The Rundown: Comeback Cubs Drop Rox, Crow-Armstrong Debuts, Brewers Stay Hot, Ohtani Hurt Again

“We’re absolute beginners with eyes completely open, but nervous all the same.” – David Bowie, Absolute Beginners

Has David Bowie ever written a bad song? Just asking before I get started.

The Cubs, who have become a nice mix of seasoned veterans and talented first- and second-year players, snatched victory from the jaws of defeat on Monday evening. Chicago’s 5-4 win over the Rockies featured big performances from 36-year-old Yan Gomes, rookie Jordan Wicks, who is now entrenched in the team’s rotation, and Christopher Morel, who hit a gargantuan home run in the 5th inning. Drew Smyly picked up the win in relief and Pete Crow-Armstrong made his big league debut.

The addition of Crow-Armstrong was inevitable. He offers skills that can be difference-makers in the postseason and the push to get there. The rookie plays 80-grade defense and can steal a base or two, though he was nabbed last night thanks to a nifty play by third baseman Ryan McMahon.

Wicks turned in another stellar start. The lefty allowed just one run on three hits with two strikeouts over six innings of work and exited with a 1.99 ERA through four starts. Wicks was pulled after 97 pitches, but he looks effortless on the mound and didn’t appear at all gassed. He deserved the win, but José  Cuas coughed up a 3-1 lead in his first truly poor performance since coming to Chicago.

Nevertheless, Gomes was the star of Monday’s win. He was 3-for-4 with three RBI, including a game-winning two-run single in the top of the 9th. The veteran catcher has been invaluably clutch all season.

Javier Assad takes the bump tonight facing Chris Flexen and his unsightly 7.36 ERA. Flexen, a righty, gave up six runs in 2.1 innings in his last start. Ross could give Crow-Armstrong the start and put Cody Bellinger at first base in what is a favorable matchup for the rookie on paper.

Cubs News & Notes

Odds & Sods

Alek Manoah might be trying to make a statement, but he’s not going to win many fans by doing so.

Central Intelligence

Climbing the Ladder

“Straddle the line in discord and rhyme, I’m on the hunt, I’m after you.” – Duran Duran, Hungry Like the Wolf

The Cubs are now 60-9 when they outhit their opponent, they’re 20-20 in one-run games, and last night marked their third win when entering the 9th inning trailing the opposition. Chicago is now 36-20 (.643) since the All-Star break and 25-14 (.641) since August 1. The only time the Cubs have led the Brewers in the standings was after a 4-0 Opening Day win, but they need to make their move during this final soft spot of their schedule.

Dansby Swanson had two hits and a stolen base last night and has seven hits in his last 15 at-bats. Cubs batters struck out just twice and the team’s strikeout rate has dropped significantly since mid-July.

  • Games Played: 145
  • Record: 78-67 (.538)
  • Total Plate Appearances: 5,537
  • Total Strikeouts: 1,254
  • Strikeout Rate: 22.64%
  • Team Batting Average: .254
  • Runs Scored: 730
  • Runs Allowed: 631
  • Chances of Making the Playoffs90.7%, 3.9% to win the World Series

How About That!

The Braves are the best team in baseball, but their bullpen is one potential postseason weakness, according to John Smoltz.

Shohei Ohtani, who will need offseason elbow surgery, missed his eighth straight game due to an oblique injury.

Julio Rodríguez joined the 30-30 club after belting a home run on Monday night. He and Álex Rodríguez are the only Mariners to achieve that milestone, and both did so before their age-23 seasons.

Taijuan Walker is struggling and he may lose his spot in the Phillies’ playoff rotation.

The Brewers recalled former MVP Josh Donaldson for the stretch run.

The Rangers once seemed like a lock to win the AL West before losing eight straight and 16 of 20 games.

Mets manager Buck Showalter said opposing teams will “step on your neck and laugh while you’re bleeding” when your team struggles.

Monday’s Three Stars

  1. Matt Olson – The Atlanta slugger was 2-for-3 with two homers and four RBI in the Braves’ 7-5 loss to the Phillies. Olson now has 50 home runs on the season, and the two teams split a doubleheader.
  2. Brandon Woodruff – The Brewers starter tossed a complete game shutout at the Marlins with seven strikeouts.
  3. Yoshinobu Yamamoto – The Japanese star tossed a no-hitter with executives from several teams, including the Cubs, in attendance. Yamamoto extended his scoreless streak to 42 innings in the 4-0 win.

Extra Innings

I love that Pat Hughes called Morel’s blast two pitches before it happened.

Tuesday Morning Six-Pack

  1. Disney, which had been withholding its channels, including ESPN and ABC, from the cable company’s ~15 million Spectrum subscribers while the two hashed out a new rate deal, reached an agreement with Charter.
  2. The blackout ended just in time for subscribers to witness what may be a season-ending injury for Jets QB Aaron Rodgers.
  3. Walter Isaacson recently dropped a 688-page biography of Elon Musk that isn’t titled “tl:dr,” though it should be, and he’s already been accused of fabricating stories in the long-winded tome.
  4. Jelly company J.M. Smucker announced yesterday that it is buying the purveyor of plastic-wrapped cakes, Hostess Brands, for $5.6 billion. That’s a lot of Twinkies, Ding-Dongs, Sno-Balls, and Ho-Hos. The deal could be potentially lucrative. Indulgent snacks have grown 20% faster than healthy ones in the last three years, per CEO Mark Smucker.
  5. The FDA approved updated Covid booster vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna that target the most current strain. The shots will be available by the middle of the month.
  6. Guitarist Brian May of Queen is very apprehensive about the rise of artificial intelligence in songwriting.

They Said It

  • “We have an amazing locker room. We have such a good group of veterans that are easy to talk to and you can approach and hang out with them. The culture of rookie and veteran [being separated] are kind of in the past.” – Smyly
  • “I think you need youth and you also need experience.  But also, what do I know about how a big league club works, right? I’m just finding my way.” – Crow-Armstrong
  • “I think [Pete’s] a really good fit for us — big outfield here. Definitely can play some defense, and steal a base. He’ll get some starts mixed in, trying to slide him — we’re not gonna force anything. We’ve got a group of guys that have gotten us here, but he can definitely help us out. He didn’t have a chance to showcase his skills, but really nice bunt there late and roaming center field. I’m sure he was happy to be part of a win and hopefully, he’ll be a part of a lot more.” – Ross
  • “I gave [Canario] a crappy pinch hit, to be honest, and gave him one at-bat and it’s not how you envision your debut going, but I know he’ll be back. He’ll be back at some point, ready to help us, have a long really career, helping us out. Didn’t go as planned to start, but we’re in the middle of a playoff race and just wasn’t a lot of room for him.” – Ross

Tuesday Walk-Up Song

Artificial intelligence offers an entirely different meaning to this song. Freddie Mercury left us nearly 32 years ago. Time passes so quickly, doesn’t it?

Back to top button