The Rundown: Cubs Top Reds, Morel Bounces Back, Trade Would ‘Come as a Shock’ to Hendricks, Manfred Denies He’s Bad for Baseball
“I’ve treated you unkindly but can’t you see? There’s no one more important to me. So darlin’, won’t you please see through me? –Ray Charles, A Song For You
Unfortunately, I have doctor appointments in two states today, so I don’t have time to write a preamble. But just like during rain delays back in the old WGN days, I have scheduled alternate programming. I’ve been a little lax at promoting the Cubs’ YouTube channel lately and I must apologize because, as much as we get mad about the product on the field, the organization has been very good to us here at Cubs Insider and that should be noted more often.
With that in mind, and in trying to be as positive a personality as I can be heading into today’s medical tests, I thought I’d give everybody a chance to get to know Nick Madrigal, a player most of us have been a little rough on since he was traded to the Cubs from the White Sox.
And hey, two YouTube vids will surely help with site traffic.
See you all tomorrow.
Cubs News & Notes
- The Cubs beat the Reds 8-3 last night, thanks to a stellar effort by Justin Steele.
- Patrick Mooney of The Athletic says that other teams may view ($) Kyle Hendricks in the same way that the Cubs valued Cole Hamels at the 2018 deadline. Before you get too excited, just remember the Cubs acquired Hamels for Rollie Lacy, Eddie Butler, Alexander Ovalles, and cash.
- Hendricks said that being traded by Chicago would “come as a shock.”
- Keegan Thompson has a sweeping slider that’s generating a lot more whiffs, while Christopher Morel has just been whiffing more. He’s hit just .213 with a .590 OPS, 2 home runs, 6 RBI and 28 strikeouts over his last 15 games.
- If Willson Contreras desperately wants to stay with the Cubs, he should order his agent to get something done before the deadline and sign an extension.
- The All-Star catcher got his 600th career hit in last night’s game,
- Morel hit a home run in last night’s game, but his teammates were more impressed with a 97.3 MPH throw he made from center field to double up Tommy Pham in the 4th inning.
- Manager David Ross wanted to take some pressure off of the rookie outfielder so he dropped him to ninth in the order and it paid immediate dividends.
- Starting June 29 and running through July 10, fans can enter the sweepstakes on Twitter by telling Pepsi what would put a cherry on top of your Wrigley Field experience using the hashtag #PepsiCherryOnTopSweepstakes and tagging @Pepsi.
- Cubs Insider EIC Evan Altman interviewed legendary second baseman and Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg as part of the promotion partnership between the Cubs and Pepsi.
- Evan and I both touched on this last week, but once the trade deadline passes, Nico Hoerner may very well be the lone Cubs’ cornerstone.
- Outfielder Jason Heyward is building a youth baseball academy in the North Austin neighborhood of Chicago as part of a 10-acre facility that will be used for sports, education, and wellness.
Odds & Sods
This magic moment came three innings after a benches-cleating kerfuffle, though Alex Verdugo and pitcher Nick Pivetta swear there is no bad blood between the Red Sox and Blue Jays. Watch Verdugo take his time around the bases and stare down Toronto’s dugout.
Alex Verdugo go-ahead home run! He's on FIRE pic.twitter.com/RE5elqW5ov
— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) June 30, 2022
Climbing the Ladder
“I don’t care who you are, what you did, or where you’re from as long as you love me.” – The Backstreet Boys, As Long As You Love Me
Morel and Contreras combined to go 5-for-8 with a pair of doubles, two home runs, four runs scored, and four RBI. When those two are in synch, good things usually happen for Chicago’s offense. It was nice to see Morel break out of his slump. Hoerner continues to kick sand in my face. His 4th-inning two-run double extended his hitting streak to seven games and he’s now slashing .304/.341/.766.
- Games Played: 75
- Total Plate Appearances: 2,864
- Total Strikeouts: 656
- Strikeout Rate: 22.91%
- Team Batting Average: .246
- Runs Scored: 321
- Runs Allowed: 395
How About That!
A “fourth-out rule” was enacted in last night’s game between the Pirates and Nationals, and it cost Washington a run.
Phillies reliever Mark Appel pitched a scoreless 9th inning in his MLB debut and called it “surreal.” As Boog Sciambi would say, “No doubt.”
The Blue Jays are reportedly showing interest in Royals outfielder Andrew Benintendi.
Rob Manfred said he wants robot umps in place for major league games by 2024, and hinted at possible expansion, saying he would “love to get to 32 teams.” He also said that baseball is considering eliminating blackouts on streaming services.
The commissioner also scoffed at the notion that he is bad for the game, saying “it’s the most ridiculous thing” said about him.
Speaking of robot umps, here are 12 of the most embarrassingly bad calls from the month of June.
The league isn’t even pretending it wants to keep the A’s in Oakland.
The Marlins are 34-40, have a 3.9% chance of making the playoffs, and may very well be buyers at this year’s trade deadline.
What would MLB look like without purposeful tanking? A like like MLS.
Andrew Vaughn is one of the few bright spots in an otherwise dreary White Sox season.
Wednesday’s Three Stars
- Bryan Reynolds – After (obviously) reading in yesterday’s Rundown that Rafael Ortega is a better value, the Pirates centerfielder blasted three home runs and plated six baserunners in an 8-7 win over the Nats.
- Contreras – Chicago’s backstop was 3-for-4 with a home run and two RBI to go along with his milestone hit. He was also hit by a pitch in the first inning, scoring on a double by Ian Happ.
- Shohei Ohtani – The Angels all-world star was on the mound last night and he breezed through the White Sox lineup with 11 Ks in 5.2 shutout innings. Ohtani has allowed just one earned run in his last four starts.
Max Scherzer is one of baseball’s good guys.
Max Scherzer will take care of the postgame spread for the Rumble Ponies:
"They're eating well tonight" 😂 pic.twitter.com/LpkFG5wIeG
— SNY (@SNYtv) June 30, 2022
Thursday Morning Six-Pack
- The Buffalo Bisons plan to sign 100-year-old shortstop Roy Kinyon to a one-day contract for the 4th of July, honoring him 80 years after they first recruited him. Kinyon bypassed the opportunity in 1942 in order to enlist in the Navy for World War II.
- If the Bears season started today, Willie Wright or Sam Mustipher could be starting at right guard. That’s easily Chicago’s weakest position.
- Stuck with unprecedented levels of excess inventory, retailers may start asking customers to keep returned items — even after being refunded. “They can’t afford to take back even more of it,” said Burt Flickinger, managing director of Strategic Resource Group.
- Gen Z’s love of “late-’90s nostalgia” has the hippest generation making the use of cash cool again, which, “in their minds,” makes purchases “basically ‘free.’”
- The news you’ve been waiting all year to hear: A 4th of July BBQ will cost 17% more this year, a real kick in the wallet. Last year Joe Biden and Kamala Harris bragged that your annual grill fest was actually cheaper with the country under their stewardship. Political talking points are always such a drag.
- Amazon wants us to believe that robots are coming and that they’ll be mainly useful. Of course, SNL saw things a little differently when they predicted this back in 1995.
They Said It
- “[Being traded] would definitely come as a shock, and I would have to process it all. You know things are going to come to an end at some point.” – Hendricks
- “As far as who’s going to be here, it’s hard to predict those things. It feels like I haven’t been here that long. And even when you look back, obviously, to the roster when I was here in 2019 to now, it’s a very different place. That rapid turnover is a part of our game, but obviously, there’s been a more extreme turnover here.” – Hoerner
- “Our No. 1 business priority right now is reach. Believe me, we hate blackouts as much as fans do.” – Manfred
Thursday Walk-Up Song
Nice to see the Cubs demand a little respect from the Reds, am I right?