The Rundown: Hamels Leads Ho-Hum W, Kimbrel Introduced, Tribune Writer Switches Cubs Allegiance to Sox

I may be in the minority but I love quick, unapologetically boring wins like yesterday’s triumph over the Cardinals. Cole Hamels worked like a precision instrument yesterday, and St. Louis had no answer. The hardest hit ball was a scorcher by Dexter Fowler to start the game.

After that, Hamels looked like the second coming of Peter Lambert. He finished the game surrendering zero runs on three hits with 10 strikeouts in eight innings. Pedro Strop earned the save despite giving up a meaningless home run to Paul DeJong.

The Cardinals must get depressed at the mere sight of Hamels, who’s pitched 15 innings against the Redbirds and has allowed just one run over the last week. There’s no better way to endear yourself to Cubs fans while becoming public enemy No. 1 in the Gateway City. I’m told that some St. Louis hitters said it was the best-pitched game against them all season, Hamels replied: “Thanks, guys.” That’s cold.

Miles Mikolas, who looks like he was recently cast in Anchorman 3, took the loss, his sixth of the year. Victor Caratini literally knocked him out of the game with a comebacker that bruised his forearm.

The Cubs will send Jon Lester to the bump today for game two of the series. So far this year, the home team has won every contest between the Central Division rivals.

Cubs News & Notes

  • Hamels has allowed the Cardinals just one run in 22 innings since being traded to the Cubs.
  • The veteran lefty is setting himself up for a nice free agent payday after this season. I wouldn’t mind seeing Hamels finish his career with the Cubs. He owns Wrigley Field.
  • Javy Báez has been on a tear in June, going 8-for-24  with three homers in six games. El Mago came into this series just 4-for-19 (.211) with one home run and seven strikeouts in five games against the Cardinals this season.
  • Anthony Rizzo batted leadoff yesterday and actually guaranteed Hamels the Cubs would score at least one run in the 1st inning. They scored two, thanks to Báez.

How About That!

After missing out on LHP Dallas Keuchel, the Yankees will have to turn to the trade market for rotation help. Here are some potential starting pitcher targets for the trade deadline. More names will surface in the coming weeks.

CC Sabathia refuses to get overly sentimental on his farewell tour. He’s on a mission to win a championship in his final season, and that’s it.

The next three weeks will determine if the Rangers are buyers or sellers. They play 21 games in 20 days, mostly all against contending teams.

Jay Bruce is absolutely on fire since being traded from the mariners to the Phillies. He’s the first MLB player in the live-ball era (since 1920) to have 4+ HR in his first four games with a team after a midseason trade, and is 7-for-14 since joining Philadelphia.

Braves outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. exacted a little revenge against Marlins pitcher Jose Ureña last night. Last season Acuña was going for a record sixth straight game leading off with a home run when Urena plunked him on the first pitch of the game. Ureña said it was purely accidental at the time.

Benches cleared in New York after Mets reliever Drew Gagnon plunked Rockies outfielder Ian Desmond in the back. Gagnon had just given up back-to-back bombs, including a mammoth blast by Daniel Murphy. Asked if he thought the pitch was intentional, Rockies manager Bud Black said: “I’m not sure. I don’t know this fella.”

Mitch Haniger has an injury that none of us hopes to ever have, speaking from a male perspective of course.

Friday’s Three Stars

  1. Cole Hamels – Excellent at Wrigley Field again, Hamels finished with 10 strikeouts while allowing just three hits in a walk in shutting down the Cards on 99 pitches. I think he wanted to ensure that Epstein wouldn’t be late for Hot Stove, Cool Music.
  2. Marcus Semien – The A’s second baseman was 4-for-5 with two homers and four RBI. Not a bad night.
  3. Mitch Garver – The Twins catcher was 3-for-5 with a home run and 3 RBI. He now has 10 taters with 24 ribeyes in just 97 at bats. That’s some barbecue.

Apropos of Nothing

I’m in a hurry this morning so let’s see if Evan Altman can title this literary masterpiece with the same razor-sharp wit in which he applies tags to my posts. I’ll be boating in Michigan City in four hours.

On Deck

Didi Gregorius is one of my favorite players. In addition to being knighted in his native Curacao, he’s one multi-talented human being.

Extra Innings

Perhaps the two most famous events of 1969 were music concerts.

At a Rolling Stones concert in Altamont, California, a fan was stabbed to death by a bouncer from Hell’s Angels, a biker gang that had been hired to provide security for the event. In retrospect, some commentators have concluded that the violence signaled the end of the “hippie” movement, which espoused an ethos of free love and peace.

Even more famous than the Altamont concert was the Woodstock festival, which consisted of dozens of the most famous performers in the world at the time, playing together in an atmosphere of peace with nature and love, with many thousands of concert goers; it is still one of the largest concerts in the history of the world.

They Said It

  • “When Dexter hit that first one, I thought it was out. Some days it is.” – Cole Hamels
  • “Am I disappointed at where I am? No. not all at all. I’m very happy where I am.” – Craig Kimbrel
  • “We try to win every day, so there’s really no room for that mushy stuff. It’s about going out and trying to win the game every day. So it’s not really about me.” – CC Sabathia
  • “The ball slipped. Two-seamer. Complete accident. When you give up two home runs and you hit a guy it looks bad, but it wasn’t my intention at all.” – Drew Gagnon

Saturday Walk Up Song

Get Back by the Beatles. Hoping to sweep the Cardinals back to St. Louis this weekend. Go home. Your momma’s waiting for you wearing her high-heeled shoes and her low-neck sweater.

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