The Rundown: Cubs Sweep Padres, Alzolay Has World Series Fever, Bullpen Stays Hot, MLB Players Suffering High Rates of Injuries

“Roll the dice, boy ’cause my money is on you
Take my advice now, put your money down too
Because there’s something in you that I just can’t pretend
And may your winning streak never end.” – Glen Hansard, Winning Streak

Instant Replay

I believe it was Harry Caray who used to say The Cubs are going streaking!” and I hope that doesn’t offend anybody, but I’m just too damn excited after the now-complete 5-1 homestand that includes yesterday’s 6-1 win and a three-game sweep of the Padres. Chicago is now 32-23 and in first place by a game and a half over the Cardinals.

A seven-game West Coast swing is on the immediate itinerary, with the Cubs facing the Giants in San Francisco starting tonight and then heading to San Diego before returning home to face St. Louis. If the results of their next 10 games are similar to the previous 10, they’ll open up a commanding division lead and the better part of the Cubs fanbase will start dreaming of players like Max Scherzer and Zack Greinke as potential midseason rentals.

The turnaround since the Cubs have become a more contact-oriented team has been nothing short of spectacular. If anything, give Jed Hoyer credit for bringing in castoffs like Matt Duffy who have made good at-bats almost infectious. It seems the Cubs are regularly pounding out double-digit hit totals and the team’s batting average has risen nearly 25 points since Kris Bryant vacated third base so that David Ross could put Duffy (and now Patrick Wisdom) into the lineup. In fact, Ross deserves equal praise for getting his minions to buy into the team’s new approach at the plate.

Let’s not forget the bullpen. It’s practically a mantra at this point, but Chicago’s relief corps threw four more shutout innings yesterday to close out the win for Adbert Alzolay. The results are the same no matter who Ross calls on to take each game from the 6th inning to the 9th. Yesterday saw Rex Brothers, Brad Wieck, Tommy Nance, and Dan Winkler holding the Friars scoreless across four frames of work.

With 15 wins in their last 19 games, the Cubs are on one of the best streaks we’ve seen since 2016. Here’s hoping they can continue winning in San Francisco, where the Cubs have always played the Giants well, and in San Diego.

Cubs News & Notes

Odds & Sods

Just call Rizzo “The Stopper.”

Climbing the Ladder

“Ripple in still water when there is no pebble tossed, nor wind to blow.” – Grateful Dead, Ripple

  • Games Played: 55
  • Total Plate Appearances: 2,061
  • Total Strikeouts: 520
  • Strikeout Rate: 25.2%
  • Team Batting Average: .242

The Cubs are now tied for second in the National League with a 106 OPS+, and their batting average ranks third in the league. They’re also second in OBP and tied for third in SLG.

How About That!

The Dodgers scored 11 first-inning runs as they pummeled the Cardinals 14-3.

Trade rumors start to circulate at the start of June each year. Scherzer, Bryant, Trevor Story, and David Peralta are some of the more popular names we’ll be hearing a lot about over the next two months.

Tyler O’Neill is making a case to be baseball’s most exciting young outfielder. I’ll stick with Ronald Acuña, Jr., Juan Soto, Jesse Winker, and Adolis García .

Baseball players are suffering injuries at a record pace this season.

Hamstring injuries, already the most common in baseball, are up 193% since 2019, with 47 IL stints compared to 16 through May 2021. Oblique strains and tears are up 83% this year.

A search for comparable players to Shohei Ohtani always leads back to Babe Ruth.

Diamondbacks’ announcer Bob Brenly has apologized for comments he made about Mets starter Marcus Stroman.

Wednesday’s Three Stars

  1. Cody Bellinger – The Los Angeles outfielder was 2-for-4 with a grand slam and six first-inning RBI.
  2. Sean Manaea – The Athletics lefty pitched a four-hitter with eight strikeouts for his second shutout this season, leading Oakland to a 6-0 win over the Mariners.
  3. Adbert Alzolay – The rookie righty held the Padres to three hits in six innings while earning his fourth win of the season. Alzolay threw 53 of 82 pitches for strikes and didn’t allow a single extra-base hit.

Extra Innings

Not baseball-related but definitely share-worthy!

They Said It

  • “I mean, if you see this whole team, all the way around, you’ll see that we have the whole talent to compete, to win another World Series for this city. I think that’s the mindest now.”Adbert Alzolay
  • “I think we’re pretty damn good, yeah. I think these guys believe that. I think they know that.”David Ross
  • “Stories were written about how good or bad people were this time last year after 60 games. But it’s 162 and definitely not going to get too high and say we’re proving everyone wrong because we’ve got a long season left. It’s day-by-day and tomorrow will be another big game for us.” Anthony Rizzo

Thursday Walk Up Song

San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair) by Scott McKenzie – With the Cubs in San Francisco, my inner hippie will be in its extroverted glory all weekend.

Back to top button