The Rundown: Lester Cementing Legacy, Shortstop Controversy(?), Cubs on MadBum’s No-Trade List, 3 AM Goes Yard Again
With no Cubs game yesterday and a light schedule across the league, it’s a quick one today.
The Cubs kick off a six-game road trip with three in Cincinnati against the Reds starting tonight. At 24-14, the Cubs have the best record in the National League. The Reds are in last place in the division despite a run differential of +30. Chicago has won its last eight series. Cincinnati has allowed the fewest runs in the National League so far this year and are 17-15 since dropping eight of their first nine games to start the season.
Look who leads the league in ERA at 1.16.
Jon Lester hasn't allowed an earned run in three straight starts.
Powered by @Biofreeze. pic.twitter.com/SmeQub6Eki
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) May 13, 2019
Jon Lester is the best free-agent signing the Cubs have ever made. It would be tough to argue against his career record of 64-32 since signing in Chicago. The veteran left-hander has an ERA+ of 128 as a Cub (373 so far this season!) if you feel wins and losses are a trivial statistic. He’s also been durable, taking the bump for 32 starts in each of the past four seasons. He could very well be on his way to his third NL All-Star appearance and sixth of his career.
Cubs News & Notes
- Jason Heyward is 0-for-20 in his career against tonight’s starter Tanner Roark, and he’s 4-for-39 in the past 10 games.
- Per Karl Ravech of ESPN, the Cubs feel the team is better with Addison Russell playing shortstop on a daily basis.
- Comeback years by Willson Contreras and Tyler Chatwood have been drivers in the team’s early-season success.
- The Cubs may need to take a look at the number of innings Contreras has spent behind the plate this season. He faded pretty badly in the second half of last season due to being overworked.
- Kris Bryant is on track for the best year of his career.
- Cole Hamels leads the team in innings pitched (49 2/3) and has the best WHIP (1.07) among the starters. The left-hander is also close to reaching 2,500 career strikeouts. He is currently tied for 40th place on the all-time strikeouts leaderboard with 2,464.
- Cubs pitchers have generated the lowest rate of fly balls in baseball, by far.
- San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner reportedly selected the Cubs as one of the eight teams on his no-trade list. The list also includes the rest of baseball’s top contending teams, including the Yankees and Red Sox. I am assuming he is simply seeking leverage in any trade negotiations. There’s no reason to choose the league’s worst teams because they’re unlikely to move prospects for a one-year rental. Don’t sleep on the Rays or Twins as a potential destination for MadBum. Neither is on his no-trade list and both need starters.
- The Cubs have won nearly 78% of their games since April 10 and have not lost a series since dropping two of three to the Brewers April 5-7.
How About That!
Shoehei Ohtani hit his first home run of the season last night. The two-way star is recovering from Tommy Jonh surgery and will not pitch at all this season.
Reds pitcher Luis Castillo has been the best starter in the National League this season. He has been worth 2.3 WAR already.
Bryce Harper has contributed more to the Phillies with his glove than his bat as of late. The right fielder now has 19 games with multiple strikeouts this season, most in the majors.
The longest active winning streak in baseball belongs to the Astros. They won their sixth consecutive game yesterday and may have the best offense in the history of the game.
Angels second baseman Tommy La Stella swatted his team-leading — and career-high — 10th home run last night. The six-year veteran has doubled his career home run total in 36 games this season.
For the second time this season (and his career), White Sox second baseman Yoán Moncada had a two-homer game.
The Brewers are really struggling to hit in games away from Miller Park this season.
Monday’s Three Stars
- Lorenzo Cain – The Brewers center fielder was 5-for-6 with an RBI and finished a home run shy of hitting for the cycle.
- Yoán Moncada – The all-purpose infielder was 3-for-4 last night with two home runs and now has 28 RBI on the season, leading the White Sox.
- Tommy La Stella – A power surge reminiscent of Scooter Gennett gets 3 AM on this list. La Stella was 3-for-5 last night and leads the Angels with 10 taters on the season.
Best run differentials in baseball through roughly 1/4 of the season.
- Astros +69
- Rays +57
- Cubs +54
- Dodgers +53
- Twins +51
Carlos Zambrano made his return to the mound in Chicago Saturday night. Big Z struck out two in an inning of work for the Chicago Dogs at Impact Field in Rosemont. Zambrano has his eye on returning to the major leagues as a relief pitcher. Stranger things have happened.
Now pitching for the Dogs…
CARLOS ZAMBRANO.#TakeABite | #SpringDogs pic.twitter.com/QhsufrIxhf
— Chicago Dogs (@TheChicagoDogs) May 11, 2019
They Said It
- “We trust everybody on this team. So it’s really fun to be a part of.” – Kris Bryant
- “I just reacted to it. [Jose Berrios] has such good stuff. I just wanted to make sure I got him on the plate. I definitely didn’t want to expand the zone against a guy like that. I think it caught a decent part of the plate.” – Tommy La Stella
- “You’ve got to stay focused on both sides of the ball, no matter your outcomes at the plate or anything like that. My pitchers need me, and I need to be playing to the best of my ability out there.” – Bryce Harper
Tuesday Walk Up Song
Hurt by Johnny Cash. The Man in Black takes this Nine Inch Nails song to a whole new level with arguably the best cover of all time. It’s the defining moment of the end of Johnny’s career without a doubt, a reflection of consequence and regret. If you don’t feel anything after listening to it you might be dead.