The Rundown: Cubs Roll Continues, El Mago Celebrates Anniversary With Big Night, Injuries Mounting

That was a thriller at Wrigley last night, yes? Still, the Cubs remain undefeated on this homestand with a 6-5 win over the A’s. That’s not surprising, but let’s not beat that home/road split horse to death. If we ignore Chicago’s road struggles, maybe they will just go away. Stranger things have happened.

Back in 1998, Denzel Washington made a movie called Fallen, which was a decent enough thriller that really got ripped by the critics. The gist of the movie is that Denzel arrests a murderer who uses some sort of spell to pull an evil spirit named Azazel into his body just as he is executed, and with each touch of another being, the spirit is transferred from one living vessel to another, until the surprise ending, which — spoiler alert — is actually revealed at the start of the movie.

This Cubs season has been fraught with enough twists and turns to last a decade, so we’ve been conditioned to expect the unexpected. If you saw Steve Cishek’s incredibly Brachonian performance last night (I need to trademark that), it’s at least worth considering that Cishek’s hand may have been the last one shaken by Brad Brach on his way out of town. The sidewinder’s line last night was as ugly as it gets: Three runs on three hits allowed, two of which were taters, in a third of an inning. Sound familiar?

Nevertheless, a win is always a welcome gift and there were a number of bright spots last night, including a two-homer game from Javier Báez and a solo jack by Nick Castellanos, his first as a Cub. And Ian Happ hit a bomb that may be circling the moon right now. There is no way that ball only traveled 474 feet.

It was nice of Happ to provide such a wonderful homage to the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 for first major league homer since last September against Cincinnati.

All funny business aside, the Cubs are really clicking right now and will look to extend their winning streak to five games tonight. Their efforts in winning the first four games of this homestand bear no resemblance to the one-hit soiled diaper they left behind in St. Louis on Sunday. The home cooking can’t be that good, can it?

At any rate, somebody should get Cishek to head over to the A’s clubhouse so he can shake the hand of or fanny-pat tonight’s starter, former Cub Brett Anderson. It’s not that I’m superstitious, nor do I believe in ghosts, goblins or the boogeyman, but sometimes it’s just better to be safe than sorry.

Cubs News & Notes

How About That!

The Mets are baseball’s hottest team right now, but they got some bad news yesterday after second baseman Robinson Canó left Sunday’s win over the Pirates with a hamstring injury. MRI results on Monday revealed a tear, and there’s a good chance his season is over.

The Metropolitans are .500 for the first time since May 28 and have baseball’s best record since the All-Star break (16-6). They’re just 2.5 games out of the second wild card, with four teams ahead of them, including division rivals Washington and Philadelphia. Shades of ’69.

The Yankees and Orioles combined for seven home runs yesterday, none more important than the 5th-inning  jack by New York outfielder Mike Tauchman. His opposite-field long ball in a three-run fifth inning set the record for the most homers (30) any visiting team has ever hit in an away ballpark in a season.

The Dodgers are the first team to 75 wins, a mark they did not reach until Sept. 2 last year. They have an 18-game lead in their division and a plus-180 run-differential.

Monday’s Three Stars

  1. Jonathan Villar – The Orioles infielder hit for the cycle last night and didn’t even realize it. After his 4-for-5 effort in Monday’s 9-6 loss, Villar is batting .267/.331/.437 with 15 home runs, 51 RBI, 74 runs scored, and 24 stolen bases in 486 plate appearances.
  2. Javy Báez – El Mago joined Nelson Cruz in the six-timer club with an outstanding performance on his big league anniversary. Báez was 2-for-3 with both hits leaving Wrigley and added three RBI and a walk.
  3. Tony Gonsolin – A fill-in starter, the Dodgers’ rookie hurler shut down the Cardinals 8-0, allowing only two hits and a walk with seven strikeouts across six innings of work.

Extra Innings

Hitting your first career home run off of the reigning Cy Young Award winner as your parents are being interviewed by the game announcers is a pretty amazing way to start your career.

They Said It

  • “I played with Javy in the Arizona Fall League in 2012. He’s got a few more tattoos now. Same guy. He’s special.” – Nick Castellnos
  • “Oh, he wants to, man. [Schwarber] came in after the game yesterday and talked to me about actually starting a game [at catcher]. He’s ready to roll.” – Joe Maddon
  • “Unfortunately I have to take a little break, but it’s going to be something that hopefully is going to be a good thing.” – Craig Kimbrel

Tuesday Walk Up Song

Time Is On My Side by the Rolling Stones. Just keeping the theme with a little black and white Ed Sullivan to perfectly capture the moment.

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