The Rundown Lite: Cubs Mount Comebacks, Ohtani Crushes Skenes, Canter Pulls Through

I’ve got neither the time nor the ability to put together the type of column you’re used to seeing from the inimitable Michael Edward Canter, so I’m not going to try. However, I did want to have something here in honor of our longtime tentpole writer because it looks like Mike made it out the other side of a pretty serious procedure yesterday. As he noted previously, he may creep the comments even if he’s not up to writing again for a while.

Did the Cubs do him a solid by winning a pair of tight games against the Sox or was that taxing on his ticker? I’d guess we’ll find out soon enough. Their pair of 7-6 victories, each of which saw the Cubs trailing by at least four runs, were both alarming and, pun intended, heartening. While it was not enjoyable to see a combination of poor defense and spotty pitching dig early holes, the fact that they came roaring back on consecutive nights rekindled some of the hope that was lost over the month of May.

Of course, that could all go out the window if they lay another egg in Cincinnati like they did when the Reds visited Chicago. But let’s focus on some of the good things instead. Christopher Morel got a knock on a hard-hit grounder last night after blasting a homer on Tuesday, proof that his luck may be turning. Dansby Swanson has six hits in his last six games after collecting that many in his previous 14 games. Ian Happ has a 193 wRC+ since May 21 and is heading to a ballpark where he always seems to rake.

Could we all point to things the Cubs still need to do better? Absolutely. Maybe taking care of business against a bad team will be the get-right they’ve needed for too long now. That’s what I’m hoping anyway.

News and notes

  • The Cubs have a whole bunch of injury updates for pitchers.
    • Cade Horton has a right subscapular strain and is in Arizona to rehab; he’ll be shut down 3-4 weeks,
    • Jordan Wicks threw a bullpen at Wrigley on Wednesday after a rehab outing with Iowa on June 2 and could even be activated for the Reds series unless they feel another rehab start is necessary. He’s been out since April 28 due to a left forearm strain.
    • Colten Brewer hit the IL with a low back strain on May 17 and made a rehab appearance with the I-Cubs and tossed two scoreless innings.
    • Keegan Thompson has recovered from a viral illness and was roughed up in his appearance for Iowa on Sunday. He failed to record an out over 24 pitches, giving up three runs on two walks and a hit. That was actually his fourth appearance since hitting the IL, none of which have been completely clean.
    • Yency Almonte was playing catch at 90 feet a little over a week ago as he recovers from a right shoulder strain and may be close to live action.
  • Shohei Ohtani put an 80 mph swing — MLB average is 72 mph — on a 100.1 mph Paul Skenes fastball in the upper third of the zone. That’s special even among elite sluggers.

  • Embattled White Sox play-by-play man John Schriffen has really leaned into the homerism angle that made Hawk Harrelson so beloved, but it comes off as fake and cheesy in this case.

  • That clip above is mild compared to how Schriffen handled himself following Sunday’s game against the Brewers. Yikes.

  • Schriffen has been criticized for game calls that display a lack of knowledge, including not knowing how to pronounce Bill Veeck’s name (he went the phonetic route), and has called out “radio losers” on air. That’s likely a dig at the folks over at 670 The Score — notably Matt Spiegel, Danny Parkins, and Shane Riordan — for calling him out frequently.
  • All-Star voting opened yesterday, so you can put your favorite Cubs on the ballot if you don’t care about having the best players in the game.
  • Mike Tauchman‘s walk-off homer last night may have been his first ever. The Palatine Pounder is “at the heart of the team,” according to Nico Hoerner, and he got the job done in a big way after having scuffled a little at the plate for a while.
  • If you wanted additional context for the Ohtani dinger, Tauchman’s swing was 69.1 mph against a 98.4 mph fastball. Nice.
  • Carlos Rodón sucked out loud for the Yankees last year, pitching to a career-worst 6.85 ERA over 14 injury-plagued starts. He’s already pitched almost nine more innings (73 to 64.1) in 13 starts this season and has an 8-2 record with a 3.08 ERA.
  • Tarik Skubal sits atop’s latest starting pitcher power rankings. The 27-year-old lefty has been incredible for the Tigers to this point. Shōta Imanaga fell from the top spot to No. 9 after his disastrous outing in Milwaukee.
  • Eminem’s new album “The Death of Slim Shady (Coup de Grâce)” will be released this summer. His first single, “Houdini,” dropped last Friday and the video features several callbacks to earlier moments in his storied career.

  • That’s all for now. Get better, Mike.
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