Bote! Bote! Bote! Kris Bryant who? Think the Rangers are upset they couldn’t pry David Bote from the Cubs in the Cole Hamels trade? According to Mark Simon of Sports Info Solutions, it’s been 39 years since a pinch-hitter hit a grand slam in that game situation. In last night’s post walk-off celebration, however, I don’t think our hero ever touched home plate.
Heck, he may not have touched the ground at all as he sailed around the bases.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) August 13, 2018
Some questions and observations while watching the Cubs-Nationals tilt last night:
- How do you beat Max Scherzer? You don’t, so you keep the game close and wait for Ryan Madson to take over. Ouch. Too soon, Nats fans?
- Is there a way the Cubs can keep Hamels next season and launch Tyler Chatwood? Can that happen before this season ends?
- Has there ever been a worse broadcasting team than Matt Vasgersian, Jessica Mendoza and A-Rod? Can we get Tim McCarver back? I was fighting a terrible case of the yawns all night long despite watching a playoff-like game.
- Ben Zobrist has been quietly stellar this year. Javy Baez gets all the press, but Zobrist has been wonderfully consistent and his at-bats are a joy to watch.
- Ryan Zimmerman has become this season’s designated Cubs killer.
- There was a time when I’d hoped the Cubs would draft Trea Turner. The Cubs took Kyle Schwarber 4th overall in 2014. The Padres selected Turner with the 13th pick and eventually traded him to Washington. Be completely honest – would you rather have Turner or Schwarber right now? It’s a tougher decision than you think when you break it down. Sounds like a great idea for a Cubs Insider column.
- Did you hear that grunt from Scherzer when he struck out Javier Baez? Speaking of Scherzer, what were the Diamondbacks thinking heading into 2010? To recap that offseason’s biggest blockbuster trade:
- Edwin Jackson went from the Tigers to the Diamondbacks;
- Scherzer and Daniel Schlereth went from the Diamondbacks to the Tigers;
- Curtis Granderson went from the Tigers to the Yankees;
- Phil Coke and Austin Jackson went from the Yankees to the Tigers; and
- Ian Kennedy went from the Yankees to the Diamondbacks
So basically, that’s Edwin Jackson and Ian Kennedy for Scherzer. Let’s look at the value of each since the 2010 season.
Scherzer – 47.7 wins above replacement and three Cy Young awards, one with the Tigers and two with the Nationals. That’s Hall of Fame worthy over eight-plus seasons. There’s talk of Scherzer winning the Cy Young Award and the League MVP award.
Jackson – traded to the White Sox at the 2010 deadline for David Holmberg and Daniel Hudson. He finished his tenure in Arizona with a 0.1 WAR and sits at 4.2 WAR since 2010.
Kennedy – Traded to the Padres at the 2013 deadline for Matt Stites and Joe Thatcher. He tallied a -0.4 WAR while with the Diamondbacks and has pitched to a cumulative WAR of -0.9 since the trade.
I wonder how Hamels’ and Chatwood’s WAR numbers will look at the end of this season and next.
Cubs News & Notes
Joe Maddon took Alex Rodriguez to task before Sunday’s game due to A-Rod’s comments about Yu Darvish a few weeks ago. One of Maddon’s greatest qualities is his fierce loyalty to his players. A-Rod continues to defend himself.
A-Rod wouldn’t change a thing about his Darvish criticism: "No, my job is to say it fairly and objectively. I have over 25 years in the game and I’m going to call it as I see it. We don’t always have to agree on everything."
— Patrick Mooney (@PJ_Mooney) August 12, 2018
Hamels is the new stopper for the the Cubs. What a fantastic acquisition so far.
Jon Lester is in a rut and he knows it. I expect the Cubs ace to turn it around soon but he has been dreadful since the All-Star break. Some advanced metrics predicted this second half regression, though Maddon said he wasn’t given anything definitive by Cubs brass to account for it. Lester’s second-half ERA sits at 10.33 and he’s actually looked worse than that. I think Lester is trying to hard to prove the metrics are incorrect. He should just go back to pitching his game.
Our own Brendan Miller seems to have pinpointed Lester’s issues with this wonderful article.
The progress has been slow, but Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant insists he will contribute again this season, according to Bruce Miles of the Daily Herald. Miles also mentioned that Drew Smyly’s progress has slowed as he recovers from Tommy John surgery. The left-hander has felt soreness on days after he throws and the season may wind down before Smyly can get into a major-league game.
How About That!
According to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe “there is a movement within baseball” to extend the non-waiver trade deadline from July 31 to mid-August. This is a negotiated issue between players’ union and owners, so there would have to be mutual agreement to change it.
The Mariners are moving SP Felix Hernandez to the bullpen. King Felix is owed nearly $28 million through next season. Erasmo Ramirez started in place of Hernandez in Sunday’s 4-3 victory over the Astros, the fourth straight win by Seattle over Houston.
The AL West has become a very competitive race when just a month ago it seemed that the Astros had the division championship all sewn up. With 43 games left, Houston leads the Athletics by 2 1/2 games with the Mariners now just four behind. The Astros have now lost eight straight at home. The Mariners and the A’s go head-to-head in a three-game series starting tonight.
Major League Baseball’s inclusion efforts must now include offensive tweets.
Sunday’s Three Stars
- David Bote – Grand slam walk-off on a 2-2 pitch from Ryan Madson, who couldn’t close out any batter after two strikes in the ninth inning. ‘Nuff said. (Note – I actually called this before it happened when writing about Hamels below, I wrote “4-3 comeback walk-off win” when Bote walked up to the plate).
- Max Scherzer – Nearly unhittable, Mad Max struck out 11 Cubs batters across seven innings while holding Chicago to just three hits and one walk.
- Cole Hamels – Drawing Scherzer is no easy matchup, but the new Cubs lefty held his own, striking out nine Washington batters while allowing just one run on one hit in the Cubs 4-3 comeback walk-off win. The only hit he allowed was Daniel Murphy’s single in the 2nd to put runners on first and third. Mark Reynolds then drove in Ryan Zimmerman with a sacrifice fly.
They Said It
- “Bote’s game has been so complete. His prep is great. His demeanor, the slow heartbeat, everything about him. He’s got the respect of that entire [clubhouse] already.” – Joe Maddon
- “This is the pitch I’m looking for and I’m gonna put my best swing on it and I’m gonna let whatever happens, happen. And that way, you can stay centered in to what you have to do on that pitch.” – David Bote
- “I’m going to go home and sleep.” – David Bote
I can’t even.
worst umpire call ever pic.twitter.com/feKHA03tzA
— Routine Baseball (@RoutineBaseball) July 19, 2018
Monday Walk Up Song
Walk of Life by Dire Straits. Thank you, David Bote. By the way, now that I live in Milwaukee, and with my windows open last night, it was amazing to hear the collective groans of Brewers’ fans when Bote launched that grand slam.