Here’s something good.
The Cubs just brought up career minor-league catcher Taylor Davis, 27, a bearded chap who finds whatever camera might be focused on him and stares it down a la Robert De Niro in “Taxi Driver” doing that “You talkin’ to me?” thing.
Davis is an Internet sensation, and if you can watch him stink-eye the lens without belly-laughing, then your funny bone needs adjustment.
This is not to say that Davis, who hit .297 with six home runs and 62 RBI at Class AAA Iowa this year and has been in the Cubs’ system for almost seven years, is going to make a difference on the field.
But he might lighten the air around a team that seems ever so close to detonating with injuries and dubious luck.
The most recent issue, of course, is the hamstring injury that drove ace pitcher Jake Arrieta from the mound on Monday against the Pirates. Arrieta, who always seems to lock into near unhittability as summer winds down, had an MRI exam on the hamstring, and maybe it will heal up fast, or maybe not. You never know.
The unfortunate part is that Arrieta had been 6-1 with a 1.59 ERA after the All-Star break until hurting himself early in that 12-0 disaster loss to the Pirates.
The good thing is that if Arrieta can’t go, the Cubs have dependable Mike Montgomery ready to fill in. For a while.
Nobody fills in for a superstar for very long and doesn’t get revealed as, well, not a superstar.
After a 4-3 loss Tuesday night, the Cubs are still in first place by a nice 3½ games in the National League Central, but that lead has seemed oddly tenuous, considering the Cubs are the defending World Series champions and have about 10 times more talent than the second-place Brewers. They’ve just been inconsistent, and they’ve been sprinkled with those troubling injuries that often derail even the best teams.
Javy Baez messed up on a headfirst slide the other day, injuring his thumb, and infielder Addison Russell has been out for what seems like forever with a foot injury. Athletic catcher Willson Contreras is still out with a hamstring injury (uh-oh).
Pitcher Jon Lester’s recent lat injury (from which he has returned) was scary, if for no other reason than that anything that happens to a pitcher is like tinkering with a barely-held-together Rube Goldberg machine.
This reporter still remembers, sadly and painfully, when young ace Mark Prior’s bad calf led to a bad back, which led to a bad shoulder, which led to a “loose shoulder,” which led to Steve Bartman, or maybe it was vice versa. But disaster lurked from the ground up.
Yes, these are the Cubs, and old failures die hard in old brains. You’d like to see the team putting it all together right now, as they did down the stretch last season, when they won the division by 17½ games over the Cardinals, with the best record in baseball, 103-58, way ahead of the second-best Nationals and Rangers at 95-67.
The Cubs have a 3½-game lead over the Brewers, who trail the Rockies by 2½ for the second wild-card spot. So the chance of falling into that one-game playoff adds a touch of drama.
Again, the Cubs are in first place and should make the playoffs. They have the best team in their division. They have guys like Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo and Jason Heyward dotting the lineup.
But one thing that was so unusual about last year’s march to the mountaintop was that injuries had virtually no impact on the Cubs. For the World Series, every single starter, including all the pitchers, was healthy. Even Kyle Schwarber made a miraculous entrance after missing almost the entire regular season.
It was crazy, really. No team ever is that fortunate.
The World Series foe Indians were missing pitchers and their best hitter, Michael Brantley. And, of course, starting pitcher Trevor Bauer was limited by — you couldn’t make this up — a drone-repair accident.
So stick together, Cubs. And tread delicately through September.
If nothing else, you’ve got late call-up Taylor Davis there to melt all those prying video cameras before they fall on your heads.
Follow me on Twitter @ricktelander.