If you're Carl Edwards Jr, what better way to spend part of your off day than living a day in the life of me... getting buckets!
Lakeshore Sport & Fitness' downtown location was the setting as CJ and I met up for a few games on the hardwood. I've seen pictures and I've dealt with him bragging about how good he was in his high school days but this was his chance to witness why they call me "Bless Buckets"! I made sure that every time I made a shot, I pointed right at him to let him know who's crib he was in. "I don't have my basketball legs...it's gonna take me a couple of runs up and down to get going bruh," was the excuse CJ tried to feed me but I let him live. It took him a minute to get going but after a game or two he found his shot and actually led us in scoring in one of our two wins and then we got back to what he was familiar with...baseball.
CJ knows what it's gonna take for the Cubs to get the job done and win the National League Central title. After losing 6 of 8 their last including a sweep by the 3rd place, 2.5 game back Milwaukee Brewers, the Cubs find themselves just 2 games ahead of the St. Louis Cardinals who come to town this weekend for a 3 game series. "Take it one day at a time you know. We can't win 7 in one day or whatever we need to win....you know the magic number. We just have to take it one game at a time, enjoy it and ride the wave out," he said.
Riding it out is something Cubs fans are familiar with. After 108 years of heartache and pain, the Commissioner's Trophy was finally back on the North Side. As a rookie, CJ took it all in but knew the focus coming back would be different. "It's like a video game. Knowing that we just won the World Series, you win and then you gotta start all the way over. So that's how I came into this season. I pretty much left everything that happened last year in last year. It's a new year and we're trying to do the same thang."
With a chance to win back to back NL Central "ships", the pitching is gonna have to be A1 down the stretch. CJ's role as the high pressure/damage control situation reliever is crucial. "I think it brings more out of me--it makes it more exciting. When I come in whether it's a 1 run lead or down by 1. Runners on base with no outs or runners on base with 2 outs. It's pressure but it's fun pressure."
Control issues have been a topic of discussion but overall CJ has put up a solid sophomore season. He's given up more walks (35) than hits (29) and has more strikeouts (83) than innings pitched (57.2). His 3.43 ERA is due to a lot of those walks which we learned in Little League usually score especially leading off an inning. That's his season and really the story on the mound this season in a nutshell.
Health is as big a factor as any moving forward. Addison Russell and Willson Contreras have seen extended time on the DL. Ben Zobrist & Kris Bryant have been battling nagging injuries all season. Most of the pitching has seen time off whether by default (Brett Anderson) or injury (Koji Uehara, Jon Lester, Kyle Hendricks, Jake Arietta, Justin Grimm). With reports saying Russell is improving daily, Contreras back and the pitching trying to find it's groove late, it should be an entertaining 3 weeks with seven games against St Louis and four against Milwaukee.
It's not how you get in...as long as you just get in. Whoever is playing the best baseball at the right time is gonna come out on top. There's always that bit of luck involved and the Cubs had everything fall in place perfectly last year (thank you, rain delay). I said myself that IT WAS WRITTEN, now let's see what these guys do while it aint so sweet!
"No panic this way...we're ready bruh. JUST WATCH." as CJ winked his eye and we parted ways.
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