The Rundown: Cubs-Dodgers Series Had Playoff Vibes, Godspeed Beth Murphy, Manfred Blames A’s Move on Local Politics
“We’ve gotta hold on to what we’ve got. It doesn’t make a difference if we make it or not.” – Bon Jovi, Livin’ on a Prayer
The Cubs had a day off to lick their wounds after dropping three of four to the Dodgers. Chicago’s home/road split is an early-season trend that I do not like, as they are 6-2 as the visitors but 6-7 at the Friendly Confines. Regardless, I’ll take 12 wins every 21 games no matter how the team made it happen. And heck, at least they’re not underachieving like the White Sox!
By the way, I have the Cubs winning 90 games this year and they’re still on pace to do that.
Before I continue, my condolences to the family of Beth Murphy of Murphy’s Bleachers, who passed away on Monday after a long bout with kidney cancer.
Cubs News & Notes
- Patrick Wisdom is off to the hottest start of his career and credits his new attacking mindset at the plate.
- Chicago’s early-season offensive explosion has been fun, but it’s not sustainable.
- Justin Steele is pitching like the ace we’d hope he would be, and Drew Smyly has been just as effective.
- Steele will toe the slab in tonight’s game against the Padres, looking to improve to 4-0 on the season. He’ll face Blake Snell, who’s looking for his first win of 2023.
- For those who reside outside Chicago’s television market, tonight’s tilt is the MLB.TV free game of the day.
- Marcus Stroman reached 1,000 career strikeouts on Sunday.
- Shortstop Dansby Swanson has been a human highlight reel in his short time with the Cubs.
- Kyle Hendricks is ready to begin his rehab assignment. Manager David Ross said the organization will send Hendricks to a warm-weather location.
- The Cubs are among the teams with the highest increases in stolen base attempts and successful steals compared to last season. The Pirates and Orioles are there too, and both are playing better than .667 baseball.
- It appears James Outman and Max Muncy are this year’s Cub killers. The Dodgers won the season series four games to three. The two teams will meet again in the playoffs, and yes, that’s a bold prediction.
- Ross said the Cubs-Dodgers season series had a “playoff vibe.”
- In case you missed yet another annual ranking of major league ballparks, Fenway Park and Wrigley Field still sit atop the list.
Odds & Sods
The Cubs had their own version of Marlins Man back in 1938.
Very RARE-1938 WS (color) game 2 (part 1) Lefty vs Dizzy-favorite part, the new Wrigley Field scoreboard and Lou at 1st.(and the nutty Cub fan) pic.twitter.com/LvApNkQDhF
— Flagstaff Films (@flagstafffilms) April 16, 2023
- St. Louis: If you’re a Cardinals fan, is it time to panic? The Redbirds are 9-14 (.391), and bloggers are losing their minds while trying to salvage the season.
- Milwaukee: William Contreras is off to a great start and finally hit his first home run as a Brewer on Monday.
- Cincinnati: The Reds snapped a six-game losing streak with a walk-off win against the Rangers. By the way, Cincinnati is only one game behind the Cardinals in their attempt to escape the NL Central cellar.
- Pittsburgh: The Pirates are throwing more breaking balls than any team in baseball and they’re the best team in the National League right now because of it.
Climbing the Ladder
“You’re lookin’ tired, you’re lookin’ kinda beat. The rhythm of the street sure knocks you off your feet.” – Great White, Once Bitten, Twice Shy
The Cubs crashed to Earth a little bit over the weekend because they didn’t get enough good at-bats. If you remove Friday’s 13-0 win, the Dodgers outscored them 22-9. It’s certainly not time to sound the alarm, and I don’t think either would have helped against Clayton Kershaw and Dustin May, but Matt Mervis and Christopher Morel continue to slap at Iowa.
More firepower would be nice if I’m being forthright. Edwin Ríos has no business being on the major league roster and I could live without Luis Torrens, who is in the express lane to the Mendoza Line. The Cubs don’t need three catchers, anyway.
- Games Played: 21
- Record: 12-9 (.5711)
- Total Plate Appearances: 825
- Total Strikeouts: 174
- Strikeout Rate: 21.09%
- Team Batting Average: .280
- Runs Scored: 121
- Runs Allowed: 82
- Chances of Making the Playoffs: 60.6%, 1.8% to win the World Series
How About That!
Rob Manfred defended A’s fans and said Oakland’s local politics are pushing the franchise to Las Vegas.
Padres manager Bob Melvin said fans need to relax and temper expectations of Fernando Tatís Jr. The shortstop missed the entire 2022 season for two different reasons. A broken left wrist sustained during a motorcycle accident was expected to cost him the first three months or so. On August 12, Tatis was suspended for 80 games after testing positive for the steroid Clostebol. That carried his suspension over into the first 20 games of 2023.
Sonny Gray of the Twins has allowed only two earned runs in 29 innings this season, good for an 0.62 ERA that pushed him ahead of Shohei Ohtani for the MLB lead. In franchise history, only Walter Johnson of the 1913 Washington Senators and Eddie Matteson of the ‘18 Senators have recorded a lower ERA through their first five appearances of a season (minimum 20 innings).
David Cone defended Max Scherzer, who has been suspended for 10 games for what appears to be an inhuman amount of sticky substance on his fingers. Cone said the combination of sweat and rock rosin creates the type of tack that shelved Scherzer.
Ohtani’s legend grows with each game, even if it’s not by masterful pitching performances or mammoth home runs.
Monday’s Three Stars
- Spencer Strider – The young righty took a no-hitter into the 8th inning while striking out 13 Marlins hitters. That’s a helluva day for the Braves ace.
- Alex Cobb – The Giants veteran stymied the Cardinals with a complete game 4-0 win on Monday night. By the way, Cobb had gone 10 full seasons since his last shutout.
- Baltimore Orioles – They’ve won seven straight to move to 15-7 and would be the number one AL Wild Card if the season started today. Not for nothing, but I’d be in heaven if we had a Pirates-Orioles World Series this year.
Morel was thinking home run before this pitch was thrown. Is it just me, or has he lowered his hands this year?
Well, this is one way to extend your hitting streak. Christopher Morel makes it now 11 straight games with a hit with this 403 ft home run against a fellow position player. pic.twitter.com/Ozp0QELDXY
— Iowa Cubs (@IowaCubs) April 22, 2023
Tuesday Morning Six-Pack
- The Packers finally traded Aaron Rodgers to the Jets, and now Bears GM Ryan Poles controls the upper half of Thursday’s draft. New York and Green Bay both need offensive linemen but would have to leapfrog Chicago to get their choice of the top tackle prospects.
- Peter Skoronski, Paris Johnson Jr., Broderick Jones, and Darnell Wright are all tackles that could be taken in the first 15 picks this year.
- Jimmy Butler dropped 56 points on the Bucks last night and Bulls fans everywhere cringed in disappointment. For what it’s worth, the “Bucks in Five” mission statement has worn me to my last nerve, and I’m actually a fan.
- Cable news delivery changed in a matter of minutes on Monday afternoon. Don Lemon was fired by CNN and FOX parted ways with Tucker Carlson. That’s two on my list of top 10 blowhards I’m happy to see gone, though I’m sure both will resurface. Then again, Keith Olbermann is still begging for work, so one never knows.
- Singer Ed Sheeran is defending his hit “Thinking Out Loud” in court this week against claims he ripped off Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On.” Jurors will have a $100 million decision to make. You be the judge.
- Joe Biden announced he is running for reelection, much to the delight of Sky News Australia.
They Said It
- “When you have the stuff that [Steele] has — and you can get hitters out in the zone with really a two-pitch mix — there’s the value. And then you learn how to locate that better. You learn how to backdoor certain things, different sides of the plate, different quadrants within the strike zone, and then also other pitches as they develop. That’s a long journey.” – Ross
- “It felt like playoff baseball. I feel like we’re right there with a really good team. We’re a good team. They’re a good team. And we had some really hard-fought battles.” – Ross
Tuesday Walk-Up Song
Who knew that mass media had its own version of Black Monday?