The Rundown: Cubs Back in First, Báez Most Exciting Player in Baseball, Schwarber Goes Apollo, Third Rounder Michael McAvene Could Be Special

Back in first place, just like that. And how about Kyle Schwarber and his 50th anniversary tribute to Apollo 11? Has that ball come down yet?

“That’s one small step for a man…one giant leap for mankind.” – Neil Armstrong

Kyle Hendricks was fantastic, finishing the game with ten punch outs. Javy Báez, Steve Cishek, Pedro Strop, and Carlos González were also keys in the Cubs 6-3 drubbing of the Rockies. Combined with the Brewers’ ugly 16-0 loss to the Marlins, the Cubs find themselves winners of two straight and back atop the Central Division.

And…I think we have a music theme for the month. Let’s go with songs from the summer of ’69, which was also one of my first experiences with Cub fandom. If you didn’t know it, I’m a huge fan of anything that has to do with NASA except those conspiracy theories that say the moon landings were faked. Bite your tongues.

Side note: If you haven’t seen the recent Apollo 11 in HD documentary, I highly recommend it.

Cubs News & Notes

How About That!

Six players from top-ranked UCLA were chosen in the first 10 rounds of the draft, including Chase Strumpf, who the Cubs grabbed in round two.

A base-running gaffe has cost Andrew McCutchen the rest of the 2019 season. The Phillies outfielder has a torn ACL.

Commissioner Rob Manfred doesn’t expect major league teams to add foul pole-to-foul pole protective netting during the season.

Tigers’ slugger Miguel Cabrera is owed $162 million through 2023 and has a bum knee that may prevent him from playing the field this season, if ever again. Despite a grand slam and five RBI last night, that’s a helluva lot of cabbage to pay a one-dimensional player who has little power left in that bat.

Tuesday’s Three Stars

  1. Pedro Severino – The Orioles catcher blasted three home runs and five RBI in Baltimore’s 12-11 win over the Rangers, then made an incredible throw to first on a wild pitch strikeout to save the game.
  2. Dwight Smith, Jr. – The son of the former Rookie of the Year runner-up led the Orioles’ offensive onslaught with six RBI of his own. He was 3-for-4, including his 11th dinger of the season.
  3. Kyle Hendricks – Seven innings of three-run baseball with 10 strikeouts. The Professor was dealing last night and even drove in the Cubs’ first run. He was so excited by the performance, he actually showed a little emotion afterwards.

On Deck

McAvene became a bit of a viral sensation over the weekend after he was ejected from a regional game in the NCAA Tournament. The reliever disagreed with an umpire’s strike zone and was tossed for saying, “That’s horrible.” The ejection triggered a four-game suspension that will carry over into the super regional portion of the tournament.

Extra Innings

McAvene not only has a power arm, but closing experience in very meaningful games to boot, and could be fast tracked to the majors as a back-end bullpen addition for the Cubs as early as next season. He’s also just a tad intense. He’ll make a lot of fans in Chicago with this kind of baseball filth. He could be special.

They Said It

  • “When you crush a ball, that’s when everything feels good.” – Javier Báez
  • “[Javy Báez] is just the most exciting player in baseball. He does things on the field that it’s just, there’s no explanation. He can do things with his hands. He can do things with his sliding. He’s really smart. It’s fun to watch, and I’m really happy to be part of the team that he’s playing [on].” – Carlos González
  • “You’re going to run into rough patches where like the first nine games for whatever reason, you keep losing. That’s part of baseball. Everyone in this room knows and one thing Joe always has preached you win easy and lose hard for 30 minutes and move onto the next one. You start looking back and over your shoulder, you’re kind of looking at the wrong things.” – Jon Lester

Wednesday Walk Up Song

Hot Fun in the Summertime by Sly & The Family Stone. The return of warm weather, a mammoth blast from Schwarber, Hendricks fans 10 batters, and the Cubs recapture first place. Yes, that’s hot fun in the summertime

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