The Rundown: Home Opener Redux, Rizzo to DL, Cubs Announce New Partnership With Gallagher Insurance

Good Morning. I busted my glasses over the weekend and I don’t have a spare pair. I am blind as a bat without them, so today’s column will be short because I didn’t want to miss two days in a row.

The Home Opener is today and it feels like 108 years and a day since the team last played at Wrigley Field, so hopefully the weather will cooperate. The Pirates are off to a hot start, but so were the Brewers until the Cubs arrived in Milwaukee and took three of four games. Here’s hoping for deja vu all over again, which was also the name of John Fogerty’s second baseball song, which, unfortunately for John, didn’t do as well as “Centerfield.”

Ed. note: Mike earns points for referencing my favorite musician of all time.

The Pirates begin this week in first place in the NL Central.

Cubs News & Notes

Anthony Rizzo is on the 10-Day DL, so get to know Victor Caratini a little better.

When someone from the other team gets under your skin, you hit a triple, the same way Willson Contreras did on Sunday in Milwaukee. Or you can handle things the way Yadier Molina did on Sunday in St. Louis. Contreras is primed for a big year.

Speaking of Contreras, his average exit velocity of 98.5 MPH leads the majors. He’s good.

The Chicago Cubs and insurance firm Gallagher announced a new multi-year partnership that begins with today’s game. The deal makes the company the official insurance broker, benefits and risk management service partner of the Cubs and provides Gallagher with exclusive marketing and sponsorship rights to the Ricketts family real estate properties. That latter group includes Wrigley Field, the adjacent outdoor entertainment plaza and office tower, and Hotel Zachary, which opened last week.

I love Opening Day.

How About That!

Future Cub Bryce Harper is on a tear right now. He has six home runs on the young season; the Cubs have eight as a team. In the first nine games of his final year under contract with Washington, the 25-year-old outfielder is hitting .357 with a stunning .535 OBP and 1.535 OBPS. Harper is doing this a bit under the radar as all of baseball gushes over the incredible start by Shohei Ohtani.

Max Scherzer stole a base yesterday, the first in history by a Nationals pitcher.

Indians ace Corey Kluber continued his career dominance over the Tigers by striking out 13 in eight scoreless innings to help Cleveland to a 2-0 win. Kluber allowed just two hits and one walk in the win as he gears up for another run at American League Cy Young.

Justin Verlander has turned the clock back so far this season. The veteran pitcher has been dominant for the Astros.

Mets OF Yoenis Cespedes has a cannon.

Greg Holland’s debut with the Cardinals did not go very well.

Monday’s Top Three Stars

  1. Corey Kluber – The current Cy Young Award winner has 40 double-digit strikeouts games in his career, which ranks him fifth among active pitchers. Including last night’s game, Kluber has struck out 13 or more batters in a game 10 times.
  2. Justin Verlander – The former Cy Young Award winer tossed seven scoreless innings as he earned the win Monday against the Twins, allowing four hits and one walk with nine strikeouts. Verlander was outstanding in this one, throwing first-pitch strikes to 16 batters while inducing 13 swinging strikes.
  3. Dylan Bundy – The Orioles pitcher was dominant despite taking a loss to the Blue Jays. In his seven strong innings, Bundy had held the Blue Jays to just the two runs on four hits. He struck out a season-high 10 batters and walked two.

Hot Takes & Syrup

  • The names and faces may have changed, but the media overload remains as the Yankees and Red Sox prepare for their first series of the season. Rest assured the series will be overhyped and the games will test Rob Manfred’s desire to overhaul baseball with pace-of-play objectives.  ESPN will carry Tuesday’s opener while MLB Network will carry the next two games.
  • The Miami Marlins are claiming corporate citizenship in the British Virgin Islands in an effort to have a federally appointed arbitrator take over the lawsuit by Miami and Miami-Dade County to recover a share of the profits from Jeffrey Loria’s $1.2 billion sale of the team to Derek Jeter and partners last fall. Only in Miami.

They Said It

  • “Ohtani is the first Major League player with two wins and three home runs in his team’s first 10 games since Jim ‘Grunting Jim’ Shaw for the Washington Senators in 1919.”  – MLB Offices Press Release
  • “I do prefer rock music in between innings, like we do in Chicago. I think we have a much more appropriate mix for my taste, but then again I don’t live [in Miami]. I don’t know what the taste of the local gentry might be. … So if these people appreciate this music better than old rock, then do it, man. If I’m upset with that, then I’m just defining myself.” – Joe Maddon
  • “[Luvullo] called me (expletive) twice. If you’re going to call (that) to a guy, you’ve got to be ready to fight. And he pointed at me too. That’s unprofessional. Hopefully we can meet face to face and see if he’s got some (fortitude) and can tell me (why) right to my face.” – Yadier Molina
  • “I have the utmost respect for Molina. I used a poor choice of words and he took offense to it. I wish I could take back what I said.” – Torey Luvullo

Tuesday Walk Up Song

Do It (‘Til You’re Satisfied) by BT Express. Go Cubs Go.

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