The Rundown: Cubs Surging, Hendricks Looking to Bounce Back, Let the Kids Play, Godspeed Chet Coppock

I think we can safely say that the the Cubs have endured something more like a stubbed toe to start the season rather than a fracture or complete break. The team has a chance to get to .500 today thanks to winning five of their last six games. In fact, Chicago leads the Central Division with a +18 run differential and, believe it or not, the Cubs are tied with the Cardinals and Pirates over the last 10 games with a 7-3 record. All of which means the team is not as ugly as their 2-7 start to the season made them seem.

Godpseed, Chet Coppock

If you are old enough to remember sports radio’s humble beginnings in the Windy City, then you are acutely aware that Chicago had its own version of Howard Cosell in Coppock. Arrogant and verbose, and sometimes overly pompous, the Chetster was a pioneer in sports talk call-in shows and always must-listen radio through the 1980’s and 1990’s.

The phrase “tell it like it is” should forever be attached to Coppock’s legacy. He could hype any moment, no matter how big or small. As a young 20-something caller into his radio show, he once introduced me to his listeners as “205 pounds of rock ’em, sock ’em Cook County dynamite.” The man was truly one of a kind.

Coppock passed away yesterday at the age of 70 due to complications from an auto accident just over a week ago.

Let the Kids Play

I’m still at a loss for words that umpire Joe West threw Tim Anderson out of a game after being hit by a pitch from Royals hurler Brad Keller on Wednesday. Anderson’s epic bat toss after hitting a home run that broke a scoreless tie allegedly violated one of baseball’s unwritten rules: “Don’t show up the other team,” and its associated sub-rule, at least according to Jays’ outfielder Randal Grichuk: “Act like you’ve been here before.” Grichuk is somewhat of a tool.

Despite MLB commercials to the contrary, fun in baseball is apparently not allowed. So Keller had to burn a 92 mph heater into the shortstop’s backside because Anderson flipped his bat after going yard in his previous at-bat. Here’s a suggestion: Why not just strike him out?

Furthermore, I miss that type of swagger from the Cubs. I guess after winning a World Series they became a little to cool for such truculent displays of emotion. Passion, excitement, spirit — remember those traits? Heck, is the bullpen even dancing this year after home runs?

Anderson referred to West as a “terrible” umpire after a game against the Cubs late last season, so the umpire, who likes to think of himself as bigger than the game, got his revenge. I only wish Hawk Harrelson was calling the game. “Are you bleeping kidding me!?”

Just to summarize, the entire incident left me in the rare position of agreeing with something that Trevor Bauer had to say. Also, I am a big fan of Anderson now. The White Sox are on the come, and I cannot wait until the inevitable all-Chicago World Series occurs sometime in the next three years.

Changing Speeds

In the last three days, I have enjoyed watching pitchers who are quite adept at changing speeds shut down their opponents. First José Quintana completely dominated the Marlins on Tuesday night, then Cole Hamels followed that up with a gem of his own on Wednesday. Last night, Kyle Freeland was masterful against the Phillies before leaving the game after six innings due to a recurring blister on his pitching hand. I hope Kyle Hendricks was taking notes. He needs a nice bounce-back game today against the Diamondbacks.

Cubs News & Notes

How About That!

Is there really any truth to the theory of the World Series hangover? At 6-13, it might be hard to convince the Red Sox and their fans that it is more myth than truth.

The Mariners blew an eight-run lead, and then rallied to beat the Angels 11-10 last night. Four Seattle relievers combined to give up seven runs after being staked to a 10-2 lead.

Christian Yelich and Cody Bellinger are good at baseball. Each went yard in yesterday’s Dodgers-Brewers game, the 10th of the season for both players.

Fernando Tatis Jr. is batting .281/.347/.578 through the first 18 games of his major league career. He is just the fifth player in baseball history 20 years old or younger to homer five times in his first 16 games, two more than any shortstop.

A’s slugger Khris Davis has signed a 2-year, $33.5M extension that will keep him in Oakland through 2021.

Thursday’s Three Stars

  1. Ryan McMahon – The Rockies’ first baseman hit a pair of home runs while going 3-for-5 with 5 RBI in Colorado’s 6-2 win over the Phillies.
  2. Ryon Healy – The Mariners slugging third baseman homered twice in four at-bats and plated five runs in Seattle’s dramatic win over the Angels.
  3. Julio Urias – Six innings of one-hit, shutout pitching with nine punchouts will get you on this list every time. The Dodgers young starter earned his first win of the season to boot.

Extra Innings

In an alternate universe, perhaps Maddon is the lead singer of an indie band with a young Theo Epstein playing guitar. And by the way, sorry I missed yesterday and thanks everyone for your concern. I just overslept and when I got to work I was so far behind after missing five days I couldn’t find time to sneak away and post something.

They Said It

  • “This is a chance God has provided to me, and I have to take advantage. To be honest I’m doing this out of obedience (to God). After baseball (ended) I didn’t want to come back, but this is God saying to me: “Play baseball again.” I don’t know if God will put me in the big leagues as a coach or a player, but I want to come back to the big leagues.” – Carlos Zambrano
  • “Put a name on so we can see who you talking bout bra.” – Tim Anderson
  • Guy, are you really responding to my tweet… SMH. It wasn’t intended for anyone specific but clearly you responding shows you’re guilty of something.” – Randal Grichuk
  • “[Anderson] is going to be who he is. He doesn’t do it to show anybody up. You clearly can tell that. You want him to not do that? Get him out.” – Rick Renteria

Friday Walk Up Song

Burning Down the House by Talking Heads. Let the kids play, for the love of Mike.

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