The Rundown: Cubs Stun Brewers, Swanson Hurt, Expected Ohtani Courtship Could Define Team’s Future

“We’re gettin’ off today. We’ll pick you up and take you away.” – Boston, Smokin’

Yesterday’s stunning 4-3 win over the Brewers might have been the Cubs’ best game of the season. Mike Tauchman was the hero, but Cody Bellinger and Jared Young set up the leadoff hitter with great at-bats against All-Star closer Devin Williams. Heads-up baserunning by Tauchman proved to be the difference maker, and Adbert Alzolay was electric in closing out the win.

Chicago will send Marcus Stroman to the hill against Milwaukee this afternoon with a chance to take three of four in what is becoming one of baseball’s better rivalries. It’s a great day to play hooky from work and catch a game, though I’ll admit to no such crime if questioned.

Cubs News & Notes

Odds & Sods

Nationals manager Dave Martinez sure sounds like a guy who was fed a shovelful of shit.

Central Intelligence

Climbing the Ladder

“Oh Daddy, if I can make you see. If there’s been a fool around then it’s got to be me.” – Fleetwood Mac, Oh Daddy

Chicago’s Pythagorean record is inverse of its actual record, but that only tells part of the story. The Cubs are 9-0 this season against the Pirates and A’s, and they’ve outscored them 74-17 in those wins. They’re 31-45 against the rest of the league with a -57 run differential. The front office should be buyers at the deadline because the NL Central is very winnable, but you can’t blame Hoyer for his tepid suggestion that he needs to see a little more from this team.

  • Games Played: 85
  • Record: 40-45 (.471)
  • Total Plate Appearances: 3,261
  • Total Strikeouts: 776
  • Strikeout Rate: 23.80%
  • Team Batting Average: .249
  • Runs Scored: 392
  • Runs Allowed: 368
  • Chances of Making the Playoffs: 34.8%,  1.4% to win the World Series

How About That!

Yankees RHP Jimmy Cordero has been suspended for the rest of the season because he violated the league’s domestic violence policy.

White Sox OF Luis Robert Jr. will participate in this year’s Home Run Derby and he’ll face Orioles catcher Adley Rutschman in the first round. Pete Alonso will, unfortunately, face Julio Rodríguez in Round One, and that’s a shame because one will be immediately eliminated.

Max Scherzer could be the most-coveted player at this year’s trade deadline and heads a list that also includes Bellinger and Yan Gomes. Stroman was not included, however, and neither was Kyle Hendricks.

43-year-old Pirates starter Rich Hill could be targeted by the Dodgers.

Bryce Harper will move to Knoxville, TN this offseason, continuing a trend of star players moving to the Volunteer State.

The league announced it will debut its new virtual ballpark on Saturday with a celebrity softball game. Fans will be able to create an avatar, customizable with their favorite MLB team’s jersey, to enter the virtual ballpark, participate in the live-event experience, explore the ballpark, and interact with the other users around them.

Wednesday’s Three Stars

  1. Pablo López – The Twins’ starter threw a rare complete-game shutout at the Royals, striking out 12 batters in the process.
  2. Yainer Diaz – The Houston catcher hit two home runs and plated three runners in the Astros’ 6-4 win over the Rockies.
  3. Esteury Ruiz– The Athletics outfielder was 2-for-4 with two RBI and a stolen base, his 43rd of the season.

Extra Innings

When we say that baseball is timeless, it’s videos like this that prove us right.

Thursday Morning Six-Pack

  1. I’m sad that I’ve only recently discovered the song “Time to Move On” by Tom Petty, but it has quickly become one of my favorites.
  2. On this day in 1957, Paul McCartney (age 15) first met John Lennon (16) at a garden party at St. Peter’s, Woolton’s Parish Church in Liverpool. It’s been called a chance encounter that changed the course of history. I highly recommend the movie “Nowhere Boy” in case you haven’t seen it. Now go watch it.
  3. Speaking of McCartney and Lennon, Mick Jagger takes the riff from “In Spite of All the Danger” but adds a crap ton of muscle to it on the song “Checkin’ Up on My Baby.” Taj Mahal and Gary Moore also covered the song.
  4. Mahal is of course more famous for the timeless “Lovin’ in My Baby’s Eyes.” 
  5. If you liked that song, may I recommend a little Leftover Salmon? I promise you’ll love the “Nashville Sessions” album. It’s almost like a bluesy cross between Grateful Dead and Widespread Panic, with a bit of cajun zydeco tossed in for good measure.
  6. The song “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere” by Oscar Isaac is also a recent discovery of mine, and I can’t get enough of it. Isaac’s lyrics are fantastic, and you won’t find many pop songs that mention Genghis Khan and Gunga Din.

They Said It

  • “Our job is to try to win baseball games. Obviously, division games are important. But we just played the Guardians. We’re going to play the Yankees. Those wins matter, too. It’s also not just the Brewers. We’re just trying to play good baseball every day. Decisions like that — all we can control is our preparation and being ready to go.”  – Tauchman
  • “The leaders of this group continue to show up. They don’t waver. [It’s] not making excuses about scheduling and all the stuff that we’ve been through as of late. They continue to fight. [Seeing] their intensity and their preparation, that’s all you can ask for as a manager. That stands out to me. Because if you don’t have good character in there, you quit. We don’t have quitters.” – Ross
  • “We show up every day. We put our hard hats on, and we go to work, no matter what. It’s throughout the entire clubhouse. I feel like everybody is here pulling on the same rope. That’s what’s important.” – Steele
  • “When you look at a lot of underlying numbers, we absolutely should be in the division race right now. That’s the truth of the matter. Now, that doesn’t matter. They don’t put a banner up based on underlying numbers. We have to translate that into wins and losses. We haven’t done that well enough.” – Hoyer

Thursday Walk-Up Song

I will see Collective Soul on Friday night for the first time, and I hear they’ve been fantastic on tour.

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