Yesterday’s obligatory off day and an extra glass of birthday wine has left me in a wandering state of mind that’s borderline ADD, so proceed with caution.
I am not a fan of the day off after Opening Day, especially when a team opens the season in a warm, dry climate like Texas. Three days off in the first two weeks of the season gives Joe Maddon too much time to think about how he’ll tweak his lineup. Maybe he watched Paul Goldschmidt go off in Milwaukee last night while reading the two or three times I’ve advised the Cubs to pitch around the slugging first baseman when they face the Cardinals.
If this isn’t the hottest of all hot takes I have no idea what could possibly top it. The part about Jose Abreu being statistically better is accurate. But basing this theory on the spring training numbers of both players is juvenile at best. Child please.
— CBS Chicago (@cbschicago) March 29, 2019
I’d rather not spend my morning writing or thinking about the dysfunction in another’s family. In fact, I would be happy if we could just leave the tabloid aspect of reporting news out of my favorite sport. I’m nearly positive that every family has a skeleton or two lurking in its closet, so what’s the point?
I take no enjoyment from that type of insight. Social media, real time news, and the quest for click-driven dollars makes for a lot of wasted time. The old man called it rag journalism back in the day and I’d say that remains an apt description. To each his own, however.
Is it just me, or does it still feel like spring training because the Cubs are starting the season with nine straight road games, including their first three against an American League opponent? I suppose I’ll make it to the Cubs-Brewers game this Friday if I can get out of work early enough, but an afternoon at Wrigley Field still seems light years away.
Maybe I’ll go to the Cardinals-Brewers game today. Speaking of which, why isn’t Craig Counsell pitching around Goldschmidt? Wouldn’t you rather force Paul DeJong to beat you instead of going head-to-head with a perennial MVP candidate? I really do hope Maddon watched last night, especially if Mike Shildt continues batting DeJong third while Harrison Bader, the one guy besides Goldschmidt who maybe scares you a little, languishes in the eight-hole. The Cubs and St. Louis meet for the first time May 3-5.
Cubs News & Notes
- Despite being drafted by the Rangers in the eighth round of the 2011 draft, this weekend represents the first visit to Globe Life Park in Arlington for Hendricks.
- No surprise here, but the Cubs have one of the highest payrolls in MLB this season. The CBT threshold for 2019 is $206 million, and the Red Sox, Cubs, and Yankees are estimated to be north of that figure right now.
- After the Cubs put up a dozen runs against the Rangers on Thursday, Sean Holland took a look back at the Dusty Baker Cubs teams, who made it an annual rite of destroying their opponents on Opening Day.
- Viewpoint from the Dallas Star-Telegram: The current Rangers are the version of Cubs before the Cubs finally rid themselves of the tag as the biggest pack of front-running losers in American sports. Oof.
- The Rangers have a predominately left-handed lineup that will struggle against the Cubs left-handers this series.
- More out-of-town musings: Here’s this week’s Cubs related article from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
- Kris Bryant and Theo Epstein are impressed with human highlight reel Javy Báez.
- Epstein continues to reiterate that he has unbridled faith in this team.
- The Myrtle Beach Pelicans announced their season-opening roster, and it features six of the Cubs’ top prospects.
- If Bryant can continue to go yard on the knee-high outside fastball, he is going to be a very tough out this year.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) March 28, 2019
How About That!
How about some surprisingly (and refreshingly) out-on-a-limb predictions for this season?
From Bradford Doolittle of ESPN: Through Thursday, 89 of the 151 runs scored this season have come on home runs. That’s 59 percent. Last year’s full-season number was 40 percent
It took the Giants 17 innings to score their first run of the season. They still lost to the Padres, ending the game on a called third strike. Can you name any of the Giants’ starting outfielders off the top of your head? Didn’t think so.
Friday’s Three Stars
- Goldschmidt – The new Cardinals first baseman went 4-for-5 with three home runs and five RBI in a 9-5 win over the Brewers Friday night.
- Domingo Santana – The former Brewer has established himself as a force in the middle of the Mariners lineup. The slugging left fielder hit his third tater of the young season last night and is slashing .625/.700/1.500 through four games.
- Matt Shoemaker – Shoemaker will probably not make this list again, but he pitched like an ace last night, shutting out a hapless Blue Jays offense with seven strikeouts against just two hits.
Want to know how I enjoyed yesterday’s day off? How about a video recap of the history behind Kerry Wood’s 20K game against the Astros on May 6, 1998? I still say that it was a no-hitter. The official scorer really blew that grounder by Ricky Gutierrez to Kevin Orie in the 3rd inning. Nevertheless, it was the most dominating pitching performance in the history of baseball.
They Said It
- “I don’t care one bit about legacy. I care about winning. Every year you have an opportunity to win, you want to take full advantage of it. We have a special group of players. This is a special era of Cubs baseball. Each year we want to make sure we leave nothing undone in our pursuit to make the most of it and win.” – Theo Epstein
- “I don’t like to have guys sit too long, coming off spring training when they’re playing regularly. You need to get them out there to get that feeling going. Furthermore, I like buy-in. I like the fact that guys get a part of ownership. When they don’t play for a long period of time, they lose that feel of ownership of owning it now. We have some young players that need to be developed. It’s still a juggling (act) with all of that. But it’s important early to make sure everyone plays.” – Joe Maddon
- “The first day of Spring Training [after Guttierez joined the Cubs in 2000], when we met, he looked at me, I looked at him. I said, “I know you remember me, right?” He said, “Get out of here. I don’t know what you’re talking about.” We hit it off from Day 1. I love him to death. Once I became his teammate, I bothered him darned near every day about [the hit]. I told him he should have never thrown me an 0-2 curveball. I threw daggers at him, and he would chase me around the clubhouse. I said, “You’ll never forget my name for the rest of your life.” – Ricky Guttierez
Saturday Walk Up Song