The Rundown: Crosstown Cup Time, Bouncebacks, League Notes, More Machado Talk

The Cubs/White Sox rivalry just doesn’t feel like much of one anymore. Back in the day, the teams used to genuinely hate each other, but those protagonists — looking mostly at you A.J. Pierzynski and Michael Barrett — are long gone. The two teams even made a goodwill trade last year when the White Sox sent Jose Quintana to the Cubs for Eloy Jimenez and Dylan Cease. If the front offices have a peer-to-peer relationship that is open and friendly, certainly that trickles down to the players on the field.

The White Sox aren’t very good right now, entering the series with a 9-25 record that includes just one win in their previous 10 games. Their run differential suggests they should have about 2-3 more wins, though, so take that for what it’s worth. Still, the Cubs refuse to look at the White Sox as a pushover.

“We’re obviously playing a team that’s in a rebuild mode — but, like I said, you can’t take for granted,” Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo said after the Cubs’ 13-4 win over the Marlins on Wednesday. “When teams come to Wrigley Field, they up their game and we know that. It will be fun — it will be a fun weekend.”

The Cubs bounced back from a five-game losing streak in their decisive sweep of the Marlins, scoring 31 runs with 40 hits over the three games. Wednesday was the coup de grâce as Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, and Addison Russell all homered and four Cubs players finished with three hits.

The Cubs will seek to keep the offensive thunder rolling starting today at Wrigley Field.

Cubs News & Notes

The Epstein probably won’t make a trade for Manny Machado unless the price falls into his comfort zone. For those of you who believe the Cubs could sign him to an extension, that rarely happens. And though Epstein is a guy who could pull it off, Machado is more likely desirous of testing free agency. He demanded a move to shortstop because it’s a premium position, and that was definitely financially motivated. Machado is a lot younger than he seems, too, only 102 days older than Bryce Harper.

Machado and Harper are going to command new contracts next year the two could be guaranteed almost one billion dollars. Unless Epstein exceeds market value in an extension attempt, and I don’t see that happening, Machado will likely not be a rental the team pursues. Unless, as Evan stated this past winter, an agenda to sign Bryce Harper exists. For what it’s worth, I do believe regardless of what happens this year, the Cubs will start the 2019 season with Javy Baez as the team’s regular shortstop.

Victor Caratini and David Bote represent the Cubs methodology of infusing the big league team with young talent as much as Schwarber, Happ, Bryant and Almora do, just in different roles.

Joe Maddon believes his faith in Ian Happ will pay big dividends. “I need to figure out a way to get Happ back on the horse in a positive way,” Maddon said. “He can be so important for us throughout the course of the year. He plays a variety of positions, is a switch-hitter, great power, great attitude, great member of the team. I have to figure it out.”

David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune takes a look at what the future holds for both the Cubs and the White Sox five years from now.

How About That!

After nearly four hours of weather delays, the Red Sox defeated the Yankees to avoid a sweep, leaving the two teams tied atop the AL East (and for baseball’s best record) at 26-11.

Is there a World Series hangover for losers of the Fall Classic? After losing 4-1 last night to the Reds, the Dodgers have looked far too bad for far too long to believe they can recover from what now is a 16-21 start.

For the first time since 1982, the Phillies have swept a four-game series from the Giants.

Of the Angels’ 12 hits last night, only five were singles. The Angels really made their hits, notably of the extra-base variety, count. Shohei Ohtani, who homered in last night’s 7-4 victory over the Twins, is hitting .354/.400/.677 with four doubles, five homers and 16 RBI in 70 plate appearances.

With last night’s victory, the Orioles have won back-to-back games for just the second time this season.

The Cardinals placed RHP Carlos Martinez on the 10-day DL with a right lat strain, the team announced. The injury is considered minor and Martinez is expected to only miss one start.

The Reds have activated newly-acquired starter Matt Harvey and sent Brandon Finnegan to the minors. Harvey will take Finnegan’s turn in the rotation, which comes Friday night in Dodger Stadium.

Thursday’s Three Stars

  1. Kyle Seager – The Mariners 3B blasted a pair of homers, including a 1st-inning grand slam, to lead an offensive explosion that included 17 hits and four homers in a decisive 9-3 pummeling of the Blue Jays.
  2. Ozzie Albies – The Braves 2B hit Atlanta’s first grand slam of the season and had 5 RBI in Atlanta’s 9-2 victory over Miami.
  3. Freddie Freeman – in the same game, the Braves OF was 5-for-5 while driving home two with with a 6th-inning home run.

Hot Takes & Syrup

They Said It

  • “Ian [Happ] has such a great makeup. He’s such a likable kid. He’s so competitive. He cares so much and is intelligent. I think those things resonate with Joe. He sees the ability Happ has as a player. I just think they have a nice relationship. It’s based on all those attributes. The reason Joe believes in him is the same reason the whole organization does, but I do think he has taken a personal interest in him.” – Jed Hoyer
  • “Honestly, and this is maybe not something I should say, but my gut tells me that the best decision might be to move the team. I say that only because I look at the example of the Miami Marlins, and (a new stadium) didn’t really solve their attendance issues. So from purely an attendance standpoint, somewhere else might be better.’‘ – Evan Longoria

Friday Walk Up Song

Lose Yourself by Eminem. Crosstown Cup time, baby!

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