The Rundown: Canter’s Back in the Saddle, Dysfunctional Mets Come to Wrigley, Hendricks Returns to Form, MLB Honors Willie Mays

“Yes, I’m a road runner baby, anywhere is my home. And I love the life I live and I’m gonna live the life I love.” – Jr. Walker & The All-Stars, (I’m a) Roadrunner

I’m back, and weren’t the Cubs rather pedestrian in my absence? I won’t get too much into a preamble today because this is my first day back, but the North Siders were 8-10 while I was recovering and they looked much worse. The bullpen is still a trainwreck and Chicago has left more ducks on the pond this season than Elmer Fudd.

Today is a soft return for me and I’ll get a little bit more into the soup starting Monday, but I thought it would be nice to pop back in ahead of the weekend series against the Mets. While I know the Brewers and Cardinals are bigger rivals, I detest the Metropolitans on an entirely different level. Most of my least favorite players had career years with the Flushing franchise, including Tom Seaver, Bud Harrelson, Tommie Agee, Gary Carter, Howard Johnson, Davey Johnson, Roger McDowell, Keith Hernandez, Darryl Strawberry, and Dwight Gooden.

I’d love nothing more than to see the Cubs sweep the Mets this weekend. If it’s any consolation, that franchise is more dysfunctional than any in baseball.

“Beat the Mets, beat the Mets,
Step right up and beat the Mets.
Bring your kiddies, bring your wife,
Guaranteed to have the time of your life.”

Cubs News & Notes

Odds & Sods

One of the cooler moments of last night’s honorary game at Rickwood Field.

Central Intelligence

Climbing the Ladder

“Mama was, grandmama, papa too, boogaloo, all that stuff and I’m the only son-of-a-gun this side of the sun.” – Otis Redding & Carla Thomas, Tramp

Michael Busch might be on the verge of becoming a star. He’s the best first baseman the Cubs have had since Anthony Rizzo, with apologies to Frank Schwindel and a few red-hot months by the journeyman ex-Cub. Busch has a 1.7 WAR so far and is Chicago’s only batter with an OPS north of .800.

The Cubs are no strangers to poor batting averages with runners in scoring position, and that may be Jed Hoyer’s legacy once the organization eventually replaces him. Chicago’s North Side Baseballers have had no problems putting runners in scoring position during Hoyer’s tenure, but they do struggle to plate those players. Perhaps Hoyer believes that’s the reason that change for the positive will have to be internal, but the team has been inconsistent enough annually to suggest otherwise.

  • Games Played: 75
  • Record: 36-39 (.480), 4th place in NL Central
  • In One-Run Games: 14-17 (.452)
  • Total Plate Appearances: 2,816
  • Total Strikeouts: 650
  • Strikeout Rate: 23.08%
  • Team Batting Average: .230
  • With Runners in Scoring Position: 133-for-604 (.221)
  • Runs Scored: 315
  • Runs Allowed: 329
  • Pythagorean Record: 36-39
  • Chances of Making the Playoffs: 19.3%, 0.2% chance to win World Series 

How About That!

Mays taped a stirring message to be played ahead of last night’s game before passing away at 93 the other day.

Reggie Jackson opened up about the racism he faced when he played in Birmingham.

David Wells, who played for the Yankees, Blue Jays, and White Sox, among others, hopes MLB will give Trevor Bauer another chance to pitch.

Cleveland outfielder Steven Kwan is hovering around the .400 mark as we near the halfway point of the season. Ted Williams was the last player to do it, finishing the 1941 season with a .406 batting average.

The Yankees are among the teams interested in White Sox starter Garrett Crochet.

New Era revealed the hats set to be worn by the American and National Leagues during the 2024 MLB All-Star Game.

Extra Innings

Let’s hope the early season struggles that Hendricks faced are completely behind him.

Friday Morning Six-Pack

See if you can discover the connection from one song to the next.

  1. Mother and Child Reunion by Paul Simon
  2. Werewolves of London by Warren Zevon
  3. Hair by the Cowsills
  4. Bloodbuzz Ohio by The National
  5. Pay it Back by Elvis Costello
  6. If I Had a Million Dollars by Barenaked Ladies

They Said It

  • “It’s a game of failure. This game is not designed for you to be successful every time you go to the plate or every time you go to the mound. It’s really, really hard. But toughness is a learned quality, and this game will definitely make you better for it.” – Dansby Swanson
  • “I was so far from who I was as a pitcher that I really had to commit to my process. Commit to getting better every day, almost reset and restart your career. My focus wasn’t necessarily to get back there [in the rotation]. You don’t want it under those circumstances.” – Hendricks
  • “Birmingham, I wish I could be with you all today. This is where I’m from. I also had my first pro hit here at Rickwood as a Black Baron. Now this year, some 76 years later, that hit finally got counted in the record books. I guess some things take time. But I always think, better late than never. Time changes things, time heals wounds — and that’s a good thing. I had some of the best times of my life in Birmingham.” – Mays

Friday Walk-Up Song

Thank you for reading and also for your support during my absence.

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