The Rundown: Bryant the Giant Expects Warm Reception Today, Cubs Relishing Role of Spoiler, Gotham Set for Epic Mets-Yankees Battle, Scherzer Lights Out for L.A.
“And I’m still standing here, and you’re miles away, and I’m wonderin’ why you left.” – John Waite, Missing You
The prodigal son returns today, as Kris Bryant makes his return to Wrigley Field as a member of the Giants. He’ll probably receive a warm welcome and a number of standing ovations, grown men will cry, women will swoon, kids will remember this day forever, and 95% of Cubs Nation will forget they’re Cubs fans for most of the day. I suppose José Quintana, who is also returning to the Friendly Confines for the first time since leaving Chicago in free agency, is likely to be booed. Do we still care about Tommy La Stella?
Jason Heyward – Chicago Cubs (8) pic.twitter.com/Mhx8CPyZLE
— MLB HR Videos (@MLBHRVideos) September 9, 2021
Personally speaking, I hope Bryant goes 0-for-12 this weekend, the Cubs sweep the Giants, and that Jason Heyward, who is receiving the paycheck that should be going to Bryant, is the weekend’s MVP. It would be kind of cool if Patrick Wisdom, Frank Schwindel, and Rafel Ortega hand San Francisco their asses, and if Bryant does go yard, I certainly hope whoever catches the ball launches it back onto the playing field.
No hard feelings, I’m just a Cubs fan and refuse to root for the opponents no matter the legacy attached.
Cubs News & Notes
- The Cubs are relishing the role of spoiler this season and they could be a factor in the NL West race if they beat up on the Giants this weekend. Chicago has won eight of its last nine games and 11 of 15 since being swept by the Royals August 20-22.
- Bryant expects that the Wrigley Field crowd will embrace him as a hero this afternoon.
- Fans will be able to write messages of love to Bryant on his newly-updated Red Bull mural at HVAC Pub near the ballpark.
- Ian Happ has hit seven of his 21 home runs against the Reds this season.
- If you’re truly hoping Nick Castellanos will sign with the Cubs if and when he exits Cincinnati as a free agent this winter, it’s not completely out of the question.
- Codi Heuer is blossoming with the Cubs. The 25-year-old reliever has a 0.90 ERA in 20 innings since Jed Hoyer acquired him from the White Sox.
- The 1970 Cubs gave me my first experience with living and dying with Chicago’s North Side baseballers. Ron Santo was the team’s third baseman and my favorite player was Sweet Swingin’ Billy Williams. So naturally, I am going to buy this book.
- I missed this while I was out sick last week, but Mets fans are apparently hoping the team will turn to Theo Epstein to help save their franchise. Maybe he’ll bring Daniel Descalso and Tyler Chatwood with him. Actually, the executive and the woebegone Flushing franchise would probably make a pretty good match.
- Former Cubs’ pitcher Mike Montgomery uncharacteristically had a bit of a moment while playing for the KBO’s Samsung Lions.
Odds & Sods
Salvador Pérez has 42 home runs. The single-season MLB record for home runs by a catcher is 45, held by Johnny Bench. I’d say Perez will take that crown before the Brewers clinch. Milwaukee’s magic number is 10.
These are the most bonkers baseball stats of 2021: https://t.co/dUd3TfKaHE @MLB
— Anthony Castrovince (@castrovince) September 10, 2021
Climbing the Ladder
“You know you can’t fool me, I’ve been loving you too long. It started so easy you’ll want to carry on.” – Air Supply, Lost in Love
The Big Three have enjoyed varying degrees of success since Jed Hoyer shipped them out of town.
- Javier Báez: .273/.333/.879, 7 HR, 13 RBI, 139 OPS+
- Anthony Rizzo: .265/.342/.793, 5,16, 118
- Bryant: .265/.328/.815, 6, 14, 118
- Schwindel: .354/.404/1.066, 10, 30, 181- so let’s root, root, root for the home team.
I wonder if Bryant will be asked about service time manipulation this weekend. Nah, Chicago’s reporters aren’t that predictable, are they?
How About That!
The Blue Jays swept the Yankees in a four-game series, have won eight straight, and now trail New York by just a half-game in the AL Wild Card race.
The Triple Crown watch is on for Toronto slugger Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. The 22-year-old third baseman leads the AL with a .319 batting average, is tied for second in home runs with 42, and is four RBI off the pace with 100.
Max Scherzer may be the greatest trade deadline acquisition ever (subscription to ESPN+ required). The three-time Cy Young Award winner is 5-0 with a 1.05 ERA and 63 strikeouts in 48 innings since Washington traded him to Los Angeles. Scherzer is also six punchouts shy of 3,000 for his career.
Bryant has also been one of the game’s better deadline acquisitions.
The Mets and Yankees will face each other this weekend and the stakes couldn’t be any higher.
Jacob deGrom is trying to ease fears among Mets fans with regard to his “perfecly fine” elbow.
Thursday’s Three Stars
- Bo Bichette – The Blue Jays shortstop was 3-for-5 with a home run and a stolen base as Toronto edged the Yankees 6-4.
- Sean Manaea – The White Sox have really struggled against the American League’s better pitchers this year and last night was no exception. Manaea held the ChiSox to a run on five hits with nine strikeouts in earning hsi ninth win of 2021.
- Cal Quantrill – The former reliever has found new life as a starter with Cleveland. Last night he tossed 7.2 innings of one-run baseball against the Twins with five strikeouts.
I’ve got nothing.
As Kris Bryant returns to Wrigley Field as an opposing player for #SFGiants, you'll want to read @susanslusser's story on the former Cubs star feeling the pull to the Bay Area: https://t.co/bW9VKx97br
— Christina Kahrl (@ChristinaKahrl) September 9, 2021
They Said It
- “I hope they have like a Game of Thrones chair at home plate, and like a red carpet. And they carry me and then I can just wave to the fans.” – Bryant
- “From a fan perspective, it’s [wierder for Bryant and other ex-Cubs], all this stuff. I feel like it’s a privilege and an honor for a fan base to have players to miss. Regardless of how they leave, time is going to always win. And this [was] a group that did a lot of special things here. So I think if anything it’s a treat for them to be able to root for the players to come back through here so soon.” – Heyward
- “Life comes at you pretty fast.” – Jed Hoyer
Friday Walk-Up Song
Every Time I Think of You by The Babys – There’s enough over-the-top production in this number to compensate for my lack of warmth for San Francisco’s biggest deadline acquisition. No, I’m not feeling jilted. Not at all.