The Rundown: Remembering Harry Caray, Resting Up After a 30-Game Odyssey, Red Sox Clinch

Before I get into today’s rundown, a moment of silence for Harry Caray, please and thank you. Fitting that the Cubs and White Sox will square off today.

“There is a time for many words, and there is also a time for sleep.” 
―  all quotes leading each section from Homer, The Odyssey

What did you do on your day off?  There’s so much to do when there’s no baseball, unless you hunkered down and watched the Red Sox and the Yankees play on national television, because viewers are expected to never tire of watching those two teams play.

Personally I was bored witless, but I did my best to be as productive as possible. I imagine Ian Happ’s day ran parallel to mine.

Rumor has it Kyle Schwarber did some motivational speaking.

I’m sure Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo put some time in at the Bryzzo Souvenir Company.

I’m guessing Ben Zobrist and his wife probably spent some time with friends.

And I’m positive that Jason Heyward just chilled and watched a video or two.

More than likely everybody just caught up on some much needed rest.

The truth is, I’m sure Cubs players had no idea what to do on a day off because it seems like such a rare occurrence. The day just seemed to drag on with no baseball, though I’m sure that, to a man, everybody in the Cubs organization welcomed the chance to just relax.

Maybe Theo Epstein hosted a barbecue for players and staff.

Cubs News & Notes

“Even his griefs are a joy long after to one that remembers all that he wrought and endured.”

TV play-by-play voice Len Kasper was with the Cubs every step of the way during their 30-day odyssey, riding the team buses and planes.

The Cubs will finish the season with 10 straight games, and there’s still work to do beginning with this weekend’s three-game series against the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field. A fortuitous break in the schedule allows the team to play the remainder of their games in Chicago: the three against the ChiSox followed by four games against the Pirates and three games against the Cardinals at Wrigley Field.

Jose Quintana will start for the Cubs on Friday as he faces his former team. Quintana (13-10, 3.95 ERA) had gone five starts without a loss before his last start against Cincinnati. “Q” will be making his first start against the White Sox.

Javier Baez is the first player in MLB history to hit more than 30 home runs during a season in which he’s played at least 20 games at second base, third base, and shortstop.

On their 30-day journey the Cubs lost two closers, but Pedro Strop is determined to return before the end of the season. Strop told Carrie Muskat of he’s confident he’ll be back before season’s end. “Everything is pain-free. We’re not trying to do too much,” he said. “We’re letting that thing heal. We’re going to do whatever is possible to do.”

Speaking of closers, even Joe Maddon’s son enjoys second-guessing his father’s pitching decisions.

How About That!

Be strong, saith my heart; I am a soldier.”

Don’t sleep on the Athletics. They may be a force top reckon with in the AL playoffs. Yesterday Oakland destroyed the Angels 21-3. The A’s had 22 hits, including four doubles and three home runs.

The Red Sox clinched their third consecutive AL East title, beating the Yankees 11-6.

The Braves beat the Phillies 8-3, trimming their magic number to four.

The Blue Jays mounted a mammoth ninth-inning comeback against the Rays, scoring seven runs in their last at-bat to win 9-8. Justin Smoak provided the heroics with a walk-off solo shot to the delight of the home crowd. This loss paired with the A’s win effectively kills any hope or a miracle playoff run for the Rays.

As he plays what might be his final homestand with the Nationals, OF Bryce Harper said he hasn’t really thought about what it would feel like to leave the team. Harper is due to become a free agent this offseason.

With Clayton Kershaw’s opt-out looming, Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said he hopes the two sides will “work together for a long time.” Kershaw can opt out of the final two years and $70 million left on his contract.

Thursday’s Three Stars

“Each man delights in the work that suits him best.” 

  1. Mookie Betts – The Red Sox OF and MVP candidate was 4-for-5 with two doubles, his 30th home run, and three runs scored. His three-run homer off Aroldis Chapman in the eighth inning was the winning shot in the clincher. Betts is two stolen bases shy of a 30-30 season.
  2. Max Scherzer – Scherzer struck out 13 Mets batters yesterday and with at least one start left is 10 strikeouts shy of a 300K season.
  3. Stephen Piscotty – The A’s OF was 2-for-3 with a home run and 4 runs batted in, and has nine RBIs in his last two games. The A’s have outscored the Angels 31-3 in those games.

On Deck

“Immortals are never alien to one another.” 

Cubs Convention 2019 hotel packages are now on sale. This year’s convention runs January 18th through the 20th.

Extra Innings

“My name is Nobody.” 

Last night the Cleveland Browns beat the New York Jets 21-17. The Browns’ last win was six weeks after the Cubs won the 2016 World Series. That’s a span of 635 days between wins.

They Said It

“By hook or by crook this peril too shall be something that we remember.” 

  • “That’s a pretty good stretch right there. “What was it? 18 and 11 during that stretch, something like that? Sign me up … We’ll take that every day of the week. I’m really pleased and happy and proud how the guys have handled this.” – Joe Maddon
  • “This was something unique, something we never should have had to do, but we managed to get through it. Guys were mad and upset. I know I was. Every day to have to be ready for 30 straight days, it’s a lot to ask of any human being. Maybe when we look back, we’ll be stronger for it. It was an accomplishment, a boost in morale, knowing that we did it and did it well. It’s just that no baseball team in the future should ever have to go through what we did.’’ – Mike Montgomery
  • “I think we might have gotten a little tired of seeing each other every single day. But I think it definitely brought us even closer together. There were a lot of laughs now when we look back on it.’’ – Addison Russell

Thursday Walk Up Song

I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow by the Soggy Bottom Boys

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