“In the clearing stands a boxer, and a fighter by his trade
And he carries the reminders of every glove that laid him down or cut him
‘Til he cried out in his anger and his shame
I am leaving, I am leaving, but the fighter still remains.” – Paul Simon, The Boxer
Whatever had been ailing Cubs hitters has seemingly been cured, but the pitching failed Chicago far too often in yesterday’s heavyweight bout with the Reds that ended in a 13-12 win in extra innings by Cincinnati. The North Siders shed plenty of blood, sweat, and tears in losing for the seventh time in their last 10 games.
Cubs Ian Happ had to be carted off the field with a bloody nose while struggling to stand up after colliding with Nico Hoerner, who made a great play on a pop up
Hoping for the best for our friend, who was 3-for-5 with a home run and a double today 🙏 pic.twitter.com/LoXZTItcBd
— Jomboy Media (@JomboyMedia) May 2, 2021
Though it was wonderful to see the Cubs break out the bats, the pitching, particularly the starters, continues to trend downward. Trevor Williams couldn’t escape the 3rd inning in yesterday’s loss and his ERA now sits at an even 6.00 on the year, which is par for the course with regards to the entire rotation. The Cubs have really struggled to play complete games under David Ross and yesterday was a prime example. That’s no shot at the manager by the way, as it’s been a continuing trend since the All-Star break in 2018.
Things don’t get any easier as the Dodgers come to Wrigley Field for a three-game set on the heels of destroying the Brewers to end a three-game losing streak of their own. Kyle Hendricks will take on Walker Buehler in the 6:40pm contest and hopefully Hendricks will rid himself of his recent tendency to give up home runs. Chicago needs to string together a few wins, but that’s probably too much to expect against the reigning MLB champions.
- The Good – Kris Bryant hit two homers and is tied with Nick Castellanos, who also hit two, to lead the majors. J.D.Martinez and Ronald Acuña Jr. have also hit nine.
- The Bad – Williams lasted just 2.2 innings before being knocked out after giving up six earned runs. Only the Pirates have averaged fewer innings per start.
- The Ugly – Ian Happ, who had his first multi-hit game of the year, had to be carted off the field after a scary collision with Nico Hoerner.
Cubs News & Notes
- The Cubs experienced a scary moment in the 8th inning when Hoerner caught a flare in shallow center field, colliding with Happ. Happ was slow to get up and left the field on a cart.
- Ross said yesterday’s tilt felt just like a playoff game.
- Backup catcher Tony Wolters stole home yesterday, but the safe call was overturned thanks to instant replay.
- Despite taking the loss, Craig Kimbrel extended his string of appearances without allowing an unearned run. because the designated runner at the start of extra innings is considered an unearned run if he scores. The streak stands at 19 outings, and Kimbrel has given up just two earned runs total in his last 25 appearances dating back to last season.
- Keegan Thompson made his major league debut yesterday and was the only Cubs pitcher to exit the game completely unscathed.
- There is a slight chance the Cubs may activate Joc Pederson before the Dodgers leave town.
- Chicago and Los Angeles offer studies in contrasts of baseball teams in major markets.
- Reliever Pedro Strop has taken a leave of absence per his Instagram account, which was confirmed by the Cubs, and his return to the team is uncertain
Climbing The Ladder
“Champions aren’t made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them – a desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have the skill, and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill.” – Muhammad Ali
- Games Played: 28
- Total Plate Appearances: 1,048
- Total Strikeouts: 282
- Strikeout Rate: 26.9%
- Team Batting Average: .224
Odds & Sods
The Phillies and Cubs are trending poorly right now.
— Crossing Broad (@CrossingBroad) May 3, 2021
How About That!
The Mets and Phillies played the most bizarre game of the year yesterday.
Yankees starter Corey Kluber earned his 100th career win this weekend.
This is one of the greatest baseball dating stories ever.
Sunday’s Three Stars
- Matt Beaty and AJ Pollock – The Dodgers dynamic duo, both backups, combined to go 7-for-12 with five runs, three home runs, and 15 RBI as Los Angeles blasted the Brewers 16-4 in Milwaukee.
- Nick Castellanos – Big Nick Energy was the difference as the Reds out slugged the Cubs yesterday. Castellanos was 5-for-6 with two home runs and four RBI.
- Kris Bryant – The Cubs third baseman also blasted two taters, giving him nine on the season and a share of the major league lead.
If Anthony Rizzo is looking to prove value in any future contract negotiations, perhaps notching a save or two as a “looper” could give him a leg up in those discussions.
Position Players Are Suddenly — and Probably Fleetingly — Decent at Pitching https://t.co/EMSxp6BBru On May 20, 1994,OF Andy Tombelin pitched 2 shutout innings for Boston in a 21-2 loss in Minnesota. He hit 92 on the gun, actually threw 92.1 IP in minors. Could have been looper
— Peter Gammons (@pgammo) May 3, 2021
They Said It
- “We really need to do better as a rotation, and we know that. We really do. It’s something that has been addressed as a group, and it’s something that will be addressed going forward. And it’s something that we just need to get going as a rotation.” – Trevor Williams
- “[Happ] feels fine. Got a pretty good blow to the face. I did talk to Ian [afterward]. He’s in good spirits.” – David Ross
- “Fun game. Just each team taking one good swing after another, putting points on the board.” – Nick Castellanos
Monday Walk Up Song
Hot Fun in the Summertime by Sly & The Family Stone – What a fantastic weekend, weather-wise, at least.