Wow, things feel a lot better after a win, huh? Thanks to some homer heroics from Javy Baez, the Cubs were able to jump all over the Dodgers to take the second game in their late-night series and snap losing streaks of five games overall and eight in LA.
After going 4-for-5 with 5 RBI on a single, double, and two homers, Javy is up to 56 RBI on the season. That’s two shy of the NL lead and one shy of Ryne Sandberg’s team record for pre-break RBI by a middle infielder, set in 1990. Even though Javy was playing third base, I think we’ll let the numbers count.
The best part of his booming grand slam, at least for me, was that it came on a mistake. Dodgers reliever Edward Paredes had loaded the bases with a five-pitch walk to Jason Heyward and Javy, who had already had himself quite a game, was going to be swinging for the fences. There’s just no way you throw him a strike there, even at the risk of walking in a run.
But throw Javy a strike Paredes did, piping an 89 mph fastball right down the heart of the plate. Just like that, the Cubs had broken the game open and would not look back.
Darvish, Morrow could return soon
Yu Darvish had a successful rehab start with South Bend Monday and was with the Cubs in LA, playing catch in the outfield prior to Tuesday’s game. That’s significant because it’s a bit of a haul and would seem unnecessary given the Cubs imminent return to Chicago if the plan was for Darvish to get another rehab start. They wouldn’t activate him prior to Saturday, but keeping him around his teammates and the training staff signals good things.
Joe Maddon wouldn’t commit to anything, saying only that Darvish would play catch again Wednesday and would throw a bullpen Thursday. If that right arm is still feeling good, though, Darvish could take the bump against the Twins over the weekend. He could also make the short trek back to South Bend for one more tune-up if the Cubs feel it’s necessary.
Brandon Morrow didn’t throw Tuesday, but said he felt he’d be ready to go Wednesday when he’s eligible to come off the DL. The back end of the pen has been shaky in his absence, so getting him back will bump everyone back down and strengthen more than just the 9th inning.
Carl Edwards Jr. threw a bullpen Tuesday and all reports are that he’s feeling good. Barring any setbacks in the next day or two, he should head out for a rehab assignment and could be ready to come back by next week.
Yosh Kawano passes
I can’t say this with complete certainty, but I’d guess most clubhouse attendants are completely anonymous to all but the players with whom they interact. That wasn’t the case for Yosh Kawano, who died Monday at the age of 97. Kawano worked for the Cubs for the better part of seven decades and listed myriad celebrities among his friends.
He was so integral to the operations at Wrigley Field that the Wrigley family actually demanded that he remain employed for the rest of his life when they sold the team to the Tribune Company. It was in the actual contract language. Think about that.
The loyalty went both ways, as Kawano turned down hundreds, maybe thousands, of interview requests over the years because he didn’t want to betray the trust of the players. The man was a legend and he’ll be greatly missed by many throughout the organization and those who covered the team.
Bruce Levine, who’s been on the Cubs beat for nearly 40 years, has a nice farewell piece on 670 The Score’s site.
A little guy in the white fishing hat, T-shirt and oversized deck pants, Kawano made his impact on the game with hundreds of friendships and relationships over the 70 years he lived and breathed Cubs baseball.
Kawano was at Wrigley Field on the day Hall of Fame Cubs catcher Gabby Hartnett hit the “Homer in the Gloamin'” in September 1938, which helped Chicago clinch the pennant a week later. Kawano was a great friend of Hartnett, who helped Kawano get accustomed to Chicago in the early 1940s before the second World War and later when he assumed the duties of being the home clubhouse manager. Kawano carried a picture of him and Hartnett taken at Wrigley Field in 1935 until the day he died.