The Rundown: Jivewired News, Cubs Win in New York, Team Grades, Javy Walks

Good morning and Happy Friday. I see the Cubs won 5-1 last night, but in full disclosure, the extent to which I watched last night’s game includes a double by Kris Bryant and Jason Heyward sliding into first base. That’s it. And I should apologize for being sporadic with this column lately. A little self-promotion follows.

If you follow me on Twitter you or read my Cubs Insider bio, you will see that I am CEO of a company called Jivewired. Plus I have a full-time job. Jivewired is a broadcasting platform much like Netflix or Hulu and we launch on June 14 so I have just been insanely busy. After that, things will settle in a little and I will be, um, more regular with my column.

And hey, I’m not just a volunteer employee of Cubs Insider, I am also a fan. Most of my Cubs news comes from reading all of the articles on this site, and that has been especially true for the month of May.

Cubs News & Notes

Jose Quintana has been positively maddening. He seems to alternate really good starts with really bad ones. Yesterday he pitched six innings of three-hit ball with six punchouts. It was undoubtedly one of his best performances of the season, as the southpaw struck out the side in the 1st inning and was able to wiggle his way out of a bases-loaded jam in the third.

Yu Darvish is worried Cubs fans hate him, apparently.

Brandon Morrow has been nearly lights-out all season. He isn’t getting a lot of fanfare but he has been the team’s best offseason acquisition.

The Sporting News takes a look at how Mike Montgomery and others prepare as hybrid pitchers that excel as both starters and relievers.

The Cubs are still in second place behind the Brewers but project for 92 wins, which is on course with where most publications predicted before the season started. The question remains as to whether Milwaukee will keep their pace or if the Cubs will pick up theirs. A hot streak still awaits this team and we may be seeing the beginning of it now with series wins against the Giants and Pirates plus last night’s victory. The Cubs ended the month of May winning six of 10 but still lost two games in the standings because the Brewers are incredibly hot.

Stop the presses, Javier Baez took a walk last night. The first ball was clearly right down the middle., but it was called a ball because Mets catcher Devin Mesoraco caught it awkwardly. When you do that, the umpire is liable to call a clear strike a ball.

Jason Heyward hit second last night and collected two hits to give him eight in his last three games. The last time he hit as high as second was July 3, 2016, also against the Mets. Heyward has been making a ton of good contact lately and has struck out just once since May 18.

How About That!

Best and worst run differentials in MLB so far this season:

  1. Astros +125
  2. Red Sox +87
  3. Cubs +82
  4. Yankees +72

Bleacher Report grades each MLB team through the first two months of the season.

Clayton Kershaw returned for the Dodgers last night and was noticeably off despite handcuffing the Phillies. He topped out at 90 mph with most of his fastballs sitting in the 88-89 mph range. That’s well below his career mark of 93.1 mph or even the 92.7 mph he averaged in 2017. Kershaw admitted after the game that another DL trip might be necessary, this time for a third back injury in three seasons. He is expected to undergo an MRI and will not travel with the team for this weekend’s series at Colorado. The Dodgers are 26-30 but seem a million miles from playoff contention.

The Cardinals have placed RHP Alex Reyes on the 10-day DL with a lat strain and he is expected to miss several weeks. Reyes made his first start back from Tommy John surgery on Wednesday and his velocity dipped in the middle innings.

Pirates IF Jung Ho Kang will begin playing in minor league games Friday, reports Kang received a visa following all of his legal trouble — which includes multiple DUIs and sexual assault charges — and is now working himself back into baseball shape. The Pirates, by the way, have now lost 10 of their last 13 games. They’re in fourth place in the NL Central and 6 1/2 games back of the first place Brewers.

John Smoltz has qualified for the U.S. Senior Open.

Thursday’s Three Stars

  1. Francisco Lindor – The Cleveland SS went 4-for-5 with two doubles, two home runs, three runs scored, and four RBI in the Indians’ 9-8 victory over the Twins. It was his second game this season with multiple doubles and multiple homers.
  2. Aaron Nola – The Phillies starter outdueled Kershaw and grabbed a 2-1 win, holding the Dodgers to one run over seven innings with seven strikeouts.
  3. Javy Baez – He took a walk. Baez went 183 plate appearances between walks, the longest walk-less stretch by a Cubs player since Corey Patterson went 215 plate appearances between free passes in 2002.

Hot Takes & Syrup

  • In the latest industry speculation, two insiders – Jon Heyman and Bob Nightengale predict Manny Machado will be traded to the Phillies before the July 31 Major League Baseball trade deadline. The Phillies are 31-23 and sit in 3rd place, a game behind the Braves and a half-game behind the Nationals. Nightengale sees the Cubs trading for Chris Archer and Tyson Ross, but, it is Bob Nightengale, so tread lightly.
  • Major league teams spent a record $289 million on players picked in last year’s amateur draft, an increase of 7.2 percent from 2016.
  • In case you haven’t noticed — and the way Gleyber Torres has ignited the Yankees, Juan Soto has terrorized opposing pitchers for the Nationals, and Ronald Acuna and Ozzie Albies have put the Braves’ rebuild into overdrive, it’s pretty hard not to — there’s an explosion of precocious youth going on in baseball that may be unparalleled.
  • What being in first place on June 1 guarantees and other historical trends.

They Said It

  • “You just have to be aware of your body. I don’t have it figured out, I can tell you that much. You’re constantly learning new things, but it’s something you’re never going to master. It’s hard enough to master one role, as opposed to both.” – Mike Montgomery
  • “That ball [ball four] almost hit me, that’s why I walked. I don’t go out looking for a walk. As long as the pitch is there I’m swinging.” – Javy Baez
  • “We forgot to get the ball.” – Joe Maddon

Extra Innings

The mom of Braves 3B Johan Camargo’s mom crashed his celebratory interview after his walk-off home run the other night with her own spontaneous interview because she’s his mom AND it was her birthday.

Friday Walk Up Song

Over The Hills & Far Away by Led Zeppelin. I have a 1,000 miles of road ahead of me this weekend. Hopefully I will be back in time

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