The Rundown: Blame Hoyer Not Ross, Hendricks Should Return This Homestand, Morel Playing at Historic Level

“I woke up in a Soho doorway a policeman knew my name. He said, ‘You can go sleep at home tonight if you can get up and walk away.'” – The Who, Who Are You

My health struggles have been a little too scary lately but I feel like I’m turning a corner. It’s good to be back, and it’s especially lovely to write again. That said, I’m going to ease into it today, so there will be more substance and less verbiage than usual. I’ll be back to a regular column tomorrow, provided I continue to improve.

The volume and velocity of #FireDavidRoss posts on Twitter suggest Cubs fans are in high panic mode, while the cumulative anger and angst are in redline territory. Honestly, I’d rather write than read that shit. Ross makes his share of mistakes, but I’d be willing to bet he’s not among the worst strategists in baseball.

Odds & Sods

I’d give anything to have grown up when Don Drysdale and Mickey Mantle were in their primes.

Climbing the Ladder

“Crazy laughter in another room and she drove herself to madness with a silver spoon.” – The Eagles, Witchy Woman

These are the things Ross can’t control:

The way I see it, the Cubs have no depth, a shaky bullpen (I’m being nice), and a hole in the middle of the rotation. Taillon will right himself in his next start, I promise, but it looks like Jed Hoyer’s two-year heater of piecemealing his bullpen with reclamation projects has hit a very abrupt cold streak. The offensive depth is an issue too, especially when you consider that Trey Mancini is the only regular playing below league average.

Additionally, the top of the rotation has been freaky good. You can’t ask much more of Justin Steele (199 ERA+), Drew Smyly (153), and Marcus Stroman (143). Kyle Hendricks is returning at just the right time, and don’t forget, the very hittable — at least so far — Hayden Wesneski will be back once he figures out how to miss bats at Iowa. Fire Rossy? I think this is all on Hoyer.

A deep dive into analytics is unnecessary. Hoyer deserves an A+ for restocking the farm and a D- for MLB roster construction. Don’t stare at these Cubs for too long because you may turn into a pillar of salt. Just don’t forget that the team is still in transition, and that includes its skipper, who legitimately has one real MLB season and change on his managerial résumé.

Cubs and MLB News & Notes

Extra Innings

Christopher Morel has eight home runs and a 1.352 OPS in 11 games. It’s fair to say he is currently taking MLB pitchers to task because Hoyer started his prized sophomore at Iowa.

Tuesday Morning Six-Pack

Here are six albums I’ve been clinging to in my convalescence, and I recommend that you give all a listen this week. Further, please check out rock photographer Ethan Russell on his website and on Twitter. His work is a veritable history of rock and roll.

  1. Hasten Down the Wind by Linda Ronstadt
  2. Gold-Diggers Sound by Leon Bridges
  3. Slip Stitch and Pass by Phish
  4. Black and Blue by The Rolling Stones
  5. Echo in the Canyon by Jakob Dylan, Beck, Regina Spektor, Norah Jones, and Jade Castrinos
  6. Steely Dan Box Set, specifically for the 1974 live version (and accompanying introduction by drunk rig driver Jerome Aniton) of Bodhisattva

They Said It

  • “I don’t think Hoyer views Ross as a placeholder and I don’t think he’s anywhere near being on the hot seat.” – Sadahev Sharma, in his most recent mailbag article ($) for The Athletic
  • “Every single decision that doesn’t work out has come back to haunt us. And, that’s not really how the game is usually played. Usually, there’s a two-run homer or three-run homer, or a big inning that will give the manager and team some breathing room. We haven’t had that, and we’ve been playing close game after close game.” – Hoyer

Tuesday Walk-Up Song

I wouldn’t say no to sweeping the Mets if you’re asking. By the way, I love that Eric Clapton had to restring his guitar in the middle of this performance.

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