The Rundown: Bryant Walks Off, Lester Demands Honesty Regarding Juiced Baseballs, MLB Gets First No-No of ’19
Kris Bryant was one of the Cubs’ vocal leaders throughout spring training but he’s been kind of quiet since the season started. Last night, he let his bat do all the talking.
The 3rd career walk-off home run for @KrisBryant_23!#EverybodyIn pic.twitter.com/Fcr1aaxMTh
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) May 8, 2019
Bryant has gone yard in each of his past three games — the first time in his career he has accomplished that feat — and it was his fifth tater in the past 10 games. I guess that bothersome shoulder is no longer an issue. The blast gave the Cubs a 5-2 walk off win.
The slugging third baseman helped Chicago overcome a terrific start by Marlins’ starter Caleb Smith, who struck out a career-high 11 in 6 2/3 innings. The left-hander allowed two runs and five hits, including a game-tying home run by Albert Almora Jr. Our Evan Altman was spot-on in predicting Smith’s night.
Jon Lester was equally effective. The big southpaw yielded two unearned runs on eight hits in six innings. He worked out of jams in the 5th and 6th to keep the score tied.
The Cubs will face José Ureña this evening as they attempt to start another winning streak, Joe Maddon will counter with Kyle Hendricks, who is coming off an 81-pitch shutout against St. Louis in his last outing.
Cubs News & Notes
- Lester doesn’t really care if the baseball is “juiced” or not, he just wishes the league would be forthright if it is. Through April, homers were being hit in the majors at a rate more than 12 percent higher than at this point last year, and more than 6 percent higher than the MLB record set in 2017.
- Steve Cishek earned his first victory of the season last night. He may see more save chances after the implosion by Pedro Strop during the 9th inning of Monday’s game.
- The Cubs acquired the rights to Smith in the Rule 5 Draft in December 2016 by way of a trade with the Brewers, but he was returned to the Yankees at the end of spring training. Rule 5 rules apply to trades.
- Hendricks said the team’s rotation prefers to take the bump every five days.
- Backup catcher Taylor Davis is an overnight sensation 20 years in the making.
- The return of catcher Victor Caratini from a left hamate bone fracture was described by Maddon as “incredible.” Caratini caught his second game Tuesday night on a minor-league rehab assignment for Class-A South Bend.
- Mike Montgomery appears to be ready to rejoin the team, but no move to promote the swingman is imminent at this time.
- According to my math, the Cubs are averaging seven runs per game during their current 8-1 run.
- The team said it is investigating a fan that used what appeared to be a racist hand gesture that was caught by cameras during last night’s broadcast.
- Ronald Mark Huber tried to trademark the term “Cubnoxious” but that’s not happening. Huber had sought to register the phrase in 2016 with a goal to sell t-shirts. I think we’re all pretty grateful that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board denied his attempt.
How About That!
We have our first no-no of the season, and the 300th in MLB history!
A’s outfielder Khris Davis gave each of his teammates a Nintendo Switch game console as a thank-you gift before last night’s game.
The A’s-Reds game Oakland began more than 90 minutes late because of a lighting problem at the Coliseum. A bank of lights above the upper deck in left field that had been only partially lit started to flicker on as the game got underway.
Despite leading all of baseball with a 23-12 record, the Rays continue to struggle to draw fans to home games at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg.
Per David Schoenfield of ESPN, there have been 10 grand slams the past three days …the most ever in a three-day span. Your slammers: Ryan O’Hearn, Whit Merrifield, Bryce Harper, Xander Bogaerts, Alex Bregman, Tommy Pham, Jonathan Villar, Jay Bruce, Hunter Renfroe, and Bryant.
Tuesday’s Three Stars
- Mike Fiers – The Oakland starter pitched the second no-hitter of his career last night, beating the Reds 2-0. Fiers faced the minimum number of batters, walking two with six strikeouts. The 13th no-hitter in Athletics’ team history. Fiers is the eighth pitcher in MLB history to throw at least two no-hitters.
- Justin Turner – The Dodgers infielder had three home runs and six RBI last night, which will usually get you the top spot on this list unless someone throws a no-hitter.
- José Berríos – the Twins ace pitched seven innings of four-hit, shutout baseball as Minnesota beat the Blue Jays 3-0 in Toronto. The Twins are now 22-12, the second best record in baseball behind Tampa.
Potential road trip theme for next month’s West Coast swing?
Baseball needs more guys with great afros on 19th century bicycles. And I don’t expect any clapback on that. pic.twitter.com/XyjrR8chha
— Super 70s Sports (@Super70sSports) April 26, 2019
They Said It
- “When you get walked off, it’s not a good feeling.” – Don Mattingly
- “We’ve all been through injury and struggled. You learn a lot about yourself, you learn a lot about your teammates. It’s just good to see [Bryant] in a good spot right now.” – Jon Lester
- “It was a cold one. I obviously didn’t want to play extra innings.” – Kris Bryant
- “Incredible. I’m not a doubting Thomas, but I saw the BP — my God. [Caratini] was like normal. There was nothing being held back. There was no grimace, no holding back, no nothing. It’s pretty amazing how quickly he’s come back.” – Joe Maddon
Wednesday Walk Up Song
I Heard it Through the Grapevine by the Slits. This song will likely make more than one entry because it has been covered a number of times. The original by Gladys Knight & The Pips has been covered most excellently by Marvin Gaye and Creedence Clearwater Revival, among others. This dance/punk version by the Slits from 1979 is the most obscure recording of the hit and was probably a dance favorite at Studio 54 back in the day. The Slits influenced the likes of Kurt Cobain of Nirvana and Robert Smith of The Cure.