“Well I got down on my knees and I pretend to pray.” – The Mamas & The Papas, California Dreamin’
There are actually some positives to the Cubs’ most recent homestand if you dig deep enough. Chicago took two of three from both the Mets and Rays, and our North Side Baseballers also won a couple of one-run games. The negatives are nearly devastating, however. The Cubs got swept by the surging Reds and Justin Steele is nursing a bad wing.
Tonight, our Cubbies kick off a 10-game swing through California with the first of four games against the Padres. I will climb out on a limb and say David Ross and his troops will win their second straight series.
Cubs News & Notes
- Steele is expected to miss at least one start while he recovers from a “very minor” forearm issue.
- How the Cubs navigate the rest of the season and the trade deadline could depend on how well and how soon Steele recovers.
- It’s difficult to gauge Chicago’s future based on the results of the homestand.
- Chicago traded veteran pitcher Vinny Nittoli to the Mets, though the return for the right-hander has yet to be announced.
- Javier Assad ensures that he always makes himself available to the fans, something he learned from Randy Arozarena.
- Don’t forget to vote for your favorite Cub players in this year’s All-Star Game balloting.
- Nick Madrigal won’t be going to Seattle for this year’s festivities, but he is tearing the cover off the ball at Iowa.
Odds & Sods
Bartolo Colón is officially retiring at the age of 50.
SOURCE: The New York Mets will hold an official retirement ceremony for Bartolo Colon on August 26th before a game where they will face the Angels at Citi Field.@z101digital pic.twitter.com/5eaJAlBZlG
— Héctor Gómez (@hgomez27) June 2, 2023
- St. Louis: Front office officials are split on whether the Cardinals should trade Jack Flaherty or not, but the team could also consider dealing slugger Paul Goldschmidt. The NL Central is so bad that all five teams could be sellers even though at least one of them will go to the playoffs.
- Milwaukee: The Brewers, however, have publicly stated that they will not be sellers unless someone asks about Christian Yelich, I suppose. One pitcher Milwaukee might be interested in is Marcus Stroman, at least according to the linked article. Milwaukee’s front office is still dealing with the backlash of trading Josh Hader last season.
- Cincinnati: ESPN’s College Game Day analyst Kirk Herbstreit got into a heated Twitter debate about prospect Elly De La Cruz.
- Pittsburgh: Outfielder Travis Swaggerty revealed his wife is fighting for her life after contracting a rare blood disease following a rabid raccoon attack last year.
Climbing the Ladder
“And we can build this dream together, standing strong forever.” – Starship, Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now
The Cubs still have seven players with an OPS+ that is better than the league average. Christopher Morel (170) leads the team but Mike Tauchman (148) has been a pleasant surprise, too. Seiya Suzuki (137), Cody Bellinger (128), and Ian Happ (123) are playing at an all-star level. Patrick Wisdom (120) and Dansby Swanson (112) are also above-average hitters.
- Games Played: 55
- Record: 24-31 (.436)
- Total Plate Appearances: 2,116
- Total Strikeouts: 506
- Strikeout Rate: 23.90%
- Team Batting Average: .255
- Runs Scored: 248
- Runs Allowed: 243
- Chances of Making the Playoffs: 20.7%, 0.5% to win the World Series
How About That!
A U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge has ruled that the Diamond Sports Group must fully pay the Twins, Guardians, Rangers, and Diamondbacks per their broadcasting contracts.
There are 29 MLB teams conducting festivities to celebrate Pride, including the Cubs. The Rangers, however, are baseball’s lone exception.
The Cubs are hosting their Pride Night at Wrigley Field on June 13.
The Tigers are expected to promote right-hander Reese Olson to start this evening’s game against the White Sox, marking Olson’s MLB debut. He’s taking the place of injured ace Eduardo Rodríguez, but Detroit will still have to make a corresponding roster move. Reliever Braden Bristo is likely targeted for Triple-A Toledo.
Red Sox left-hander Chris Sale exited yesterday’s start against the Reds with shoulder soreness, and he’s scheduled to undergo an MRI today to determine the extent of the issue. As a result, Boston may seek to replace Sale in the trade market.
Thursday’s Three Stars
- Kevin Gausman – The veteran Blue Jay stifled the Brewers over 6.2 shutout innings with 11 strikeouts.
- Gary Sánchez– The part-time Padres catcher spends more time at DH these days, and last night he was 2-for-4 with a home run and three RBI.
- Max Scherzer – Mad Max tossed seven innings of one-run baseball with nine punchouts as the Mets swept the Phillies.
There is nobody better to talk about grace, courage, the significance of Lou Gehrig Day, and the fight against ALS than Sarah Langs. Her peers and colleagues shared why “Baseball is Best” in honor of Langs.
— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) June 2, 2023
They Said It
- “The story of our season so far is we struggled in high-leverage situations both offensively and pitching-wise. We struggled to execute in those situations. That’s the reason that our record isn’t flipped or even better. We just have to do better as a team in those situations, and I think we will.” – Jed Hoyer
- “It’s obviously no secret that when the game’s kind of in balance, we haven’t been good. The baseball [we’ve played] and the eye test will tell you that. At the same point, the perspective is that we’re more than capable. You would think the law of averages would start to take place and we’ll be able to come through in those moments and get things going in the direction that we all see this club being able to achieve.” – Swanson
Friday Walk-Up Song
It’s amazing to me that Jeff Lynne can replicate live what he does in the studio considering the intricacies and nuances of his arrangements.