The Rundown: Cubs Sweep Mets, Bullpen Solid Again, Bryant Having MVP-Like Start, Báez Catches Heat, Brewers Have MLB’s Best Rotation
“Baseball is about talent, hard work, and strategy. But at the deepest level, it’s about love, integrity, and respect.” – Pat Gillick
The Cubs beat the Mets 4-3 last night thanks to a bullpen that was nearly perfect, particularly Andrew Chafin and Craig Kimbrel. Jason Heyward drove in ghost runner Javier Báez with a walk-off single in the 10th. Jake Marisnick, who should see more PT now that Joc Pederson has been placed on the injured list, was the team’s unsung hero.
- The Good: Kris Bryant was 2-for-4 with two RBI and the Cubs earned their first sweep of the season.
- The Bad: Báez failed to run out a pop fly that landed between Mets players Kevin Pillar, Francisco Lindor, Luis Guillorme, and Michael Conforto. He was then almost thrown out because he was slow to get back to first once the ball was retrieved. Video replay spared him a great deal of ignominy.
- The Ugly: The Cubs struck out 14 times last night despite not facing Jacob deGrom.
- On Deck: The Cubs host the Brewers at 1:20 this afternoon. Kyle Hendricks takes the bump against Bett Anderson.
Chicago is in second place, just two games behind Milwaukee, and this series offers some big swing games. David Ross may have to look to the team’s alternate site for bullpen reinforcements this weekend.
J-Hey delivers in a pinch! 🧹#Walkoff #CubTogether pic.twitter.com/SQaWlyiU38
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) April 23, 2021
Cubs News & Notes
- The Cubs version of small ball has yielded some big results this week.
- Bryant was called out via instant replay on a stolen base attempt last night and Ross thinks the umpires got it wrong.
- Bryant’s comeback season is in full force. The third baseman has been locked in all month.
- Mike Bryant has told his son not to sweat his walk year. “Kris and I know he is blessed to be able to play this game with the best players on the planet,” the elder Bryant said. “He and I will never take that for granted. I think the city of Chicago needs to know that, too.”
- With Báez, sometimes you have to take the bad with the good.
- If the Cubs hope to contend for the division title this season, making a statement against the Brewers this weekend would be a good start.
- Now that Chafin has the beater car he requested, he’s looking for a place he can go do donuts with his new toy, presumably away from local law enforcement.
Climbing the Ladder
“I’m aware of the luck in [BABIP], but at the same time, you can’t directly influence it. That’s the human element of this game.” – Max Scherzer
- Games Played: 18
- Total Plate Appearances: 653
- Total Strikeouts: 185
- Strikeout Rate: 28.3%
- Team Batting Average: .200
Apropos of Nothing
You may have noticed a new format at the top of this post. It is only temporary as I have work obligations through the end of May that severely reduce the time I have available to write. If you normally enjoy the first section, my apologies. If you do not, enjoy the six-week break.
Odds & Sods
Maybe eat less beans to curtail that cerebral flatulence.
I love Javy….Javy has great instincts….Javy does things on the base paths that very few can do …..I love Javy… Baez has a brain fart because he is human and frustrated….Twitterverse…. “What’s with this guy”. “How does he not hustle”…..I love Twitter!!!
— RyanDempster (@Dempster46) April 23, 2021
How About That!
Scherzer may be a popular name at this year’s trade deadline for teams in the market for a significant year-end rental.
Advanced stats say Twins outfielder Byron Buxton is baseball’s next great superstar.
Despite game after game of offensive heroics, the Reds have one of the worst bullpens in baseball, making every game a slugfest.
The Brewers, led by Corbin Burnes and Brandon Woodruff, have a special rotation this year that could even be historical.
Is the double hook designated hitter rule a good idea?
Paul Mushnick of the NY Post suggests that baseball history is being retrofitted with walk-off labels.
Willie Mays has won the inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award presented by Baseball Digest.
Blue Jays shortstop Bo Bichette launched a towering home run over the Green Monster, out of Fenway Park, and onto Lansdowne Street on Tuesday night. It landed right where his parents first met.
Thursday’s Three Stars
- David Peralta – The Diamondbacks left fielder had a career night, going 5-for-6 with a home run and seven RBI as Arizona outlasted Cincinnati 14-11.
- Reds Hitters – Led by Jesse Winker, the Red Legs teed off on Arizona’s pitching, blasting six taters. Winker has two long flies, and Nick Castellanos, Joey Votto, Eugenio Suárez, and Jonathan India also went yard. The Reds have an OPS of .814 as a team so far this season.
- Curt Casali – The Giants backup catcher caught his fifth consecutive shutout as San Francisco upended the Marlins 3-0. Casali is the first to do it with five different starting pitchers, per Elias Sports.
Yes, baseball is supposed to be fun. We need more of this, especially from the Cubs.
The @Dbacks are having a good time 🕺🤣
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) April 22, 2021
They Said It
- “To want to get where you want to be as a team, you’ve got to do things you’re not always called on to do. You just try to be ready for that. I think we all did it as a group early this year, just spoke on that briefly, knowing its going to take a sacrifice to get somewhere new. If it means me doing that, or somebody else doing something different out of their comfort zone, it’s awesome to be able to come through right there.” – Jason Heyward
- “I thought that was an extremely aggressive call to say that [Bryant] came up off the bag when things are moving that fast in real time. He looked safe to me. I thought he got n there.” – David Ross
Friday Walk Up Song
Seven Devils by Florence + The Machine. Revenge is a dish best served cold. I don’t know about you, but the Cubs owe the Brewers some payback and I’d like to see Chicago stick it to ’em. Up and In, rinse, repeat. Florence Welch has one of the better voices in music, by the way.