The Rundown: Brewers Crush Cubs, Darvish May Be Ready For Rehab Assignment, Acuña On Historic Pace, Puig Not Your Friend

As I watched Jose Quintana pitch yesterday I felt eerily similar to Will Ferrell as Alex Trebek on SNL Celebrity Jeopardy. That’s frustration defined. Meanwhile, Brewers starter Jhoulys Chacin was mowing down Cubs batters like he was the second coming of Clayton Kershaw. Ryan Braun crushed two home runs, which was more than Chacin needed to seal the victory. That second tater left the bat at almost 109 mph and traveled 443 feet.

The Cubs were down 3-0 after just nine pitches. Quintana (10-9) was tagged for five runs and six hits in five innings after dominating the Brewers over seven previous starts.

The Brewers’ 7-0 win represents the eighth shutout between the two teams in the season series so far, which the Cubs lead 8-4. Hopefully Kyle Hendricks will lead the Cubs to victory in the second game of the two-game series today.

I believe Joe Maddon has stated that 30 minutes after every game, win or lose, you put it behind you and move on. Not much else to say, so shake it off and look ahead to tomorrow.

Cubs News & Notes

Theo Epstein says if everything checks out well with Yu Darvish after yesterday’s sim game, he’ll be ready for a rehab stint in the minors as he recovers from an elbow injury. Except for Hendricks and Cole Hamels, the Cubs rotation has been the team’s weakness in the second half so far.

The Cubs feel Darvish is on somewhat of a mission to make a statement when he returns. Thank you, Alex Rodriguez.

The Cubs front office won’t negotiate an extension with manager Joe Maddon during the season, which makes perfect sense. Why would they (or Maddon) want that type of distraction?

Maddon was ejected for the second time in four games when plate umpire Phil Cuzzi called Ben Zobrist out on strikes in the 6th. And Zobrist got tossed for the first time this season after the 8th when he told Cuzzi the players want an electronic strike zone.

How About That!

The Cardinals beat the Nationals for their seventh straight win. Redbirds pitcher John Gant hit a two-run homer and got the win. The Nationals have been out of sorts since Sunday night’s crushing defeat at the hands of the Cubs.

Ronald Acuña Jr. became the youngest player in major league history to homer in five straight games, hitting a leadoff shot on the first pitch and adding a three-run long ball in the 7th inning to help the surging Braves beat the Marlins 10-6. He has led off three straight games with home runs.

With Tuesday night’s win over the Phillies, the Red Sox are now 11-1 in August and pushed to 51 games over .500 on the season. That’s on pace for 115 wins.

With a loss to the Rockies in Houston on Tuesday night, the slumping Astros have now lost five in a row overall and nine in a row at Minute Maid Park.

Braves pitcher Brandon McCarthy will retire at the end of the 2018 season.

Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig took a swing at Giants catcher Nick Hundley and both players were ejected during a benches-clearing scrap in the 7th inning of last night’s game. Puig swatted his bat in frustration after fouling off a pitch from Tony Watson, and Hundley said something to the mercurial slugger. The two then stood face to face and argued for a few moments before Puig shoved the catcher twice. Both benches immediately emptied.

Tuesday’s Three Stars

  1. Ronald Acuña Jr. – His legend is growing with each game. Five straight games with a homer is pretty impressive, let alone for a rookie phenom.
  2. Ryan Braun – In his first two at-bats against Quintana, Braun crushed curveballs far out to left for two-run homers.
  3. Mike Shildt – The Cardinals are 18-9 since Shildt took over for Mike Matheny and he is helping to make the NL Central a three team race.

Extra Innings

Acuña has been a beast lately and is on an historic pace. Adding to the fun, the red-hot Braves (67-51) have won 13 of their last 17 outings are now one game from tying the Cubs (68-50) for the NL’s best record.

They Said It

  • “It was good. [Darvish] was competing well out there, spinning the ball really well. Maybe his best spin of the year. That was good to see. We’ll see how he feels tomorrow, but seems like he’s just about ready for the next step, which should be rehab games.” – Theo Epstein
  • “I think he wants it. The guys that are around [Darvish] every day feel like he’s really eager to get out there and compete. Even in the sim game today, when Vic had a good swing on the fastball, he came back on the next one a little bit harder and was mixing all his pitches. He’s going about his business like someone who’s on a mission to come back and help this team.” – Theo Epstein

Wednesday Walk Up Song

I Got Loaded by Los Lobos. Day losses lead to day drinking. I’ll say no more.

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