The Rundown: Baby Steps, Cubs Need to Shake Things Up, Historic Pitching Numbers, Red Sox Suck Too
Despite continued pitching problems, at least the Cubs showed a little fight in Milwaukee last night. Baby steps, it is. Not very many teams can score 46 runs in seven games and come away with just one win. If the Cubs could just pitch decently, a season of reckoning would take on a whole new meaning. But when your starter spots the opposition eight runs, that’s a tough hole to climb out of.
Still hanging around. pic.twitter.com/bzgWW2wKwA
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) April 6, 2019
As is company rule these days, the players continue to say they are not worried about the frightening product that they’ve gifted their fans. I suppose April showers bring May flowers and all that, but when the levee breaks sometimes the only good that comes of it is you get to start from scratch once the mess has been cleaned. Okay, there may or may not be some innuendo there, but the truth is I really just wanted to use a sick Led Zeppelin reference.
“I don’t think it’s the first time the Cubbies have lost four or five in a row,” Kyle Schwarber said to Paul Sullivan yesterday. “It just happens to be right now. Obviously it’s not an ideal start, but I think we all know what we’ve got.”
I’d venture to say that the Cubs need to make some changes, and though I am the first to call for Joe Maddon to be relieved of his duties, it is for two simple reasons that possibly have nothing more than an indirect coupling to the team’s current woes:
- It makes no sense to let a manager run the team in the last year of his contract with no extension in sight. Extend Maddon or dump him, though I truly believe the team will stop pressing so much if the front office shows a little faith in him and, vicariously, the team.
- I’d sell my private parts on the underground market if Joe would show a little fire and his underlings would reflect that attitude, rather than the footloose and fancy free attitude we bear witness to today. If Maddon continues with the facade that he doesn’t care, exacerbated by the less-than-urgent attitude the team has shown through seven games, I can’t see the purpose in keeping him.
But maybe the team just needs to make a few roster changes to reverse a number of ugly early season trends. In that respect, I am going to try and not bemoan the spilt milk of seven games. It’s a new day today, Cole Hamels is pitching, and I believe the Cubs are about to break out. Fingers crossed, anyway.
Cubs News & Notes
- Struggling reliever Carl Edwards Jr., is on a mission to silence his critics.
- Heading into yesterday’s contest, the Cubs projected to an 85-win season. I know it seems impossible to believe that right now, but this is still the same team that won 95 games last year.
- The Brewers hit five home runs in yesterday’s tilt, and the Cubs extended their league leading affinity to issue free passes with five more walks.
- In fact, the number of walks the Cubs pitching staff has allowed is actually historical.
- After Friday’s loss, the Cubs rank dead last in the majors in ERA (7.85). They are 29th in starters’ ERA and 29th in relievers’ ERA. Edwards left yesterday’s game with a 32.40 mark after serving up a home run to Orlando Arcia.
- The Cubs are well aware of the long-term threat the Brewers pose as Central Division rivals.
How About That!
David Price ripped into MLB for not marketing its African-American superstars.
Shohei Ohtani could return to the Angels by the end of the month. He will not pitch at all this year, however.
The Red Sox aren’t faring much better than the Cubs right now. After last night’s loss to the Diamondbacks, the reigning champs are 2-7 on the young season. Boston’s starters have a 9.60 ERA, worst by baseball by more than two full runs.
The first cycle of the season belongs to Twins shortstop Jorge Polanco. He did the deed in Friday’s loss to the Phillies and threw in a fifth hit for good measure.
White Sox infielder Yoan Moncada has all the makings of a superstar. Six games into the season, Moncada is hitting .458/.519/.875 with a 14.8 percent strikeout rate. Last year he struck out in 33.4 percent of his plate appearances.
The Orioles have signed starting pitcher Dan Straily, the team announced. He was recently released by the Marlins.
Friday’s Three Stars
- Ketel Marte – The Diamondbacks second baseman hit two home runs, including a grand slam, in leading Arizona to a 15-8 win over the Red Sox. Marte finished 2-for-5 with five RBI.
- Mike Trout – The superstar outfielder was all the offense the Angels needed in their 3-1 victory over the Rangers. Trout hit two taters on the evening, marking the 15th time in his career he has gone yard twice or more in one game.
- Jorge Polanco – The Twins’ shortstop tripled in the first, singled in the third, lined a homer in the fifth and then doubled to left in the seventh for the 11th cycle in team history and the first since Michael Cuddyer did it on May 22, 2009. Polanco also singled in the ninth to finish 5-for-5, the second five-hit cycle in franchise history, joining Joe Cronin, who did it on Sept. 2, 1929 with the Washington Senators.
Foot loose and fancy free is not only a sneaky-good idiom, it’s also the title of a sneaky-good Rod Stewart album. Stewart does’t get enough credit for writing powerfully poignant lyrics, and when two of your biggest hits are Stay With Me and Hot Legs it’s not a tough pill to swallow. However the song The Killing of Georgie Part I & II carries as much heartbreaking meaning today as it did when Stewart released it in 1977. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
They Said It
- “We play so many games a year. If you dwell on that, then. … That’s the thing about this team. We’ve got a good, veteran group. A lot of these guys won a World Series just a couple years ago. They know how to handle adversity, so no one is really panicking here.” – Steve Cishek
- “I’m a great baseball player. I’m just in a rough patch right now. It’s like a storm.” – Carl Edwards, Jr.
- Market the African American stars in baseball better. And the other players. Everybody. Market us better. Mookie Betts doesn’t have a single commercial. He’s one of the most marketable people in all of baseball. He plays for the Red Sox and he’s African American. Zero commercials. A very likable person. He could be the face of baseball. And zero commercials. He just won MVP. MLB just needs to step up.” – David Price
Saturday Walk Up Song
Like a Prayer by Madonna. Like, the Cubs need some. May as well light some candles too.