“Hey kids, rock and roll. Nobody tells you where to go, baby.” – R.E.M., Drive
One of the best things about this Cubs season is that the team’s fans get to witness that point where the present meets the future. Jordan Wicks, Daniel Palencia, and Luke Little — all farmhands at the start of the season — combined to beat the Giants 8-2 yesterday. David Ross was so giddy with excitement that he let Alexander Canario pinch-hit in the 8th inning. Canario struck out, but at least he hit the box score.
Ross doesn’t have a lot of opportunities available for Canario, and I agree with his reasoning. The Cubs were mandated to expand to 28 players and the rookie outfielder deserved the promotion, but the pennant race has to be Rossy’s priority. I’ll bet Canario gets his first start next week in Colorado if the Cubs win their series against the Diamondbacks. Ross will begin to rest his starters once his team puts some more distance between its postseason competitors.
Wicks, on the other hand, possesses two skills Chicago desperately needs. He eats innings and limits runs, and on Wednesday he won his third straight start. He and Javier Assad have helped to relieve some of the strain on the team’s starting rotation, combining for six wins while Palencia has added five in his relief role. The Cubs are 12 games above .500 for the first time this season and the three rookies deserve a lot of the credit.
Canario will get his opportunities, but he may have to wait until next year because he’s still learning to be a big leaguer in the heat of a pennant race. That’s a good thing. That said, the Cubs are stacked in the outfield up and down the organization. The young man might just be a conduit to the likes of Pete Crow-Armstrong, Kevin Alcántara, and Owen Caissie.
The Cubs had an outfielder similar to Canario when they won the World Series in 2016. That player was Jorge Soler, and he was used as trade bait that offseason to acquire closer Wade Davis from the Royals. Soler is also making $15 million this year playing for the Marlins. Canario may meet a similar fate, though that’s not necessarily a bad thing for the player or the team.
Cubs News & Notes
- Wicks excelled in his first start at Wrigley Field and spoke glowingly about the playoff atmosphere after the game.
- Kyle Hendricks showed Wicks how he cuts his changeup and Wicks said he wants to model his career after the veteran starter.
- The rookie described parachuting into a postseason chase as calming.
- Ross will likely ease Little into playing time, opting to find favorable matchups rather than immediately throwing him into high-leverage situations.
- The manager confirmed Wednesday morning that Adbert Alzolay has been dealing with “stuff” and he has been trying to stay away from using the closer.
- MLB analyst analyst Orestes Destrade said it is going to take “well over $200 million” to sign Cody Bellinger after this season.
- The three-game sweep helped the Cubs build some separation in the Wild Card race while inching closer to the Brewers for the NL Central lead. The Giants are six games behind the Cubs after the three losses.
- The Cardinals put the hammer down on Spencer Strider last night, which will help Justin Steele in the race for this year’s NL Cy Young award.
- Steele is No. 2 on the most recent power pitching rankings at MLB.com
- The Diamondbacks have called up top prospect Jordan Lawlar ahead of their series with the Cubs. Lawlar often draws comparisons to Bobby Witt Jr.
Odds & Sods
It’s a happy day for baseball when the Mets and the Athletics both have reason to celebrate.
The A’s won their 43rd game of the season tonight.
The 1962 Mets modern record of 120 losses in a season will remain intact.
— Kyle Glaser (@KyleAGlaser) September 7, 2023
- Milwaukee (77-62): William Contreras leads the Brewers in WAR (4.2), OPS (.814), wRC+ (121), slugging (.457), and doubles (33). He’s batting .279/.357/.457 and playing every day while being the team’s primary catcher simply because they can’t live without his bat in the lineup.
- Cincinnati (73-69): The Reds play 17 of their final 20 games against teams with losing records.
- Pittsburgh (65-75): Andrew McCutchen will miss the rest of the season due to a partially torn Achilles tendon.
- St. Louis (61-78): Cardinals fans are bestowing accolades on the White Sox organization, which is worth an extra glass of O.J. with your breakfast.
Climbing the Ladder
“We’ll cut the thick and break the thin.” – Peter Murphy, Cuts You Up
Bellinger and Seiya Suzuki continue to drive Chicago’s offense. Suzuki put the Cubs on the board with a three-run double, and Bellinger was 2-for-4 with a home run and two RBI. Bellinger has an outside chance to reach 30 homers, 100 runs, 100 RBI, and 25 stolen bases. He’s having his best season since winning the NL MVP in 2019. He’s struggled badly in the postseason, however.
Wicks induced 15 groundouts in Wednesday’s game and is succeeding because he limits walks and home runs.
- Games Played: 140
- Record: 76-64 (.543)
- Total Plate Appearances: 5,362
- Total Strikeouts: 1,224
- Strikeout Rate: 22.82%
- Team Batting Average: .254
- Runs Scored: 716
- Runs Allowed: 615
- Chances of Making the Playoffs: 96.1%, 4.1% to win the World Series
How About That!
Shōta Imanaga, the 30-year-old ace of the Yokohama DeNA BayStars, will be posted for MLB clubs after this season.
Major League Baseball has placed Dodgers starter Julio Urías on administrative leave, according to a league announcement. That’s the standard procedure for players who are being investigated for a possible violation of the MLB/MLBPA domestic violence policy.
Urías was reportedly seen shoving a woman into a fence at BMO Stadium in Los Angeles on Sunday before he was arrested according to TMZ Sports.
The Brewers have not scored in more than two different innings in a game since August 28, when they slugged two homers in the first before adding a run in each of the second and seventh innings.
The Yankees started a youth movement two weeks ago that includes rookies Jasson Domínguez, Oswaldo Peraza, and Everson Pereira. That gives New York five rookies in their everyday lineup, and so far the results have been promising.
Wednesday’s Three Stars
- Tyler Glasnow – The 30-year-old righty tied a career-high with 14 strikeouts in six innings of three-hit ball in the Rays’ 3-1 win over the Red Sox.
- José Abreu – The veteran first baseman has struggled this season, but led the Astros to a 12-3 win over the Rangers with two taters and seven ribeyes. Now that’s a barbecue!
- Joey Wendle – The Miami shortstop was 3-for-4 with a double, home run, and four RBI in the Marlins’ 11-4 win over the Dodgers.
PCA is ready for the bigs.
Pete Crow-Armstrong hoses Devin Mann at the plate to end the inning! pic.twitter.com/56wkiMf7Vc
— Iowa Cubs (@IowaCubs) September 6, 2023
Thursday Morning Six-Pack
- The greatest concert movie of all time has been scrubbed, upscaled, and will be re-released with extra footage in cinemas on September 22. Mark your calendars, and celebrate with this, this, a little of this, and also some of this.
- David Byrne, who once said he “would never reunite with the Talking Heads,” has had a change of heart.
- Byrne, 71, admitted he regrets the ugly way he handled the band’s breakup.
- Since quitting Talking Heads in 1991, Byrne has successfully, and sometimes brilliantly, put his name to dance scores, film soundtracks, musicals, and books. He’s also had his fair share of tragedy.
- For the first time in nearly twenty years, the Rolling Stones are releasing a new original album. If the single Angry unveiled yesterday is any indication, rock-and-roll’s octogenarian frontman, Mick Jagger hasn’t missed a beat. I hope they tour next year. I’d pay a month’s salary for that show, and that’s probably what it will cost.
- Modern cars are seen as a privacy nightmare. Nissan admitted that their vehicles collect data on drivers’ sex lives, but didn’t explain what data or how they get it.
They Said It
- “I think it’s important when guys are dealing with stuff, I can’t always let you guys know. Sometimes I gotta lie if that’s OK. Everybody’s dealing with something this time of year and you give guys days off. You try to rest them and stay away from them. Sometimes four days is better than 15. It’s that time of year. We also try to navigate the best we can and try to fill holes. It’s my job to navigate that and take the heat if I need to. I make the dumbest moves in the world. Why didn’t I throw this guy or that guy? There’s stuff in this seat you don’t want everybody to know. Protecting the players is everything.” – Ross
- “I don’t think I’m going to be throwing Little into the highest leverage situations like I would Mark [Leiter Jr]. I’ve got a lot of confidence in Mark. We’ve also asked a lot of him. We’ve talked to death about Julian [Merryweather], he and Adbert, and [Michael] Fulmer is on the IL right now, we’ve leaned on those guys pretty heavily. Having some depth in the organization, a left-hander, to come in for that left-handed spot for Leiter is key. Drew Smyly has done a nice job, gotta give him some credit, but having another one down there that throws from the left side is nice.” – Ross
- “I’m not [going to be] satisfied until we’re in the playoffs.” – Wicks
Thursday Walk-Up Song
I started watching the Oxycontin miniseries last night on Netflix and loved the use of this song.