The Rundown: Contreras Homecoming Week, Celebrating Kerry Wood Day, Rays Continue to Bash Opponents
“Last night me and Kate, we laid in bed, talking about getting out. Packing up our bags, maybe heading south.” – Bruce Springsteen, My Hometown
It’s Willson Contreras homecoming week, but do we really care? The catcher wore out his welcome in Chicago very quickly after he signed with the Cardinals and now he’s starting to rub St. Louis fans the wrong way, too. Good morning and happy Monday!
Cubs News & Notes
- If the Pirates and Brewers continue to slump, the Cubs could push for the division lead by sweeping the Cardinals.
- Miguel Amaya recorded his first big league hit over the weekend and his parents were in town to help celebrate.
- Matt Mervis said Eric Hosmer has been very supportive in helping the rookie adjust to the bigs.
- Nico Hoerner and Tommy Edman were teammates at Stanford and though they’re rivals now, there is also mutual respect.
- Kyle Hendricks is nearing a return and there aren’t really any rotation spots available.
- Hendricks is hitting 90 mph, but said he’d rather match the arsenal of one Justin Steele.
- Cubs fans celebrated Kerry Wood Day over the weekend. It’s been 25 years since his electrifying performance against the Astros.
- David Ross wants Cubs fans to be patient while waiting for Christopher Morel to be promoted.
Odds & Sods
There is no crying in baseball. I still believe Tom Hanks’ character was a semi-veiled encapsulation of Hack Wilson.
— Shit Bsb Players Say (@ShitBsbPlyrsSay) May 8, 2023
- St. Louis: Jordan Walker was demoted to Triple-A so Contreras could get at-bats as a DH and left fielder. Walker, who was a preseason favorite for Rookie of the Year, is batting .182 in nine games with Memphis. I’m guessing that St. Louis will have had their fill with Contreras by the end of the season.
- Milwaukee: The original 1993 Brewers racing sausages are up for sale. You could own the entire set of three (Polish, Bratwurst, and Hot Dog) for $75,000 and they make great Halloween costumes.
- Cincinnati: Reds fans are discovering that a scorched-earth rebuild takes some time.
- Pittsburgh: It was a lot of fun while it lasted but the Pirates have crashed back to earth.
Climbing the Ladder
“Don’t pay no mind to the demons. They fill you with fear. The trouble, it might drag you down, but if you get lost, you can always be found.” – Phil Phillips, Home
Patrick Wisdom and Dansby Swanson are really slumping, yet Ross is still unable to find at-bats for Morel? Perhaps Jed Hoyer and Carter Hawkins are reading too much into the team’s run differential (+46) and Pythagorean record (22-12).
Cubs batters struck out 40 times in the three-game set against the Marlins. Hoerner, Cody Bellinger, and Ian Happ continue to be the team’s top hitters.
Though Adbert Alzolay pitched three innings and didn’t give up an earned run, Chicago still has a closer problem. Mark Leiter Jr. pitched well, too. I have little faith in Brad Boxberger or Julian Merryweather, one of whom may be moved once Codi Heuer is ready. Heuer began his rehab assignment at Iowa over the weekend.
Winning the Marlins series finally put the Cubs above .500 at home.
- Games Played: 34
- Record: 17-17 (.500)
- Total Plate Appearances: 1,324
- Total Strikeouts: 297
- Strikeout Rate: 22.43%
- Team Batting Average: .268
- Runs Scored: 168
- Runs Allowed: 122
- Chances of Making the Playoffs: 48.4%, 1.1% to win the World Series
How About That!
Flamethrowing ace Vida Blue of those great 1970s A’s teams passed away over the weekend at the age of 73.
The Rays are 28-7 and continue to astonish baseball fans everywhere.
Matt Strahm of the Phillies and Kutter Crawford of the Red Sox were ejected and fined by the league for a National Anthem standoff over the weekend.
Hosmer, Aaron Hicks, and Craig Kimbrel are veterans in danger of losing their roster spots to minor league players.
Baseball’s most expensive team has struggled to a 17-18 record, but Mets players say they are on the verge of turning things around.
Sunday’s Three Stars
- Leody Taveras – The Texas centerfielder had four hits, four RBI, and a stolen base to lead the Rangers to a 16-8 win over the Angels.
- Andrew Vaughn – The ChiSox first baseman was 3-for-5 with four RBI and was a home run shy of the cycle.
- Kris Bryant – The ex-Cub has found his stroke for the Rockies. Bryant hit his fifth home run of the year on a 2-for-5 day with three RBI. Paul Goldschmidt hit three home runs yesterday and deserves to be here but he plays for the Cardinals and this is the wrong week for the first baseman to get hot.
Wood was absolutely masterful on May 6, 1998.
Monday Morning Six-Pack
- Happy Height Day to all individuals of average height. National Tall People Day is the first day of summer, and National Short People Day commences with the winter solstice. If I had to guess, today our shadows equal our exact height.
- The 15-1 shot Mage bested the 18-horse field at Churchill Downs in a Kentucky Derby overshadowed by deaths in the lead-up to the race. Two more horses died on Saturday before the prime-time event, bringing the total number of horses that died last week at Churchill Downs to seven.
- Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3 scored $114 million at the domestic box office on its opening weekend. That’s good for the second-best opening of the year, and as usual, it is accompanied by a killer soundtrack that includes In the Meantime by Spacehog.
- Regrets? I’ve had a few… Marissa Mayer, the former CEO of Yahoo, said she regretted buying Tumblr instead of Netflix or Hulu.
- It was 30 years ago today that fictional life coach and motivational speaker Matt Foley brought his van and some sage advice to SNL. I still miss Phil Hartman.
- It’s also been 25 years since Steve Perry left Journey, and frankly, I’ve never liked any iteration of the band since.
They Said It
- “The road goes through St. Louis, right? They’re the defending champs. That’s who you look towards. They’re a very talented team and they proved that last year.” – Ross
- “We just decided to do it head-on, put it out there. Do we think we’ve seen Willson catch his last game? No. But this is going to take a little time to get him to where we feel he understands the expectations of what this role is for us.” – John Mozeliak
- “Matty’s a guy that the whole league is aware [of]. There’s so much information about prospects now. I think a lot more people are up to date on that stuff, as social media and all that stuff is out there.” – Hosmer
- “One thing I know about this fanbase is they follow the Minor Leagues and all the guys that are doing so well., and they’ve been clamoring for [Morel] for a little while.” – Ross
- “There’s so much more room for improvement as everyone starts to feel like they’re fully in a rhythm. Realistically, there are a lot of new faces and we’re finally going through an actual season together. We have so many great people here. It’s just a matter of continuing to stack bits of momentum on top of each other, and I think we’ll be able to go on a nice run here soon and see our full potential.” – Swanson
Monday Walk-Up Song
Tying it up thematically for all y’all.