The Rundown: Cubs Break Out, Epstein Not Worried About Slow Start, George Springer Has Career Night

Just as Evan predicted in yesterday’s starting lineup column, the Cubs broke out last night, crushing the Marlins 14-2 in an offensive attack that included 15 hits.

Addison Russell at short and Ian Happ in left finish out an order that had something of an odd shape, to use Jed Hoyer’s terminology. And that probably means they’ll bust out for a dozen runs on 15 hits.

Can we get a similar prediction today? I know Yu Darvish is on the 10-Day DL with the flu and the Cubs have yet to name a starter, but hey, if the team can get similar offensive production tonight I can start the game and give five decent innings. I had the same flu last week. It is at least a five-day recovery and I am still not at full strength.

The Cubs had been on an odd streak where their previous 13 home runs had all been solo shots. That changed in a big way last night as taters by Kris Bryant, Javy Baez and Ian Happ (who hit one from each side of the plate) accounted for ten runs. Chicago came in having scored three runs or fewer in 10 of its previous 11 games, so the offense offered a welcome respite from recent struggles.

Javy’s homer gave him longballs in three straight games, the longest streak of his career. He leads the Cubs with 10 homers and 32 RBI over the first 32 games, 31 of which Baez has appeared in. He was removed in the 7th inning yesterday due to groin tightness.

As for who starts tonight’s game, it is still up in the air. “We’re still working on how we’re gonna do that,” Maddon said. “It could be somewhat of a bullpen day.”

Cubs News & Notes

Baez has homered in three straight games while Bryant has hit the bleachers in three of his last five.

Entering last night’s game, Cubs starting pitchers had 17 non-quality starts compared with 14 quality starts, and the defense was tied for last in fielding percentage. It’s no wonder some who left comments on yesterday’s column feel that the slow start this year is worse than last year’s start. Just like last seasion, the Cubs were 16-15 heading into game 32.

“It is a little silly to lose our heads and get worried over a couple tough losses,” Bryant said. “It was a couple tough games. We still think we’re the best team in the division, and we have all the confidence in the world we’ll be where we want at the end of the year, just like where we were last year.”

I said it first yesterday but David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune chimed in this morning as well: “The different [lineup] combinations are cute when the Cubs win, but when they lose, the leadoff experiments simply seem like a plea for help to the front office.”

How About That!

Adrian Gonzalez hit two bombs and Jay Bruce and Michael Conforto each added another in the Mets’ 7-6 victory over the Reds.

Down 5-1 in the 6th, the Rangers rallied with four runs that inning — all coming on two-out hits — and then two in the 7th to beat the Tigers 7-6.

Marwin Gonzalez homered and drove in five runs as the Astros beat the A’s 16-2, though George Springer had an even better night, doing something that no Astros player has done since 1965 (see below). The Astros had 20 hits on the night.

Four players had two-homer games last night: Ian Happ, Adrian Gonzalez, Odubel Herrera, and Matt Adams.

There are at least four teams interested in the services of Mets pitcher Matt Harvey, who was DFA’s on Friday.

A Happy Note: White Sox relief pitcher Danny Farquhar was released from RUSH University Medical Center Monday. The reliever suffered a brain hemorrhage from an aneurysm during a game on April 20.

A Sad Note: The mother of Athletics OF Stephen Piscotty has passed away after a battle with ALS. Yu Darvish made a $10,000 donation to the YouCaring fund started by Piscotty and the A’s. All funds go towards the ALS Therapy Development Institute.

Monday’s Three Stars

  1. George Springer – The Astros OF went 6-for-6 with four singles, a double, and a home run, driving in six runs on the night. Springer began the day hitting .264 and ended it hitting .292 and is the 70th player in big league history to accomplish the feat in nine innings
  2. Fernando Romero – The rookie pitched six innings against the red-hot Cardinals, struck out nine, and never allowed a run, delivering Minnesota’s fourth straight victory, 6-0 at Busch Stadium.
  3. Ian Happ – The Cubs OF went 2-for-5 with two home runs and a career-high five RBI in Monday’s win over the Marlins, homering from both sides of the plate for the first time in his career.

Hot Takes & Syrup

They Said It

  • “There is no cute name for this one. We’re just struggling. A number of guys are pressing. It’s not pretty. There is no easy answer. There is no fire-and-brimstone speech that will turn this thing around. Baseball is designed to torture you, and then it makes it that much better when things go your way.” – Theo Epstein

Tuesday Walk Up Song

Handle With Care by the Traveling Wilburys. Maybe the Cubs will be okay.

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