The Rundown: Mets Spoil Professor’s Return, Cubs Farm System Gets Big Rankings Boost, Brewers’ Future in Milwaukee Could Be in Jeopardy
“Oh, feelin’ maybe he’ll see a little better set of days…” – Pearl Jam, Evenflow
The Metropolitans ruined the Kyle Hendricks homecoming game, but the Cubs sent New York packing with a meatloaf sandwich, taking two of three from their former division rivals. Hendricks looked rusty and Chicago’s bats did him no favors. The Mets made him work — he threw 86 pitches in 4.1 innings — but it was nice to see The Professor on the mound nonetheless.
With last night’s start, Hendricks became the 12th player to pitch for the Cubs in at least 10 seasons and the first since Kerry Wood in 2012. The Mets honored the accomplishment by plating 10 runs against Hendricks and Michael Rucker.
There’s day baseball at Wrigley today and I never thought I’d say this, but I wish the Cubs would stop playing night games at home. Afternoon games make me a lot happier and certainly more hopeful.
Cubs News & Notes
- Nick Madrigal was optioned to Iowa to make room on the roster for Hendricks.
- Madrigal said he will “try to get back on the right track” playing for the I-Cubs.
- Hendricks had a very emotional day after being sidelined for nearly 11 months.
- Hayden Wesneski is working on improved execution at Triple-A Iowa, particularly against lefties.
- Hard-throwing reliever Nick Burdi will miss a couple of weeks after his emergency appendectomy.
- The Cubs are looking at any and all potential bullpen reinforcements.
- Justin Steele will start today and he’s looking for win number seven on the season.
- The white-hot start by slugging Christopher Morel has left his teammates in awe.
- I promised you all that Jameson Taillon would have a rebound start, and he takes the bump on Saturday. Taillon was supposed to start last night but was pushed back to work on inconsistent command.
- Yankees fans believe they “dodged a bullet” when New York let Taillon leave via free agency.
- Bleacher Report ranked Chicago’s farm system No. 9 at the quarter mark of the season, a seven-place jump since the offseason.
Odds & Sods
Nobody knows heartache better than Harvey Haddix, so chin up if you’re having a frustrating start to your day.
Today In 1959: Pittsburgh #Pirates pitcher Harvey Haddix hurls 12 perfect innings vs. the Milwaukee #Braves – but loses a 1-0 heartbreaker in the 13th inning! #MLB #Baseball #History pic.twitter.com/4OZ2qjKZuc
— Baseball by BSmile (@BSmile) May 26, 2023
- St.Louis: The fourth-place Cardinals are apparently baseball’s “team to beat.” Try not to spit your breakfast cereal milk through your nose. St. Louis has won 13 of its last 18 games.
- Milwaukee: MLB has told the Brewers that they need to repair American Family Field to ensure it remains an MLB-caliber ballpark, per Newstalk 1130 WISN. While the league did not give Milwaukee an explicit ultimatum, it was made clear that MLB will not allow American Family Field to “deteriorate” as Oakland-Alameda County Stadium has.
- Cincinnati: An article in the Cincinnati Enquirer says minor league shortstop Elly De La Cruz has been named baseball’s No. 1 overall prospect by ESPN, but I can’t find proof anywhere. De La Cruz is No. 4 at MLB Pipeline, so he’s quite good nonetheless.
- Pittsburgh: 34-year-old rookie Drew Maggi is an inspiring human being, and now Hollywood is interested in telling his story. Maggi has been contacted by Alexi Hawley, who wrote and produced The Rookie starring Dennis Quaid.
Climbing the Ladder
“I take a walk outside, I’m surrounded by some kids at play. I can feel their laughter, so why do I sear?” – Black
The Cubs need to sweep the Reds because they play the Rays at home, followed by 10 games on the West Coast against the Padres, Dodgers, and Giants. Despite recent offensive struggles, Chicago’s North Side Baseballers have yet to be shut out this season. They’ve lost four games of the walk-off variety, however, and they’re 8-14 since May 1.
Tucker Barnhart pitched last night, and if Rob Manfred really wants to do something for the good of the game, he’ll ban position players from taking the mound. I was kind of peeved David Ross didn’t let Javier Assad finish the game. He could use the work.
- Games Played: 49
- Record: 22-27 (.450)
- Total Plate Appearances: 1,907
- Total Strikeouts: 448
- Strikeout Rate: 23.49%
- Team Batting Average: .260
- Runs Scored: 232
- Runs Allowed: 213
- Chances of Making the Playoffs: 32.9%, 0.8% to win the World Series
How About That!
Through 49 games, Ronald Acuña Jr. is batting .523 in the 1st inning.
MLB owners could vote on Oakland’s relocation to Las Vegas as soon as next month.
The Rays stole seven bases against the Jays on Thursday, including two each by Taylor Walls, Luke Raley, and Wander Franco.
Tyler Glasnow will make his 2023 debut this weekend against the Dodgers. He’s fully recovered from an oblique injury that sidelined him since March.
The Mets have designated Gary Sánchez for assignment. Tomás Nido was activated from the injured list following a multiweek bout with dry-eye syndrome, and New York saw no need to roster three catchers.
More on the Brewers
MLB could fully support a potential relocation if the Brewers don’t get the stadium funding they need.
Rob Manfred was in town yesterday for a news conference at American Family Field and [softly] made it clear that if the Brewers don’t get the funding necessary for stadium upgrades the state will risk seeing the team move to another location.
In a piece from 2013, Milwaukee Magazine gamed a scenario in which the Brewers actually left Brew City.
Governor Tony Evers remains unwilling to budge on any taxpayer assistance to improve the stadium. The Brewers are seeking $290 million dollars from the state.
Wouldn’t it be something if Tom Ricketts sold the naming rights to Wrigley Field to Molson-Coors? The Milwaukee institution formerly known as Miller-Coors is a Chicago corporation now.
Thursday’s Three Stars
- Michael Conforto – The Giants right fielder has struggled this year, but he was 4-for-4 with a home run and a stolen base on Thursday.
- Ty France – The Seattle first baseman has two taters and two RBI in leading the Mariners to a 3-2 win over the A’s.
- Alex Faedo – The Detroit righty struck out 10 White Sox batters in six innings of work in the Tigers’ 7-2 win.
Dansby Swanson has been the streaky hitter we’re slowly starting to know and love, but he’s about to go on a tear. This might be his best swing of the season.
Dansby Swanson – Chicago Cubs (5) pic.twitter.com/Ns8ZpNX5I8
— MLB HR Videos (@MLBHRVideos) May 25, 2023
Friday Morning Six-Pack
- Gas is more than a buck cheaper in the US this year compared to the start of Memorial Day Weekend last year.
- Speaking of fuel, it’s also Indy 500 week. If you’ve never gone, you must. I’ve gone twice and the event greatly exceeds its hype.
- Remember when the Fourth of July was reserved for fireworks? My neighborhood sounded like Beirut circa 1983 last night, and I imagine it will get worse this weekend.
- You can’t celebrate the annual holiday without a Top 500 classic rock countdown.
- Extremely high salaries were among the root cause of the First Republic Bank failure.
- A Texas high school postponed commencement ceremonies because too few students met graduation requirements. We may see much more of this in our post-COVID world.
They Said It
- “It was kind of an emotional day, with everything building up to it. But just getting to this point and getting back out there was huge. There are so many people behind the scenes to thank.” – Hendricks
- “It’s almost like a breath of fresh air when you get to see [Hendricks] around and what he’s meant to this organization. I’ve seen him almost since he made his debut here, so it’s been fun to get to see his career. And now to have him back, you feel like you have the pieces to your puzzle back together.” – Tommy Hottovy
- “[Wesneski] was searching for the slider a little bit. The shape wasn’t quite there, so we kind of eliminated the cutter a little bit to help him simplify that and get the slider back. But the cutter’s absolutely a weapon that we need to [retire] lefties.” – Hottovy
- “We’ve been building bullpens that way for a while. This year, that hasn’t worked yet and that’s on me. That’s put Rossy in a tough spot. That hasn’t lined up the way we expected it to.” – Jed Hoyer
Friday Walk-Up Song
I was hanging with a cool 8-year-old Cubs fan at my injection therapy session yesterday and we agreed that the Cubs won’t win a World Series until Wrigley Field hosts Pearl Jam again. I also forgot that Jeff Samardzija is out of baseball, but he’d fit in with the band, right?