The Rundown: Cubs Rotation, Rizzo’s Interference, MLB Hot Streaks, Snakebitten Mets

Good Morning! What a great weekend – the boss let me squeeze in an extra day off and the Cubs are on a semi-roll of sorts, though I’m still concerned about the team’s starting pitching. And though it’s not even June, all the trade talk lately has me feeling like we are further into the season than we actually are. Sometimes the best trades are the ones you don’t make. I’d love to see Manny Machado on the Cubs, but Mike Montgomery sure came through for them the other day.

Montgomery is probably going to start again as the Cubs placed Yu Darvish on the 10-day disabled list with right triceps soreness on Saturday. Montgomery wants to start and said as much last December before the Cubs signed Darvish. Welcome to the spotlight, Mike. When Darvish is ready to pitch again, the team can reassess their rotation options.

Before anybody gets too excited, the front office prefers Montgomery in a swingman role, and Monday’s spot start proved exactly why.

Cubs News & Notes

Major League Baseball said Anthony Rizzo should have been called out for interference (link is an updated article) when he took out Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Elias Diaz and sparked a debate about what is considered a legal slide. Cubs manager Joe Maddon mounted a tireless defense for his star first baseman, stating he disagreed with MLB’s interpretation. Rizzo added that he did not attempt to injure Diaz and placed part of the blame on a rule that lacks clear interpretation.

Rizzo sparked a late rally with his ninth home run of the season as Chicago beat the reeling Pirates 8-6 on Tuesday night.

OF Kyle Schwarber administered a beating to a PNC Park foul pole yesterday with this rocket of a home run.

The Iowa Cubs are waiting to see if an injury that took pitching prospect Adbert Alzolay out of his start early on Tuesday will lead to a trip to the disabled list. Alzolay was perfect through four inning when he was removed.

Per Sports Illustrated, the Cubs are being held back by three players: Darvish, Tyler Chatwood, and Jose Quintana. Those three have started 28 of Chicago’s 50 games, posting an aggregate average of 5.0 innings per start with 5.9 walks per nine innings and a 4.60 ERA.

If the Cubs opt to swing a deal before the deadline, they could offer rebuilding teams right-hander Thomas Hatch. The 23-year-old has a 3.07 ERA in 55.2 innings at Double-A and has been a bright spot in an admittedly thin system

How About That!

The Brewers have the best record in the National League but it’s hard to envision Milwaukee being able to hold off the Cubs in the NL Central with a rotation that ranks near the bottom of the league. After last night’s loss to the Cardinals, the Brewers’ starting rotation is ranked 10th in the senior circuit.

Jake Arrieta has been an animal for the Phillies. The right-hander is 5-2 with a 2.16 ERA in 10 starts. He has allowed more than two earned runs in just one of those starts. His May numbers were sensational: 2-1 with an 0.90 ERA in five starts.

Michael Brantley is wrapping up an unprecedented month that’s seen him post an 18-game hitting streak, the third-longest of his career and longest current streak in the majors. He is batting .367 (29-79) with six homers, 19 RBI and 19 runs during the streak .

The Yankees overcame an early 5-1 deficit and also played around a season-high five errors to beat the Astros 6-5 in 10 innings yesterday. Gleyber Torres drove in the winning run.

The Braves beat the Mets 7-6 last night with their second walk-off homer in as many days.

Right-hander Dereck Rodriguez, the son of Hall of Fame catcher Ivan Rodriguez, made his big-league debut against the Rockies on Tuesday night. In the process, he registered his first career strikeout and his first career hit.

The Mets placed RHP Noah Syndergaard on the 10-day DL with a finger ligament injury. It’s unclear how long he will be sidelined and who will replace him in the rotation.

Tuesday’s Three Stars

  1. Brett Gardner – His second home run of the night sent the Yankees-Astros game into extra innings, where Torres won it with a walk-off single.
  2. Luis Valbuena – the Angels IF hadn’t had an RBI since May 20 or a hit since May 14. Those streaks ended in the first four innings as he hit his first two home runs since May 1.
  3. Juan Soto – the Nationals’ rookie outfielder had the first three-hit game of his career, going 3-for-3 with a stolen base as Washington beat the Orioles 3-2.

Hot Takes & Syrup 

  • Joey Gallo of the Rangers is on pace to have the worst 50-HR season in MLB history. Gallo has 15 home runs with an OPS+ of only 92, which means he is 8 percent worse than league average. Every other player with at least 15 taters this season has an OPS+ of at least 143, led by Mookie Betts at 209.
  • There are bad days, and then there are New York Mets days. Here’s how Tuesday unfolded for the men from Queens.

They Said It

  • “When you get all five [starters] firing on the same path, that’s when we can get really hot. It’s hard to get on a really good roll without consistent starting pitching. We have it. It just hasn’t shown itself consistently yet, but I believe it will.” – Joe Maddon
  • “You can feel [Torres] really just kind of slow it down and control the moment, and that’s something that’s stood out to me about him since he’s got here really.” – Aaron Boone

Wednesday Walk Up Song

Did You See Jackie Robinson Hit That Ball? by Woodrow Buddy Johnson. I was watching “42” as I wrote this.

If you want to do something wonderful, consider donating blood. Lives are saved daily thanks to blood transfusion, including the son of a dear friend of mine who was injured in an ATV accident on Sunday and had to be airlifted to a hospital in Marshfield, WI.

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