The Rundown: Rizzo’s Funk, Hendricks Dealing, Smyly Pitching Sim Games, Harper and Machado Rumors

Anthony Rizzo is in a funk, but Kyle Hendricks may have turned a corner last night. Hendricks would have had a shutout victory if not for two uncharacteristically terrible errors by Rizzo in the 5th inning, the second of which allowed Giants 2B Alen Hanson to score all the way from first on a botched pickoff attempt. Hanson reached first on an error by Rizzo.

The final line for Hendricks was impressive. The righthander allowed just five hits and one walk across 8 1/3 innings with eight punchouts in what was easily his best start of the season.

Unfortunately for the Cubs, the Giants beat them 2-1 in the 11th inning on a walk-off single by Pablo Sandoval. Hendricks definitely deserved a win last night. But the good news is that the Professor, who threw 75 of 109 pitches for strikes, looks to have righted the ship.

However, after going 0-for-5 Monday night, Rizzo is hitting just .148 for the month of July (4-for-27). Don’t be surprised if Joe Maddon gives him a day off Tuesday.

Cubs News & Notes

According to the latest betting lines, the Cubs and Yankees are favored to square off in the 2018 World Series.

Kris Bryant homered in his first rehab start for Double AA Tennessee. Bryant will pay again today and will then be reevaluated. There is a chance he could return to the team mid-week.

Drew Smyly has pitched in a couple of simulated games and hopes to begin a rehab stint shortly. He’s eligible to return from the DL in August.

The Cubs are reportedly interested in Blue Jays’ starter JA Happ. The 35-year old left-hander has lost his last two starts, giving up a total of 13 earned runs in just 8.1 innings. That’s an ERA of 14.04.

Jon Lester was named an All-Star for the fifth time in his career but apparently he’ll have to wait if he wants to get a jersey commemorating the honor.

On a sobering note, team psychologist Ken Ravizza – a pioneer in sports psychology – passed away Sunday night several days after suffering a heart attack near his Los Angleles home. Ravizza had been scheduled to join the team in San Francisco.

How About That!

Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina will replace Buster Posey as an NL reserve for next week’s All-Star Game in Washington, DC. It is Molina’s ninth appearance in the Midsummer Classic.

16-year-old pitcher Kaito Yuki signed a contract with the Royals. He is thought to be the first Japanese high schooler to sign with a major league ballclub.

Marlins’ reserve catcher Bryan Holaday singled home a run for the first walk-off hit of his career as Miami defeated the Brewers 4-3 in ten innings.

The Nationals continue to slump, and after last night’s 6-3 loss to the Pirates, Washington sits at .500 as the Bryce Harper trade rumors start to get just a little stronger. Harper blasted his 22nd home run of the season for the Nationals in the losing effort.

Wilmer Flores belted a home run off the left field foul pole to give the Mets an extra-inning walk-off win over the Phillies in game one of their doubleheader. It was the fourth walk-off home run of Flores’ career, tying Mike Piazza, Kevin McReynolds, Cleon Jones, and Chris Jones for the most in team history. Flores now has 10 walk-off RBI, also the most in Mets’ history.

With 17 wins in their last 21 games, the A’s are one of the hottest teams in baseball. Even after beating the Astros 2-0 last night, however, they still sit nine games behind Houston and 5 1/2 games out of the second AL wild card spot. It will be interesting to see if Oakland does anything to strengthen their team at the trade deadline. They certainly don’t need any bullpen help.

In case you missed it, here are the AL and NL All-Star rosters announced on Sunday.

Monday’s Three Stars

  1. Aaron Nola – The Phillies SP was magnificent, allowing just a single hit and one walk with 10 strikeouts in the Phillies’ 3-0 win over the Mets in Game 2 of their doubleheader. But wait! That’s not all Nola did Monday. He also drove in all three Phillies runs with a bases-clearing double in the 6th.
  2. Gerrit Cole – The Astros righty struck out 11 and scattered three singles across six scoreless innings but took a no-decision in Houston’s 2-0 loss to the A’s.
  3. Kyle Hendricks – see above

Hot Takes & Syrup

They Said It

  • “Very excited…to go represent the Orioles in the All-Star Game as a National League st – as an American League starter.” – Manny Machado
  • “[Ken Ravizza] was the best at what he does. I hear his voice in my head. He’s left an eternal impact on all of us.” – Joe Maddon
  • “It’s just been really, really boring for me to sit back and not be out there. It’s refueled some of the excitement for getting out there on the field. I can’t wait to get back out there.” – Kris Bryant

Extra Innings

Javier Baez isn’t so perfect after all. But his faux pas in the 5th inning of last night’s game is not nearly as embarrassing as this video by Derek Holland and Hunter Pence of the Giants encouraging fans to vote Brandon Belt on to the NL All Star team.

Tuesday Walk Up Song

Hard Times by The Wild Feathers. Caught them at Summerfest Saturday night and they are a new band crush for me.

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