The Rundown: Cards Dump Cubs, Hoerner Hurt, Morel Up, Velázquez Down, ChiSox Closer Hendriks Nears Return
“Feel like I been shot and didn’t fall down.” – Lucinda Williams, Can’t Let Go
Marcus Stroman pitched well enough to win last night but the Cardinals hung a 3-1 loss on the veteran starter anyway. Chicago’s bats were in a deep sleep and though they took six walks, the Cubs could muster just five hits. Nothing stings like a loss to St. Louis. Jameson Taillon will look for his first win as a Cub tonight in Game 2 of the three-game set.
Cubs News & Notes
- Nico Hoerner had to be removed from last night’s game due to hamstring tightness. Nick Madrigal will likely play second base until Hoerner is feeling better.
- The Cubs finally recalled super UT Christopher Morel though it’s a bit puzzling that sending Nelson Velázquez to Iowa was the corresponding move. I’d say Eric Hosmer, Trey Mancini, and Patrick Wisdom are probably safe until the trade deadline. Morel could see some work at the keystone as well.
- Morel was so good at Iowa that he made it impossible for the front office to ignore him. “He’s proven that Triple-A, he’s better than that league,” manager David Ross said, “and deserves a shot here.”
- Hosmer has been spending a good amount of time helping Matt Mervis adjust to playing in the big leagues.
- Miguel Amaya is drawing universal praise from Chicago’s pitchers for his preparedness, which lies in stark contrast to efforts by ex-Cub Willson Contreras.
- Contreras played the villain in his return to Wrigley Field.
- Wrigley Field is no longer the extreme hitters’ park it was in the 1960s and ’70s.
- The Cubs made a handful of minor league roster moves yesterday. First baseman Bryce Ball was demoted from Tennessee to South Bend and RHP Eduarniel Nunez took his place. South Bend also activated James Triantos and then released RHP Bailey Reed. Second baseman Juan Mora was assigned to Myrtle Beach.
Odds & Sods
The perspective of numerous rival staffers and execs: if the Cardinals pitchers wanted Willson Contreras to be the catcher, he would be the catcher.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) May 9, 2023
- St. Louis: The Lars Nootbaar brand is very strong in Japan. Insert your favorite Spinal Tap quote here.
- Milwaukee: The Brewers have reversed course and will once again suspend alcohol sales in the 7th inning.
- Cincinnati: Hard-hitting infielder Noelvi Marte was named the Southern League Player of the Week.
- Pittsburgh: The Pirates are reportedly promoting 31-year-old shortstop Chris Owings from Triple-A Indianapolis.
Climbing the Ladder
“Sit around and wonder what tomorrow will bring, maybe a diamond ring.” – Traveling Wilburys, End of the Line
Chicago’s bats are missing too many baseballs right now. After striking out 40 times in the three games with the Marlins, Cardinals pitchers added 10 more to that column last night. Every starter struck out at least once except Hoerner and Wisdom. Cody Bellinger now has hits in five straight games and in 15 of his last 18 games.
- Games Played: 35
- Record: 17-18 (.486)
- Total Plate Appearances: 1,361
- Total Strikeouts: 307
- Strikeout Rate: 22.56%
- Team Batting Average: .265
- Runs Scored: 169
- Runs Allowed: 125
- Chances of Making the Playoffs: 40.6%, 0.9% to win the World Series
How About That!
White Sox closer Liam Hendriks is nearing his return after beating cancer.
Obvious Shirts deserves a shoutout for decorating Hendriks appropriately.
This year’s unprecedented surge in stolen bases has one historical parallel.
The Mets have signed former Yankees catcher Gary Sánchez.
The Flushing franchise also released minor league outfielder Khalil Lee, who is facing federal charges for allegedly abusing his girlfriend in 2022.
We are now referring to the AL East as the ‘AL Beast.’ It’s not the Yankees and Red Sox for a change, though. The Rays and Orioles are the division’s strongest teams right now.
MLB Network Radio host Jensen Lewis says he’s worried about the Yankees going forward.
Shohei Ohtani and Ronald Acuña Jr. lead the first MVP poll of 2023.
Umpire Marvin Hudson missed 20 balls and strikes calls on Sunday and felt the wrath of social media for his bad day at the office.
Monday’s Three Stars
- Mitch Keller – A complete game, two-hit shutout with eight strikeouts will usually get you the top slot here. Keller also singlehandedly stopped the Pirates’ seven-game losing streak.
- Shane McClanahan – The Rays’ pitcher is 7-0 which is on pace for 30 wins, after shutting out the Orioles Monday night.
- MJ Melendez – Bats were relatively quiet across MLB last night, but the Royals outfielder had a home run and four RBI on his 2-for-5 night.
Brennen Davis with a really nice swing here, let’s hope the home run serves as his personal slumpbuster.
Brennen Davis, back in the homer column!
The No. 3 @Cubs prospect tees off to give his @IowaCubs the lead! pic.twitter.com/NvmPjExrzu
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) May 7, 2023
Tuesday Morning Six-Pack
- The Blackhawks were the big winners in the NHL Draft Lottery, getting the No. 1 pick and the opportunity to draft all-world amateur Connor Bedard. Cold Steel on Ice has a very long path back to competitiveness, but Bedard is a huge get and a perfect transition after the losses of Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews.
- Bedard is a hockey lifer who is often compared to Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers. McDavid, who had 64 goals and 89 assists this year, is often compared to Wayne Gretzky.
- Goldman Sachs has agreed to pay $215 million to settle a long-running class-action lawsuit accusing the investment bank of underpaying women.
- Elon Musk can’t get you to Mars just yet, but this simulation lets you explore the Red Planet. Perhaps you can find a plot of land for future purchase.
- I’m not normally in the business of product placement and Cubs Insider does not receive any perks for this link, but Cariuma will plant two trees for every pair of shoes they sell, and I thought that was worth mentioning.
- Ted Nugent is plenty pissed off that his gigs are getting canceled due to social media backlash.
They Said It
- “Just a little hamstring tightness. We’ll get [Hoerner] evaluated, and see how he presents in the morning but just felt a little just grab a little bit when he was rounding second base headed to third. Trying to be cautious and see how he is in the morning.” – Ross
Tuesday Walk-Up Song
Morel was promoted but didn’t play last night. That’s Ross telling us we still need to exercise patience.