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Just about everyone on the Cubs' current roster has contributed in some significant way as the team has gone from worst to first in the NL Central the last 30 days.
But can any of them kick a football?
Probably not, and even if any of the Cubs have starred on the gridiron in the past, they would be well-advised to stay away from the draconian goings-on at Halas Hall these days. That was where a missed kick on Sunday turned Redford Jones into the most hated man in Lake Forest. Because he didn't convert a field goal attempt from 48 yards out, all of the camp participants who played offense had to do 25 up-downs.
Casey Bednarski, representing the defense, made his 48-yarder. But despite what appeared to be a great showing, he wasn't offered a contract. Maybe Matt Nagy thinks his backflips are too much of a "me thing." Dude, just think of it like a bat flip!
Today, kickers Redford Jones and Casey Bednarski competed at #Bears rookie minicamp. Whole team watched. Jones represented offense; Bednarski the defense. Bednarski made all three of his kicks: 32, 43 and 48 yards. And did a backflip. Offense did 25 up-downs with Jones losing.— Adam Jahns (@adamjahns) May 5, 2019
Can confirm tryout kicker Casey Bednarski was not offered a contract by the #Bears. Had a strong weekend at rookie minicamp.— Adam Hoge (@AdamHoge) May 5, 2019
None of the other non-contracted kickers brought in for tryouts were retained either, nor were two of four kickers who actually already had contracts. So as we head into this week, the Bears have two kickers, Chris Blewitt and Elliott Fry, under contract. One might ask: What was that all about?
And that will be the last sentence I will write about placekicking for a good long time. Did I mention the Cubs are on fire? They improved to 19-12 on Sunday with a 13-5 victory to cap of a sweep of the Cardinals (20-14). The Brewers (20-16) are third.
It must be noted that the Cubs are playing well and they have also had a sizable helping of good fortune. Kyle Hendricks may have had great stuff during the Cubs' 4-0 victory on Friday, which he navigated completely while throwing only 81 pitches, but the pitcher who only struck out three acknowledged that he benefitted from a number of hard-hit outs.
On Saturday, Cardinals pitcher Michael Wacha seemed to have things well in hand as he prepared to pitch to Cubs back-up catcher Taylor Davis in the fifth inning with a 5-1 lead. The bases were loaded but Davis, who is on the roster due to accomplished back-up Victor Caratini's injury, is a long, long shot to ever bat even .200 in the bigs. So of course he blasted a grand slam on the first pitch.
Not only was it Davis' first major league home run, it was his first hit of the season. And it gave him a .125 batting average heading into Monday.
The Cubs just dominated on Sunday, especially after Jose Quintana extracted himself from a sixth-inning jam. He gave up two runs but enabled the Cubs to hold onto a 3-2 lead. This is the Quintana the Cubs gave up Eloy Jimenez for.
Jose Quintana's last 5 starts have produced a 1.93 ERA.— Jesse Rogers (@ESPNChiCubs) May 6, 2019
Meanawhile, the red-hot Anthony Rizzo launched a two-run double in the bottom of the inning to stretch the lead back out to three and the Cubs were on their way again.
Anthony Rizzo has had quite the week 💪 pic.twitter.com/1iTHgrT1kb— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) May 2, 2019
Two players in vastly different parts of their career arc have taken their games to the next level: Javy "El Mago" Baez and Jason "Not As Much Mago" Heyward, who has just had his best five weeks of hitting as a Cub.
The spotlight on Javy Baez shined even brighter in front of a national TV audience Sunday night. https://t.co/RsZtR0fy5g— Sun-Times Sports (@suntimes_sports) May 6, 2019
Where has this Jason Heyward been?— SweetDaddyHaynes (@OfficialDHaynes) May 6, 2019
But the star of stars on this team is Willson Contreras. He pumped up his OBPS to a stratospheric 1.110 on Sunday, opening the scoring with a towering opposite field home run, and he continues to defend the basepaths with this throwing ability.
He is the best catcher in baseball right now, by a lot.
Next up are the Marlins, who begin a four-game set at Wrigley on Monday night, weather permitting.
Can any of them kick?
Jim "Coach" Coffman welcomes your comments.
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