Quick rundown today; I’m battling a fever and my feet look like someone took a sledgehammer to them while I was sleeping. So I’ll fight through this and leave you to trust in me that better prose awaits another day.
The Cubs looked like the Cubs again yesterday. Not because they won, but because they followed a loss with a win, which just seems so them lately. They’re 14-12 since the All-Star break, not exactly the second-half juggernaut that we were all expecting based on their post-break play since 2015.
Kyle Hendricks looked good. Jason Heyward looks resurgent…again. Anthony Rizzo and Albert Almora Jr. homered, and Rizzo had two stolen bases to boot. But it’s time to string a half-dozen wins or so together starting in Pittsburgh tonight.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) August 15, 2018
Cubs News & Notes
On Wednesday morning the Cubs acquired Terrence Gore from the Royals for cash. Gore is not on the 40-man roster and did not have to clear waivers before being traded. He has 11 at-bats in 49 career games. That’s right, I said ELEVEN. But he has 21 career stolen bases and he will be strictly a specialist once rosters expand in September. I half-jokingly mentioned to my friend Slippin’ Jimmy that they traded him to serve in a mop-up relief role the next time the Cubs have a bad day at the office.
It’s not as crazy an idea as you may think. Going into yesterday’s game the Cubs have put together a -28 run differential since the All-Star Game, which means they’ve been on the bad side of a blowout or two considering the team’s record since mid-July.
The internet still can’t get enough of David Bote. Who wants to produce my new movie tentatively titled ‘Being David Bote’ after reading this Yahoo piece on the rookie’s mental process? I’m sure John Cusack would love to star. Maybe we’ll just mash up a trailer, yes?
St. Louis is surging with an eight-game winning streak and now trail the Cubs in the Central Division by only four games. The Cubs play the Cardinals at home on the final weekend of the season. I’d like those games to be meaningless.
A quick shout out to Sahadev Sharma, who has simply become the best baseball writer in Chicago. If you do not have a subscription to The Athletic, I recommend accepting their free trial. Read a few of Sharma’s columns and you’ll gladly pay the annual subscription.
How About That!
In what may be the most cowardly thing I’ve ever seen, Marlins’ starter Jose Ureña drilled a first-pitch 97 mph fastball into the left elbow of Braves leadoff hitter Ronald Acuña Jr., who has been on an historic tear over the last week. My gut tells me manager Don Mattingly was behind this, but even if he wasn’t — he said he chastised his pitcher afterward — it was a dastardly act and is just another in a long line of PR hara-kiri for a wretched franchise. I’m at the point where I just wish Miami baseball would cease to exist.
Acuña left the game but it appears he suffered no major injury.
The first pitch of the night to Ronald Acuña Jr.
Clearly intentional. pic.twitter.com/TlDpUGOdcW
— FOX Sports: Braves (@FOXSportsBraves) August 15, 2018
Joe West umpired his 5,164th major league game last night, second all-time among MLB umpires, and baseball fans put him on blast.
How much has Bote’s walk-off grand slam affected the Nationals? Seventy-two hours ago they were one pitch away from moving within 4 1/2 games of the division lead. After last night’s loss to the Cardinals they are now 9 games back.
The Athletics’ bullpen is the best in baseball. Despite a 2-0 loss to the Mariners yesterday, the surprise team of the year sits just two games behind the Astros in the AL West. Three former Cubs — Trevor Cahill, Brett Anderson, and Edwin Jackson — make up the back end of Oakland’s starting rotation.
Not the best in baseball
After last night’s 16-5 loss to the Mets, the Orioles sit 49 1/2 games out of first place, yet they have not been mathematically eliminated from a berth in the AL Wild Card game.
Wednesday’s Three Stars
- Gerritt Cole – The Astro struck out 12 Rockies batters in last night’s win to give him 219 Ks in 2018, currently the most in a season by an Astros pitcher since Darryl Kile also had 219 in 1996. He is tied for the league lead with Chris Sale.
- Brandon Nimmo – The Mets OF became just the fifth player in team history with a 5-for-5 or better game, accomplishing that feat with two doubles and a triple. He’s now batting .263/.387/.503 in this, his age-25 campaign
- Anthony Rizzo – A home run, three RBI, and two stolen bases as a cleanup hitter gets him on this list.
They Said It
- “The fact that Ureña dropped his glove as the Braves’ bench emptied and seemed to beckon them forward tell you all you need to know about his intent.” – Buster Olney
- “What we said with Jose is ‘I don’t want to see this kid get hit.’ He’s a great player. He’s going to be great for a long time. For us, he’s beat us up, but this is not the way to handle that situation.” – Don Mattingly
- “It was gutless. I know that wasn’t the Marlins. That was just Jose Ureña. I don’t understand it. Just because a kid is having fun playing a game and having incredible success makes no sense.” – Freddie Freeman
I watched the Giants-Dodgers game last night and I realized that ESPN has not had a good announcer since they launched Jon Miller a few seasons ago (along with blowhard Joe Morgan). Miller would be a welcome change from the current Sunday night team.
Jon Miller is a pro. You listen to enough MLB broadcasts and you can tell which booths are prepared and which ones are winging it
— Mike Gianella (@MikeGianella) August 16, 2018
Thursday Walk Up Song
Jeremy by Pearl Jam. Arms raised in a “V” as our rock heroes and Cubs fans will be at Wrigley Field this weekend.