“Next time you’re found with your chin on the ground, there’s a lot to be learned. So look around.” – Frank Sinatra, High Hopes
Brewers catcher Victor Caratini struck out in his first four plate appearances yesterday, then mashed a walk-off three-run homer in the 10th inning to beat the Cubs 5-2. Yes, the fireworks started early in Milwaukee and lasted all night. The Cubs used to win games like that when Caratini played for them, so getting beat in such a manner was a tough pill to swallow. It was especially maddening because of some late-game theatrics by Seiya Suzuki, who gave Chicago a short-lived lead in the top of the 9th with an inside-the-park home run.
— Meghan Montemurro (@M_Montemurro) July 4, 2022
Brewers officials said Caratini was the fifth major league player since 1900 to strike out in his first four plate appearances of a game before hitting a walk-off homer his fifth time up. The others were Mike Schmidt in 1983, Ray Knight in 1986, David Justice in 2001, and Derek Norris in 2015. None of those gentlemen victimized their former teams, however. Scott Efross gave up the game-ending blast after David Roberston allowed the Brewers to tie the game when he issued a bases-loaded walk to Christian Yelich an inning earlier.
Despite the loss, the Cubs had reason to cheer after. Justin Steele pitched a hell of a game and Nelson Velázquez hit his first big league homer. Suzuki’s sprint around the bases was one of the more thrilling moments of the season. He took a wide turn rounding third base and I thought he’d be out at the plate.
Steele was magnificent for the most part. The second-year starter kept the Brewers in check for 6.2 innings of one-run baseball, his performance only slightly marred by four walks. He and Milwaukee starter Eric Lauer were the early stars of the Independence Day pitching duel. In the end, Caratini was the star and the Brewers now lead the NL Central by three games over the Cardinals. The Cubs, who have been semi-hot of late, have the fifth-worst record in all of baseball.
I’ll be at tonight’s game and I am sitting in the scout seats, so maybe I’ll hear a trade rumor or two. I do know the Brewers are interested in Rafael Ortega, but they need an outfielder who can mash against lefties and the Cubs don’t have one of those available. Milwaukee is hoping to move Keston Hiura to fill that need. As Cubs fans, we’re all waiting for the first shoe to drop in this year’s selloff. Hopefully, we won’t have to watch Willson Contreras or Ian Happ walk it off against the Cubs later this season.
Cubs News & Notes
- Suzuki’s return gives Chicago’s lineup more depth and balance.
- The rookie outfielder said he was pretty winded and his legs “felt heavy” as he completed his trek around the bases.
- According to Stats by STATS, yesterday’s game was the first ever to have a walk-off homer, an inside-the-park homer, and the first MLB home run of a player’s career.
- Despite blowing the save yesterday, Robertson should be one of the most sought-after relievers on the trade market.
- The Cubs are banking on Christopher Morel to be a big part of their next competitive team.
- A new bat and better mental preparedness are helping Patrick Wisdom add to the success he had last season.
- If you have yet to see Wisdom’s home run on Sunday, it’s worth taking a look. He absolutely crushed it.
- Outfield prospect Pete Crow-Armstrong continues to play impressive baseball at South Bend.
- Carlos Correa set the record straight about his dalliance with Jed Hoyer and the Cubs: “I didn’t want to be part of no rebuilding.” That should make free agency shopping this winter exciting for the team’s fans.
- Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts said he would need Hoyer to convince him of Chicago’s plan before he’d commit to signing with the Cubs.
- Red Sox pitcher Josh Winckowski gave Wrigley Field what amounts to a zero-star review over the weekend.
- David Ross disagreed with the Boston rookie.
Odds & Sods
"Seinfeld" debuted on this day in 1989 as "The Seinfeld Chronicles" and would go on to feature many baseball-centric lines and plot points.
Here's a ranking of the best baseball moments on the classic sitcom. https://t.co/4x1KNsVjPd
— Sporting News MLB (@sn_mlb) July 5, 2022
Climbing the Ladder
Caratini beat the Cubs, but going 1-for-10 with RISP didn’t help Chicago’s cause. Morel struck out twice yesterday but he did induce three walks. Nico Hoerner continues to be the team’s best hitter. He has 22 hits in his last 51 at-bats, raising his average from .275 to .310. Hoerner is eighth among all shortstops in fWAR this season. By all rights, he should be an all-star.
- Games Played: 80
- Total Plate Appearances: 3,073
- Total Strikeouts: 708
- Strikeout Rate: 23.04%
- Team Batting Average: .249
- Runs Scored: 349
- Runs Allowed: 417
How About That!
Now that the calendar has turned to July, the Wild Card races are starting to heat up. Nine teams are within 6.5 games of the final AL playoff spot.
The Twins turned the first 8-5 triple play in the history of the game.
Apropos of Nothing
I apologize for my lack of content the last two weeks, especially at Bears Insider and with the Minor League IPA column. I’ve had some medical appointments that didn’t necessarily go the way I had hoped, and the medicine I was put on left me lethargic, unmotivated, and depressed, which is not my normal personality. I called my doctor last night and she told me to discontinue the meds immediately, so I’m hoping to be back to normal in a day or two.
Every time you do that thing you do!
Patrick Wisdom – Chicago Cubs (17)
— MLB HR Videos (@MLBHRVideos) July 3, 2022
Tuesday Morning Six-Pack
- Sad events in Highland Park and Philadelphia yesterday. Humans hunting humans has become one of the most tragic developments since the 1999 Columbine shootings. It is happening far too often, but anything more than zero is too many times. The Cubs released a statement expressing sorrow for the shooting.
- Another crypto lender took a shot to the jaw this week and paused all withdrawals for the time being. These “crypto runs” are similar to bank runs during the Great Depression.
- Delta Airlines reportedly offered some passengers up to $10,000 to switch flights over the weekend.
- Crosby, Stills, and Nash have returned to Spotify after initially leaving because of the streamer’s deal with Joe Rogan. Neil Young is still a no-show, however, which has left some of the CSN&Y albums incomplete.
- Journey released a new song that desperately needs to be attached to a Rocky movie, and Neal Schon still managed to throw former lead singer Steve Perry under the bus while promoting the single. It’s not a bad song, though it wouldn’t be released were it not for the band’s legacy.
- College football would like to move toward a couple of super conferences, and Notre Dame is being courted by the Big Ten and the Pac-12, who are also looking to poach a number of teams from other conferences.
They Said It
- “We had conversations, but there was never an offer. It was just checking-in stuff. They were more in that rebuilding process. And they knew I wanted to be more in a championship-caliber atmosphere. That’s why I’m a Minnesota Twin.” – Correa
- “A little underwhelming. Fenway has a presence to it. I really didn’t get that here, to be honest. I said to my mom last night, this place is very stock standard.” – Winckowski
- “You never know how many people you’re going to run through in a season. The trade stuff is above my pay grade. It’s uncontrollable for me. So I don’t know. I haven’t heard anything yet.” – Roberston
Tuesday Walk-Up Song
Winckowski can shove it up his backside.