The Rundown: Cardiac or Cardio, Arrieta’s Big Anniversaries, Happ Hammerin’

The Cubs are now a whole two games over .500 on the strength of three straight late-inning comebacks, which begs the question: Are they going to be able to keep doing this all season? The answer, at least as I see it, is that they can but won’t need to.

We’ve already seen games in which the starting rotation, bullpen, and offense carried the team separately, now it’s just a matter of putting everything together on a consistent basis. I suppose it’s possible that that never happens and we’re left to hang on by fingernails nibbled to the quick by too many close games. The bullpen could implode, the starting rotation’s velocity issues could persist, and the offense might never really click. Sure, that could all happen.

But last year wasn’t a fluke, nor was the 2015 season. And this team is, by most accounts, is better than either of those squads. The Cubs are good enough to eek out wins even when they don’t have their best, so just imagine what’ll happen when they actually hit their stride. While late homers like those from Addison Russell and Anthony Rizzo are cool and all, I’d dig a few blowouts here and there.

Arrieta passes two milestones

Another flip-flop in the rotation meant that Jake Arrieta was not on the mound on the one-year anniversary of his no-hitter in Cincy, but he’ll be pitching Saturday on what may well be a much more meaningful date for him. On April 22, 2013, the Orioles optioned their erstwhile Opening Day starter to AAA Norfolk.

Arrieta had surrendered 5 earned runs the previous day, bringing his total to 14 in his first four starts of the season. After bouncing back and forth between Norfolk and Baltimore for four seasons, the would-be Cy Young seriously considered walking away from baseball. Good thing for the Cubs he stuck with it.

One more start with the Orioles saw Arrieta yield yet another 5 earned, after which he was traded to Chicago in what has become one of the most lopsided trades in the history of lopsided trades. Even Paul Owens (Phillies GM in 1982) thinks it was a bad deal. The fresh start and a coaching staff willing to let him be himself allowed Arrieta to blossom into an ace who should be able to command a massive deal this winter.

Ryan Davis has some thoughts on where Arrieta may end up after this year, but the only thing that matters for now is that he’ll be on the bump in Cincy as the Cubs look for four straight.

Ian Happ is decent

If you had told me back in March that Ian Happ would be leading all of minor league baseball in home runs by late April, and that he’d be doing it at the Triple-A level, I’d have laughed at you. But with last night’s blast, his seventh of the season, that’s exactly what he’s doing.

Just don’t go getting any ideas about a call-up, because that’s not happening. Yet. It’s going to be interesting to see how the I-Cubs handle an infield situation that just got a bit more crowded with the addition of Tommy La Stella.

More news and notes

  • Madison Bumgarner was placed on the DL due to a shoulder injury suffered in a dirt bike accident
  • Matt Garza will be activated from the DL Monday; I hope he doesn’t have to field any bunts
  • White Sox place Big Game James Shields on DL with a lat strain
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