The Rundown: Taillon Stops Cubs’ Two-Game Skid, Morel Finally Goes Yard, Latest Injury Updates, White Sox Winning Streak Ends

“Tell the devil that he can go back from where he came. His fiery arrows drew their beat in vain.” – Brandon Flowers, Crossfire

The Cubs were being no-hit by Luis Severino until a broken-bat single by Dansby Swanson breathed a little life into Chicago’s non-existent offense. Christopher Morel won the game two innings later with a monstrous home run off of Mets closer Edwin Díaz. The Brewers lost and the Cubs, who set a record for wins through April, are now in first place.

Morel and Swanson weren’t Chicago’s only heroes. Jameson Taillon was nearly as masterful as Severino, allowing four hits in 7.1 innings and throwing 57 of his 78 pitches for strikes. The Cubs have won all three of Taillon’s starts since he returned from the IL. After being slowed by a back strain to start the season, he has posted a 1.50 ERA over 18 innings. The North Siders also stopped a two-game losing streak for the third time this season. That’s what Jed Hoyer is talking about when he calls his team resilient.

Give credit to Craig Counsell and Tommy Hottovy for preparing the team to fight adversity, too. The Cubs are down three starters but continue to ride outstanding performances by Taillon, Shōta Imanaga, and Javier Assad. Though sweeping any series is difficult, Chicago’s starters continue to give the team an opportunity to win each time they take the bump. That takes a lot of pressure off the bullpen and the lineup, especially when the team is being no-hit through seven innings.

The bullpen is still worrisome, however, and Héctor Neris made things interesting in the bottom of the 9th inning. He walked two of the first three batters he faced before striking out DJ Stewart and Brett Baty to end the game. It’s not too early for Hoyer to start looking for outside relief help, perhaps somebody like Tanner Scott of the Marlins or Red Sox closer Kenley Jansen. Mason Miller is the choice of fans on social media, but the A’s would want at least three top 10 prospects in return.

That said, the pitching staff will be a lot better once Justin Steele, Kyle Hendricks, Jordan Wicks, and Julian Merryweather return. The Cubs are also missing Seiya Suzuki and Cody Bellinger, yet they’re still in first place with 18 wins. Imagine what this team can do once everybody is fully healthy.

Apropos of Nothing

The video for Crossfire is brilliant, by the way. I hope you watched it.

Cubs News & Notes

Odds & Sods

Bill Murray, aka Peter Venkman, was apparently in New York to fight the ghosts of 1969, or so I’ve heard.

Central Intelligence

Climbing the Ladder

“Son, there’ll be times when the tides are high and the boat may be rocky. You can cry, just never give up, never give up.” – Shaggy, Hope

Morel’s last home run came April 9 and since then he’d been in a 16-game slump (.116/.217/.367) in which he’d posted a weak 14 wRC+ with just two extra-base hits. The third baseman is a streaky hitter, so he may go on a bit of a heater.

Mike Tauchman is quietly having a great season. He’s hitting .296/.432/.939 with a 163 OPS+ and is 10-for-32 (.313) with three home runs and seven RBI in the past week.

  • Games Played: 29
  • Record: 18-11 (.621), 1st place in NL Central
  • In One-Run Games: 4-5 (.444)
  • Total Plate Appearances: 1,094
  • Total Strikeouts: 253
  • Strikeout Rate: 23.12%
  • Team Batting Average: .241
  • With Runners in Scoring Position: 64-for-228 (.281)
  • Runs Scored: 147
  • Runs Allowed: 131
  • Pythagorean Record: 16-13
  • Chances of Making the Playoffs: 88.3%, 5.2% chance to win World Series 

How About That!

The Orioles have a reputation for developing quality young hitters, including Jordan Westburg and Colton Cowser.

The Rockies are promoting their No. 4 prospect, Jordan Beck, to the big leagues.

Have you ever wished you could get a ballpark dog delivered to your home while you’re watching your favorite team on television? Now you can.

That said, is Giordano’s Pizza better at Wrigley Field than it is at one of the franchise restaurants? I don’t think so.

The Dodgers defeated the Diamondbacks 8-4 without striking out once. That hasn’t happened in the majors since 2006.

A trip to Mexico City may have helped the Astros break out of their early season funk.

The Angels designated veteran outfielder Aaron Hicks for assignment.

More on the Twins’ rally sausage, in case watching Rocco Baldelli trying to keep a straight face while discussing it wasn’t enough.

The White Sox win streak is over, but it was fun while it lasted.

Chicago’s South Side Baseballers have a new hashtag courtesy of excitable play-by-play announcer John Schriffen.

Monday’s Three Stars

  1. Justin Turner – The veteran third baseman rocketed two home runs off of Royals starter Jonathan Bowlan in the Blue Jays’ 6-5 win over Kansas City.
  2. Ryan Pepiot – Tampa Bay’s underrated starter blanked the Brewers on two hits over six innings with seven punchouts. The Rays’ 1-0 win knocked Milwaukee out of first place.
  3. Bryce Miller – The Mariners starter held the Braves to two hits over seven innings of one-run ball with 10 strikeouts in a 2-1 win.

Extra Innings

The Cubs are in first place despite having nine players on their roster who started the season at Triple-A Iowa.

Tuesday Morning Six-Pack

  1. Bears GM Ryan Poles and head coach Matt Eberflus are pretty happy with this year’s draft haul.
  2. No one is above making fourth-grade jokes, not even the Mets. After 97-year-old Seymour Weiner went viral as the team’s Veteran of the Game on Opening Day, the organization partnered with Weiner to promote Dollar Dog Night tonight at Citi Field.
  3. Taylor Swift unbelievably held the top 14 spots in last week’s Billboard Hot 100 chart. The weekly chart was updated again today and Swift continued her domination, though two songs are collaborations, including No. 1 Fortnight featuring Post Malone. Benson Boone is first runner-up at No. 15 with the song Beautiful Things.
  4. NASA released its top photos of the past year, and all are breathtaking, so I promise the slideshow is worth your time.
  5. Some smart engineers used the concept of a table leaf to make a gigantic cruise ship bigger, and the video is fascinating. Oh, how I long for the days of tearing into the side of my home with a Sawzall to add a new window or two.
  6. I asked myself why passengers always board a plane on the left and Google found my answer. This internet thing is cracking good fun.

Gone in 60 Seconds

I was sitting on my balcony last night listening to the Cubs game when I saw my car speed away! It was stolen. I only had liability insurance so it’s a total loss. If you know of anyone selling a car let me know. I’ll even travel anywhere to get it. I don’t particularly appreciate shopping for new cars and I don’t trust strangers. My budget is on the light side of miniscule so I just need something dependable.

Sliding Into Home

I need a recommendation for good but not-so-pricey champagne. I’ve got the rest of the list covered.

They Said It

  • “It was seven (no-hit) innings and it was 1-0. That’s the big thing. That’s a credit to [Taillon]. You’re in it. No matter what’s going on — you’re getting no-hit, it doesn’t look good — but you’re one run away from it being a different game. We got a great pitching performance tonight that fortunately got us through the other team’s great pitching performance.” – Counsell
  • “The bat died a hero.” – Swanson
  • “I’m always ready for the fastball. Regardless of what the count is, regardless of what the situation is, I’m always ready for the fastball.” – Morel
  • “There’s not going to be any formula. You go out every night and compete. We got an incredible pitching performance tonight, and in the end, we got a big hit. That was enough because we pitched so well.” – Counsell

Tuesday Walk-Up Song

The Cubs are going to have a special season, and the future is even brighter. Let’s all enjoy the ride.

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