The Rundown: A Fond Farewell to Frank Schwindel, Hoerner Hurt, Wesneski Excels, Mets and Astros Clinch Postseason Berths
“I get knocked down, but I get up again. You are never gonna keep me down.” – Chumbawumba, Tubthumping
You all know how much I love music, and I have been working on a playlist of my favorite one-hit wonders. Here’s what I have so far:
- Humpty Dance by Digital Underground
- No Rain by Blind Melon
- Come On Eileen by Dexy’s Midnight Runners
- Judy in Disguise (With Glasses) by John Fred & His Playboy Band
- 96 Tears by ? and the Mysterians
- Take on Me by A-ha
- Spirit in the Sky by Norman Greenbaum
- Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God) by Kate Bush
- Right Here Right Now by Jesus Jones
- Gonna Make You Sweat by C&C Music Factory
- Jump by House of Pain
- Ice Ice Baby by Vanilla Ice
- Switching to Glide/This Beat Goes On by The Kings
You can add Chumbawumba, and while you’re at it, let’s also add Frank Schwindel to the list. Schwindel was granted his unconditional release over the weekend after clearing waivers. Suffice to say, The Tank isn’t leaving Chicago with a 21-cannon salute or a fly-by from the Blue Angels. In fact, I didn’t even realize he was cut until I checked Baseball-Reference and saw that ol’ Frank had no team affiliation. And that’s a shame.
Frank Schwindel grand slam!!!! Not sure what this celebration is 😂 pic.twitter.com/wLfN0Norbv
— Taylor McGregor (@Taylor_McGregor) September 5, 2021
Schwindel arrived last year amid the greatest teardown in team history. The Cubs said goodbye to Yu Darvish, Kyle Schwarber, Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Javier Báez, Craig Kimbrel, Andrew Chafin — among others — along with about 16 wins. The team also added Jake Arrieta and Zach Davies, which probably produced negative WAR though I have no desire to check. Schwindel was one of few bright spots and an immediate fan favorite.
The lanky first baseman replaced Rizzo after last summer’s deadline firesale and was one of the best hitters in baseball the final two months of last season, grabbing NL Rookie of the Month honors in August and September. His success never seemed sustainable, and it wasn’t, though we all hoped it would be. Matt Mervis is Chicago’s new first base eye candy, and “Mash” will undoubtedly navigate major league pitching much more consistently than Frank the Tank did.
So close the book on the first baseman who earned two third-place Rookie of the Year votes in 2021. The seemingly awkward Schwindel embodies the Chumbawumba refrain more than any other player in the game. Not many people could replace a beloved icon like Rizzo, but perhaps that unabashed awkwardness helped to keep the pressure off. Let’s hope he gets another shot somewhere. Truth be told, baseball is a lot more fun when guys like Schwindel succeed.
Cubs News & Notes
- Nico Hoerner has quietly become a leader in Chicago’s clubhouse according to David Ross.
- Hoerner has a mild-to-moderate triceps strain that should heal on its own.
- The shortstop has had a breakout campaign and hopes he will be able to return before the end of the season.
- Take that news with a grain of salt, however. Alec Mills went on the IL in early July with a back strain and it was only recently revealed he required back surgery. Back injuries are a lot trickier and tougher to diagnose.
- I don’t know if I’m buying the rumor that Trea Turner and the Cubs have a mutual interest in each other. Everyone I’ve talked to says that Turner wants to play for an East Coast team next year. It may cost extra to persuade him to play elsewhere, and if anyone will meet those demands, it’s going to be the Dodgers.
- Moving Hoerner to second base and signing Xander Bogaerts makes much more sense to me, especially since Bogaerts can slide over to third as Chicago’s young shortstops begin making their major league debuts. I do prefer Turner, however.
- Christopher Morel and Yan Gomes are showing they deserve more playing time in 2023.
- As good as Mervis has been, it’s actually Ben Brown who has improved his stock the most this season, at least according to MLB Pipeline. The Cubs acquired Brown from the Phillies in August for David Robertson. The tall righty has compiled a 3.42 ERA, .216 opponent average, and a 141:34 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 100 innings between High-A and Double-A.
- Hayden Wesneski looks like a potential ace. I acknowledge that’s a big leap of faith, but he sure has an impressive arsenal.
- Wesneski has a refreshingly honest approach to pitching. “My stuff is good, and I know that,” Wesneski said after Saturday’s start against the Rockies. “If I’m throwing strikes with my stuff, I even have a chance when I’m not so sharp.”
- It’s fair to say the Phillies and the Yankees may one day regret giving up Brown and Wesneski.
- Adbert Alzolay is excited about Chicago’s future and is ready to perform in any role the team asks.
- The Cubs’ last chance to play spoiler occurs next week when they host Philadelphia. As of this morning, the Phillies lead the Brewers by 2.5 games for the final NL Wild Card spot. But first, the Fightin’ Phils have to battle the Blue Jays and Braves.
Odds & Sods
Schwindel made Rip Sewell look like Nolan Ryan.
This 35.1 MPH Frank Schwindel pitch is the slowest (known/measured) MLB pitch to ever get hit for a home run! pic.twitter.com/oSO3sLnUyo
— Codify (@CodifyBaseball) June 12, 2022
Climbing the Ladder
“Jump to the jam, boogie woogie jam slam. Bust the dialect, I’m the man in command.” – Us3, Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia)
I love it when Morel goes yard. I do not love when the Cubs go 1-for-8 with RISP, as they did in Monday’s 10-3 loss to the Marlins. As hot as Zach McKinstry has been, it’s hard to believe he’s still hitting just .208, especially with a limited number of plate appearances. McKinstry is 9-for-27 (.333) since September 11.
- Games Played: 147
- Total Plate Appearances: 5,520
- Total Strikeouts: 1,301
- Strikeout Rate: 23.62%
- Team Batting Average: .241
- Runs Scored: 592
- Runs Allowed: 697
How About That!
Major League Baseball now owns the URL twins.com, a site that had been owned by twin brothers Durland and Darvin Miller since 1995. The league bought the URL for an undisclosed price.
The Mets have supplanted the Dodgers as baseball’s biggest spenders.
The Flushing franchise will “strongly consider” bringing Carlos Beltrán back next year, though not to replace manager Buck Showalter.
The Braves will meet the Mets during the final weekend of the season in what is being called a potentially “colossal series.”
Joey Gallo hit a monstrous home run Tuesday night. My goodness.
Astros starter Framber Valdez has 25 consecutive quality starts, a new MLB record.
Interim White Sox manager Miguel Cairo will be a hot commodity during this winter’s managerial carousel.
The Astros have clinched the AL West for the fifth time in the last six seasons.
Monday’s Three Stars
- Max Scherzer – He was perfect through six innings with nine strikeouts before hitting his pitch count limit and being removed. The Mets beat the Brewers 7-2 and clinched a postseason berth.
- Carlos Santana – The light-hitting Seattle DH blasted two home runs, including a grand slam, as the Mariners downed the Angels 9-1. Santana plated five runners on the evening.
- Logan Gilbert – The righty fanned 11 Angels batters in six innings of four-hit baseball, notching his 13th win of the season.
Three cheers for Javy!
Detroit Tigers star Javier Baez is offering free, hot meals to everyone affected by Hurricane Fiona in his homeland of Puerto Rico. https://t.co/FeUpvBD9HY
— TMZ (@TMZ) September 20, 2022
Tuesday Morning Six-Pack
- The Bears laid an egg in Green Bay the other night as Justin Fields completed just seven passes for 70 yards in the 27-10 loss.
- Chicago lost specifically because they had no answer for Packers running backs Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon.
- FedExMas may be in peril this holiday season. Perhaps that’s the best motivation ever to shop at your local, independent retail stores.
- The autumnal equinox arrives on Thursday. Celebrate accordingly.
- Flanderization is the process through which a single element of a character’s personality, often an originally mild element, is inflated in importance until it becomes its primary defining characteristic. Now you know.
- I killed a lot of brain cells during the recent weekend so I thought I’d share a brain teaser. When combined, which two words have the most letters?
They Said It
- “You keep track of knowing we’re not where we want to be, but that doesn’t affect the daily process of having things to deal with. I don’t know if that ever goes away, whether you’re in first place or last place. There [are] changes that happen and moves that are made and injuries that pop up. In one way, all these things are great experiences for me. In another way, we’ve got a long way to go.” – Ross
- “What I know about [Hoerner] is he wants to win. And if something were to change, and we asked him to do anything different, whatever we want to communicate that to him, he’s a winner. He wants to win and when you’ve got a really good player, you want as many of those guys as you can get. The willingness to move around for him is real.” – Ross
- “I think [being called ‘Mash’] is pretty cool. Just looking at last year compared to this year, it never would have happened last year. And even in High-A to start the year, I feel like there wasn’t as much attention. But people really started following and tweeting. … I like the nickname. I think it’s cool. It’s funny. But it’s also a good rallying cry for the fans.” – Mervis
Tuesday Walk-Up Song
Someone asked for Bon Jovi, so here’s a cut from New Jersey, my favorite LP by the band.