The Rundown: Morel’s Historic Heater, Hoyer Accepts Bullpen Blame, Hendricks Working at Wrigley, Mervis Goes Deep
“I’ve been doin’ things worthwhile, you’ve been bookin’ time. Try, try, try, to let it ride.” – Bachman-Turner Overdrive, Let it Ride
Shame on you, Jed Hoyer.
Christopher Morel spent six weeks at Iowa and he’s still on a pace to hit 31 big league homers. His combined statistics are flat-out filthy. Morel is batting .341 with 48 runs scored, 20 home runs, 46 RBI, and five stolen bases between Iowa and Chicago. That is insanity, and though regression should follow, he has had 186 plate appearances across two levels. The sophomore slugger had another home run in last night’s 7-2 win over the Mets, his ninth in 12 games.
Morel isn’t eligible for arbitration until 2026 and Hoyer should just lock him up now, but the executive’s track record makes that unlikely.
Cubs News & Notes
- Kyle Hendricks joined the Cubs as they returned from their road trip, though he has not been added to the team’s roster. Daniel Palencia was also promoted to Iowa.
- Hendricks did throw a bullpen session at Wrigley Field yesterday.
- Hoyer said he “understands the urgency” some Cubs fans may be feeling.
- The president of baseball operations admitted that his construction of this year’s bullpen put David Ross “in a very tough spot.”
- Hoyer also admitted that the Cubs are failing too often in high-leverage offensive situations.
- The Cubs are still in the thick of the NL Central despite a 3-8 streak because the division is full of mediocre teams playing relatively poor baseball.
- In fact, the team has been buoyed by “the solace” of staying within striking distance despite playing .350 baseball since May 1.
Odds & Sods
Nine taters in 12 games is a ridiculous 121-homer full-season pace. Morel’s 7th-inning blast extended his streak to five straight games and he’s the fourth player in major-league history with at least nine home runs in his first 12 games of a season. Mike Schmidt hit 11 long flies in 12 games back in 1976. Sammy Sosa was the last Cub to hit home runs in five straight games.
Christopher Morel ties a franchise record with 5-straight games with a home run! pic.twitter.com/4ViXy03Isq
— Marquee Sports Network (@WatchMarquee) May 24, 2023
- St. Louis: Adam Wainwright calls Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati “The Devil’s Lair” and says the Reds’ stadium “is cursed.”
- Milwaukee: I don’t have a link, but the ESPN affiliate here in America’s Dairyland was abuzz yesterday about a potential trade for Hendricks or Eduardo Rodríguez to replace Wade Miley. Soft-tosser Ethan Small is the trade bait, allegedly.
- Cincinnati: Starter Graham Ashcraft has allowed seven earned runs in back-to-back starts.
- Pittsburgh: The Pirates are 25-23 on the season but have yet to win a series this month. The road to mediocrity is apparently slow and tortuous. By the way, this song by Toto set the bar for mediocrity.
Climbing the Ladder
“I stopped an old man along the way, hoping to find some long-forgotten words or ancient melodies. He turned to me as if to say,'”Hurry boy, it’s waiting there for you.'” – Toto, Africa
Though their run differential took a big hit on the latest road trip, Chicago’s playoff odds are a little better than they should be given the team’s current record. It would be nice if the Cubs could beat up on the Mets and Reds before the Rays come to town to close out the month. A daunting 10-game West Coast road trip follows.
Chicago’s batting average continues to drop while its strikeout rate continues its alarming uptick.
- Games Played: 47
- Record: 21-26 (.447)
- Total Plate Appearances: 1,832
- Total Strikeouts: 432
- Strikeout Rate: 23.58%
- Team Batting Average: .262
- Runs Scored: 227
- Runs Allowed: 201
- Chances of Making the Playoffs: 33.9%, 1.2% to win the World Series
How About That!
The Jays snapped a five-game losing streak by plating 20 runs against the Rays. It should be noted that 10 runs were scored with position players pitching for Tampa Bay.
Things have grown pretty desperate for White Sox fans while team management continues to grasp at straws.
We have yet to see a no-hitter in the era of the pitch clock.
Hunter Dozier has been designated for assignment by the Royals. The No. 8 overall pick from 2013 was in the third year of his four-year, $25 million contract.
Dodgers rookie Bobby Miller made his MLB debut yesterday evening and struck out five Braves batters.
Keith Law of The Athletic dropped his mock draft this morning ($), and he has Dylan Crews going to the Pirates at No. 1 overall. Law predicts the Cubs will select shortstop Matt Shaw of Maryland.
Tuesday’s Three Stars
- Vladimir Guerrero Jr. – The Jays DH has been quietly great this year but exploded for six RBI on a 3-for-6 night that included his eighth home run of the season.
- Juan Soto – The Padres outfielder exacted a little revenge on his former team with three hits and a home run in four trips to the plate.
- Matt Mervis – A breakout game by the rookie included three RBI and his first-ever Wrigley Field home run. Mervis also walked and he didn’t strike out.
Someone on Twitter asked me if I’ve given up on Mervis and the answer is a resounding no. I’m just not a fan of exposing rookies to too much too soon. I was wrong about Nico Hoerner, though, so jump in the left lane and pass me by.
Wrigley Field taters from Matt Mervis have arrived 💪
Second MLB homer for the @Cubs' No. 5 prospect: pic.twitter.com/Y1upgcWXAb
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) May 24, 2023
Wednesday Morning Six-Pack
- Ron DeSantis will formally announce his 2024 presidential bid at 6 pm ET tonight, and he’s doing so on Twitter Spaces in a scheduled conversation with Elon Musk.
- Sometimes the most hated person on social media is not a politician but a metal structure just trying its best to block the sun.
- Target is pulling some LGBTQ merchandise from its Pride Collection, citing backlash from customers and the need to protect the safety of its employees. That’s a bold marketing strategy considering Pride Month starts a week from tomorrow. Not for nothing, but none of this would be a big deal if the current brand of divide-and-conquer social media did not exist.
- You’ll thank me later, but I present to you the mother of all password generators. Be sure to check out my buddy Dr. Pants after you generate various new credentials.
- Speaking of which…Netflix has officially kicked off its plans to make subscribers pay extra for sharing logins.
- Kenny Loggins secretly got married yesterday according to some sketchy-at-best news reports, and I can’t help but think if the ceremony was similar to a previous marriage from 1992.
They Said It
- “How we play over the next month is very important. It’s not early forever. If you look at our season, we played great early against really tough teams and lost a lot of close games in a stretch that we should’ve won a lot more games. It obviously hurt us. Ultimately when I look back on our season, having that run of one-run losses really knocked us back. We’re gonna have to dig out from that. The nature of baseball is you can’t put too much pressure on any one section of the season. But yes, I do think it’s not early forever. We need to bank some wins.” – Hoyer
- “I know [sending Morel to Iowa] was difficult for him. Of course, it would be. You would expect him to take it hard. But to go down there and just not miss a beat, demolish that league. I think that’s impressive.” – Hoyer
- “Shaw is one of the best pure hitters in the draft class with metrics to match, something the Cubs are clearly aware of given their choice of Cade Horton with their first pick last year. I could see them going for Stanford shortstop Tommy Troy or Vandy centerfielder Enrique Bradfield Jr., as well.” – Law
Wednesday Walk-Up Song
This song is not about a woman, but a band member who was secretly moonlighting with another group.