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Kyle Schwarber is on a “mission to transform his body”

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Jesse Rogers of ESPN.com hears that Kyle Schwarber “has been on a mission this offseason to transform his body.”

Schwarber is only 24, but the former catcher turned outfielder may very well be on the express train to DH-ville unless he shows the Cubs that he can be a regular defender. And the Cubs — who may very well look to trade Schwarber in 2018 — will likely want to show potential trade partners that he can play defense too, so as not to limit his market.

Above all else Schwarber needs to show everyone that he can be a more consistent hitter. His terribly slow start in 2017 caused him to be demoted to the minors for a time, though he hit much better once he was recalled. If conditioning helps that, all the better.

And That Happened: Thursday’s Score and Highlight

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Yeah, singular. Other than those ESPN Sunday Night games that opened the season for several years until recently I can’t remember a regular season day or night with only one game scheduled. I also don’t much like it, but no one asks me these things.

Cubs 9, Cardinals 6: The Cardinals led 3-1 heading into the Cubs’ half of the fifth, at which point Chicago went off for five runs, with Ian Happ hitting a two run homer and Jason Heyward, Antony Rizzo and Ben Zobrist each knocking in a run. St. Louis would continue to score but each time they did the Cubs answered, never trailing again.

Heyward had three hits on the night, Happ had that dinger, Rizzo had two doubles and Victor Caratini, giving the just-returned All-Star Willson Contreras an extra day off, had three hits and scored three times.

As for pitching, check out this usage pattern from Joe Maddon:

I guess everyone was fresh after the break, though, so why not?

We get a full slate of 15 games today. As God and Nature intended.