The Rundown: Cubs Drop Reds With 9th-Inning KO, Báez Scolds Garrett, Chafin Traded to A’s, Nationals Shopping Almost Everybody

“Toes in the grass with our hands up high, dream as big as the midnight sky, so untamed and we’re so alive tonight.” – Billy Currington, We Are Tonight

Instant Replay

The Cubs couldn’t have packed more emotion into a four-hour window last night even had they scripted it. Here’s a succinct recap:

  1. Anthony Rizzo blasted a two-run homer in the 1st inning, scoring Kris Bryant, who reached first base thanks to a scorching line drive that Reds starter Wade Miley couldn’t grab. Once again, Bryzzo fails to disappoint.
  2. Kyle Hendricks was pretty bad last night. If the Cubs have had one guarantee this season, it’s been the Professor. He left the game after 4.1 innings trailing 5-3, his streak of 13 starts without a loss in real jeopardy.
  3. Out of nowhere, but not unexpectedly, Jed Hoyer pulled off a trade during the game with the Athletics that sent reliever Andrew Chafin to Oakland for two prospects.
  4. A booming home run by Willson Contreras tied the game in the 8th inning.
  5. Javier Báez, who was sitting due to a bruised heel, hammered a dramatic walk-off hit against arch-enemy Amir Garrett in the bottom of the 9th. It was one of the more confrontational at-bats you’ll ever see. Báez entered the batter’s box chirping very loudly at Garrett and then proceeded to drive the first pitch into deep centerfield with the bases loaded to score Patrick Wisdom, giving the North Siders a hard-earned 6-5 win.

In all likelihood, the Reds and the Cubs won’t make the postseason, but last night sure felt like a playoff game and, if anything, it proved that two mediocre baseball teams can stage an epic battle even if pride is all that’s on the line. It was a nice lesson, too, for those of us concerned that Wrigley Field won’t be worth the price of admission once we are sitting on the other side of Friday’s trade deadline.

Hoyer did well in the Chafin trade, getting Greg Deichmann, who was Oakland’s No. 9 prospect, and fireballing – though unproven – right-hander Daniel Palencia. With Joc Pederson gone, and now Chafin, Hoyer has managed to somewhat strengthen his farm system by giving up guys on the fringe of the roster. Both have mutual options next year, but it’s unlikely either would have been exercised by all parties.

The Cubs’ president of baseball operations isn’t done yet. And if he’s trading any of the core players, he has yet to commit to that. Word came late last night that baseball insiders believe Hendricks and Báez will remain in Chicago past the deadline. That jibes with Hoyer’s plan to avoid a complete teardown and rebuild, and probably signifies that he and his star shortstop are close to working out an extension. More than likely, the Cubs will deal from their bullpen and possibly starter Zach Davies. It’s unlikely Craig Kimbrel will stay, and he may have pitched his last game as a Cub in earning the win last night.

In the meantime, it’s business as usual at Clark & Addison. If Báez starts tonight, I’d imagine the Reds have some type of retaliation planned. This week has started with quite a bang, and it doesn’t appear things are going to simmer down anytime soon.

Cubs News & Notes

Odds & Sods

The river runs deep, and often quite muddy, between El Mago and Garrett.

Climbing the Ladder

“What they don’t understand is it’s the miles that make a man, I wouldn’t trade that thing in for a rocket…” – Dierks Bentley, I Hold On

  • Games Played: 101
  • Total Plate Appearances: 3,705
  • Total Strikeouts: 968
  • Strikeout Rate: 26.1%
  • Team Batting Average: .227

The Cubs pounded out 12 hits last night, including two home runs, and were 4-for-13 with runners in scoring position.

How About That!

Several teams have been in touch with the Nationals about shortstop Trea Turner, sources tell Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post. Given the history between the two teams, I’d bet the White Sox are in play here.

The Nationals will reportedly listen to offers for any of their players except Juan Soto.

The Astros need relief pitching badly. They blew a 7-0 lead against the Mariners last night. Paging Mr. Hoyer.

Angels manager Joe Madden says Shohei Ohtani is the league’s MVP “and it’s not even close.”

Jud Fabian, a second-round pick of the Red Sox in this year’s draft, reportedly won’t sign a contract. Fabian was tied to the Cubs in a lot of pre-draft mocks.

Twins owner Jom Pohlad said his team is “absolutely not” going to enter a teardown/rebuild stage this season.

Pohlad’s comments have not prevented the Dodgers and Padres from inquiring about Minnesota ace José Berríos.

Though Byron Buxton couldn’t reach an extension agreement with the Twins, he’d like to remain in Minnesota.

Adam Frazier is excited to join the Padres, calling his new teammates the “most exciting to watch in baseball.” Imagine getting traded from Pittsburgh to San Diego. That’s like winning the Powerball twice.

The Pirates and Yankees completed a trade yesterday. New York received relief pitcher Clay Holmes for prospects Diego Castillo and Hoy-Jun Park.

The Cleveland Guardians may face a legal battle from a roller derby team for their new nickname.

Monday’s Three Stars

  1. Jorge Soler – The former Cubs outfielder hit two home runs for the Royals last night, the second consecutive game in which he’s had a pair of round-trippers. Kansas City upended the White Sox 4-3 and are riding a 6-game winning streak.
  2. Javier Báez – A game-winning RBI and that epic slow stroll to first base. Watch your head today, Javy!
  3. Andrew McCutchen – The Phillies outfielder went 2-for-4 with a game-winning three-run jack off of Brad Hand in the top of the 9th. That’s a good night.

Extra Innings

I blame the uncertainty of possibly having to leave Chicago for Rizzo’s up-and-down season. He has yet to have his signature hot streak, but if the last two games are any indication, he’s warming up quite nicely. Perhaps it’s just the specter of playing in what might be his last homestand with the Cubs. That said, he’s really raking against lefties this year.

They Said It

  • “One bad outing and I get traded?” Andrew Chafin, jokingly, to David Ross
  • “[Chafin] is a culture changer. This guy’s been a leader in the bullpen. The way he takes the ball, right- or left(-handed hitter), it doesn’t matter what situation I’m bringing him in, it’s the same stuff. It’s the same heartbeat. We’re going to miss him.” – Ross

Tuesday Walk-Up Song

Lettin’ the Night Roll by Justin More – Country selections today in honor of “Big Country” Chafin. The dude always felt like he was one of us, and we tend to endear ourselves strongly to those types of players. He will be missed.

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