The Rundown: Cubs Get Much-Needed Break, Phillies Having Phun, Joe Maddon Too, Zack Greinke Has Monster Night
With no Cubs baseball yesterday, and coming off three consecutive losses that were not very pleasing to the eye, Tuesday certainly seemed like a hard day’s night. It didn’t help that I watched the return of Bryce Harper to Washington D.C. on MLB.tv. The Phillies look like they are having a lot of fun. Sure wish the same could be said on the North Side of Chicago.
You asked for it. You got it.
Welcome to your 1st Batcast™ moment of 2019, @bryceharper3. pic.twitter.com/oaIyZesWcY
— Cut4 (@Cut4) April 3, 2019
Harper and his super friends in Philadelphia are quickly becoming America’s team. They embody everything that is fun about baseball and they’re winning baseball games in a relatively unchallenged fashion. Joe Maddon talked about getting out to a similarly fast start all spring but the Cubs just cant break free from their spring training pods.
Maybe the day off will help. It’s a horrible feeling to be spinning your wheels in the mud, but it’s even worse when those wheels keep falling off. There I go, dropping a passage from Maddon’s idioms dictionary again. So far, it seems that the Cubs are everything they promised they wouldn’t be all winter. They’re genuinely unrecognizable, at least compared to what we’re accustomed to seeing. Hopefully they turn it around today.
Cubs News & Notes
- Maddon says this season has been about as fun as a barrel of monkeys so far (my words, not his). I’m glad someone is enjoying the start of the season. I wonder how his bosses feel.
- Here’s something I can agree with: Maddon doesn’t think his team is pressing or trying too hard.
- Kyle Hendricks is annoyed at the number of walks the Cubs have issued through the first four games of the season.
- If Carl Edwards Jr. continues to throw 1-2 mph slower, Maddon may need to consider opting for someone else in high-leverage situations.
- Evan Altman has the lowdown on Edwards’ now-illegal stutter-step delivery.
- Despite being shut out on Monday, Cubs hitters have been some of the few bright spots so far. But it may be a bit too soon to declare that the offense is fixed.
- Are we overreacting to a handful of poorly payed games? Ryan Davis looks at a couple of areas that have been the subject of some knee-jerk reactions by Cubs fans.
- The Cubs’ home opener from 1989 remains a wild chapter in the tam’s storied history.
- If you need a coping mechanism when watching Cubs baseball, these fans have you covered.
- Your St. Louis Post-Dispatch obligatory Cubs article of the week is a textbook example of pouring salt on an open wound.
How About That!
Pedro Martinez is surprised Harper was booed in in his return to his former home.
Trea Turner suffered a broken finger in the National’s loss to the Phillies last night.
Zack Greinke is good at baseball.
For a guy who lives on his fastball, Red Sox ace Chris Sale showed a marked decrease in velocity in last night’s 1-0 loss to the A’s.
Ronald Acuña Jr. and the Braves agreed to an eight-year, $100 million extension on Tuesday, the largest deal for a player under club control with less than one year of major league service. The star outfielder may have left a lot of money on the table.
The Blue Jays traded outfielder Kevin Pillar to the Giants and then signed Randal Grichuk to a $52 million extension.
German Márquez and the Rockies have agreed on a contract extension that will pay the young starter $43 million.
Ron Darling says Lenny Dykstra hurled racial slurs at Oil Can Boyd during the 1986 World Series.
Mondays Three Stars
- Zack Greinke – The Diamondbacks pitcher hit two home runs and had 10 strikeouts in the Diamondbacks’ 8-5 victory over the Padres. The last pitcher to previously hit two taters with 10+ K’s in a game was Madison Bumgarner…against the D-backs in a game started by Greinke.
- Blake Snell – The reigning AL Cy Young Award winner matched a career high with 13 strikeouts, pitching seven innings of two-hit ball to lift the Rays to a 4-0 win over the Rockies. Snell struck out six straight during one stretch, helping the Rays improve to 5-1 with their fifth straight victory.
- Cody Bellinger – The Dodgers’ young outfielder hit a grand slam off of Bumgarner last night, lifting Los Angeles to a 6-5 win over the Giants. Bellinger has hit safely in every game, with five homers and 12 RBI.
Well wishes for a speedy recovery to former Braves manager Bobby Cox, who suffered a possible stroke yesterday afternoon.
Thoughts and prayers for Bobby Cox, who suffered a possible stroke this afternoon https://t.co/7UfUxtqYIb
— Mark Bowman (@mlbbowman) April 3, 2019
ESPN’s Jeff Passan nails it here. And for more Passan on the state of baseball, check out this interview with Amna Nawaz of PBS.
“Baseball has long been lurching toward a bifurcated system — almost a sporting oligarchy — in which there’s a small number of ultra-rich, a large group of underpaid players and a middle class that doesn’t really exist anymore. These megadeals do not trickle down to the so-called middle class — players who are aging or simply aren’t viewed by teams as good investments — and leave a union that fears the withering away of a once-robust segment of the market could portend something worse. It’s what makes the run on extensions so polarizing. A number of people on all sides — MLB, the MLBPA, players, front-office officials and agents — agree that the majority have been at fair-market value and were reasonable for players to accept, even if they mean forgoing free agency.
Others, mostly agents and players who are free-agent hardliners, have abhorred a number of the deals. They see the amount by which a majority of teams in baseball are under the luxury-tax threshold: more than $50 million. They believe the revenue flowing in the game is disproportionately going toward teams. They cannot understand why amid what they believe is an attack on free agency, players would become willing co-conspirators by signing extensions that by their nature dilute the potential impact of free agency.”
They Said It
- “Absolute fun. I cannot have more fun on a daily basis. I’ve talked about this before and I mean this sincerely, people are throwing that word around ‘pressure,’ ‘expectations. That’s where you want to be. I don’t want to be somewhere where that’s not part of the culture.” – Joe Maddon
- “Heard the boos. Kind of just remembered that I have 45,000 people in the city of Philadelphia, and more that were screaming at their TVs cheering, and I respect them so much. I understand the game and fan-player interactions. Knowing they’re back home cheering at me and having a huge section in right field fired me up, knowing this place was filled with Phillies fans.” – Bryce Harper
- “No, I have no regrets. No one can see the future. No one knows what’s going to happen tomorrow, so I’m extremely happy with the decision we’ve all made and I’m just excited to be here.” – Ronald Acuna Jr.
- “It was the first time I wanted anyone to talk to me all year.” – Zack Greinke
Wednesday Walk Up Song
Enjoy the Silence by Depeche Mode. For once, a day off from Cubs baseball was a welcome respite.