The Rundown: Baseball’s Frenzied Start, Cubs Offense Percolating, Lester Likely to Miss 1-2 Starts, deGrom Streak Ends

If nothing else, baseball has proven to be one crazy game during the first two weeks of the season. And though things always normalize, it certainly will be a wild ride if they do not.

A few examples:

  • The Cubs, Red Sox, and Astros are struggling.
  • The Mariners and Tigers are not.
  • So far, the 10 pitchers who appeared in the World Series for the Red Sox last season have combined to go 2-10 with a 8.09 ERA and a 1.77 WHIP.
  • Tommy La Stella looks like Lou GehrigDaniel Vogelbach looks like Babe Ruth. (He’s actually always looked like Ruth).
  • I know some Cubs fans are still red-assed because Theo Epstein traded Eloy Jiménez to the White Sox, but all he has done is hit a bunch of singles so far. His .282 batting average matches his slugging percentage. Jon Lester is swinging a hotter bat than Jiménez right now.
  • Baseballs are flying out of stadiums and exit velocities are way up. I get a headache watching wrap-around shows.
  • The two-homer game is back, and there have been at least a dozen instances where one player has hit two home runs in a game. Heck, Edwin Encarnación hit two home runs in one inning on Sunday. The season is not even two weeks old yet.

I need to catch my breath. What in the name of Tuffy Rhodes is going on here?

Except for Jacob deGrom, the toughest job in baseball these days belong to the pitchers. Oops, scratch that on deGrom. Imagine what baseball will look like if Rob “The Czar” Manfred succeeds in moving the pitching rubber back a foot and a half. I shudder to think of the consequences.

Cubs News & Notes

How About That!

Mike Trout has a slightly pulled groin and may miss a few games. The Angels come to Wrigley Field for a three-game set starting Friday.

Three starts into the season, Red Sox ace Chris Sale is 0-3 with a 9.00 ERA. His velocity has taken a concerning dip this season. Sale has thrown 88 fastballs this season with only one swing and miss (1.1 percent). Last year, he had a 15.5 percent swing-and-miss rate on his fastball.

At 30 games, Royals super utility player Whit Merrifield has now tied George Brett for the organization’s longest hitting streak.

The Twins hit six home runs and pounded the crap out of deGrom last night, ending a number of streaks for the pitcher, including 26 straight quality starts and 31 consecutive starts where he has given up three runs or less.

Raise your hand if you are happy the Brewers lost a game that mirrored the way the Cubs have lost the majority of their games this season. Poor starting pitching and a bullpen implosion cost Milwaukee last night.

Major league relievers aren’t very fond of some of the new pace-of-play initiatives.

The Reds hit back-to-back-to-back home runs in last night’s 14-0 victory over the Marlins. Cincinnati fans have been waiting all season for the team’s offense to awaken. The Marlins are the apparent cure for such maladies.

The Mariners are 11-2 and winning in convincing fashion.

Former Red Sox outfielder Manny Ramirez said he is hopeful he will one day get into the Hall of Fame despite two performance-enhancing drug suspensions

Congratulations to Rangers’ infielder Asdrubal Cabrera, who officially became a United States citizen yesterday.

Tuesday’s Three Stars

  1. Mitch Garver – The Twins’ catcher was 4-for-5 with two home runs and two RBI in Minnesota’s 14-8 victory over the Mets.
  2. Tommy La Stella – 3 AM was 2-for-4 with two home runs and four RBI in leading the Angels to an 11-8 win over the Brewers.
  3. Yasmani Grandal – The Brewers catcher hit two home runs of his own in the loss.

Not a Star


On Deck

With each passing day it gets tougher and tougher to believe in the Cubs’ current budgetary crisis.

Extra Innings

With no Cubs baseball yesterday, Tribune beat writer Mark Gonzalez got into a little speculation and innuendo regarding Maddon’s future with the team. He is managing on a one-year contract, we already know that. The column doesn’t offer much revelation, though there is this pearl:

“Epstein once ripped legendary football coach Carmen Cozza in a column for the Yale Daily News nearly 26 years ago. Cozza lasted three more seasons. But Yale doesn’t play in the NL Central, and the Cubs finally adopted the Ivy League’s policy of no scholarships when they optioned strikeout-prone Ian Happ to Triple-A Iowa.”

What does that even mean and what does it have to do with anything?

They Said It

  • “I know we’re hitting the ball pretty good. So [the bad record] is not a big deal for us. Like I said in the last interview, there’s a lot of power hitters here, and we usually warm up out of the first half. Hitting the ball this early and this good is a good sign for us.”  – Javier Baez
  • “We’ve had a lot of high-run scoring games. And we’ve lost some of them – that’s the awkward part of this. We’ve scored a lot of runs in a couple different games and not won. So we’ll take it – the offense for the most part has been percolating. We need to get the pitching reestablished and once it does we have a pretty good shot.” – Joe Maddon
  • “I don’t know if I would have pegged [La Stella] for the second-most home runs at this point in the season but I’m glad he had two tonight because they were important.” – Brad Ausmus
  • “I caught them right and on the barrel pretty well. I’ve been freeing up my hands at the plate and not muscling the swing. That allows the power to generate itself.” – Tommy La Stella

Wednesday Walk Up Song

The Killing Moon by Echo & The Bunnymen. The first Wrigley Field night game of the year is on tap this evening for the Cubs and Pirates. Tonight’s game time is 7:05pm CT.

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