The Rundown Lite: Javy’s Heads-Up ‘Homer,’ Rizzo’s Back, Bizarro Last Out
I know I say this all the time, but this one really is going to be short. Between my son’s Little League pictures this morning and what I’d imagine is a general malaise throughout much of Cubdom, there’s not much need to get into great detail here.
Javy uses his head
When Joe Maddon talked during spring training about getting back to a Little League approach, I’m not sure he had in mind taking a throw to the dome and then cruising home for a game-tying run. But that’s exactly what Javy Baez did Friday night after tripling to the gap in right-center.
It was the second time in as many nights that Baez had scored on a combination of guts, guile, and garbage defense (though the last descriptor is more about alliteration than accuracy). Like the first one, Javy’s inexplicable knack for making game-changing plays looked like it had turned the tide for the Cubs.
Alas, it was not to be.
Nightmare ‘Last Out’
Remember Game 7 of the World Series — I ask because the Cubs won and people forget that — when Kris Bryant fielded the final grounder and then slipped and it looked like the throw might sail over Anthony Rizzo’s head? Yeah, well, the nightmare version of that took place Friday night. The good news is that while the throw was high, the stakes weren’t nearly as much so.
It sucks to lose like that and give one away, but if the Cubs play the way they’re able to from here on out, no one will remember this game. Unlike the 2016 World Series, which most people do actually remember.
Rizzo scratched due to back stiffness
Even had Bryant’s throw been true, Rizzo wasn’t on the receiving end. He was scratched a couple hours before the game with back stiffness, an issue that usually affects him to some extent each season. It could keep him out for more than just the one game, though that seems precautionary.
It’s too early to say much about the Cubs, but this much we know: They’re inconsistent as all get out at the plate. Some of that can be chalked up to the amoeba strike zones they’ve seen thus far — Friday’s seemed particularly shifty — and to feeling out the best lineup based on matchup.
Overall, though, it’s almost like they’re shifting their collective approach around mid-game at times. When the Cubs were really playing their best baseball, they were a machine. You knew what you were going to get game in and game out, a lineup that would just grind good pitchers down and exploit bad pitchers.
Now they look like an engine running low on gas, firing in fits and spurts. Time to fuel that bad boy up and get this thing moving a little more smoothly.