The Rundown: Cubs Break Out Brooms to Seize First Place, Bryant Finds His Groove, Winning Streak at Seven
“Your first-place Chicago Cubs” sure has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? How does best record in the National League sound? Are we dreaming?
That smile on the face of Kris Bryant as he connected on his 8th-inning grand slam summed up everything that has been erased by the Cubs ugly 2-7 start. That’s the same smile the third baseman flashed when he fielded the last ground ball of Game 7 of the 2016 World Series.
4th career grand slam for @KrisBryant_23! #EverybodyIn pic.twitter.com/vAwmL6CWlE
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) May 6, 2019
The Cubs are back, and now maybe Bryant is too.
Last night’s 13-5 win over the Cardinals was the exclamation point on a weekend sweep and representative of Chicago’s insane turnaround since their home opener. They’ve won seven in a row and 17 of their last 22. In fact, the last time the team has had a stretch this good was in August of 2016.
In the three games against St. Louis, the Cubs elevated their game to a level we haven’t seen in a long time. They are playing like champions right now in every facet of the game and it’s wonderful to see that combination of swagger and camaraderie render foes helpless game after game. The Cardinals came into town having won eight of 10 and left Wrigley Field looking razed, ragged, discarded, and dismembered.
The Cubs get the Marlins at home tonight and will try to keep their streak going. Cole Hamels gets the start against Sandy Alcantara. Hamels is coming off of back-to-back no decisions in which he has issued nine walks in 10 2/3 innings.
Cubs News & Notes
- Since April 8, the Cubs’ team ERA is an MLB-best 2.48.
- Last night was the team’s fifth consecutive win when José Quintana (4-1) has started. He has an ERA of 1.93 over that timeframe. However, the left-hander has struck out just four batters over his last two outings after fanning 36 in his first five starts. He’s lined up to face the Brewers on Friday.
- The Cubs look unstoppable right now.
- The Cardinals stranded 19 baserunners in losing Saturday and Sunday, including nine last night.
- In its last 21 games entering Sunday, the Cubs’ bullpen has posted a 1.83 ERA.
- Pedro Strop’s first-pitch strike rate is among the best in baseball.
- Dillon Maples has not allowed a run or hit so far in three outings.
- Bryant said he has been “feeling really good at the plate.”
- Javy Báez has been absolutely fearless when behind 0-2 in the count this season.
- Jason Heyward has had a terrific start to the season, and metrics show that it may be sustainable.
- David Bote has been playing with a broken left pinky toe. The infielder suffered the injury when he was hit by a pitch in the first game of the season.
- Cubs batters crushed six home runs, including back-to-back shots by second baseman Addison Russell and first baseman Phillip Evans in Iowa’s 8-1 win over Omaha yesterday afternoon.
- According to Joe Maddon, “somebody gets ‘Karkoviced’ when they get jammed and the popup is caught by the pitcher running in. That endearing term is named after former White Sox catcher Ron Karkovice, who played his entire 12-year career on the South Side from 1986-97.
How About That!
The Nationals have lost four consecutive games when Max Scherzer starts.
Christian Yelich homered in his return to the lineup as the Brewers swept the Mets.
Derek Dietrich, Jesse Winker and Eugenio Suárez became the first Reds players since at least 1988 to hit three consecutive home runs on three straight pitches.
Miguel Cabrera basically threw his manager and his teammates under the bus concerning his lack of home runs so far this season.
Brandon Dixon blasted a three-run, walk-off homer in the 10th inning, lifting the Tigers to an exciting 5-2 win over the Kansas City Royals.
Starling Marté also hit a walk-off home run to push the Pirates past the A’s yesterday.
Manager Álex Cora will not be with the Red Sox when they visit the White House Thursday afternoon. Cora, who said in November that he would attend but acknowledged he was reconsidering in January after discussing it with his family, told the newspaper that will not go because his native Puerto Rico has been treated poorly by President Donald Trump’s administration in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.
Sunday’s Three Stars
- Asdrúbal Cabrera – The Rangers infielder had a home run, a double, and four RBI in his first two at-bats as Texas crushed the Blue Jays. Cabrera now has seven taters on the season and is on track for the best season of his career.
- Buster Posey – The Giants catcher was 2-for-4 with his second homer of the season, He also had three RBI as San Francisco tripped the Reds 6-5.
- Ben Zobrist – The all-purpose veteran was 2-for-4 with an RBI and two web gems last night.
A shout out to Spectrum Cable. Apparently “transfer service on May 5th” loosely translates to “disconnect all services immediately.” My apologies that The Rundown has been MIA since Thursday.
Players with 10+ Doubles & 10+ Home Runs through the team's first 31 games of a season, #Cubs history:
This guy in 2019. That's it. pic.twitter.com/4YvkTmMQE7
— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) May 6, 2019
They Said It
- “I didn’t really anticipate this. I talked about [picking up] one game a week. That’s normally how you do it. You don’t normally have this quick rebound.” – Joe Maddon
- “Our pitchers have been great. Our at-bats have been great. Defense. Everything has really been clicking for us. This is the type of baseball that’s super fun to be a part of. I’ve been feeling really good at the plate. I feel like I’ve been hitting the ball so hard.” – Kris Bryant
- “Sweep! Sweep! Sweep!” – 36,499 Cubs fans at Wrigley Field as Bryant rounded the bases.
- “They swept it this time. When it comes around, we’re going to try to do the same thing to them.” – Adam Wainwright
- “You know Prince Fielder? You know who’s hitting behind me right now? That’s a big difference, too. How am I going to hit 40 home runs? In the past, I got Prince Fielder, Victor Martinez, Jhonny Peralta. I got a big bat behind me. You see the way guys pitch me? That explains everything.” – Miguel Cabrera
Monday Walk Up Song
Hazy Shade of Winter by the Bangles. Cold weekend for the Cardinals at Wrigley, yes? This cover of a Simon & Garfunkel song peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1987. The original didn’t crack the top ten.