“It was fun for a while, there was no way of knowing. Like a dream in the night, who can say where we’re going?” – Roxy Music, More Than This
The Cubs closed baseball’s traditional first half with a 7-4 comeback win over the Yankees and then selected Maryland shortstop Matt Shaw in the first round of the MLB Draft. Winner, winner, chicken dinner! My favorite part about yesterday, other than drafting Shaw, was the big home run by Seiya Suzuki.
I’m not a big fan of the All-Star Game and its affiliate events, though I do like the Futures Game. That said, we will be competitive baseball-less until Friday, after which it’ll be about two weeks before Jed Hoyer decides if he is buying, standing pat, or selling. Five will get you 10 the president of baseball operations will have a pretty uneventful deadline. If I were to guess, I’d say only Marcus Stroman will be sporting new threads in August.
Cubs News & Notes
- The Cubs went 5-8 on their “all-important” 13-game stretch leading to the break.
- The team hopes yesterday’s comeback win will be the catalyst for a strong second half.
- David Ross started his week off a little early after being ejected in the 1st inning of Sunday’s game.
- A hot microphone caught the entirety of Rossy’s profanity-laced tirade.
- Shaw was a Red Sox fan growing up and modeled his game ($) after Dustin Pedroia, according to Patrick Mooney of The Athletic.
- The Maryland shortstop received a congratulatory text from Dansby Swanson after he was selected.
- Prospect Digest has a nice analysis of Shaw.
- Swanson was placed on the 10-Day IL retroactive to July 6, so he’ll miss Tuesday’s All-Star Game.
- The starting shortstop has evolved into the team’s leader halfway through his first year with Chicago.
- Swanson and many of his teammates feel Nico Hoerner should have been named an All-Star.
- Jameson Taillon had his best start as a Cub on Friday night, and it was even more incredible than it seemed.
- Drew Smyly had another rough outing on Saturday.
- The Cubs also selected right-handed pitcher Jaxon Wiggins out of Arkansas with the 68th pick.
- Pete Crow-Armstrong spent several innings chatting with Ken Griffey Jr. in Sunday’s Futures Game.
Odds & Sods
What will we do without baseball?
— Baseball by BSmile (@BSmile) July 10, 2023
- Cincinnati (50-41): Rookie phenom Elly De La Cruz has a 30-game stat line that no other player has ever replicated. De La Cruz is the first player in MLB history to have 40 hits and 15 stolen bases through 30 games.
- Milwaukee (49-42): The Brewers designated RHP Tyson Miller for assignment and called up fellow righty Abner Uribe as the corresponding move.
- Pittsburgh (41-49): The Pirates had the first pick in yesterday’s draft and selected RHP Paul Skenes of LSU to kick off the festivities. They also drafted Zander Meuth with their competitive balance pick, and then the Pirates selected shortstop Mitch Jebb of Michigan State in Round 2.
- St. Louis (38-52): The Cardinals hope that back-to-back wins over the White Sox portend better success in the second half.
Climbing the Ladder
“When lonely days turn to lonely nights you take a trip to the city lights.” – Supertramp, Take the Long Way Home
The Cubs hit the break as somewhat of an enigma. They should be the best team in the NL Central based on each team’s rosters, but they continue to play mediocre baseball. Christopher Morel leads the team in home wins with 15, and Hoerner has a team-best 45 RBI with 20 stolen bases to boot. Cody Bellinger has been Chicago’s most consistent hitter, however.
Stroman and Justin Steele lead the pitching staff with nine wins apiece, but the Cubs have just 13 saves, which is last in the National League. Adbert Alzolay has seven saves, tops among Chicago’s relievers. Those numbers may seem a little light, but the Cubs have blown eight save opportunities this season. The team is also last in all of baseball in total save opportunities.
- Games Played: 89
- Record: 42-47 (.472)
- Total Plate Appearances: 3,409
- Total Strikeouts: 816
- Strikeout Rate: 23.94%
- Team Batting Average: .246
- Runs Scored: 410
- Runs Allowed: 384
- Chances of Making the Playoffs: 34.1%, 2.0% to win the World Series
How About That!
MLB’s Home Run Derby is tonight and the All-Star Game is tomorrow in Seattle.
The National League won the Futures Game 5-0.
On Saturday, De La Cruz became the first Reds player since 1919 to steal second, third, and home in the same inning.
The Yankees fired hitting coach Dillon Lawson after yesterday’s loss to the Cubs.
The Braves have emerged as the team to beat in the National League and are favored to reach the World Series. The Mets, Yankees, and Padres own the top three payrolls in MLB, respectively, but none had the first half they envisioned.
Sunday’s Three Stars
- Bryan De La Cruz – The Marlins’ left fielder enjoyed a 4-for-4 day that also included a double, a home run, two runs, and two RBI.
- Anthony Santander – Baltimore’s super UT bashed two home runs in a 15-2 win over the Twins. Aaron Hicks, Austin Hays, Ramon Urias, and Adley Rutschman also went yard for the 54-35 Orioles.
- Wade Miley – The ex-Cub improved to 6-2 on the season thanks to six shutout innings with eight strikeouts in a 1-0 win over the Reds.
I had the Cubs taking Shaw in my mock draft, but that wasn’t much of a shocker. I believe he was the consensus No. 13 pick.
The Bob ➡️ Wrigley Field
— Maryland Baseball (@TerpsBaseball) July 10, 2023
Apropos of Nothing
I’ll be absent tomorrow and possibly Wednesday. I’m getting a pacemaker, or as I like to say, “I’m getting turbo-charged.” I previously had a pacer from 1985-2015, but my cardiologist removed it because my heart rate normalized. It’s a little wonky again, however.
Apropos of Nothing II
I met a member of the Brewers’ ground crew yesterday, and he told me that the roof of American Family Field cannot be closed without approval by the visiting team’s manager. So, he’s basically saying Ross is full of shit.
Monday Morning Six-Pack
- Elton John has performed “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” in concerts 1,475 times over the past 50 years, according to Setlist.fm, but he might have sung it for the final time Saturday night. John’s farewell tour, which began in 2018 and spanned 333 shows, was the highest-grossing tour ever at $900 million and change.
- John’s signature song was No. 3 on the charts 50 years ago this week, trailing “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” by Bob Dylan and Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Free Bird.”
- Disgraced sports doctor Larry Nassar, who was convicted of sexually abusing female gymnasts, was stabbed multiple times during an altercation with another incarcerated person at a federal prison in Florida.
- The NBA officially unveiled its newly formed in-season tournament and the NBA Cup that teams will claim for winning it at NBA2K24 Summer League on Saturday afternoon. The event is the culmination of a vision NBA commissioner Adam Silver has had for years to bring a European Cup-style competition to the league.
- Amazon Prime Days start tomorrow, and most Americans will celebrate by buying something they really don’t need just because it’s allegedly on sale.
- Not that anybody ever asked for it, but there is now a simpler version of Wikipedia.
They Said It
- “Honestly, I haven’t thought about [playing shortstop] at all. That’s something that really doesn’t worry me whatsoever. Not that I’m going to say I’m going to go play shortstop right now with the Cubs. It’s to say, wherever I end up is wherever I end up. My goal is to play in the big leagues and be really good there. So whatever happens — whatever my path is to get there — I’m going to do the best I can to make that the right path. I’m just excited to have that opportunity.” – Shaw
- “I wanted to be on a team that I thought would move me up and give me the opportunity to kind of fail early but learn how to get my footing [by] playing against really good competition. I think the Cubs will do a good job with that.” – Shaw
Monday Walk-Up Song
I decided to see Guns N’ Roses with The Pretenders this summer. It should be a great show.