The Rundown: Contreras Stymies Sox, Mets Bring Chili Davis Back to Wrigley, Watch Out for Reds

With his team struggling through a week or so of offensive ineptitude, Willson Contreras decided to take matters into his own hands last night, and it was glorious. If you’ve ever wondered what an all-Chicago World Series might look and feel, last night was a great example. Cold, rainy, October-like weather combined with a marquee pitching matchup and an MVP performance by the Cubs’ catcher gave off all the feels of what would be an epic Fall Classic. Contreras was last night’s hero, hands down.

After going off on ChiSox starter Lucas Giolito last night, the All-Star bound backstop now has six home runs and 19 RBI in 11 career Cubs-Sox games, including a seven-RBI performance in a game last May.

I’m sure you’ve already seen the grand slam and you’ve probably seen his solo shot, too, but home runs are a dime-a-dozen in today’s version of baseball. There were five hit at Wrigley Field last night with the wind blowing in. Series MVP candidates excel in all aspects of the game and nothing says “you can go on home, son” better than a rally-killing rocket to your third baseman to cut down a thieving Tim Anderson.

He’ll grab some bench.

That’s how you separate the men from the boys, am I right? Somewhere Hawk Harrelson was cringing and shouting “You gotta be bleeping me!”

There is no joy in Bridgeport today, except on Twitter, where White Sox fans are treating the series split with the Cubs like it’s their springboard to a Wild Card berth this year. The Sox are a good team, and hovering around .500 at the break usually gives teams a shot at the playoffs. I suppose anything is possible, though the American League postseason looks like it will be somewhat of a bloodbath this fall.

Chances are slim and none, but how entertaining would a Red Line World Series be this year? If anything, the two-game set between the city rivals proved a seven-game championship match would be quite competitive and a whole lot of fun. Perhaps Dylan Cease would start a game for the South Siders. It might even bring the Ol’ Hawkeroo out of retirement. Mercy.

Cubs News & Notes

How About That!

Max Scherzer started for the Nationals last night despite suffering a broken nose the day before. Washington swept the Phillies in a day-night doubleheader and has won 16 of their last 23, moving ahead of the Mets for third place in the NL East.

Brian Dozier has been a big part of the Nationals’ turnaround.

With a strikeout rate that is on the rise due to increased velocity, Madison Bumgarner has suddenly become baseball’s hottest commodity. If I had to go with my gut feeling, I’d say he ends up with the Brewers.

The Yankees are certainly in play for Bumgarner and any other starters that may be available, though they might be cooling a bit on Indians’ starter Corey Kluber. Could you imagine the Yankees if they acquired Scherzer? Cue the Imperial March.

Noah Syndergaard could be made available by the Mets. He’d be an alluring asset for any contending team, but you could probably remove the Yankees from consideration.

The Yankees released relief pitcher Danny Farquhar yesterday.

Dodgers starter Rich Hill is injured. The good news is that an ultrasound revealed that his elbow ligament appears to be intact. He’ll have an MRI today.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch finally acknowledged that the Brewers actually exist. Back-to-back articles about NL Central rivals performing poorly makes for boring reading, however.

Dominican officials stated yesterday that David Ortiz was not the intended target in last week’s shooting.

Wednesday’s Three Stars

  1. Mike Trout – The all-world center fielder is on a roll and has already accumulated 5.1 WAR on the season. Last night he had two home runs and seven RBI in leading the Angels to an 11-6 win over the Blue Jays. Trout has an OPS+ of 196.
  2. Max Scherzer – One broken nose, one black eye, seven strikeouts, and a shutout victory over the Phillies. The Washington ace is certainly pitching like he doesn’t want the Nationals to trade him.
  3. Willson Contreras – The Cubs backstop broke out of a mini-slump with two dingers of his own, including a grand slam, and finished the game with five RBI while flashing that rocket of an arm.

Extra Innings

Watch out for the Reds. Cincinnati completed a sweep over the Astros with an improbably two-out rally in the bottom of the ninth yesterday. Houston hadn’t been swept this season and hadn’t been swept on the road in nearly two years. Oakland took a three game set from the ‘Stros at Oakland Coliseum in September 2017.

The Reds believe that they have reached a turning point in their season. Their +41 run differential belies their 34-38 record, and they’re tied with the Dodgers for fewest runs allowed in the National League. The Reds head to Milwaukee for a statement series against the Brewers starting tonight.

Apropos of Nothing

I don’t want to brag, but I have yet to be charged by my cable company for the MLB package despite having gone well past the opening-week free preview. Not sure how that billing error skipped by, and none of my friends up here can access the games. After 30+ years of being ripped off by cable companies, it’s a nice little oversight. I hope nobody from Spectrum Cable is reading this.

They Said It

  • “We can sit here until we’re blue in the face about the ball. Every pitcher in the bigs has to pitch with it. You can comment on it. I don’t make excuses. I got to make better pitches.” – Jon Lester
  • “The wind was blowing in at a gale. Balls flying out easily. The home run that McCann hit just took off. I could see it from the field. You watch the flags from this. It looked like a UFO took off. I don’t know what I’m witnessing, just the way the ball is coming off the bat right now. I guess it’s an extraterrestrial.” – Joe Maddon
  • “I hear really good stuff about [Alzolay]. Really good fastball command. Good spin rate. He’s striking people out, he’s throwing hard and it makes me proud. I know where he comes from, how hard he works every day to be here and finally his day has come.”Wilson Contreras
  • “As we have said every time this had been asked since spring, we intend to promote [Cease] to Chicago when we feel he is in the best position to succeed — not just survive — at the big-league level. Although that time likely isn’t too far off, we don’t intend to alter his timetable due to injuries or the performance of the other players in Chicago.” – Rick Hahn

Thursday Walk Up Song

The Ballad of John & Yoko by the Beatles. The Cubs could really use a series sweep this weekend. It’s never easy with this team.

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