The Rundown: Fire Up Those Mid-Season Trade Rumors, Pederson Activated, Mets Dismiss Chili Davis, MiLB Season Starts Today
“The rain is falling through the mist of sorrow that surrounds me.” – Eric Clapton, Let it Rain
The Cubs and Dodgers were rained out last night and I was just thinking that baseball doesn’t use the term “rained out” anymore. Games are postponed and rescheduled, of course, but the description is usually “inclement weather,” unless of course COVID-19 or some other nefarious reason is the cause.
Tonight’s game between the #Cubs and Dodgers at Wrigley Field has been postponed due to inclement weather.
The makeup game is scheduled for tomorrow at 1:20 p.m. CDT as the first game of a split doubleheader.
Game 2 is scheduled for 6:40 p.m. pic.twitter.com/YQcrevLj8N
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) May 3, 2021
Putting specificities aside, the North Siders probably needed last night’s unscheduled day off as a chance to rest, reset, and regroup. Playing middling baseball is reason enough, but poor pitching performances by the starters have really taxed the bullpen. As wrong as I may be on this next point, I think the Cubs and many other baseball teams are still a bit overwhelmed by the fact that baseball is slowly returning to normal.
As Doc Cochran of the HBO Series Deadwood might say, “We’ve got a wide range of normal around here,” and the national pastime has been through quite a metamorphosis over the past 18 months. Much of it is pandemic-related, but there’s also the rules changes initiated by Rob Manfred and the spectacle of fans returning to baseball stadiums for regular season games for the first time since 2019.
None of this is meant to make any excuses for a 60-game stretch going back to last season that has seen the North Side baseballers play at a .517 clip (31-29). That 84-win pace won’t get them into the postseason and leaves president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer in a precarious predicament. Now that we’ve abandoned April, baseball is about three weeks shy of its annual launch of midseason trade rumors. Suffice to say, the Cubs should be in the thick of most speciation with so many players in the final year of their contracts.
David Ross said “everyone is on their own journey” as the season kicked off and nothing is closer to the truth. You won’t find any Cubs trade rumors to speak of unless you scour the bowels of the internet, but it’s more telling that you won’t find any news regarding potential contract extensions. Yesterday’s respite provided a little more perspective to me in that sense. A chilly and wet spring evening following the two most gorgeous days of the year is thematically similar to the current state of affairs at Clark and Addison, and somewhat foreshadowing of what’s to come.
Clarity is not often pretty, something Cubs fans will likely find out as the season progresses. Then again, contract extensions have gone nowhere through three-plus seasons, so one would assume that nothing that may happen in the next 10-12 weeks will be inappropriately shocking.
Cubs News & Notes
- The Cubs have activated Joc Pederson after a stint on the injured list and he’ll be available today. Reliever Keegan Thompson was optioned to open the roster spot.
- Maybe Ross has had some time to rethink his decision to have Pederson (.137/.262/.235) bat leadoff.
- The Dodgers enter today’s twin bill having lost 10 of 14 games.
- After the on-field shenanigans involving Anthony Rizzo, Javier Báez, and Reds reliever Amir Garrett the other day, Cincinnati manager David Bell wants everyone to know that he doesn’t care what Ross or anybody else thinks about his team.
- With the minor leagues kicking off their season today, Cubs fans will finally get a look at some of the team’s most intriguing prospects. In case you missed it, CI’s Todd Johnson and Greg Huss have provided affiliate and player previews of the Cubs’ farm system recently: Iowa | South Bend | Tennessee | Myrtle Beach | Fast-Rising Prospects
Odds & Sods
The Mets fielding has been pretty suspect, allowing 19 unearned runs in 23 games, and closer Edwin Díaz nearly blew a four-run lead Sunday night, so the obvious answer was to fire hitting coach Chili Davis.
Hitting coach Chili Davis and assistant hitting coach Tom Slater have been relieved of their duties, effective immediately. Hugh Quattlebaum has been named the new hitting coach and Kevin Howard is the new assistant hitting coach. https://t.co/TtQKojnhFV
— New York Mets (@Mets) May 4, 2021
Apropos of Nothing
With all the excitement surrounding the Bears’ draft, the Cubs are in danger of becoming the least relevant of the city’s major sports teams. Midseason trades will generate positive and negative fan reaction, but once the dust settles, the Cubs will simply be the next Chicago team beginning its next makeover. After the best seven-year run of our lifetimes, that will be one bitter pill to swallow.
How About That!
Dodgers starter Dustin May has opted to have season-ending Tommy John surgery, leaving Los Angeles with just four healthy starting pitchers.
White Sox outfielder Luis Robert has a Grade 3 hip flexor strain, which is a complete tear, and will miss the next 12-16 weeks, if not more.
The A’s have placed prized starter Jesús Luzardo on the injured list with a fractured throwing hand. The young southpaw injured himself while playing a video game.
Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor has just four hits in his last 41 at-bats and is currently in an 0-for-20 slump, which is probably the biggest reason Davis was axed yesterday.
I may be in the minority on this one, but losing a no-hit bid in the 7th inning like Tyler Anderson of the Pirates did last night shouldn’t really be news. I suppose we have Madison Bumgarner to thank for that.
I guess today is as good as time as any to remind you that NBA GOAT Michael Jordan decided to try baseball as a second career back in 1994.
Monday’s Three Stars
- Tom Skilling – Baseball now calls games based on forecasts, and none are better at predicting weather than the longtime WGN meteorologist.
- Ryan Pace – Rather than just saving his job, the highly-scrutinized Bears’ GM may have earned himself a contract extension with what is being widely considered his best draft ever.
- Team Medical Staffs – There has been a rash of long-term injuries throughout the league, and though that’s not surprising considering last year’s short season, I don’t think anyone expected things to be this dire, this soon.
It’s Opening Day for baseball’s minor league teams, and after nearly 20 months without any games, it’s both exciting and bizarre. Celebrate accordingly.
#MiLBMajorFun, from coast to coast!
⚾️ https://t.co/zXsGHzPpKE pic.twitter.com/WAQOEqHj9Y
— Minor League Baseball (@MiLB) May 3, 2021
They Said It
- “The Dodgers, I know they’ve been scuffling a little bit. They’re ready to get rolling, too. Just like we are.” – Anthony Rizzo
Tuesday Walk Up Song
Bell Bottom Blues (Live) by Eric Clapton – Originally performed by Derek & the Dominoes, this is quintessential Clapton, and easily my favorite song by the blues guitarist. It’s also a great exercise in describing the emotional devastation associated with saying good-bye.