The Rundown: Cubs Staff on Record Pace, Schwarber Developing, DJT Once Scouted by Red Sox and Phillies

After last night’s win against the Rockies, the Cubs are now 9-2 with a five-game winning streak since Albert Almora Jr. and Javy Baez have been moved to the top of the order. Credit a very deep bullpen for Monday’s W, though. Not wanting to use Carl Edwards Jr. or Brandon Morrow, Joe Maddon called on Luke Farrell, Pedro Strop, and Steve Cishek to close out the game after Jon Lester was removed in the 6th. Farrell earned his first ever win and Cishek earned the save in the team’s 3-2 victory.

Farrell received two game balls and several congratulatory messages from his family, including his father, former Red Sox manager John Farrell. “He was the linchpin of the whole game,” Maddon said. “That guy has as good a makeup as anyone on this team — anybody. I’m really impressed with his way. Cannot be more impressed.”

Cub News & Notes

During the current wining streak, the Cubs have won all five games while scoring three or fewer runs in each. It marked the first time that has happened in baseball since 2011, and the first time ever for the Cubs. Only two teams since 1920 have won six straight games while scoring three or fewer runs. No team has won seven straight.

The win moved the Cubs into first place in the NL Central, a half game ahead of the Pirates. The entire pitching staff has given up just one earned run in 45 innings during the team’s current homestand, including a scoreless streak of 33 2/3 innings.

Kyle Hendricks pitches tonight and as much as I’d like to see him continue the dominance, I’d rather see the Cubs offense break out a little. Yu Darvish takes the bump Wednesday evening to close out the series.

The infectious play of Almora and Baez at the top of the lineup has trickled down throughout the rest of the order. The Cubs tied a 2018 record through nine innings last night with eight opposite field hits against the Rockies, one day after shooting seven base hits to the opposite field against the Brewers.

Theo Epstein described April as a “really big growth developmental month” for Kyle Schwarber, who was batting .276 with seven home runs and 17 RBI entering Monday’s game. “He’s taller in his stance, and his hands are (higher),” said Epstein, who said Schwarber is less vulnerable to high fastballs.

The Cubs have partnered with other organizations, including ESPN, to prevent school bullying.

How About That!

The Brewers’ Josh Hader became the first ever relief pitcher to strike out eight batters in less than three innings of work.

In the first rematch of last season’s ALCS, Astros starter Charlie Morton turned in another pitching gem to snap the Yankees’ nine-game winning streak in a 2-1 Houston win.

Xander Bogaerts hit Boston’s sixth grand slam of the year, making the Red Sox the first team since the 1996 Expos to hit that many before May 1. The Red Sox did not have a single slam last season.

The Dodgers announced that All-Star shortstop Corey Seager will miss the rest of the year due to a sprained ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow that will require Tommy John surgery.

Twins’ pitcher Fernando Romero is coming up from Triple-A Rochester to make his major league debut Wednesday against the Blue Jays.

After Sunday’s performance, Nick Kingham will remain in the Pirates’ rotation, pushing Steven Brault to the bullpen.

Monday’s Three Stars

  1. Josh Hader – every out he recorded was a strikeout. He faced nine batters in 2 2/3 innings.
  2. A.J. Pollock – The Diamondbacks OF hit three home runs as Arizona beat the Dodgers 8-5 on Monday night in the opener of a four-game series between NL West rivals. All three were solo shots.
  3. Brian Anderson – The Marlins rookie homered, drove in four runs, and made a diving catch in right field with the bases loaded and the game on the line, helping Miami beat the Phillies 8-4.

Hot Takes & Syrup

They Said It

  • “Now, in those days, you couldn’t play baseball because there was no real…you know, it wasn’t a thing. Plus my father was in the real estate business, which I didn’t want to go into. I wanted to go into theater. I wanted to go into sports. But I also knew that was very limited because in those days you couldn’t even make any money being a great baseball player.” – Donald Trump
  • “We’re playing an entire game of baseball right now. I don’t think I’ve seen anybody going up there with just this heavy pull mode, trying to hit home runs kind of philosophy we’ve had over the last several years.” – Joe Maddon
  • “Everyone [is] amped up about this series. It’s a great team that we’re facing. It brings back a lot of memories. We wanted to prove a point. We want to make a statement out there that we’re the team to beat. You’ve got to come past us first.” – Astros closer Ken Giles on facing the Yankees

Tuesday Walk Up Song

Highway Tune by Greta Van Fleet. I was jonesin’.

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