The Rundown: Winning Streak Ends, Injury Rehab Updates, National Anthem Dream, Christian Yelich Putting Up Trout-Like Numbers

The winning streak had to end at some point, and yesterday it came to a screeching halt as the Mets pounded the Cubs 10-3, with the silver lining being Victor Caratini hitting a meaningless home run. Nothing pretty about this game, which was over as soon as Todd Frazier cranked a grand slam off of Alec Mills in the 1st inning. Still, a successful day for the Northsiders:

  1. The Cubs won the suspended game on an RBI single by Ben Zobrist.
  2. Javier Baez, Daniel Murphy, and Jason Heyward got to take a PTO day. With only two days off between now and the end of the season, it’s okay to have a throwaway game. Expect the Cubs to have one more makeshift lineup game; if I had to guess, it would be September 6 at Washington.
  3. The Cardinals lost to the Pirates 2-0.

The Cubs finished the homestand with a 6-1 record and now move on to Atlanta for a makeup game as they embark on a four-city, 11-game road trip. This team is definitely made for August, which is why they have played deep into October each season since 2015:

  • 2015: 19-9
  • 2016: 22-6
  • 2017: 17-12
  • 2018: 17-9

They needed a hot August since the Cardinals are 20-6 this month.

Chicago will send left-hander Mike Montgomery (4-4, 3.62 ERA) to the mound to oppose Atlanta right-hander Mike Foltynewicz (10-8, 2.67) in tonight’s game. Monty has made four career appearances against the Braves. He is 1-1 with a 2.57 ERA. Folty has never beaten the Cubs in three career starts, going 0-2 with a 5.06 ERA.

Cubs News & Notes

Jesse Rogers has a great look at the waiver claim process that netted the team Daniel Murphy.

James Norwood was Mr. Irrelevant yesterday when the Cubs added the young pitcher as their 26th man for the originally scheduled game. Norwood pitched serviceably in a mop-up role.

Kris Bryant was 1-for-3 in his third rehab appearance at Iowa. I would expect Bryant to rejoin the team on September 1 (Saturday) unless another player gets injured.

Brandon Morrow is expected to be back in mid-September, but I don’t get the warm fuzzies about that target. Maybe it’s just intuition, I just don’t hear anything super positive in the statements surrounding his alleged return date. And if he truly will have to pitch through pain, how effective can he be? The Cubs closer played long toss from a distance of 105 feet on Wednesday between games.

Drew Smyly will begin a rehab assignment in South Bend.

Stefan Xidas, who has Down syndrome, is a fan of the Chicago Cubs. He’s working to make one of his dreams, singing the national anthem at Wrigley Field, a reality. Xidas started a GoFundMe page, detailing his goal. If the anthem doesn’t happen, the money will be donated to the Special Olympics.

How About That!

The Pirates gave the Cubs a little “happy” by beating the Cardinals 2-0 last night behind Trevor Williams, who has allowed just four earned runs over his last eight starts and improved to 5-2 with an 0.75 ERA during that stretch.

Though the Brewers are going through a 9-11 stretch, last night’s crazy 13-12 comeback win over the Reds could be the shot in the arm the team needs. Milwaukee’s bullpen is all kinds of bad right now as Josh Hader has been inconsistent and Cory Knebel is in the minors working through some mechanical issues. PS:  Christian Yelich really deserves MVP consideration. Not only is he hitting .319 in 524 plate appearances, but he’s on pace to eclipse 30 homers and has also chipped in 14 stolen bases for good measure. That’s Mike Trout-like.

The Diamondbacks ended a 25-inning scoreless drought to beat the Giants 3-1 as Arizona took a half-game lead over the idle Rockies in the NL West.

The Red Sox broke out the lumber on Wednesday, scoring 11 runs as part of a 12-hit 7th inning.That marked the second time they’d pulled off double-digit hits and runs in an inning since June 2003 when they did it against…yes, the Marlins.

Wednesday’s Three Stars

  1. Christian Yelich – The Brewers outfielder and NL MVP candidate hit for the cycle and became the second player this season to go 6-for-6 in a game. Milwaukee desperately needed all of that production to hold off the Reds.
  2. Mookie Betts – The Boston outfielder and AL MVP candidate was 3-for-4 with a home run double, three runs scored and three RBI in Boston’s 14-6 win over the Marlins.
  3. Trevor Williams – The Pirates right-hander delivered his eighth consecutive quality start, shutting the Cardinals out across six innings with eight strikeouts.

Extra Innings

After last night’s win, the Diamondbacks inched ahead of the Rockies for first place in the NL West. They’ve backed up that status with a plus-84 run differential, the fourth-best mark in the National League.

Despite all that, the FanGraphs Projection Model gives the Snakes just a 20.9 percent chance of winning the division and a 44.3 percent chance of making the postseason. To put that in context, the Cubs, Braves, Cardinals, Dodgers, and Brewers all have higher playoff percentages which, if things go accordingly, would leave the D-Backs out of the postseason dance.

The reason? the Dodgers project very well, thanks in part to their NL-best run differential (+127) and Arizona has a brutal schedule over the last month.

They Said It

  • “It was a good two weeks for me to give (my arm) a refresher. It’s one of those things where it could’ve gone bad if I didn’t address it. I didn’t want something that could take two weeks to cost me the rest of the season.” – Mike Montgomery
  • “[Morrow] is doing better. He’s reported that he’s not feeling anything after he’s throwing. We’re optimistic, but we haven’t put a date down. We’re getting closer to having to start to figure out when is the right time to get him on the mound doing regular pitching things.” – Joe Maddon
  • “You have to build [Morrow] back into that role and find out where he’s at. Even if you want to use him in the 9th inning, I can’t imaging a back-to-back nights kind of thing. You would think that by the end of [September], that you can do something like that, but I don’t think you throw him into that.” – Joe Maddon

Thursday Walk Up Song

No Erasin’ by Steve Perry. The former lead vocalist of Journey has released his first new music in 15 years. He’s still got some chops at 69. Yes, he is really 69 years old, and the story behind the new music is touching.

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