I’ll be honest, I’m not all that stoked for baseball right about now. If speculation of the season’s precarious future wasn’t bad enough, Rob Manfred put into words the reality that failure to curtail the rising tide of COVID outbreaks could mean canceling the season. And that’s before several more Cardinals personnel reportedly tested positive Saturday.
Long story short, 2020 continues to be a real dick of a year and I needed to find some way to counteract at least some of that. The first step was to buy some French’s Mustard Beer by Oskar Blues, which isn’t as gross as it sounds. According to the brewery’s description, it’s a “semi-tart tropical wheat beer infused with citrus fruits to complement French’s Classic Yellow Mustard.”
The only buzzkill is that I had to order it online, which means it won’t be here for a while. In search of some fun news to tickle my fancy, I of course turned to the Twitter machine. And wouldn’t you know it, Yu Darvish was there waiting for me with…a shank?
— ダルビッシュ有(Yu Darvish) (@faridyu) August 1, 2020
“We were able to win the first victory of the season with 6 hits and 2 hits,” reads a Google translation of Darvish’s tweet. “Did you stab the first-base runner as a check since you stabbed Tsuyoshi Nishioka at Chiba Marine? Actually this was my goal for this season! Lol.”
Okay, so Darvish probably isn’t talking about shanking an opponent with a filed-down toothbrush. A little deductive reasoning tells us he’s celebrating his pickoff of Pirates leadoff hitter Adam Frazier, who walked to open the game and was subsequently erased from the bases. Not only did Darvish apparently achieve his season goal early, but he changed the tone of his start.
Walking the first batter on five pitches isn’t necessarily a good sign, particularly after Darvish was inefficient and erratic in his previous start. That free pass to Frazier ended up being the only one Darvish issued on the evening and he needed just 81 more pitches to finish six innings. He may not have been stabby, but he sure did slice through the Pirate batters.
It helped that he got a little early run support from his teammates, eventually handing a 4-0 lead to the bullpen that almost wasn’t enough. One of those runs came courtesy of Jason Kipnis, who fulfilled his childhood dreams by hitting a homer for the Cubs at Wrigley Field. You know, because he’s from Northbrook and grew up a Cubs fan.
The second baseman squared up a hanging slider from Trevor Williams and deposited it into the ads in right-center to complete his season cycle and give the Cubs a 2-0 advantage. He’s now 5-for-11 on the season (.455), but is humble enough to understand he probably can’t maintain that pace. Kipnis is, however, still hoping for a very high average.
Kipnis: "I probably won't finish the season with a .455 average. But hopefully, .420 or something."
— Gordon Wittenmyer (@GDubCub) August 1, 2020
I hadn’t really thought about it before, but Kipnis does look like the kind of dude who’d be down to spark up a fatty and just chill for a minute. Or maybe he was just making that 420 reference to fit in with the cool kids. Whatever the case, it’s a helluva lot more fun to discuss than the possibility that Craig Kimbrel was tipping his pitches.
And yes, I will be discussing that here soon.