The Rundown: Cubs Back in First, Báez Most Exciting Player in Baseball, Schwarber Goes Apollo, Third Rounder Michael McAvene Could Be Special
Back in first place, just like that. And how about Kyle Schwarber and his 50th anniversary tribute to Apollo 11? Has that ball come down yet?
Please enjoy this large home run.#EverybodyIn pic.twitter.com/1hIOlUfvtM
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) June 5, 2019
“That’s one small step for a man…one giant leap for mankind.” – Neil Armstrong
Kyle Hendricks was fantastic, finishing the game with ten punch outs. Javy Báez, Steve Cishek, Pedro Strop, and Carlos González were also keys in the Cubs 6-3 drubbing of the Rockies. Combined with the Brewers’ ugly 16-0 loss to the Marlins, the Cubs find themselves winners of two straight and back atop the Central Division.
And…I think we have a music theme for the month. Let’s go with songs from the summer of ’69, which was also one of my first experiences with Cub fandom. If you didn’t know it, I’m a huge fan of anything that has to do with NASA except those conspiracy theories that say the moon landings were faked. Bite your tongues.
Side note: If you haven’t seen the recent Apollo 11 in HD documentary, I highly recommend it.
Cubs News & Notes
- If you know any of the players the Cubs drafted on Day 2 of the minor league draft you’re a better man than I am. Our own Todd Johnson qualifies, and he breaks down some of the best picks from yesterday. It’s nice to see the front office finally draft some power arms.
- Hard throwing third-round pick Michael McAvene of Louisvlle is a big fan of technology and is excited to get into the Cubs’ vaunted (is it really vaunted?) Pitch Lab.
- Strop shut the door on the Rockies in his return from the IL, earning his fifth save of the season. Who needs Craig Kimbrel anyway?
- CarGo has generated quite a bit of buzz since joining the Cubs. He reminds me of the David Justice role in the movie Moneyball.
- Even Son Ranto is attuned to the buzz, as González is featured in his latest podcast, available here CI.
- The Crosstown Classic is coming to Chicago in a few weeks and these old-timers still take the Cubs-White Sox rivalry pretty seriously. You’re darned tootin’!
- Yu Darvish gets the start tonight still looking for his first win at Wrigley Field as a member of the Cubs. Darvish hasn’t won since April 27 but is coming off a solid start in St. Louis last Friday when he held the Cardinals to one run on three hits in six innings.
- Báez might see better pitches with CarGo protecting him in the lineup. In the 2nd inning, El Mago saw three fastballs before Rockies’ starter Jeff Hoffman turned to a curveball low in the zone.
- How about we watch Javy go deep yesterday, too? Normally a 440-foot home run would be the talk of the town, except when a teammate blasts a shot that nearly cleared all of Lake View.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) June 5, 2019
How About That!
Six players from top-ranked UCLA were chosen in the first 10 rounds of the draft, including Chase Strumpf, who the Cubs grabbed in round two.
A base-running gaffe has cost Andrew McCutchen the rest of the 2019 season. The Phillies outfielder has a torn ACL.
Commissioner Rob Manfred doesn’t expect major league teams to add foul pole-to-foul pole protective netting during the season.
Tigers’ slugger Miguel Cabrera is owed $162 million through 2023 and has a bum knee that may prevent him from playing the field this season, if ever again. Despite a grand slam and five RBI last night, that’s a helluva lot of cabbage to pay a one-dimensional player who has little power left in that bat.
Tuesday’s Three Stars
- Pedro Severino – The Orioles catcher blasted three home runs and five RBI in Baltimore’s 12-11 win over the Rangers, then made an incredible throw to first on a wild pitch strikeout to save the game.
- Dwight Smith, Jr. – The son of the former Rookie of the Year runner-up led the Orioles’ offensive onslaught with six RBI of his own. He was 3-for-4, including his 11th dinger of the season.
- Kyle Hendricks – Seven innings of three-run baseball with 10 strikeouts. The Professor was dealing last night and even drove in the Cubs’ first run. He was so excited by the performance, he actually showed a little emotion afterwards.
Kyle Hendricks is HYPED after his 10 strikeout outing tonight against the Rockies pic.twitter.com/OWWdFzZeoI
— Cubs Insider (@realcubsinsider) June 5, 2019
McAvene became a bit of a viral sensation over the weekend after he was ejected from a regional game in the NCAA Tournament. The reliever disagreed with an umpire’s strike zone and was tossed for saying, “That’s horrible.” The ejection triggered a four-game suspension that will carry over into the super regional portion of the tournament.
McAvene not only has a power arm, but closing experience in very meaningful games to boot, and could be fast tracked to the majors as a back-end bullpen addition for the Cubs as early as next season. He’s also just a tad intense. He’ll make a lot of fans in Chicago with this kind of baseball filth. He could be special.
The closer ?@LouisvilleBSB’s Michael McAvene was hurling ??? to strike out the side with the game on the line! pic.twitter.com/60mK2tDwbD
— Louisville Athletics (@GoCards) June 1, 2019
They Said It
- “When you crush a ball, that’s when everything feels good.” – Javier Báez
- “[Javy Báez] is just the most exciting player in baseball. He does things on the field that it’s just, there’s no explanation. He can do things with his hands. He can do things with his sliding. He’s really smart. It’s fun to watch, and I’m really happy to be part of the team that he’s playing [on].” – Carlos González
- “You’re going to run into rough patches where like the first nine games for whatever reason, you keep losing. That’s part of baseball. Everyone in this room knows and one thing Joe always has preached you win easy and lose hard for 30 minutes and move onto the next one. You start looking back and over your shoulder, you’re kind of looking at the wrong things.” – Jon Lester
Wednesday Walk Up Song
Hot Fun in the Summertime by Sly & The Family Stone. The return of warm weather, a mammoth blast from Schwarber, Hendricks fans 10 batters, and the Cubs recapture first place. Yes, that’s hot fun in the summertime