The Rundown: Cubs First to Sweep Mets, Crow-Armstrong Recognized by Baseball America, Today is Roberto Clemente Day
“Nothing but winners, all you losers scram!” – The Hondells, Hot Rod High
Holy Louisville Slugger, the Cubs swept the Mets in New York and left them clinging by their nails to a 0.5-game lead over the Braves in the NL East. Gotham hasn’t seen that kind of beatdown since the spicy days of the 1966-67 Batman series starring Adam West. Chicago won despite just managing just seven hits and striking out 13 times at the hands of Mets pitchers. Trevor Williams looked dominant against his ex-teammates with eight punchouts in 4.1 innings.
The NL East leaders lost their fifth consecutive home game and dropped to 5-7 in a 16-game stretch against the Nationals, Pirates, Marlins, and Cubs — all more than 20 games under .500 this season. You’d think the Mets were jockeying for a lottery draft pick next year. I know the Cardinals are still the most hated team among Cubs fans, but I have a dark and sadistic spot deep inside my heart for the Flushing franchise. It’s so bad that when I fly into LaGuardia I wish I could hock a loogie into Queens as my plane begins its descent.
I’m a 1960s baby, and that 1969 season still eats at me every time I see those stupid Mets uniforms or their Jack-in-the-Box ripoff mascot, Mr. Met. I can respect that Bob Gibson used to make Cubs hitters look like they were chasing frozen peas with a curtain rod, but bring up the names Tommie Agee, Ed Kranepool, Tom Seaver, and Jerry Koosman and my blood boils. You can add Leo Durocher to that list, too, but that’s a subject for this winter when I am struggling to come up with daily content. To this day, I still can’t come up with a legitimate reason to admit the Cubs were eight games worse than the Mets in 1969.
The best thing about the Cubs’ sweep is that they did it using makeshift lineups in each of the three contests that would have a tough time winning Cactus League games. The Metropolitans were 1-for-15 with runners in scoring position in the series. As a result, Chicago won its third straight for the first time winning five in a row from August 16-20. Yesterday’s stars were Yan Gomes and P.J. Higgins, and the Cubs scored all of their runs before the Mets batted for the first time. Bam! Zing! Kaplooey! Game over.
Cubs News & Notes
- The Cubs are the first team to sweep the Mets this season in a series of at least three games.
- In the three games at Citi Field, Javier Assad, Adrian Sampson and Drew Smyly posted a 1.06 ERA and all three pitched at least 5 innings (both Assad and Sampson had quality starts).
- Sampson truly relishes his role as the underdog, something that’s not likely to change anytime soon.
- Smyly has been impressive since the All-Star break and should be allowed to compete for a rotation spot on next year’s squad.
- Pete Crow-Armstrong was named the Cubs’ Minor League Player of the Year by Baseball America.
- Pitching prospects Zac Leigh, Bailey Horn, Sheldon Reed, and Riley Martin are expected to be in Mesa for the Arizona Fall League following the conclusion of the minor league season.
- Adbert Alzolay will rejoin the Cubs for their weekend series against the Rockies. Formerly a starter, Alzolay will work out of the bullpen.
- Alzolay was a little bit more electric as a reliever at the end of last season.
- Versatile outfielder Jared Young joined the Cubs as a replacement for injured outfielder Rafael Ortega.
- I’d never pretend to believe Gordon Wittenmyer of NBC Sports Chicago reads The Rundown, but just like I said in yesterday’s column, Wittenmyer posits that Matt Mervis has the potential to be Chicago’s next Anthony Rizzo.
- According to Sahadev Sharma of The Athletic, Seiya Suzuki, Nico Hoerner, and Justin Steele are the building block of the next great Cubs team ($).
Odds & Sods
You know I’m going to run with this theme, right? It’s all about reciting the multiplication tables backward in your head. Who knew?
The Batusi! pic.twitter.com/szHcm2kEPU
— Joseph Mallozzi 🏴☠️ (@BaronDestructo) June 11, 2022
Climbing the Ladder
“I know perfectly well I’m not where I should be. I’ve been very aware you’ve been patient with me.” – The Beach Boys, You Still Believe in Me
I’d love to see a Cubs pitching staff that induces as many whiffs as the Mets. Despite the 13 strikeouts, Chicago was 4-for-9 with runners in scoring position, with all the damage coming against New York starter David Peterson, who couldn’t get out of the first inning. By the way, Christopher Morel reached double-digits in stolen bases when he swiped second base in the 9th inning.
- Games Played: 143
- Total Plate Appearances: 5,377
- Total Strikeouts: 1,270
- Strikeout Rate: 23.62%
- Team Batting Average: .241
- Runs Scored: 583
- Runs Allowed: 679
How About That!
In what is being called a “historic” accomplishment, minor league players have officially joined the MLBPA.
Cardinals veterans Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina made baseball history last night. The duo played their 325th game as batterymates, breaking the record set by Mickey Lolich and Bill Freehan.
Mariners rookie outfielder Julio Rodríguez became the fastest player to reach 25 home runs and 25 stolen bases in a debut season.
Jim Bowden said it’s time for the Mets to “go big or go home.”
The Angels have clinched their seventh consecutive losing season, the longest streak in baseball. You have to feel a little bad for Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani.
Craig Kimbrel made a crucial adjustment and has returned to being the elite closer the Dodgers expected when they acquired him.
It’s behind the ESPN+ paywall, but Jeff Passan previewed and ranked this winter’s free agent class.
It’s nearly playoff season, so here’s this year’s full postseason schedule. The World Series does not start until October 28, so there will be November baseball this fall. At least it will keep you busy while you decorate for Christmas.
Wednesday’s Three Stars
- Albert Pujols – He didn’t hit a home run, but his run-scoring double in the 8th inning of last night’s 4-1 win over the Brewers gave him 2,200 RBI in his career. With MLB limiting shifts next season, I’ve gotta believe Pujols will stick around for another season with the Cardinals.
- Kyle Freeland – When you outduel Dylan Cease, you get a spot on the presentation podium. Freeland threw 63 of 97 pitches for strikes in the Rockies’ 3-0 win over the White Sox.
- J.T. Realmuto – The Phillies catcher enjoyed a 2-for-4 night that included two home runs and four RBI. That’ll get you first dibs at the clubhouse postgame spread.
Roberto Clemente. Mad respect. New Year’s Eve will mark the 50th anniversary of Clemente’s tragic death.
Today, the #MLB will honour number 21, Roberto Clemente. #robertoclementeday pic.twitter.com/Vbk6fzgG54
— BaseballHistoryNut (@nut_history) September 15, 2022
Thursday Morning Six-Pack
- It’s homecoming week in Green Bay for Bears center Lucas Patrick and offensive coordinator Luke Getsy.
- The Packers are reeling from a loss to the Vikings in Week 1, and Aaron Rodgers isn’t very happy with rookie wide receivers Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs. Green Bay could be ripe for an upset.
- The National Football League is being sued for allegedly sharing digital subscribers’ personal data with Meta Platforms Inc.’s Facebook, becoming the latest target of consumers claiming companies pass on private information to the social media site without their consent. A class action lawsuit could yield up to $2,500 per claim. In other words, keep an eye on it if you are a subscriber.
- I don’t mean to be an ass, but Brett Favre has got to be the dumbest man alive. Former Mississippi governor Phil Young is running a very close second.
- Workers at major media companies, including the New York Times and NBC, are refusing to come back to their worker bee cubes. Imagine that.
- The Badger State might be America’s best-kept secret, at least if you’re from Japan. Those cheeseheads will be a big hit in Tokyo this fall.
Apropos of Nothing
If you feel the urge to watch the 1967 film classic Batman!, it’s free on YouTube.
They Said It
- “The all-around experience [for Suzuki] — playing every day, changing time zones, culturally, the food and then the play — he’s getting comfortable in every aspect. He had a lot of success early on and then went through some bumps. The swing looks consistent, [and] the approach too. He’s not changing a ton, there’s not a bunch of different looks. It feels like a very consistent player defensively and offensively for a good bit now.” – David Ross
- “I feel like I did a good job this year. I would like to think I’m a part of the rotation next year. But you never know what can happen in this game. Everything is always on the table. We’ll see, but I would like to think that, yeah.” – Steele
- “[Crow-Armstrong] worked very hard with [hitting coaches] Rachel Folden, Dustin Kelly, and Justin Stone in Arizona. His exit velocity is up by almost three miles per hour from where it had been.” – Jed Hoyer
- “We knew [Mervis] could hit, and we absolutely believed in him, but to say that we expected him to dominate at three levels would be disingenuous.” – Jared Banner
- “I’d love to be the next Anthony Rizzo.” – Mervis
Thursday Walk-Up Song
The coolest thing about this video from American Bandstand is not the Batman promo. In fact, it’s that – for at least one week – She’s Just My Style topped the Beatles and the Rolling Stones on the pop charts. We Can Work it Out was number two, and As Tears Go By was number three. It sounds like Mr. Lewis had some backup help from the Beach Boys, but it’s really just the Playboys.