The Rundown: Winter Arrives at Wrigley, Dodgers Early Season Measuring Stick, Bryant’s Disturbing Offensive Trends
A quick one today because storms knocked out my power last night, so I’ve only got an hour or so. Cubs vs. Dodgers tonight? Let’s dance.
Los Angeles will bring the best record in the National League into Wrigley Field today, led by Cody Bellinger, who has really put up some Christian Yelich-like numbers so far. The first baseman/outfielder is batting .424 with 11 home runs and 28 RBI.
Each year, the Cubs and Dodgers are among the best teams in baseball. Joe Maddon thinks this year will be more of the same.
“We’re among the better teams,” he said. “They’re among the better teams in baseball right now. It is good for baseball. When Tiger Woods wins the Masters, it’s always good, and when traditionally large fan base teams do well, it’s only good for the game, whatever that game may be.”
The Cubs will need to be at their best throughout the series since they’re facing a lineup that is as strong as their own one through eight. Los Angeles has 44 home runs in just 24 games and pitching around Bellinger is probably not an option. Meanwhile, Chicago is hoping that good pitching will overpower all that lumber. During their current 8-3 stretch, the Cubs’ starters are sporting a nifty 1.66 ERA.
The Northsiders have allowed two runs or fewer in five of their last six contests, including a 2-1 walk-off victory over the Diamondbacks on Sunday. Last year, the Cubs won the season series 4-3 and outscored the Dodgers 35-23 in those contests.
Cubs News & Notes
- The Dodgers’ arrival to Wrigley Field will provide an early-season measuring stick for the Cubs.
- Red hot José Quintana will take the bump tonight. He’s won back-to-back starts and has gone 14 2/3 consecutive innings without allowing a run.
- Mike Montgomery was encouraged by his second rehab outing and could be activated soon.
- The Cubs’ pitching staff is about to get a boatload of nice reinforcements.
- Though Anthony Rizzo has been warming up of late, both he and Kris Bryant have been slumping. At some point, the “it’s early” response will reach its expiration date, but we’re not there yet. Bryant is hitting .250 with a .386 SLG vs. fastballs this year. His SLG vs. fastballs was .535 in ’18, .558 in ’17 and .645 in ’16. That’s a concerning trend.
- Evan Altman offers some great insight into the team’s top pitching stories so far this season.
- Top prospect Nico Hoerner hit an inside-the-park home run last night. Hoerner is off to a spectacular start at Double-A South Bend.
.@nico_hoerner runs double-time for his first Double-A HR! Watch the #Cubs' No. 2 prospect (quickly) touch 'em all for @smokiesbaseball
?️ https://t.co/lV4z6BNNWR pic.twitter.com/MTmyoHYLi5
— Minor League Baseball (@MiLB) April 23, 2019
How About That!
White Sox first baseman José Abreu is good at baseball.
Bryce Harper became the first Phillies player to be ejected from a game since 2015.
The Yankees released veteran pitcher Gio Gonzalez yesterday. The starter signed a minor league deal at the end of spring training which had an April 20 out-clause in the contract. Gonzalez was 2-1 with a 6.00 ERA in three starts with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Grandpappy Nelson Cruz beat out two infield hits last night. He’s 38 years old.
The Cardinals scored seven runs in the 7th inning to beat the Brewers 13-5 in St. Louis yesterday.
Jacob deGrom had his ailing elbow tested and the results came back negative. The reigning Cy Young Award winner remains on track to make his next start on Friday against the Brewers.
Monday’s Top Stars
- José Abreu – The power-hitting first baseman was 3-for-six with a booming home run and five RBI as the White Sox crushed the Orioles 13-2.
- Jorge Polanco – The Twins’ young shortstop had four hits, including a two-run homer, and drove in four runs to lead Minnesota to its fourth straight win, 9-5 over the Astros on Monday night. Polanco is hitting .392 on the season.
- Dexter Fowler – The former Cubs centerfielder had his best day as a member of the Cardinals, going 4-for-5 with three runs scored, his first tater of the season, and four RBI. His big night hiked his batting average up to .313.
It’s Game of Thrones Night at Wrigley Field. I’ve had enough of winter, myself, and I may be the only person on earth who hasn’t seen even one episode of the hit HBO Series.
#GameofThrones Night is coming …#ForTheThrone https://t.co/3vIMAbaVwM pic.twitter.com/TLVyfoENi4
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) April 21, 2019
They Said It
- “It’s early, man. Right now it can go either way. We’ve seen teams be in first place in the first half and you never hear from them. Just take it day by day and see where we are after the first half. When other teams come to Chicago, things change. Because obviously we’re like the eyes of everything. When you say ‘Chicago Cubs,’ everybody pays a lot of attention.” – Javier Báez
- “I thought [Nelson Cruz] was pretty impressive [in getting two infield hits]. He’s a big man. I don’t know what he weighs, but it’s not 175 pounds.” – Rocco Baldelli
- “I’ve been feeling good. I’ve been putting good swings, good at-bats. It’s kind of contagious. The boys have been taking good at- bats, and it’s awesome to see.” – Dexter Fowler
Tuesday Walk Up Song
Do You Wanna Dance by The Ramones. A slight video surprise. Cubs-Dodgers is always a fun series.