The Rundown: Cubs Take 2 of 3 From Pads, Saturday is Lee Elia Day, Ohtani Misses Cycle by Inches
“Celebrate it, anticipate it, yesterday’s faded.” – Talk Talk, Life’s What You Make It
The Cubs took two of three from the Padres, including yesterday’s 5-2 win. They’re 14-10, in third place in the NL Central, and trail the first-place Pirates by three games. I’ve said these Cubs remind me of the 97-win 2015 iteration a few times, and they’re on pace to win 95 games.
With six games against the Marlins and Nationals starting today in Miami, the team is also well-positioned to improve that winning percentage. I dislike Miami as much as I do the Mets, if only because the Marlins have always been a burr in the ass of Chicago’s North Side baseballers. I wouldn’t mind seeing the Cubs take four of the six games before returning to Chicago to play the Marins and Cardinals.
Cubs News & Notes
- Hayden Wesneski got the win yesterday but said he’s still working through some of his early-season issues. He tried shortening his pre-game warmup yesterday at the suggestion of Marcus Stroman.
- The wind played a big part in yesterday’s win.
- Christopher Morel hit two more home runs for Iowa and now leads all of MiLB with 10 taters. His OPS has risen to a mind-blowing 1.260, and his batting average is now up to .341 on the season.
- Matt Mervis is also raking at Iowa, but he may be there for a while. The Cubs want the slugging first baseman to work on defense and maintaining his strike zone discipline. In other words, Eric Hosmer and Trey Mancini aren’t going anywhere soon.
- Nelson Velázquez would like an extended shot in the majors, but right now he’s simply embracing each moment.
- Michael Fulmer got some work on Thursday in a non-save situation. The reliever promised David Ross that “things will get better.”
Odds & Sods
The Lee Elia incident turns 40 tomorrow, and word of caution, earmuff the kids if you find the audio.
"Eighty-five percent of the f—— world’s working — the other 15 come out here."
For the 40th anniversary of Chicago Cubs manager Lee Elia's epic rant against the team's fans from 1983, I took a look back at what contributed to Elia's frustration:https://t.co/PMe39CqjGc
— Kori Rumore Finley (@rumormill) April 27, 2023
- St. Louis: Cardinals broadcaster and former reliever Al Hrabosky had a disturbing suggestion for the team’s broadcasters, who have been poor-mouthing a 10-16 start. The Cardinals television broadcasting team currently consists of play-by-play announcer Chip Caray and analysts Brad Thompson and Jim Edmonds.
- Milwaukee: The Brewers are one of baseball’s most-improved teams because they’re younger, more athletic, and apparently more fun.
- Cincinnati: The Reds’ and Cubs’ Triple-A affiliates combined for 34 runs, 42 hits, 80 total bases, and nine home runs on Thursday.
- Pittsburgh: Rookie Drew Maggi made his major league debut at the age of 33. The Pirates infielder had played 1,155 games across 13 seasons before Thursday’s pinch-hit appearance.
Climbing the Ladder
“The sun is shining to wake me up. No one around, just me and the sky.” – Freddy Jones Band, In a Daydream
The Cubs got home runs from Swanson, Hosmer, and Velázquez in yesterday’s win. It was Swanson’s first as a Cub, which kind of caught me by surprise considering his fast start this year. The Cubs have a bit of a predictive formula, and it’s at the top of the order. When Swanson, Nico Hoerner, and Ian Happ get on base, the Cubs usually win. The trio had five hits and a walk in 13 plate appearances on Thursday.
- Games Played: 24
- Record: 14-10 (.583)
- Total Plate Appearances: 933
- Total Strikeouts: 193
- Strikeout Rate: 20.69%
- Team Batting Average: .276
- Runs Scored: 135
- Runs Allowed: 89
- Chances of Making the Playoffs: 66.5%, 2.0% to win the World Series
How About That!
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic is already discussing trade possibilities ($) for the 7-19 White Sox. Things have really gone off the rails under new manager Pedro Grifol. Even Dylan Cease is having a rough go at it for the underachieving ChiSox.
The Braves have been celebrating home runs with an oversized hat this season, but that has been put to a stop after a complaint from the league’s official on-field hat manufacturer. What an adult thing to do.
ESPN fired Marly Rivera after an obscene exchange with another reporter while trying to get an interview with Aaron Judge.
The Padres and Giants are playing in Mexico City this weekend.
If you feel like prospecting ahead of this year’s minor league draft, Jonathan Mayo of MLB Pipeline dropped his top-150 list, conveniently on NFL Draft Day.
Thursday’s Three Stars
- Shohei Ohtani – The two-way superstar and future Cub had a single, double, and triple, and earned a win yesterday. He also came within inches of hitting a home run, which would have given him a cycle.
- Isaac Paredes – The former Cubs farmhand had a two-hit day with five RBI against Cease and the sinking White Sox.
- Brett Baty – The Mets rookie was 3-for-3 with a walk and an RBI and is slashing .321/.387/.851. Paging Matt Mervis.
- Morel – I know he’s not in the bigs but the dude is on fire.
We need a better name than “Dansby Dingers.”
🚨We interrupt your Thursday afternoon to bring you the first Dansby Dinger of the season🚨 pic.twitter.com/CGvrIGPWPT
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) April 27, 2023
Friday Morning Six-Pack
- The Bears traded down one spot during yesterday’s draft and then selected right tackle Darnell Wright of Tennessee.
- There was plenty of drama leading up to the first round, including a rumor from unnamed sources that mentioned a potential problem between Justin Fields and Cole Kmet.
- Jerry Springer, the ringmaster of civilization’s end, died yesterday. His type of sensationalism changed television, particularly news delivery. Examples of guests Springer hosted include members of the KKK, adult babies, a self-described kung fu hillbilly, and a number of folks seeking their five minutes of fame for the oddest of reasons. We have social media for that now.
- New York City’s MTA said it would stop posting service updates on Twitter, saying the platform was “no longer reliable.”
- The number of U.S. residents who smoke cigarettes has reached an all-time low.
- The history of “Stuck in the Middle With You” by Stealer’s Wheel is the perfect way to close the week. It also gives me an opportunity to link to my favorite scene from “Reservoir Dogs.”
Apropos of Nothing
I wanted to share “Ten Years Gone” by Led Zeppelin because it’s the perfect Friday song.
They Said It
- “Feel like I got a good glimpse of what Wrigley wind can do. It’s obviously cool. A special place, and getting the first one out of the way is definitely a good feeling, for sure.” – Swanson
- “I lean on Stro a little bit with certain things. Because me and him are similar pitchers, we do similar things. And he’s been there, done that. He’s thrown a lot of innings, he’s eaten up innings. And some of the advice he’s told me is, throw a little bit less [before the game].” – Wesneski
- “I can’t explain how valuable it is for a young guy to learn early that you don’t need to make extra throws just to get ready.” – Tommy Hottovy
- “Baseball’s a difficult game. You really have to focus all your energy on your own preparation and performance. I think Matt knows that. He also knows that he can only control the controllable and that’s going out there and putting up good ABs, playing good defense, and running the bases every day. The rest is not up to him. We’ll see where everything leads.” – Jared Banner
Friday Walk-Up Song
Hard to believe it’s been 50 years since The Midnight Special was the best thing on television.