The Rundown: Cubs-Cards Try Again, Javy Baez Is Red Hot, Rizzo Thinks Season Is Too Long

It just feels like baseball hasn’t started yet, and why should it? With 25 postponements through the first week of the season, MLB tied a record set in 2007. For some teams, it seems, there have been more off days than games played. The Cubs will attempt to make up postponement number five when they take on the Cardinals today at Wrigley Field. It’s a 1:20pm start, and Jon Lester squares off against Luke Weaver.

Yesterday’s postponement, the third in Chicago since Sunday, came a day after the Cardinals won the pushed-back first game of the series 5-3 on a night when temperatures were in the 30s and the wind chill was in the 20s. The Cardinals, who carry a five-game wining streak, are bringing reinforcements. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Wednesday that minor league outfielder Tyler O’Neill has joined the Cardinals and will be activated on Thursday. O’Neill has six home runs at Triple-A Memphis with a Pacific League-best 18 RBIs.

Cubs News & Notes

The Cubs will deserve criticism if they continue to flirt with .500 around Memorial Day. But it’s worth noting the 2017 Cubs opened 8-7, one game better after fifteen, and finished as one of the best teams in baseball after the all-star break, making it all the way to the  League Championship Series.

The league’s most exciting player not named Bryce Harper has been Javy Baez. The Cubs’ second baseman has three doubles, two triples and five home runs. Baez’s isolated power of .431 ranks second in the NL behind Harper (.446).

Anthony Rizzo thinks the MLB regular season is too long. “I think we play too much baseball. Yes, guys are going to take pay cuts. But are we playing this game for the money or do we love this game? I know it’s both, but in the long run it will make everything better.”

GM Jed Hoyer indicated that the most disappointing aspect in the team’s uneven start has been its starting pitching.

Now in his seventh professional season, Iowa Cubs’ second baseman David Bote has become one of the team’s best prospects.

How About That!

The White Sox used 10 pitchers in yesterday’s 12-11, 14-inning loss to the A’s yesterday, the first time in team history that’s ever happened.

The A’s came back from 5-run deficits twice in yesterday’s game. The teams combined for 555 pitches, 33 hits and 18 walks — 12 by Chicago pitchers — in a game that lasted 5 hours and 48 minutes.

The Yankees have signed 1B/DH Adam Lind to a minor league contract, the team reported yesterday.

The Braves have inked OF Jose Bautista to a minor league contract. He reported to the Braves’ spring training facility in excellent shape and will work there for a week or so before beginning to play in minor league games.

Angels OF Mike Trout is a big fan of Red Sox OF Mookie Betts.

According to Nick Piecoro of AZCentral Sports, Diamondbacks’ manager Torey Lovullo revealed Wednesday that Taijuan Walker will undergo Tommy John surgery.

Wednesday’s Three Stars

  1. Rick Porcello – The veteran Red Sox starter threw six scoreless innings in yesterday’s 9-0 win against the Angels, helping the team improve to an historical best 15-2. The 2016 Cy Young Award winner is now 4-0 with a 1.40 ERA and has been a strike-throwing machine with only one walk in 25 2/3 innings.
  2. Jose Berrios – Though he did not factor in the decision, the Twins ace worked seven scoreless innings Wednesday, striking out five and allowing three hits in the team’s extra inning win over the Indians in Puerto Rico. In 27⅔ innings this season, Berrios has one walk and 29 strikeouts.
  3. Kenta Maeda – The Dodgers pitcher struck out 10 Padres’ hitters over 5 2/3 in the team’s 13-4 win in San Diego.

Hot Takes & Syrup

  • To many onlookers, baseball has become boring, becoming little more than a glorified home run derby where pitches throw as hard as they can, batters swing as hard as they can, and the team that hits the most balls over the fence usually wins. This AP post at Fox Sports suggests ways to make baseball great again.
  • After his joyous trip around the bases in Tuesday night’s game, Indian’s shortstop Francisco Lindor felt the need to apologize to anyone, including the Twins, who may have taken offense. He said he just couldn’t contain himself after hitting a two-run homer in front of his hometown crowd in a big league game. Twins manager Paul Molitor said he and the team took no offense. Chalk it up to social media hot takes.

They Said It

  • “It was hard, it was choppy, no one was in a rhythm. Pitchers trying to throw strikes with freezing cold hands, slick baseball. It is difficult, and there is no solution to it. But the season starting earlier has nothing to do with what the weather is on the 15th, 16th, 17th of April. This is the time when everybody is playing baseball. It’s just a bad stretch for the whole league and we’ll get through it.” – Jed Hoyer
  • “I’m not trying to disrespect anybody … that’s just how I do things. I’m going to enjoy it. I’m in Puerto Rico in front of my family, in front of my friends, in front of this beautiful Puerto Rican crowd and I’m just excited.” – Francisco Lindor
  • “Our game has changed in what you may call acceptable showism. I think it’s good for the game.” – Paul Molitor

Thursday Walk Up Song

A Long December by Counting Crows. Abandon hope, all ye who wait upon Spring’s arrival.

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