The Rundown: Lester Cementing Legacy, Shortstop Controversy(?), Cubs on MadBum’s No-Trade List, 3 AM Goes Yard Again

With no Cubs game yesterday and a light schedule across the league, it’s a quick one today.

The Cubs kick off a six-game road trip with three in Cincinnati against the Reds starting tonight. At 24-14, the Cubs have the best record in the National League. The Reds are in last place in the division despite a run differential of +30. Chicago has won its last eight series. Cincinnati has allowed the fewest runs in the National League so far this year and are 17-15 since dropping eight of their first nine games to start the season.

Look who leads the league in ERA at 1.16.

Jon Lester is the best free-agent signing the Cubs have ever made. It would be tough to argue against his career record of 64-32 since signing in Chicago. The veteran left-hander has an ERA+ of 128 as a Cub (373 so far this season!) if you feel wins and losses are a trivial statistic. He’s also been durable, taking the bump for 32 starts in each of the past four seasons. He could very well be on his way to his third NL All-Star appearance and sixth of his career.

Cubs News & Notes

How About That!

Shoehei Ohtani hit his first home run of the season last night. The two-way star is recovering from Tommy Jonh surgery and will not pitch at all this season.

Reds pitcher Luis Castillo has been the best starter in the National League this season. He has been worth 2.3 WAR already.

Bryce Harper has contributed more to the Phillies with his glove than his bat as of late. The right fielder now has 19 games with multiple strikeouts this season, most in the majors.

The longest active winning streak in baseball belongs to the Astros. They won their sixth consecutive game yesterday and may have the best offense in the history of the game.

Angels second baseman Tommy La Stella swatted his team-leading — and career-high — 10th home run last night. The six-year veteran has doubled his career home run total in 36 games this season.

For the second time this season (and his career), White Sox second baseman Yoán Moncada had a two-homer game.

The Brewers are really struggling to hit in games away from Miller Park this season.

Monday’s Three Stars

  1. Lorenzo Cain – The Brewers center fielder was 5-for-6 with an RBI and finished a home run shy of hitting for the cycle.
  2. Yoán Moncada – The all-purpose infielder was 3-for-4 last night with two home runs and now has 28 RBI on the season, leading the White Sox.
  3. Tommy La Stella – A power surge reminiscent of Scooter Gennett gets 3 AM on this list. La Stella was 3-for-5 last night and leads the Angels with 10 taters on the season.

On Deck

Best run differentials in baseball through roughly 1/4 of the season.

  1. Astros +69
  2. Rays +57
  3. Cubs +54
  4. Dodgers +53
  5. Twins +51

Extra Innings

Carlos Zambrano made his return to the mound in Chicago Saturday night. Big Z struck out two in an inning of work for the Chicago Dogs at Impact Field in Rosemont. Zambrano has his eye on returning to the major leagues as a relief pitcher. Stranger things have happened.

They Said It

  • We trust everybody on this team. So it’s really fun to be a part of.”Kris Bryant
  • “I just reacted to it. [Jose Berrios] has such good stuff. I just wanted to make sure I got him on the plate. I definitely didn’t want to expand the zone against a guy like that. I think it caught a decent part of the plate.” – Tommy La Stella
  • “You’ve got to stay focused on both sides of the ball, no matter your outcomes at the plate or anything like that. My pitchers need me, and I need to be playing to the best of my ability out there.” – Bryce Harper

Tuesday Walk Up Song

Hurt by Johnny Cash. The Man in Black takes this Nine Inch Nails song to a whole new level with arguably the best cover of all time. It’s the defining moment of the end of Johnny’s career without a doubt, a reflection of consequence and regret. If you don’t feel anything after listening to it you might be dead.

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