The Rundown: Early Fireworks in Cincy, Hoerner Officially Named Starting Shortstop, Alcantara Has a Night, Maddon Awestruck by Trout
“Hey! Said my name is called disturbance!” – The Rolling Stones, Street Fighting Man
It turns out the Cubs and Reds don’t need Javier Báez and Amir Garrett to fan the hatred both teams have for each other. Báez and Garrett got into it a couple of times in previous years, but last night Rowan Wick, Joey Votto, Hunter Strickland, and Patrick Wisdom joined the circus. David Ross was a little more than upset at how the umpires handled said shenanigans and he was tossed for voicing his displeasure.
It’s nice to see that Rossy carries the same fire he did as a player. It was his first ejection of the year, and sixth as a manager. Make no mistake, Strickland threw at Wisdom no matter how the Reds try to spin it. The excuse that “it just got away” is tiring and let’s face it, anybody who says that is a poor liar. I know fines and suspensions are possible for confessing, but I’d love to see just one pitcher man up for a change.
The Cubs lost the contest 4-3, though it would have been nice to see Chicago have a chance to get a four-game sweep. Still, in a season that leaves few things to cheer about, a little back-and-forth between two of the league’s worst teams was just what the doctor ordered.
The Cubs can parlay that excitement with a win today and if/when they promote Caleb Killian for upcoming doubleheaders against the Brewers and Cardinals. If you’re on CK1 watch, the right-hander didn’t have that great an outing for Iowa Wednesday in a game that was eventually suspended due to bad weather. Regardless, Kilian has nothing left to prove at the minor league level, so he could be headed to Chicago permanently.
Cubs News & Notes
- GM Carter Hawkins was in Iowa recently to scout the Triple-A affiliate, and I’m sure any decision to promote Kilian comes with his blessing.
- Ross said that Nico Hoerner will be the team’s starting shortstop and that he’s earned that opportunity.
- Wick claims all he said to Votto was “nice bat flip.” I’m no expert at lip-reading, but I thought he said something completely different.
- I have been on the fence about Ian Happ but I hope he remains a fixture with the Cubs throughout his career. It might be downright terrifying if he decided to sign with the Reds as a free agent in a couple of years. Happer had a two-run double in last night’s loss.
- Frank Schwindel was hitless last night dropping his average to .227, but he has been one of the team’s hottest hitters over the past two weeks.
- Wisdom is erasing questions about his long-term fit with the Cubs.
- Kevin Alcantara had a career night for Single-A Myrtle Beach, plating six runners in the Pelican’s 8-0 win over Augusta.
- A telling quote by president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer as we swing into the summer stove beginning next week: “You can never have enough depth or get to the point where you feel our system is good enough.” Based on Ross’s quotes about Hoerner I’d bet Andrelton Simmons won’t be here much longer.
Odds & Sods
This “web gem” by José Canseco never gets old.
Today In 1993: Texas #Rangers outfielder Jose Canseco has a fly ball bounce off his head and over the wall at Cleveland Stadium for a home run in one of the all-time greatest baseball bloopers! #MLB #History pic.twitter.com/qo6dBKbq7b
— Baseball by BSmile (@BSmile) May 26, 2022
Climbing the Ladder
“Kick ’em when they’re up, kick ’em when they’re down, kick’em where they’re stiff, kick ’em all around.” – Don Henley, Dirty Laundry
The Cubs started out strong with a two-run first inning but then faded as fast as their postseason hopes. Kyle Hendricks had an off night and no player registered more than one hit against Luis Castillo and four relievers. The Reds started four players who are hitting less than .200 this season: Votto, Nick Senzel, Aristides Aquino, and Aramis Garcia.
- Games Played: 43
- Total Plate Appearances: 1,599
- Total Strikeouts: 390
- Strikeout Rate: 24.49%
- Team Batting Average: .234
How About That!
There are 37 players who could receive at least some recognition in Rookie of the Year voting at the end of this season.
Rays outfielder Brett Phillips is on a mission to make sure fans don’t lose sight of what makes baseball so great.
Part of the Twins’ success this season is that they are taking a lot of first pitches and aren’t seeing that many strikes with those offerings.
After two years of pandemic-induced weirdness, baseball has returned to a more normal version of the sport with a lot less parity.
Count Joe Maddon among those who have been awed by the greatness of Mike Trout.
Major League Baseball announced a new collaboration with the cultural change platform Unmind on Wednesday, taking another step in its commitment to mental health.
Missed this tweet from baseball personality Jomboy earlier this week but I am in full agreement.
Apropos of Nothing
I have COVID-19 again despite two vaccines and a booster shot. I think it’s safe to say this is something we will have to manage for the rest of our lives. For what it’s worth, it feels like a mild version of the flu and once I’m asymptomatic I just have to isolate for 2-3 days. It’s going to kill my Memorial Day weekend though.
Wednesday’s Three Stars
- Harold Castro – The Tigers’ shortstop was 3-for-4 with two taters and then was lifted for pinch hitter Miguel Cabrera.
- Evan Longoria – He also has two home runs, plating four runners as the Giants topped the suddenly cool Mets 9-3.
- Paul Blackburn – The ex-Cub improved to 5-0 on the season with a win over the Mariners. Blackburn had five strikeouts in 5.1 innings of work, holding Seattle scoreless while lowering his ERA to 1.70.
Now that we know UFOs actually exist, this could become a reality. Poor Eddie Gaedel…he was horribly exploited by Bill Veeck.
Today In 1959: Martians Invade Comiskey Park! ~ Chicago #WhiteSox shortstop Luis Aparicio looks on as head "Martian" Eddie Gaedel addresses the fans. It's another classic promotional stunt from the legendary Bill Veeck! #MLB #Baseball #History pic.twitter.com/UOBGYft8iT
— Baseball by BSmile (@BSmile) May 26, 2022
Thursday Morning Six-Pack
- Bears head coach Matt Eberflus has been very impressed with the deep ball accuracy of second-year quarterback Justin Fields.
- Government officials from Russia and the United States appear to be working toward a prisoner exchange in order to get WNBA star Brittney Griner released, though discussions could be slightly premature.
- Snoop Dogg revealed he once turned down an offer of $2 million to DJ a party for retired Bulls star Michael Jordan.
- A female avatar of a 21-year-old researcher was sexually assaulted in Meta’s virtual reality platform Horizon Worlds, and corporate accountability group SumOfUs, for whom the researcher works, says it shows Meta needs better plans to mitigate harms in the metaverse.
- Long COVID cases are soaring, they affect mostly older adults, and vaccines do not prevent symptoms.
- NHL legend Jaromír Jágr was involved in a high-speed crash with a tram that hit him driver-side, and he miraculously survived.
They Said It
- “Nico [Hoerner] has proven that he can play big-league shortstop pretty consistently already in this season. Let’s see what happens at the end of the year and assess there. It’s easy to say you can be a big-league shortstop long term, but you also have to do it. You have to prove it. Sixty games is a lot different than 162. That’s a big wait-and-see on the big-picture stuff, but we’re going to have our best chance to win with those two guys up the middle. We’ll move them around a little bit, but Nico will be starting shortstop.” – Ross
- “With what happened the inning before with Joey [Votto] walking toward [Rowan] Wick and them not doing a whole lot and then them hitting [Patrick] Wisdom — two umpires wanting to discuss whether they thought it was intentional or not and nobody doing that — I just didn’t understand why. So I wanted to know, why are you guys not talking about that? That’s been pretty commonplace when there’s a lot of jawing going on. The umpires get together and see if there’s anything intentional and they usually err on the side of warnings.” – Ross
Thursday Walk-Up Song
Pulling Mussels (From the Shell) by Squeeze. Your assignment for today is to name the best songs that start on a lyric with no musical introduction. This ditty from Squeeze certainly qualifies.