For the second week this month, we have some terrible news to report. Fortunately, it wasn’t all bad, but this loss was a big one to take.

Gwynn Gone Too Soon 

After losing Don Zimmer a couple of weeks ago, baseball was rocked with yet another tragedy as 54-year old San Diego Padres legend Tony Gwynn passed away after a long bout with mouth cancer.

Over the course of his 20-year career (all for the Padres), he hit below .300 just once, and it was his rookie year where he hit a still impressive .289. That 19-year streak of hitting over .300 is one of the best in history, topped only by names like Ty Cobb.

His high level of baseball ability was matched only by his kindness and work off of the field. He was generally known as one of, if not the nicest man in baseball and he always did what he could to give back to the game. With Gwynn gone, baseball has truly lost one of its biggest legends.

The troubling part about his passing is that it seems as if it was relatively preventable, as chewing tobacco caused the mouth cancer he had. With this being known, are there any further steps that the MLB could take to prevent the use of chew?

Kershaw Throws First No-Hitter

If it weren’t already clear, Clayton Kershaw took the hill Wednesday against the Colorado Rockies and yet again established himself as the best pitcher in Major League Baseball. While he is normally dominant, he took it to a new level in this game.

Throwing 107 pitches (79 strikes), Kershaw struck out 15 of the 28 batters that he faced. The lone base runner for the Rockies was Chris Dickerson in the 7th inning, who reached on a throwing error by Hanley Ramirez. With that, Kershaw threw the first no-hitter of his already storied career.

At 26 years old, Kershaw should have quite a future ahead of him. He’s as dominant as ever this season, and he should be on his way towards another Cy Young Award, or at least be in contention for it. His FIP of 1.59 shows that things might even improve for him this year, too, if that’s even possible.

Kershaw highlights this new era of the pitcher and it’s truly a joy to watch him take the mound (as long as he’s not pitching against your team). Is there any pitcher in the league that you would rather have than Kershaw? If so, who and why?

Samardzija Talks Heat Up

After strong performances in each of the last three seasons, Chicago Cubs ace Jeff Samardzija has really taken a step forward this year. While that can’t be seen in the win column, it’s safe to say that Theo Epstein & Co. have taken notice. In fact, they reportedly already threw a contract his way.

It was recently reported that Samardzija turned down a 5-year, $85 million contract from the Cubs and given the money that is hurled at pitchers every offseason on the open market that was probably the correct decision for him.

While he can’t yet be considered one of the elite pitchers in the game, he will certainly have quite a bit of value if the Cubs decide to trade him. His impressive work this year will certainly net the Cubs at least a top prospect, and probably more.

He will still be under team control until the 2016 offseason, so the team that eventually trades for him won’t have to worry about him bolting right away (which will also increase his trade value). As Cubs fans, how tired are you of hearing the constant rumors about Samardzija, and what do you hope the team does with him?

This Week’s MVP: J.D. Martinez (.444/.429/.963, 4 HR, 10 RBI)

This Week’s Cy Young: Clayton Kershaw (1-0, 0.00 ERA, 15 K, No-Hitter)

MINOR LEAGUE MONDAY

by Joe Aiello

Over the last three drafts, we’ve seen the Cubs draft hitting, despite being in need of pitching. Of those last three drafts, all three of the players selected, have become part of the core five guys in the system that our offense is waiting for. Usually a college bat is the safest pick you can make, and the Cubs have done that two out of the last three drafts, but let’s take a quick look at a college hitter selected just a little further back, whose stock has sunk and sunk fast.

Brett Jackson was the 1st round selection by the Cubs in the 2009 draft, selected 31st overall because the Cubs were actually good the year before. For the next several years not only did Jackson find himself on top whatever lists, he often found himself near the top of most of them. He even got a cup of coffee in the Majors in 2012. Since then, Jackson has done little to show he still even belongs in the system, let alone in the Majors.

So far this season, his third at AAA, Jackson is hitting .197 / .279 / .341. At what point do you stop giving him regular at bats and look elsewhere? I think the time is coming soon.

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Brian Rzeppa is an avid follower of the Cubs, and of Major League Baseball in general. You can find his basketball-related work at Sheridan Hoops, and you can follow him on Twitter @brianrzeppa.