It only took one game, but I am now a fan of the new extra-inning rule. I’m sure purists and old schoolers will disagree with me, but starting with the 10th inning yesterday, the game took on a whole new vibe. I like it much better than the shootout format in the NH, and it gives extra innings a kind of sudden death feel.
In a game where Kyle Schwarber deserved as much credit for the win as Jeremy Jeffress, Chicago defeated the Pirates 2-1 in extras thanks to a smoking rope of a single by Javier Báez in the bottom of the 11th. But it was the defensive gem by Schwarber in the previous inning that actually saved the game for the North Siders. I think we can put the DH-only talk to rest.
7-2 putout to lead off the 10th! pic.twitter.com/DxABlG2g90
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) August 2, 2020
As far as the new rule, I had serious doubts about it before the season started and I think it gives an unfair advantage to the visiting team. But the 10th and 11th innings were as much fun I’ve had watching the Cubs except during the postseason. It hurts my heart that Rob Manfred deserves credit for the change.
Cubs News & Notes
- According to this Twitter thread by Sahadev Sharma of The Athletic, Jon Lester believes there is a good chance the Cubs series with the Cardinals this weekend in St Louis could be canceled.
- Lester labored yesterday, but pitched well after giving up a lead off home run to Kevin Newman in the 1st inning.
- Cubs starters continue to be a strength. The rotation allowed just one run — the homer by Newman — in 18.2 innings this weekend.
- For the first time this season, the bullpen was a strength.
- The Cubs celebrated safely after yesterday’s walk-off win.
- Is Craig Kimbrel, who is just 32 years old, over the hill? The team is certainly worried.
- Kris Bryant has been feeling ill and, though he tested negative for C-19, he missed the final two games of the series per coronavirus protocol.
- No Cubs pitcher has been more impressive through the first 10 days of the season than Tyler Chatwood. He probably won’t win Player of the Week honors, but he certainly deserves consideration.
- You’ll need a subscription to The Athletic to read this fantastic article by Patrick Mooney, but the Cubs are playing with an elevated sense of purpose knowing this season could be the core’s swan song. To a man, nobody wants it to end.
- The organization is proud of its adherence to COVID-19 safety measures and remains adamant that the players and coaching staff remain steadfast in their routine.
- David Ross has been nothing short of spectacular in his debut as a manager. Though he’s made a questionable decision or two, his camaraderie with his players has made a huge difference.
- Alec Mills will get his second start of the season this evening, taking the bump against Danny Duffy and the Royals. The Cubs acquired Mills from Kansas City in 2017 for minor league outfielder Danny Dewees.
Apropos of Nothing
Odds & Sods
Humanity, particularly in this country, continues to devolve.
Fun facts: Steve Bartman has a World Series ring. The Mariners do not. Just leave him alone. https://t.co/Jaa1ZKuurE
— Uncle Jeff (@ebsoftball) August 2, 2020
How About That!
The Cardinals remain sequestered at the Pfister Hotel here in Milwaukee and are “awaiting clarity” on their most recent coronavirus tests. They are supposed to start a series with the Tigers on Tuesday at Comerica Park in Detroit.
Not to pile on, but the Pfister is reportedly one of the most haunted places in the country. Most visiting teams stay there, though Cubs outfielder Jason Heyward is one of a handful of players who actually refuses to stay at the iconic hotel.
Enigmatic Mets outfielder Yoenis Céspedes is no stranger to controversy and he ghosted the Mets yesterday, going AWOL ahead of the team’s game against the Braves in Atlanta. His agent later reported that Céspedes had exercised his right to opt-out of the season due to COVID-19 concerns. The Mets are no strangers to controversy either, by the way.
Speaking of ghosts, does anyone know when the Marlins are going to play again? Coming into the weekend, their .667 winning percentage led the NL East, though Miami has played just three games this season. Their last game was an 11-6 win over the Phillies on July 26.
Sunday’s Three Stars
- Tyler Alexander – The Tigers reliever punched out 10 Reds batters in 3.2 no-hit innings of work during the first game of yesterday’s doubleheader. Alexander walked one batter, his only blemish on the afternoon.
- Brandon Hyde – The former Cubs bench and first base coach now manages the Orioles and led his team to a sweep over the Rays this weekend, their first since 2018. Though it’s early, Baltimore (5-3, second place in AL East) would earn a postseason bid if the season ended today.
- Clayton Kershaw – The Dodgers ace made his 2020 debut, throwing 5.2 shutout innings against the Diamondbacks with six strikeouts.
This is not the news I wanted to wake up to this morning. I’ve read the reports that it could be a disastrous year for pitchers because most did not get enough work in before the schedule started. I worried about Shohei Ohtani more than others, but every time I see a significant downtick in velocity, I fear an arm injury will soon follow.
Shohei Ohtani was on his way to a MRI examination after his start Sunday. But even before the Angels’ announcement, the radar gun indicated something was wrong with his arm, just as there was 2 years ago. https://t.co/iZFWW6689E
— Dylan Hernández (@dylanohernandez) August 3, 2020
Sliding Into Home
I’ll give you guys the quick update on last week and thank you Evan for mentioning me in Friday’s Rundown:
- Late Thursday night, as I was sitting at my computer preparing notes for Friday’s post, I started to vomit very violently. The fluid was coming from my lungs and the substance I purged that didn’t escape my mouth went back into my lungs. It burned badly and scarred my throat.
- I went to the ER, where I temporarily stopped breathing. For the second time this month I was injected with anti-inflammatories to reduce the swelling because I am a DNR and cannot be intubated. The attending physicians did not believe they could help me without assisted breathing.
- A quick medical procedure fixed the “flap” that separates the esophagus from the windpipe (I hope I am saying that correctly) because I was aspirating everything I ingested, plus my own saliva and gastric fluids due to heartburn.
- I remain on a mostly liquid, high-sodium diet and have to see a swallow specialist today.
- My doctor has also recommended I see a psychologist, as she feels that the isolation has forced me into a state of near-hopelessness. I don’t agree, but Saturday was a groundbreaking moment and I thought I’d share: The pandemic will not last forever, which is comforting I suppose. It may outlast me, but it will end.
- My computer is ruined and I need a new one, but that’s not in my budget. In the meantime I have a mini-iPad to work from which is terribly awkward.
I do want to thank those who contributed to my GoFundMe while I was out. The money is very much needed, especially now that I have to replace my laptop. I also want to express my gratitude to those who have sent me CDs, which has been a godsend of sorts. Because of the current state of the world, I watch the Cubs and Blackhawks, and then spend the rest of my days listening to those CDs, which is very therapeutic for me. I am obsessive about music, as you all know. Not quite as much as Daniel Stern in the movie Diner, but pretty darn close.
Please share my fundraiser if you do not mind. I will be shutting it down after my biopsy next Monday. Love you all.
They Said It
- “It sucks we’re dealing with this, but it’s the nature of the beast right now. If we’re in St. Louis on Friday, then we’re in St. Louis on Friday, we’ll figure it out. We’ll try to beat the Cardinals and move on to the next day. Right now, as of today, I don’t see that happening.” – Jon Lester
- “To be honest, we’re doing our thing, but you could get this [coronavirus] anyway. We’re just trying to keep that circle small and try to stay away from people and from getting it. It’s really tough, but hopefully, the other teams get better with the virus. Hopefully, we keep going.” – Javier Báez
- “Whenever I read about an outbreak or whenever I see negative news associated with Major League Baseball, it kind of sends a shock through my system. I like the way things are going here. We’ve got a group of players that have really responded to [Ross]. We’ve been playing hard. I think you can see the energy they’re playing with every night. Everyone’s totally into this. And I want it to keep going. Simple as that.” – Jed Hoyer
This behind the scenes documentary regarding the filming of Diner is worth watching.
Monday Walk Up Song
Gimme Some Water by Eddie Money – “Slap that horse in the ass, with my last dying cast, my brother could hear me say…”