The Rundown: Rox Finale Gets a Little ‘Spicy,’ Hamels and Schwarber Rolling, Big Papi Was Targeted, Cishek Not So Much

The Cubs vented yesterday and put the Rockies through a little shock and awe with a 10-1 victory in Colorado yesterday to avoid the sweep.

Whether they just got tired of getting beat up or being constantly thrown at, the Cubs flexed their muscles and rode a great pitching performance by Cole Hamels to ice the Rockies at Coors Field. That ended Colorado’s 10-game home winning streak, while snapping a losing streak on the other side. The Cubs had lost five consecutive road games heading into yesterday’s matinee tilt.

Anthony Rizzo was appreciative that Javy Báez had his back in the 8th inning after Rizzo was hit by a pitch in the previous at bat. Báez was nearly hit in the head by a 3rd-inning pitch from Rockies starter Antonio Senzatela.

“I would say he watched that one a little extra, which is nice,” Rizzo said. “When you think something is intentional and you get them back, it feels a little bit better.”

Nice to serve up a little meatloaf like you own the school cafeteria for a change, though it’s no consolation for losing the series. Hamels was absolutely magnificent, and with nine punchouts he is just two shy of 2,500 for his career. The lefty has been exceptionally good over his last three starts.

The Cubs head to Los Angeles for a four-game set with the Dodgers starting tonight and Jon Lester will take the bump, facing Clayton Kershaw. I’m calling for a sweep by the Cubs. They’re a little mad right now and opposing teams usually pay when that happens.

Cubs News & Notes

  • Kyle Schwarber rarely hits a cheap home run. Yesterday he launched a three-run bomb that traveled 432 feet with an exit velocity of 107.9 MPH. With a slash line of .381/.409/.1.171 over his last seven games, Schwarber has been raking. His strikeout rate for the season is a career best 27%.
  • Cubs and Rockies pitchers each hit two opposing batters yesterday, though both sides claimed none were intentional. Nolan Arenado was removed from the game after taking a pitch to the forearm from Hamels in the 3rd. In the seventh inning the veteran left-hander was hit in the ankle by Rockies reliever Bryan Shaw, after the game was basically out of reach. “Those balls are hard,” Hamels said. “They don’t feel too good.”
  • Arenado promised a “spicy series” when the two teams meet again. Both appear to be playoff-bound this season.
  • Brad Brach hit catcher Tony Wolters during 9th-inning mop-up duty and was surprisingly not ejected, maybe just because he has been so awful lately. Luckily, Brach is done with the Rockies this year unless he ends up pitching for another team. Colorado entered the game with a batting average of .889 this season against the beleaguered reliever. The Cubs remain mystified with Brach’s inability to close out at-bats.
  • Cubs batters have been hit 36 times this season, and were tied for most in the National League entering Wednesday’s game.
  • Despite their excellent starting rotations, the focus during the Cubs-Dodgers series will be on both teams’ bullpens.

How About That!

St. Louis fans hung around in the rain at Busch Stadium so that they could cheer on the Blues during their Game 7 victory over the Bruins in the Stanley Cup final. That was a bittersweet moment for Cardinals players after the Marlins destroyed them 9-0 in Miami, I’m sure.

Five individuals have been arrested for what appears to be a sanctioned hit against former Red Sox slugger David Ortiz. Big Papi is convalescing in a Boston hospital. The assailants were reportedly paid approximately $7,800 to kill Ortiz. A motive is still not known.

Longtime Cardinals’ coach José Oquendo thinks St. Louis is just not hungry enough right now.

The Yankees still seem to be lukewarm at best on Giants starter Madison Bumgarner, but reinforcements are coming to New York one way or another. Giancarlo Stanton is finishing up his minor league rehab stint in Class-A Tampa.

Missed this last week, but Pirates announcer Steve Blass was way off base for criticizing Braves outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. for his accessory choices.

This Astros starter is very good at baseball.

Mike Moustakas hit a dramatic 14th-inning home run to lead the Brewers over Houston last night.

Wednesday’s Three Stars

  1. Justin Verlander – The Astros ace struck out a career-high 15 batters in seven innings against the Brewers yesterday. He also gave up three home runs, and became the first pitcher in the live-ball era to allow three home runs and strike out 15 batters in the same game.
  2. Ramón Laureano – The 24-year-old A’s outfielder is quickly becoming one of the most exciting players in baseball. Last night he was 2-for-4 with the grand slam, five RBI and two stolen bases.
  3. Cole Hamels – The lefty was magnificent, holding the Rockies scoreless with nine strikeouts against six hits and a single walk in seven innings pitched.

Extra Innings

No disrespect to Steve Cishek or Brandon Kintzler, and I hope Cishek is alright, but this looks like something from This Week in Baseball’s blooper reels. Also, I can neither confirm nor deny that Brach pulled a Jeff Gillooly and paid Kintzler so that Brach could keep a roster spot open to avoid being potentially cut.

That’s a joke. Don’t run with it to social media, please and thank you. Actually, Cishek might want to work a little with his glove hand while he is recuperating.

They Said It

  • “I kind of had a feeling [being hit by a pitch] was going to happen. I don’t have to explain what’s going on. You saw the games in Chicago. You saw them here. It’s baseball. I just thought it was a little high. If you were here for the series you saw what was going on.”Nolan Arenado
  • “Both sides were pitching aggressive inside. I was definitely surprised [Brach wasn’t ejected], that’s for sure.”Tony Wolters
  • “Rizzo gets hit a lot. [Bryant] gets hit a lot. I’ve always had a [policy] as a hitting coach. You have two options: Go to the mound or go to first base. But don’t sit there and jabber. Make up your mind and do one or the other and either one is fine. But you have two choices. For the most part to this point, our guys have gone to first base, and I respect that.”Joe Maddon

Thursday Walk Up Song

Something in the Air by Thunderclap Newman. I don’t know why, I just have a good feeling about the Cubs as they head to L.A. to face the Dodgers. This is one of my favorite songs from 1969, in case you were wondering.

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