The Rundown: Cubs Combined No-No Historic, Bullpen Had No Clue, Báez Trolls Dodgers Fans, Schwarber Exploding for Nats
“Hey girl, I bet you, there’s someone out to get you.” – The Jaggerz, The Rapper
There’s a certain swag to a combined no-hitter and when Ryan Tepera, Andrew Chafin, and Craig Kimbrel are closing it out, it’s really amplified to the nth degree. When David Ross pulled starter Zach Davies after six innings, did anyone not think the no-no was as good as in the books?
Believe it or not, four Cubs pitchers shut down the Dodgers without the use of any banned sticky substances. I’ll bet Trevor Bauer was awestruck as he watched it all unfold. If you’re keeping score at home, that’s seven MLB no-hitters this season, not including the seven-inning version Madison Bumgarner threw in late April and the first under Rob Manfred’s new edict that pitchers rely on nothing more than a rosin bag to keep the sweat from their palms off the baseball.
The modern era record is seven no-hitters in one season, which has been done in four different years: 1990, 1991, 2012, and 2015. The last time baseball saw eight in one season was 1884. So, in addition to the local notoriety attached to the efforts of Chicago’s baseballers, last night’s game was historic for the league.
It’s not like the Dodgers haven’t seen this movie already, either. As I mentioned yesterday and I’m sure almost everybody remembers, Jake Arrieta threw a clean slate at Dem Bums back in 2015. As an organization, the Cubs now have three combined no-hitters this season: one by Iowa on May 9, one by Myrtle Beach just the other night, and last night’s star-studded affair.
There was no way Davies was going to complete the game. After issuing five walks in six innings, the starter was nearing 100 pitches when David Ross pulled him. In fact, Cubs pitchers walked eight batters in the game, a novelty in and of itself. Then again, with the way his three-headed monster has finished games all season, there never should have been any doubt that each would factor in the decision one way or another.
Craig Kimbrel finishes off the first combined no-hitter in #Cubs history!#CubTogether pic.twitter.com/Cmprbfmc6h
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) June 25, 2021
It’s almost difficult to remember the times that Cubs fans would cringe whenever a manager removed a starter. Now we actually look forward to the 6th- or 7th-inning hook. In fact, the performance by Davies almost seems like an afterthought, as unfair as that is to the starter’s effort. But the game escalated to a completely different level once the bullpen took over. If the Cubs can somehow make it to the World Series, it may be Tepera, Chafin, and Kimbrel who get them there.
As far as the offense, Javier Báez homered in the 1st inning and Willson Contreras added a two-run blast in the top of the 6th as the Cubs happily celebrated the franchise’s first combined no-hitter and second in less than a year. Alec Mills shut down the Brewers last September, though his gem never seemed as exciting as last night’s accomplishment.
Contreras deserves kudos for quarterbacking last night’s win. As the Cubs celebrated on the field last night, nobody was really sure who deserved credit. Give it to Chicago’s backstop.
Cubs News & Notes
- Davies was proud to be part of history despite being removed from the game.
- The bullpen said they had no idea they were about to become part of something historic. When Tepera ran onto the field after the game, he reportedly whispered in Kimbrel’s ear: “You have no idea what happened.”
- The Cubs became the first opposing team to throw two no-hitters at Dodger Stadium, which opened in 1962 and is the second-oldest NL park, behind Wrigley Field.
- Báez trolled Dodgers fans after his blast and embraced the raspberries he received in return.
- Adbert Alzolay has gained confidence to his throw his slider despite teammates initially being scared to play catch with him.
- Things are really starting to click for pitching prospect Max Bain at South Bend.
- Joc Pederson received his 2020 World Series ring before last night’s game.
- Justin Steele successfully completed a bullpen session and will now head out on a rehab assignment.
- The Cubs have provided a standardized note of absence for workers who stayed up late to watch the end of last night’s game, which took nearly 3.5 hours to complete.
Odds & Sods
I’m sure Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak has been on the phone trying to see if the Nationals intend to trade Kyle Schwarber this summer.
Kyle Schwarber has 12 HR from the leadoff spot since June 12.
The St. Louis Cardinals have 6 HR from the leadoff spot since the start of 2020 (Including one in postseason).
— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) June 25, 2021
Climbing the Ladder
“I’d like to dream my troubles all away on a bed of California stars.” – Billy Bragg & Wilco, California Stars
- Games Played: 75
- Total Plate Appearances: 2,733
- Total Strikeouts: 709
- Strikeout Rate: 25.9%
- Team Batting Average: .226
Apropos of Nothing
Bob Seger actually does an amazing cover of California Stars. He has the perfect voice for the cherished sing-along and really makes it his own.
How About That!
Red Sox starter Nick Pivetta was pulled last night in the 7th inning despite allowing no hits. His bullpen couldn’t complete the task at hand, however. Pivetta, who was on a pace to throw 130 pitches, had faced one batter in the 7th inning all season and had not completed seven innings in a game since 2019.
Schwarber has eight home runs in his last five games and is on a truly historic run.
Trevor Story to the Brewers may not be as far-fetched as it seems if you dig a little deeper (subscription to The Athletic required).
The Cardinals are really struggling, and changes may be imminent. It seems doubtful St. Louis would fire manager Mike Shildt mid-season, but they did dismiss Mike Matheny in mid-July back in 2018. The Cardinals were 47-56 at the time, and enter today’s play 36-39 on the heels of a four-game losing streak.
No one loves baseball as much as Marlins rookie Jazz Chisolm, who hopes to one day achieve one-name status, just like LeBron or Ichiro.
Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi believes that MLB managers shouldn’t be allowed to ask umpires to check pitchers for illegal substances. “It seems like a little bit of a combustible situation right now,” the executive said. “Maybe we need a little less drama. One fewer thing to worry about than managers inciting the opposing pitcher.”
MLB is going with a new uniform scheme for this year’s All-Star Game and it’s not very appealing.
The latest mock draft over at CBS Sports has the Pirates taking shortstop Marcelo Meyer with the number one overall pick. Mike Axisa, who penned the article, is the second analyst to predict the Cubs will select five-tool outfielder Jud Fabian with their first-round selection.
Thursday’s Three Stars
- Ryan Tepera – Swag.
- Andrew Chafin – More swag.
- Craig Kimbrel – Dominant swag that included three strikeouts. The combined line for the three relievers this season: 99.1 IP, 16 ER, 29 BB, 121 K, 1.45 ERA, with 21 saves.
Wait? There were other games across the league last night? Did any of them really matter?
We’ve got next.
Now THIS is a Wiffle Ball field. pic.twitter.com/gfTV8XyDfl
— MLB Cathedrals ⚾️ (@MLBcathedrals) June 25, 2021
They Said It
Note: Today’s Rundown is actually historic, and not because of the events surrounding last night’s game. We actually have a quote from Kimbrel, which is akin to striking it rich while mining for bitcoin.
- “From catching this team since 2016, I’ve been catching a lot of shutout games, but nothing close to a no-hitter. Tonight was one of those nights that are super special in my life, one that will be hard to forget.” – Willson Contreras
- “The whole bullpen had no idea. [We were] completely oblivious. But in our defense, in that bullpen, from our perspective on the field, all we can see is batting averages and the count, stuff like that. We can’t see the scoreboard with the hits.” – Andrew Chafin
- “I had no clue when I came into the game. When there’s a lot of traffic on the bases, you don’t really assume that they’re all walks. You kind of figure maybe one of them is a single or something like that.” – Craig Kimbrel
Friday Walk-Up Song
Something in the Air by Thunderclap Newman – I don’t think you could have scripted a better start to Chicago’s 10-game road trip.