“Gotta keep rollin’, gotta keep ridin'” – Bob Seger, Roll Me Away
The Cubs are rolling toward the trade deadline on a serious heater, and we can all thank Dansby Swanson for that. The All-Star shortstop homered twice Tuesday evening as the surging North Siders dropped the slumping White Sox 7-3. Swanson was 3-for-3 and plated four runners in the win, and the Cubs were electric on the basepaths, swiping five bags off of Yasmani Grandal, Michael Kopech, and Jesse Scholtens.
The Cubs have won four straight while the Sox lost their fourth consecutive game and it would be nice to keep both streaks intact when the teams close out their two-game set tonight. Chicago’s North Side Baseballers improved to 49-51, and though they still trail the Brewers by six games, they’re the only team in the NL Central with a positive run differential.
The current Cubs remind me a lot of the 2021 Braves, who rode a second half surge to an 88-73 record and a World Series championship. If Jed Hoyer is feeling a little ballsy, he should be buying at the deadline. Why not? The Cubs have plenty of prospect depth and they’re a power-hitting third baseman and a stud closer shy of making a serious late-season run. How would Jeimer Candelario and Scott Barlow look in Cubby pinstripes? Neither should be that expensive.
By the way, Atlanta’s record after 100 games in 2021 was 49-51.
Then again, no cost to compete should be prohibitive. Team owner Tom Ricketts all but verbally committed to being competitive when the organization launched its standalone streaming app. Nobody wants to pay $20 per month to wait on the slow matriculation of prospects. Imagine a Cubs August/September lineup that included Candelario at third, Pete Crow-Armstrong in center, Cody Bellinger at first, Matt Mervis and Christopher Morel alternating at DH, and Barlow closing. That’s a team that could do some serious postseason damage, just like the ’21 Braves.
Cubs News & Notes
- Last night’s win over the ChiSox was truly historic.
- Hoyer could try to thread the needle by being both a buyer and a seller this week.
- If the Cubs continue to stack wins they’ll make Hoyer’s decision an easy one.
- Most of the players would rather see the team continue with its current roster and possibly an upgrade or two.
- Sahdev Sharma of The Athletic posits that there may be value in simply staying the course ($) at the deadline.
- Patrick Mooney writes that the front office is still undecided ($) on its near-term path.
- Swanson may have a future as a coach once his playing days are over.
- Javier Assad is starting to come into his own as a trusted member of the bullpen.
- Patrick Wisdom is leaning on quotes from Ted Lasso in an attempt to improve his defense at third base.
- The Cubs have now signed all of their draft picks after inking Jaxon Wiggins and two others to deadline day deals yesterday.
- The Cubs earned a solid B from Just Baseball for this year’s draft class, led by infielder Matt Shaw.
- The trajectory of the White Sox has completely reversed course since the Cubs traded Craig Kimbrel in a crosstown deal for Nick Madrigal and Codi Heuer in 2021.
- Marcus Stroman toes the slab tonight as the Cubs go for the sweep while the White Sox will counter with Lance Lynn.
- Stroman is still considered one of the top trade candidates on the market.
- The Cubs announced their tentative 2024 Spring Training schedule yesterday.
- The Cardinals willl play the Cubs at Sloan Park at the very end of their Cactus League schedule. St. Louis opens the 2024 season in Los Angeles.
Odds & Sods
If you didn’t like Mookie Wilson before, you’ll love him now. I draw the line at liking more than one Met, however.
Mookie Wilson with the quote for the ages pic.twitter.com/rtULdmz4A5
— BaseballHistoryNut (@nut_history) July 26, 2023
- Milwaukee (56-46): Christian Yelich has been dormant for a few years, but the Brewers outfielder is having an historic bounceback season. Yelich hit a walkoff single last night to drop the Reds back into second place.
- Cincinnati (56-47): Infielder Jonathan India is reportedly on the trade block, and the 2021 Rookie of the Year is having a difficult time dealing with the rumors.
- St. Louis (45-57): Lynn is on the trade block, but the White Sox hurler has St. Louis on his no-trade list. He shouldn’t have too worry too much because the Redbirds are obvious sellers.
- Pittsburgh (44-57): The Pirates are the only MLB team in the modern era to have 3 different players under the age of 25 notch their first career homer (Liover Peguero), first career win (Quinn Priester) and first career catcher caught stealing (Endy Rodríguez) in the same game.
Climbing the Ladder
“Went down to Tin Pan Alley. See what was goin’ on. Things was too hot down there. Couldn’t stay very long.” – Stevie Ray Vaughan, Tin Pan Alley AKA Roughest Place in Town
Chicago’s team batting average has been steadily climbing since the All-Star Break, but their starting pitching will lead them to any shot at the playoffs. Swanson’s multi-homer night was his first as a Cub, and one big fly came off of a pitch that was 3.77 feet off the ground. That was the highest pitch Swanson has put into the seats in his career.
Nico Hoerner also had a home run and stole two bases, but the play of the night was an unbelievable catch by Seiya Suzuki. Morel hit a home run last night, too. Overall, the Cubs had four homers and five steals, the first time that’s happened in team history since July 28, 1888.
By the way, I’d rather see the Cubs play in Hell than at Guaranteed Rate Field.
- Games Played: 100
- Record: 49-51 (.490)
- Total Plate Appearances: 3,841
- Total Strikeouts: 913
- Strikeout Rate: 23.77%
- Team Batting Average: .253
- Runs Scored: 486
- Runs Allowed: 441
- Chances of Making the Playoffs: 36.6%, 1.4% to win the World Series
How About That!
There is great depth in starting pitching among the players most likely to be dealt this week.
Presidential hopeful Ron DeSantis was on a career path to be an MLB front office executive but switched gears after 9/11.
MLB and Starter have teamed up to launch the Bronx Bubble jacket. Hard pass.
Tuesday’s Three Stars
Sorry, not sorry.
Apropos of Nothing
I took the liberty of buiding a deep cuts playlist for anyone who’s interested, but no need to thank me. Just enjoy the tuneage, though you will need a subscription to Spotify.
Sacks packed with Sox, but Suzuki denies Yoan Moncada.
Come for the Seiya grand slam robbery.
Stay for the fan reactions. 😲 pic.twitter.com/w8EX7oWqNl
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) July 26, 2023
Wednesday Morning Six-Pack
- Can it be too hot for ice cream? The CFO of Unilever, the world’s largest ice cream producer, said yesterday that Europe’s heat wave might dampen demand for the frozen treat because “When it gets too hot, people move away from ice cream and buy a cold drink instead.” May I recommend a root beer float or a black cow?
- A group of scientists that conducts rapid analyses of weather events found this summer’s heat waves in the US, Mexico, and Europe would have virtually zero chance of happening without human-caused warming.
- The US woman’s soccer team will take on the Netherlands in World Cup action today in a rematch of the 2019 final.
- The 18-year-old son of LeBron James suffered cardiac arrest during practice at the University of Southern California on Monday. Bronny is now in stable condition and out of the ICU.
- Joe Biden established a national monument in honor of Emmett Till, the Black teenager who was lynched in 1955, and his mother, who became a civil rights advocate.
- The careers of the Bee Gees and Peter Frampton were instantly and permanently derailed 45 years ago this week with the release of the awful Sgt. Pepper’s Lonbely Hearts Club Band movie.
They Said It
- “When we do everything right and play the fundamentals and take it one pitch at a time, we have a really good chance of winning every game. We know we got everything we need in this clubhouse. You see what the potential is. The lineup, from one to nine, passing the baton to the next guy. The defense we play. When we do everything right and play the fundamentals and take it one pitch at a time, we have a really good chance of winning every game. We know we got everything we need in this clubhouse.” – Kyle Hendricks
- “I want to be the manager of a World Series team, the guys out there on the field want to win a World Series. I think that’s what we’re all pushing for. How do we do that? We try to win every single game and every single pitch. That’s what I’m focused on. The more we keep the good players, the closer (we get) to doing that this season.” – David Ross
Wednesday Walk-Up Song
A good friend of mine passed away yesterday, and on such occasions, I raise a shot of Scotch and play this U2 song in honor of the dear departed. “I’ll see you again when the stars fall from the sky and the moon turns red over One Tree Hill.”