 games back of Boston at this juncture is really good standing. Also, the Yankees have finished the first half 29 games above .500 three times before - 1939, 1953 and 1998. Each year, they went on to win the World Series.

Bob Levey/Getty Images

Bob Levey/Getty Images

The resurgence of the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry has taken defending World Series champs off the front pages, but the Houston Astros are still the best team in baseball until they're knocked off their pedestal. They've had to forge through the inconsistencies of their offense (minus Alex Bregman) and Dallas Keuchel, but after a rough 6-7 stretch against the four other top contenders in the AL, the 'Stros have racked off 27-10 in their last 37 before the break. They may be in the market for a closer, with Ken Giles sent down for sucking and arguing with his coaches, but they could very well stand pat and go back to October with the same guns that won it for them last year.

Don't forget about the Indians either. Cleveland is looking for a third-straight AL Central title, and just added lefty reliever Brad Hand to their already lethal group of relievers, including Andrew Miller and Cody Allen. Corey Kluber remains the ace of the staff with 12 wins, 132 strikeouts and a 2.76 ERA. The solid work of Trevor Bauer (8-6, 2.24 ERA, 175 Ks), Mike Clevinger and Shane Bieber gives Cleveland some room to be creative with their rotation, working 11-win righty Carlos Carrasco back from the DL by using him out of the bullpen against the Yankees last weekend. Cleveland sits far behind the other AL powers in the win column, but barring an unlikely surge by the Twins, the Indians will be playing in October, and with strong arms & a top-heavy lineup (Frankie Lindor, Jose Ramirez, Michael Brantley, Edwin Encarnacion) whoever they meet in the ALDS better not rest on their laurels.

As far as the second wild card goes, the Seattle Mariners are the favorite to end the longest playoff drought in North American sports, but they've dropped four in a row and are now just 3 games up on the surprising Oakland A's. The Athletics' young offense has been really hot as of late, and the addition of some veteran arms could be key to getting Oakland back into October. For Seattle, Robinson Cano's return from PED suspension on August 14th will be a big boost to a club missing his bat in the everyday lineup, even though they haven't been hurt by it so far. Some pitchers to help Marco Gonzalez, Felix Hernandez, Mike Leake and James Paxton should be enough to hold off Oakland and make the playoffs for the first time since 2001.

Intrigue in the NL Central

Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

The NL Central have undergone a shit ton of maintenance in the last few years. The Astros left for the AL, the Cardinals - once the crown jewel of the division - have fallen off and now need a new manager, and the Cubs - yes, those Cubs - have ascended as the kings of the Central and are looking to go back-to-back-to-back for the first time in team history. But now, those pesky Milwaukee Brewers are hungrier and want to avenge last season's collapse, and even the Pittsburgh Pirates are in range of a wild card spot.

The Cubs usually heat up in August and pull away from the competition in September, and I expect much of the same this season. The Brewers won't go away lightly though - they were loud in their pursuit of Manny Machado, and have the prospects to fill holes at the deadline, likely with Twins infielder Brian Dozier. They lost their last six games before the break, and 8 of their last 10, so if they want to play October baseball, they'll need to move on those trade pieces before they go elsewhere in the NL.

What's next for the Cardinals is interesting to watch as the season closes; they only sit 4 games behind the Braves for the second wild card. The expectation is for them to go after Joe Girardi, who grew up in East Peoria - the dividing line between Cubs and Cards fans in Illinois. Do they mail it in and start moving towards the offseason, or do they make one last push with the guys they have now?

Several teams push for two wild card spots in NL

The introduction of the Wild Card playoff in 2012 opened the door for all those teams on the fringe to make a move at the deadline and push for that final playoff seed. We've seen some crazy races in the last few years, and this year will be no different. The Brewers, despite their recent slide, are in control of the 1st WC slot, while the Braves.- losers of 7 of their last 10 - hold the second by a half-game on the D-Backs. The Braves are mired in a battle with the NL East-leading Phillies and the .500 Washington Nationals, while the D-Backs are fighting with the Rockies - winners of five straight - and Giants for the Dodgers' top spot in the NL West. All while the Cardinals linger, and the Pirates hold out hope.

There'll be lots of movement in the NL before the trade deadline, so expect the NL Wild Card race to come down to the wire once more.

Bryce Harper watch begins... now

Brad Mills/USA TODAY Sports

Brad Mills/USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Nationals are at even .500, 5 games back of the wild card, & 5.5 games back in the NL East. They're MVP and the biggest star in D.C. sports at the moment (sorry Ovie, sorry John Wall) has a big decision to make at season's end.

All Star week might have been one big love-fest between Bryce Harper and Washington D.C., but there's no love in business. Bryce Harper is a former MVP who will be 26 at the start of next season. The Nationals want to retain him, obviously, but Bryce - a Scott Boras client - hasn't definitely said he will stay, and has openly made his affection for the Cubs (his bestie Kris Bryant is there) and the Yankees known. If the Nationals don't make the playoffs, they can all but kiss their $400 million man goodbye. Hell, it's not a guarantee he'll return even if they play into October, but after years of coming up short in the NLDS, if this is it for the Nationals and the greatest player in franchise history, they need to go for it all in the second half.

35th & Addison EP 5

35th & Addison is back to talk more Chicago baseball, including the Cubs' two series with the LA Dodgers & Eloy Jimenez watch down in the White Sox farm system. Plus we discuss the Astros playing championship baseball, the Dodgers powering themselves back into contention, Shohei Ohtani's arm and Yankees-Red Sox III!

Follow Scott: @Scott_CEOofSUH
Follow Pierce: @HennyOmega

35th & Addison Ep. 4 - The Boys of Summer

After an NBA Playoff hiatus, 35th & Addison is back! Pierce & Scott talk Chicago baseball, including the Cubs' surge to the top of the standings, and updates on Eloy Jimenez & Michael Kopech. Plus, what if the Sox were in the same division as the Cubs? We also look at teams who have impressed us so far, discuss Shohei Ohtani's injury and why a top Chicago exec may be lying on Bryce Harper.

Follow Pierce: @HennyOmega
Follow Scott: @Scott_CEOofSUH

35th and Addison ep 3 - It's Still NBA Season

This week Scott & Pierce talk about the Crosstown Classic and what's going on with the Sox and Cubs in early May. Plus their thoughts on Robinson Cano's PED suspension, Mike Trout's historic start to the season, the return of Yankees-Red Sox, and the retirement (of sorts) of Ichiro Suzuki

Choose your side: White Sox or Cubs?
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When you're born in Chicago, you have to choose a side. Your decision can be geographically-based on where in the city you're from, or which surrounding suburb you grew up in. It can even be based off family ties and who your favorite uncle - or the one you couldn't stand - cheered for.

But no matter how you do it, you have to choose your allegiance early.

South side or North side?

Black or blue?

Sox or Cubs?

Only two cities in Major League Baseball have multiple teams residing within city limits - the Angels, unlike the Dodgers, play in Orange County, & the Giants and A's, while both in the Bay, play in different cities. The Yankees play up in the Bronx while the Mets' home is in Queens, but the battle lines aren't drawn the same way in New York. The Yankees have been the mainstay for over a century, and while there's a fair share of Mets fans in New York City, they pale in comparison to the fanbase of the Evil Empire.

Chicago is a Bears town. When the Bulls are great, the city rallies behind the franchise in droves. Hell, even when the Blackhawks are winning the city turns up. But when it comes to baseball, the sibling rivalry gets real.

Cubs/White Sox might be a cordial battle on the baseball field, but in the stands, it's real. My first Cubs/Sox game was way back in '99, a Sunday Night game at old Comiskey Park, and Cubs fans were boxing it out with Sox fans down in the Infield Box seats. It's REAL! Even before the Sox got that 2005 World Series and threw it in the faces of Cubs fans for 11 years at every chance they got... there's not an interleague rivalry in baseball that matters more to its fans than the Bragging Rights of the Crosstown Classic.

The teams have met every year since 1997, and no matter if the Sox are good and the Cubs struggling, the Cubs dominant while the Sox are tanking (as is this weekend's series), or in the rare case, both teams are really really good, the Red Line series is appointment television. No one will forget Michael Barrett's punch on AJ Pierzynski that cleared the benches in 2006, or Carlos Lee's 2-out, walk-off grand slam in the 10th in 2001. What about Ozzie unrelentlessly trash-talking Wrigley Filed or when the Blackhawks brought out their newly-minted Stanley Cup and everyone was on the field like one big happy dysfunctional family.

And family is what we are. We come from blended, divided families where the arguments spark off every family reunion. There's always an Uncle Frank (not his birth name, but the name he gave himself because of his love for Frank Thomas) who gets drunk off his ass and wants to yell about how the Scrubs will live up to their name and be completely useless by September. He's a dick, but you love him (a bit) and his love for baseball all the same.

The series divides the best of friends, and even lovers. Fellas, don't take your obsessive Sox fan girlfriend to the game. It's all fun and games when she's downing 312's nuzzled against your neck, but the second Kris Bryant smashes one onto Waveland and the Cubs go up by 5, her afternoon is ruined and guess who ain't getting no secks tonight? That's right. It's you.

Cubs/Sox crowds are electric, no matter the standings or the score. In recent years, the brawls in the stands have come fewer and further between, but the same candor remains. Sox fans are still talking shit about the Cubs, even if the other team finally got their ring and their squad is at the bottom of the division. Cubs fans are still defensive, but now they have a shiny new trophy to hold over Southsider's heads. The rivalry has taken many shapes over the last two decades, but the fire remains inside every fan in Chicago.

And the ones who claim to be fans of both? Fuck them. If you're a real Cubs or Sox fan, you know all that shit is phony... you may not be the biggest of baseball fans, but everyone here knows you can't play both sides. That's worse than being a bonafide fan of the other team!

Allegiances mean everything in Chicago. Choose wisely, or risk getting stomped out on 35th for talking the wrong shit to the wrong person.

No seriously, Sox fans are angry people. They will fuck you up.

35th & Addison ep. 2 - Yu Wildin

This week on 35th & Addison, Scott and Pierce talk about the Cubs' strong April and where they need to get better at the plate, Yu Darvish's troubling start, Yoan Moncada's progressions at the plate & the Fun Police v. Tim Anderson. Plus what's going on in the White Sox farm, Sammy Sosa's non-apology to Cubs fans, the Yankees hot streak and how the Dodgers will fare without Corey Seager. Plus a little Infinity War talk cause we couldn't help it.

Hot stove predictions: free agents

It's January, and Jake Arrieta is still a free agent. So is Eric Hosmer, Yu Darvish and J.D. Martinez.

A slow start to offseason hot stove action is directly tied to the decisions by Shohei Ohtani to sign with the Angels and the Marlins trading Giancarlo Stanton and 59 home runs to the Yankees for a chopped cheese and a bag of takis. So far, the relievers are off the board, but for the most part baseball has been quiet since the World Series.

That'll change soon. Once the first big name signs, teams will scramble to get their guys before spring training begins next month. Here's my predictions for where some free agent dominos will fall. Tomorrow, we will examine trade possibilities.


J.D. Martinez

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

J.D. tore through the National League after a midseason trade from Detroit, hitting .302 29 HRs 65 RBIs 1.107 OPS and 2.6 WAR for the Arizona Diamondbacks. The D-Backs made the playoffs a year early, and with Paul Goldschmidt there this is their window to compete in a tough NL West. He's the most coveted slugger, and the right-handed hitter has no shortage of suitors to choose from.

The Red Sox look to turn two first-round embarrassments around under new manager Alex Cora. They want Martinez to DH for them and spell the trio of Benintendi-Bradley Jr.-Betts from time to time, but they re-signed Mitch Moreland to a two-year deal to play first, and Hanley Ramirez is a below-average hitter making $22.75 million this year who can't really play anywhere in the field except for first.

The Giants outfield is trash. Pure absolute basura. Denard Span is mid, Hunter Pence is still lounging out there, I think Angel Pagan is boating in McCovey Cove waiting for a contract. The Giants went from wild card to worst, and San Francisco struck out on Giancarlo Stanton AND Marcell Ozuna. They need to move on heavy hitters in the outfield quickly if they're gonna catch some 'even year magic' in 2018.

Prediction: Boston will move one of their young outfield trio - either Benintendi or Bradley - and create some space for Martinez. Martinez to Red Sox, 6 years, $144 million, $24m AAV


Jake Arrieta

(AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

(AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

The 2015 Cy Young winner made it known from the start he wants the Brinks truck. That hasn't come yet, and it may open up the doors for a reunion in Chicago for Arrieta. He became a star with the Cubs under pitching coach Chris Bosio's guidance, but he's gone now, and with the Boras client out for some M's, he might price himself out of the Cubs' budget.

Their NL Central rivals are chomping at the bit to steal him from the Cubs. The Cardinals need a splash to get back in the race, and the Brewers need an ace to guide the ship. Arrieta also has Boras ties in Washington, where the Nats try to reverse years of NLDS heartbreak all while convincing Bryce Harper to stay in the District.

But Jake's home is down in Texas, where the reigning champion Astros are in the market for another star atop their rotation. The Rangers could also get in the Arrieta race after seeing the team in Houston finally win it all.

Prediction: The Astros will push hard for Arrieta, but in the end he heads back to Chicago. Arrieta says with Cubs, 4 years, $105 million, $26.25m AAV w/ player opt-out after year 2


Eric Hosmer

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The homegrown Kansas City Royal brought the city its second World Series in 2015. He could be as big as George Brett in that town if he stays, but odds aren't leaning in their favor.

St. Louis is looking to gut their rival to the west and add a leader to the clubhouse. The San Diego Padres want that kind of guy as well, thinking ahead to when their young prospects are ready to compete for division crowns.

Then there's them damn Yankees. Hosmer is a Scott Boras client, and Boras once got an 8-year megadeal out of Brian Cashman for Mark Teixeira. He could do the same and add a solid lefty bat to take aim at the short porch in right.

Prediction: The Yankees will be on Hosmer's doorstep until the final decision, but Hosmer is from Miami, and sees beautiful weather and a future building in San Diego. Padres sign Hosmer, 7 years, $149 million, $21.3m AAV


Yu Darvish

(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

Darvish was exposed in the World Series after the Astros revealed he was tipping his pitches. they teed off on the Japanese export in Game 7, and that hurt Darvish's value on the market. He could still return to the Dodgers, but they're trying to stay under the luxury tax and any sign would require another move to go down.

The Cubs are a name that's been closely attached lately. Theo Epstein loves him and made a pass at him when he came over to the states years ago, and new pitching coach Jim Hickey could solve those tipping issues. The Astros are also an option, as is his old team in the Texas Rangers, who know him best.

Prediction: Cubs choose Arrieta over Darvish, sending Yu back to Texas. Rangers sign Darvish, 6 years, $151 million, $25.2m AAV

Other predictions:

Alex Cobb to Brewers; 4 years $62 million $11.5m AAV
Lorenzo Cain to Giants; 4 years $65 million $16.25m AAV
Mike Moustakas to Mets; 5 years $80 million $16m AAV
Jay Bruce to Blue Jays; 4 years $58 million $14.5m AAV
Greg Holland to Astros; 3 years $45 million $15m AAV