The Rundown: Young Pitchers Fueling Success, Duffy Providing Consistency, Cubs Return to Cleveland

:Well I tried to make it Sunday but I got so damned depressed that I set my sights on Monday….” – America, Sister Golden Hair

Instant Replay

I’ve been working so much lately I’ve lost track of what day it is. Apparently the Cubs were off yesterday and, after taking two of three from the Pirates, they travel to Cleveland to take on the Indians. Chicago has won five of six and six of eight, but somebody needs to right Kyle Hendricks of his bad case of first inning-itis.

Tonight’s game, which features Adbert Alzolay vs. Shane Bieber, is a true marquee matchup. Alzolay has been electric and seems to get better with each performance. Keegan Thompson and Justin Steele have also provided a shot in the arm for Chicago’s staff, and though neither had as memorable a debut performance as these 10 Cubs players, the future looks bright with both young pitchers on the big league roster.

With Brailyn Márquez and Burl Carraway in the pipeline, the Cubs are starting to look like an organization that can actually develop big league pitching. They’re not Padres-level just quite yet, but it’s possible the team’s next championship core might have some dominant homegrown hurlers.

Cubs News & Notes

Climbing the Ladder

“The best is yet to come and won’t that be fine.” – Frank Sinatra

  • Games Played: 34
  • Total Plate Appearances: 1,260
  • Total Strikeouts: 334
  • Strikeout Rate: 26.5%
  • Team Batting Average: .224

Not for nothing, but it seems like the Kris Bryant detractors have left the vicinity. Bryant is the hottest bat (potentially) on the trade market, but, just like last year when the third baseman struggled through injuries, it’s hard to find a fit with another team. That’s what happens when you start the season slashing .308/.397/1.047 with a 190 OPS+ and 22 extra base hits with the versatility to play all over the field.

Bryant has genuinely outpriced himself and teams shopping for the former MVP will likely have to pay up a great deal. Let’s just hope Jed Hoyer re-signs him.

Odds & Sods

You’ll need a subscription to access the article, but Ken Rosenthal is spot on here. Cubs players, particularly Wilson Contreras and Anthony Rizzo, seem to be targeted at times, but the truth is that many pitchers are sacrificing command in favor of velocity.

How About That!

The Mariners are calling up prized rookie outfielder Jarred Kelenic and (checks service time calculator) not a moment too soon. “In some part because we feel he’s making progress, some part it’s time to take a look at him and that’s coming sooner than later,” said GM Jerry Dipoto. Of course he would say that.

Cedric Mullins made a triple out of a 161-foot pop up to the opposite field. Nice to see anything that foils the shift. The can of corn had an exit velocity of just under 71 mph, which is slightly harder than the breaking ball Alec Mills tosses now and again.

The Phillies may be looking for reinforcements in hopes of making the playoffs for the first time since 2011, and a  third baseman of local interest may be on their radar.

Mike Trout and Ronald Acuña Jr. are the early frontrunners for league MVP awards.

With handful of no-hitters and a league batting average that sits around .234, baseball has favored pitching in the early going. That may be about to change.

The return of Minor League Baseball is definitely a sight for sore eyes.

Take Me Out to the Ball Game

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has pledged that Chicago will be 100% reopened by the Fourth of July. I wonder what that means for attendance at Wrigley Field. I have heard that attendance may soon increase to 60%, maybe as early as the first June homestand, so keep an eye on any new developments.

Caught Looking

I’ve got nothing.

Over the past six years (as far back as Statcast measures), only 10 starting pitchers have thrown a total of 37 pitches over 100 mph in one MLB outing.

Monday’s Three Stars

  1. David Ross – Who knew that a turn on Dancing With the Stars would catch the attention of a Hollywood leading lady?
  2. Tyler Naquin – The Reds outfielder was 2-for-5 with a home run and four RBI as Cincinnati trounced the Pirates 14-1.
  3. Jared Walsh – The Angels outfielder homered and matched a career high with four hits as Los Angeles tipped the Astros 5-4.

Extra Innings

Behind every great rookie pitcher is a great woman.

They Said It

  • “Love Duff. Love his work ethic and how he approaches every single day.”Jason Heyward
  • “My journey here has given me some perspective on the fact this game is a blast. And it’s not always perfect. And despite that, if you choose to enjoy it as often as possible, it stays fun.”Matt Duffy
  • “Sometimes [throwing] into a net and maybe not even to a catcher and a lot of times not to a hitter, you’re just throwing and getting data from the Rapsodos and the Trackmans and all the technology and trying to spin it, rather than competing to zones with hitters and feeling that adrenaline out on the mound too.”David Ross

Tuesday Walk Up Song

Only the Young by Journey – Nice to see the youthful arms stepping up, and as a bonus, you get scenes from the very underrated Vision Quest included with today’s video. Man, Steve Perry had some pipes.

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