November 2, 2016. Game 7 of the World Series. The Cubs beat the Indians 8-7 in a game many consider one of the greatest Game 7s of all time. Tonight the Cubs return to Cleveland for a game that will obviously rekindle emotions for both teams.
The Indians are second in the majors with a team ERA of 2.57 but will start Josh Tomlin (0-2 8.00 ERA), who has struggled to start the season. The Cubs’ starter will be Tyler Chatwood (0-3, 4.60), who is struggling with command and control issues. Despite being just 10-9, Chicago has won four of its last six games. Cleveland has gone 9-3 after winning just three of their first eight games. The two-game series concludes Wednesday evening with Jon Lester squaring off against Trevor Bauer.
Cubs News & Notes
If you scroll down to the bottom of this story by Rays’ beat reporter Marc Topkin, you’ll find this little excerpt: “Don’t know who they were looking at (Alex Colome?) but the Cardinals had senior special assistant Mike Jorgensen at the Trop last week. Cubs scouts also were around.” Interesting, but I wonder if the Cubs are truly interested in a Tampa player or if they are just performing due diligence. Veteran catcher Wilson Ramos might be a person of interest.
The team’s mediocre start can be attributed to two factors: Pitching and defense. Chicago’s starters rank 12th in the NL in fielding-independent pitching (4.29 FIP) so far this season, continuing a three-year slide from fourth-best in 2016 to 10th-best last year. The team is below average in defensive efficiency as well, though things have improved greatly since Albert Almora Jr. started getting more reps.
Due to an allergic reaction to something in a postgame spread, shortstop Addison Russell had to stay overnight in Denver on Sunday. Russell said yesterday that he thought he would be well enough to play tonight in Cleveland.
2016 Flashback: Almora played a key role in Game 7 of the 2016 World Series, entering as a pinch runner in the 10th inning and tagging up from first base on a flyout, later scoring the go-ahead run.
With the way Yu Darvish is struggling, and given what appears to be at least a mild conflict between the pitcher and Willson Contreras, I’m surprised the Cubs have not recalled Chris Gimenez to be the right-hander’s personal catcher. I know Vic Caratini offers a little more versatility, but I think it’s much more important to have your ace pitching the way an ace should, especially with the red-hot Brewers coming to town this weekend.
Cubs Productions, in association with MLB and Budweiser, will honor Kerry Wood’s 20-K game on May 6th, the 20-year anniversary of that game.
2️⃣0️⃣th anniversary of @KerryWood's 2️⃣0️⃣K game …
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) April 23, 2018
How About That!
Yankees 3B Miguel Andujar continued to be an extra-base hit machine Monday, launching a solo home run and a double in the Yankees’ 14-1 thrashing of the Twins. The Yankees cranked out four taters on the night, as Giancarlo Stanton, Tyler Austin, and Didi Gregorius (grand slam) also went yard.
Andujar has racked up 10 doubles in his first 19 major league games, an accomplishment matched by only one other player in the history of the Yankees franchise: Joe DiMaggio.
Twins second baseman Brian Dozier has at least one hit in each of his 17 games this season, and a 24-game hitting streak overall dating back to last season.
Jose Abreu of the White Sox finished 4-for-5 with two homers and three RBI in Monday’s 10-4 win over the Mariners. Seattle OF Mitch Haniger hit a home run for the fourth consecutive game.
White Sox pitcher Danny Farquhar is progressing well after surgery to address a brain aneurysm he suffered while pitching.
Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman got his first victory of the season in a 10-4 thrashing of the Braves yesterday. It was Cincinnati’s 4th win of the year. With 13 percent of the season done, not exactly a small sample size, the Reds are on a pace to win fewer than 30 games in 2018.
Dodgers rookie SP Walker Buehler struck out five across five shutout innings against the Marlins on Monday in his first major league start. The young right-hander was filthy. Buehler threw eight pitches of at least 99 mph during his first two innings.
The Yankees announced they have acquired right-handed pitcher A.J. Cole from the Nationals for cash considerations.
The Indians announced they have agreed to a minor league deal with OF Melky Cabrera.
Rays’ INF prospect Willy Adames hit for the cycle last night.
Hot Takes & Syrup
There has never been a month in baseball history with more strikeouts than hits. With eight days left in March/April 2018:
— Joe Sheehan (@joe_sheehan) April 23, 2018
- The Rockies believe they have an unbreakable code that will prevent opposing teams from stealing signs.
Monday’s Three Stars
- Giancarlo Stanton – The Yankees big offseason acquisition, who was batting a paltry .185 entering Monday’s game, reached base in all five plate appearances. He was 4-for-4 with a walk, a home run, and three singles, scoring three runs and driving in two.
- Carlos Carrasco – The Indians starter went 7 1/3 last night with seven strikeouts in Cleveland’s 2-1 victory over the Orioles. Carrasco is now 4-0 on the season.
- Matt Szczur – The former Cubs OF came on as a pinch-hitter last night and recorded two hits while scoring two runs in the Padres nine-run 7th inning.
They Said It
- “[Farquhar] loves baseball and his kids. His family is really what’s most important to him. His kids make him gift packages for when he’s on the road — drawings and little cards. It’s heartwarming to see.” – White Sox RP Aaron Bummer
- “Still battling, man. Nothing’s easy. But it was good to get a few knocks. The team, one through nine, did a great job. I’ve been feeling more comfortable. Good day of five good at-bats.” – Giancarlo Stanton
- “It’ll be fun. It’ll be fun to walk those steps. The locker room, the weight room. … It was pretty spectacular, and I think retrospectively, when it’s all laid out there years from now, it’s going to be looked at as one of the more interesting World Series, or seventh games, ever played.” – Joe Maddon
Tuesday Walk Up Song
Five O’Clock World by The Vogues. Hello Cleveland!