The Rundown: Chilly Loss to Sox, Madrigal Expects to Start Hitting Soon, MLB Batting Averages Historically Low
“We are all of us in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.” – Chrissie Hynde & The Pretenders, Message of Love
If I told you the Cubs had six hits, struck out 12 times, and saw just 4.16 pitches per plate appearance against the White Sox would you guess that they won or lost? Well, you know they lost, taking it on the chin 3-1 in what has become a completely played-out Crosstown Classic.
Let me stop for a second. Can something that is now in its 25th year of annual home-and-away tilts still be considered a “classic?” At some point, it became just another series and one that is relatively meaningless compared to the pomp and circumstance with which baseball advertises it. It’s even worse when one of the two contestants is among the worst teams in the game. In this year’s matchup, that would be the 9-14 Cubs.
An errant throw by Patrick Wisdom in the 2nd inning helped to charge the loss to emergency starter Scott Effross, though it’s impossible to ignore Chicago’s flailing offense. The Cubs are not built to play come-from-behind baseball, so spotting the enemy an unearned deuce is no way to earn an opportunity to fly that “W.” The Cubs started two hitters with a SLG of .500 or better in yesterday’s game. The first was leadoff batter Alfonso Rivas, and the other was the recently-named rookie of the month, outfielder Seiya Suzuki.
David Ross, who seems to be making more questionable lineup decisions than years past, had Frank Schwindel batting cleanup. Frank the Tank is slugging a robust .325 after his 1-for-4, two-strikeout performance. Suzuki batted second, and the permanent top of the order now looks like whoever fancies a hunch from Ross followed by Suzuki. Perhaps the third-year manager is struggling with setting a lineup that will be lucky to come up with even one extra-base hit.
I don’t know about other Cubs fans, but I have just about reached the point where I’d much rather watch the Double-A South Bend and Triple-A Iowa games. Any semblance of hope for the future has to be better than watching the rain wash these 2022 Cubs into the depths of Chicago’s sewage system.
Apropos of Nothing
Is there a better two-chord song (A, G) than the one that started today’s column? Maybe “You Never Can Tell” by Chuck Berry (C, G7), but that’s about it.
Cubs News & Notes
- Other than Suzuki, Ian Happ and Keegan Thompson are the Cubs’ only bright spots as our own Ryan Thomure points out in this week’s Tuesday Trends column.
- Happ is no longer eligible, and neither is Justin Steele, as both players made the most of Monday’s day off by becoming engaged.
- Wisdom talked to Tony Andracki of Marquee Sports about what it’s like to turn a career around at the age of 30.
- Both the weather and the Cubs’ bats were cold and crappy at Wrigley Field last night.
- Here’s what we know about the Cubs now that the calendar has turned to May.
- Nick Madrigal said it’s only a matter of time before he starts hitting. I seem to remember him saying something similar about getting to 3,000 hits.
- Effross took the bump last night because regularly-scheduled starter Drew Smyly was placed on the bereavement list. The Cubs also selected Robert Gsellman from Iowa and DFA’d Locke St. John.
- The young hurler said starting a game at Wrigley Field, even while being held to a pitch limit, is “a cool opportunity.”
- Yesterday marked the 5th straight outing for Keegan Thompson of at least 3 innings with 1 or fewer runs. He is the first Cubs reliever to accomplish that feat since at least 1901.
- Willson Contreras didn’t play last night and is listed as day-to-day with an undisclosed injury.
- David Robertson has been lights out as Chicago’s closer and is undoubtedly increasing his trade value with each outing.
Odds & Sods
Liam Hendriks speaking is infinitely more exciting than watching the Cubs try to hit the White Sox closer.
This postgame interview is everything. 😂 pic.twitter.com/paklNXKwZd
— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) May 4, 2022
Climbing the Ladder
“It’s no surprise to me, I am my own worst enemy. ‘Cause every now and then, I kick the living shit out of me.” – LIT, My Own Worst Enemy
The Cubs have scored only one run five times over their last seven games. You won’t win many games if you’re touching home plate that infrequently.
- Games Played: 23
- Total Plate Appearances: 854
- Total Strikeouts: 202
- Strikeout Rate: 23.65%
- Team Batting Average: .246
How About That!
ESPN handed out first-month grades for all 30 MLB teams. The Cubs were given a D for their efforts.
Home plate umpire Chad Fairchild apologized to Mets pitcher Chris Bassitt for missing a called third strike.
The umpire grading system is impossibly lenient.
It’s nearly four weeks into the season, and MLB has its worst collective batting average in the history of the game.
MLB needs to fix its too-many-pitchers problem.
Tuesday’s Three Stars
- Dusty Baker – 2,000 wins. Full stop.
- Bobby Witt Jr. – The Kansas city rookie hit his first career homer in leading the Royals past the Cardinals 7-1.
- Yankees | Mets – They just keep winning, and it’s ruining baseball.
Congratulations to Baker on his historical win, and oh my, Darren is the spitting image of dear old dad when Dusty was a player.
On the night Dusty Baker became the 12th manager to reach 2,000 wins, his son Darren had a celebration of his own.
The Nationals prospect walked it off for the High-A Blue Rocks: https://t.co/F1Zrv6znn5 pic.twitter.com/17hoRpOEqy
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) May 4, 2022
They Said It
- “[Nico Hoerner] makes my job a lot easier, knowing he’s going to do his part on the other side of me. I feel like we have a good connection spacing out in the infield and I feel like we’ve been playing together for a lot of years. Realistically, it’s only our first year together at this point, so I’m really excited to see what we can do as time goes on.” – Madrigal
- “I’m constantly reiterating the message of: ‘be yourself. Do you. Have your at-bat. Control the strike zone. The core beliefs that our hitting guys and we believe here as an organization coupled with just these guys being themselves.” – Ross
- “[Robertson] has done a really nice job. A guy that’s had a long road to get to this spot and is willing to do whatever we ask. He’s been a phenomenal piece and someone we’ve relied on in leverage so far.” – Ross
Wednesday Walk-Up Song
Midnight Train To Georgia by Gladys Knight & The Pips