The Rundown: Cubs Drop Another One-Run Decision, Matt Mervis Day in Chicago, Cards Fans ‘Falling Off Cliff’
“[Music, music, music, loud horns, music, music, louder horns]…tequila.” – The Champs, Tequila
It’s not Rex Manning Day in Chicago, but it’s pretty damn close: Friday is Matt Mervis Day
The Cubs finished a dismal 1-6 road trip with five one-run losses, but let’s not dwell on that. I mentioned in yesterday’s Rundown that the Cubs-Marlins series at Wrigley Field should be called A New Hope, and the front office must have read my mind. A few hours later, the team announced that Matt Mervis would be promoted today. In lieu of digital kudos, please send money and lots of it. You didn’t know I had the Cinco de Mayo ear of Señors Hawkins and Hoyer, did you?
I’ve been up all night trying to adjust to new meds, the third night of four this week. Today’s post should be interesting. I’m also craving tacos.
Cubs News & Notes
- The Cubs are now 2-7 in one-run games and their difficulty scoring runs with runners in scoring position has been magnified in each of those losses.
- Close only counts in horseshoes and when JOSHUA wants to play global thermonuclear war but give Cubs Insider EIC Evan Altman credit for closest to the pin. He predicted Mervis would be called up to face the Marlins, he just had the city wrong.
- My good friends at Razzball say that Hawkins was “prospblocking” Mervis, and X gets the square.
- Adrian Sampson was also recalled and subsequently placed on the 15-day IL, which could indicate a trip to the 60-day IL.
- Ben Brown also got a promotion, moving from Tennessee to Iowa. You’d think Oprah was running the team yesterday.
- Brown made his debut for the I-Cubs yesterday, allowing one run over 5.2 innings. At one point he retired 13 straight batters. Brown walked two, surrendered three hits, and finished with seven strikeouts.
- Christopher Morel did not get a promotion, but he was named the International League Player of the Month.
- Kyle Hendricks will follow up two rehab starts with a bullpen in Chicago to hone his mechanics.
- Miguel Amaya made his major league debut yesterday and received a surprise gift from starter Jameson Taillon after the bottom half of the 2nd inning.
- Amaya hit a game-tying sacrifice fly in the top of the 8th that was nearly a three-run homer. By the way, Javier Assad pitched five innings of shutout ball after relieving Taillon.
- Another day, another mock draft. Jim Callis of MLB Pipeline predicts the Cubs will select catcher Kyle Teel of Virginia at No. 13 overall.
Odds & Sods
A.J. Pierzynski sounds like he’s making a passive-aggressive dig at Willson Contreras, and I’m okay with that.
"I've never seen one player run an organization the way Yadi did."@aj_pierzynskiFT explains just how much of an impact Yadier Molina had in St. Louis. #FTLive ▶ https://t.co/yhVOuL06Z5 pic.twitter.com/Cc3VhsWNdt
— Foul Territory (@FoulTerritoryTV) May 4, 2023
Every NL Central team except the Reds lost yesterday, which is why we can breathe a little easier after tumbling to the Nats. Cincinnati had the day off.
- St. Louis – Cardinals fans say they are watching their beloved Redbirds “falling off a cliff.” I’m gonna get the extra large popcorn for the next viewing.
- Milwaukee: The Brewers have hit the skids, and head to San Francisco hoping Corbin Burnes can right the ship against the Giants.
- Cincinnati: We’d all be talking about the juggernaut that is Cincinnati’s Triple-A lineup if the I-Cubs weren’t so damn good.
- Pittsburgh: Despite their hot start, 15 of 18 executives polled believe the Pirates are doomed for a 3rd or 4th place finish.
Climbing the Ladder
“The cats don’t bug him ’cause they know better. ‘Cause he’s a mean motorscooter and a bad go-getter.” – The Hollywood Argyles, Alley Oop
Mervis isn’t the answer to what’s been ailing the Cubs, but he at least brings new blood and some excitement to the lineup. Far too many Cub fans see Mash as a savior, and he’s not that. The most we should hope for is that he plays well enough to remain in the lineup, at least as part of a platoon.
It’s impossible to say if he would have made a difference in Miami or D.C. Better hitters failed, and slumps are part of the game. Guys like Cody Bellinger, who was 2-for-4 with a stolen base on Thursday, Patrick Wisdom, Ian Happ, Nico Hoerner, and Dansby Swanson are going to lead Chicago out of its offensive slump. Anything Mervis adds should be considered gratuitous fun and not much more.
- Games Played: 31
- Record: 15-16 (.484)
- Total Plate Appearances: 1196
- Total Strikeouts: 257
- Strikeout Rate: 21.48%
- Team Batting Average: .270
- Runs Scored: 156
- Runs Allowed: 114
- Chances of Making the Playoffs: 44.3%, 1.2% to win the World Series
How About That!
The Rays are the fifth team since 1947 to win 25 of their first 31 games, joining the 1984 Tigers (26), 2016 Cubs (25), 1958 Yankees (25), and 1955 Dodgers (25). Each of the four also won the World Series.
MLB and Rob Manfred have denied a request by Bryce Harper that would allow him extra time to adjust his elbow brace once he reaches base.
Phillies closer Craig Kimbrel just might be reaching the end of the line of his baseball career.
Masataka Yoshida extended his hitting streak to 14 games with a home run against the Blue Jays.
Rangers rookie Josh Jung has helped lead Texas to a first-place start, but his contributions are probably not sustainable.
Thursday’s Three Stars
- Luis Rengifo – He homered, drove in four runs, and finished a triple shy of the cycle as the Angels beat the Cardinals 11-7 on Thursday to complete a three-game sweep.
- Zach Eflin – The Rays starter blanked the Pirates over seven innings with 10 strikeouts, completing Tampa Bay’s sweep over Pittsburgh.
- Eduardo Rodriguez – The veteran Tigers starter had nine punchouts in eight shutout innings in his 2-0 win over the Mets.
I can’t wait to see this kid take the bump at the Federal Landmark later this year. He’s coming, and like Hayden Wesneski last year, Brown will be up to stay once he arrives.
With seven strikeouts in his Triple-A debut, Ben Brown is your Player of the Game. pic.twitter.com/Mgz8ezvoxc
— Iowa Cubs (@IowaCubs) May 5, 2023
Friday Morning Six-Pack
- Contrary to misguided popular belief, Cinco de Mayo does not celebrate Mexico’s independence. It’s just an event that celebrates the 1862 victory by Mexican troops over invading French forces at the Battle of Puebla. Unfortunately, it’s been marketed as a food and drink holiday, much like St. Patrick’s Day in the U.S.
- Rapper Snoop Dogg and actor Ryan Reynolds will enter the Octagon as potential franchise owner combatants. Each is trying to buy the NHL’s Ottawa Senators, and neither is afraid to enter 10-figure territory.
- Discord told all of its users that they will have to change their usernames over the coming weeks. Dibs on “Buck Naked.”
- Elvis Presley never died, he instead joined KISS and hid behind the makeup.
- You might think that professional writers would know how to make an effective, original picket sign, and you’d be correct.
- Jeff Bridges said he would reprise his role as The Dude in a Big Lebowski sequel if the Coen Brothers asked him to. “The Dude abides. I don’t know about you but I take comfort in that. It’s good knowin’ he’s out there. The Dude. Takin’ ‘er easy for all us sinners.”
They Said It
- “It’s always feast or famine. There’s never an in-between stage where you’re like, ‘This is nice. This feels good.’ It always feels like you have too much or you have too little (pitching). We’re running through that right now.” – Hawkins
- “It’s a challenge to keep the energy up, and I think that’s what good teams do. You keep the energy going all the time, regardless of the situation.” – Happ
- “Obviously, it’s not time to hit the panic button. But it’s maybe going home with a sense of urgency, like let’s step on it a little bit, get back on track.” – Taillon
Friday Walk-Up Song
Dolly doesn’t lip-synch even when she yodels, which is why she’s the G.O.A.T. of country music. Enjoy your weekend friends.