Javier Baez had a good day, huh?
First he got engaged to his longtime girlfriend Irmarie Marquez (he was actually engaged on April 4, but he kept it a secret until yesterday). Then he went yard twice in the Cubs’ 13-5 drubbing of the Pirates last night at Wrigley Field. That gives Baez four home runs in the last two games. He’s good, right?
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) April 12, 2018
When Baez hit his first bomb, I thought it was a little odd that Pirates manager Clint Hurdle elected to pitch to him with first base open and Jason Heyward on deck. After all the excitement, Heyward meekly grounded out to second base in what would have been an inning-ending double play had Baez been passed. Who knew J-Hey would offer El Mago that kind of protection?
Baez started eight games in the No. 8 spot in the batting order before moving up to seventh Wednesday, with Heyward batting eighth against Pirates lefty Steven Brault.
“It doesn’t matter, to be honest,” Baez said. “They’re going to pitch to me one way. It might be a little different with the pitcher behind me, but it’s even better when the pitcher is not behind me because I will see more strikes. But I’m still working on a lot of adjustments, and I feel pretty comfortable.”
Just what I asked for yesterday, a blowout win. Finally.
Cubs News & Notes
If the Cubs win today’s rubber game, it will represent Pittsburgh’s first series loss of the season. Kyle Hendricks faces Trevor Williams in Thursday’s finale at Wrigley Field.
Are the Cubs lecturing all the fun out of Baez?
Anthony Rizzo blames a hotel bed in Cincinnati for his early season back trouble.
Forbes magazine says the Cubs are worth $2.9 billion dollars, making them the third most valuable franchise in baseball, just behind the Yankees ($4.0B) and Dodgers ($3.0B).
The Cubs bullpen dance is now part of MLB’s The Show video game, but why only three pitchers? I so want to “LOL” but I’m 54 years old so I chuckled a little instead.
How About That!
The Yankees’ Tyler Austin took a 97 mph fastball to the upper body from Red Sox righty Joe Kelly, triggering a bench-clearing brawl in the 7th before New York’s 10-7 win.
Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado charged the mound after watching a fastball sail just behind his back and went after Padres pitcher Luis Perdomo, swinging wildly but failing to really connect in Colorado’s 6-4 win over the Padres. This brawl was far more entertaining than the Yankees-Red Sox scrum because Perdomo threw his glove at Arenado in self defense after nearly nailing him, and then backpedaled away. Freddy Galvis threw his glove, too. Fans with ringside seats demanded a refund.
The Los Angeles Dodgers will host the 2020 All-Star Game. Veteran and now retired broadcaster Vin Scully made the announcement on behalf of the team.
The Rangers lost shortstop Elvis Andrus to a right elbow fracture Wednesday when he was drilled by a 97 mph fastball from Angels relief pitcher Keynan Middleton. Entering Wednesday, the Rangers shortstop was hitting .347 with two home runs and five RBI this season. There was no ensuing brawl.
Red Sox starter David Price lasted only one inning in Wednesday night’s start against the Yankees. The lefty walked off the mound looking at his left hand or arm, per ESPN’s Scott Lauber.
ESPN’s David Schoenfield is tracking next season’s big free agent class in an ongoing series.
Wednesday’s Three Stars
- Javier Baez – the first player to makes this section on consecutive days, Baez has put nearly 1700 feet of distance between a baseball and his bat over the past two games. Javy now leads the team with four home runs and 10 RBI.
- Gary Sanchez – The Yankees backstop broke out in a big way in yesterday’s 10-7 win over the Red Sox with two home runs of his own.
- Yonny Chirinos – The Ray’s reliever pitched 5 1/3 scoreless innings in a 2-1 loss to the White Sox. Chirinos is part of the group of relievers that collectively make up Tampa’s fifth starter role. After the game he made it clear that he would like to be a real starter and not just serve as infantry in the team’s mass bullpen deployment.
Hot Takes & Syrup
- The Los Angeles Daily News has devised a surefire plan to get both the Dodgers and the Angels to the 2018 World Series. Except it is not surefire.
- If last season’s uptick in home runs can really be blamed on the way baseballs were constructed, even though Major League Baseball is unwilling to admit to that, what is going on this year? Through a little over two weeks there have been 15 grand slams across MLB this season.
They Said It
- “We expect to win, yeah, absolutely. We do expect to win, but the thing we want them to do is put it down. I’ve talked about the 30-minute win hard, 30-minute lose hard and then move it along. That’s all that I really want. We’re going to be in a battle with a lot of really good teams. We’ve got Atlanta coming in hot right now, St. Louis next week. We go on the road to Colorado. If you really break it down, there are a lot of teams that have gotten better.” Joe Maddon
- “[If they’re sleeping on us] let ’em sleep. If they don’t want to hype us, that’s completely fine with me. I like flying under the radar. When October starts, we’re going to surprise a lot of people.” – Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs
- “I’ve been a starter most of my career. I’m just fortunate to have been able to start and let them know that I’m most comfortable being a starter.” – Yonny Chirinos
Thursday Walk Up Song
Friday on My Mind by The Easybeats. Thursday just goes too slow.