“If I were you I’d turn this thing around before it runs aground.” – Blue Merle, If I Could
When you’re bullied on the regular, sometimes you have to stop turning the other cheek and take matters into your own hands. The Cubs did just that when they demolished the Nationals 17-3 on Tuesday night. I went to bed early and kept getting jarred from a light sleep by my MLB app notifications. I thought Milwaukee was hit with a lightning storm.
The Cubs were trailing 3-1 when they erupted for 16 runs across the next three innings, singling Washington to death and demonstrating a perfect example of station-to-station baseball with a never-ending, run-scoring conga line. Ian Happ scored three times, and Nico Hoerner, Seiya Suzuki, Cody Bellinger, Yan Gomes, Patrick Wisdom, and Miles Mastrobuoni all scored twice. Suzuki and Wisdom had home runs as Chicago improved to 10-11 in games when Mastobuoni starts. Honestly, I thought it was the first such occasion. The speedy infielder improved his OPS+ to 42 with his big night.
Wrigleyville must have felt like an evening at Burning Man after the win. Such are the fruits of that type of communal effort by Chicago’s North Side Baseballers and the obligatory cleansing that came with it. The Cubs had 20 hits with most of the damage coming against Paolo Espino, who may need to be fitted for a neck brace this morning. The Washington reliever allowed eight runs on seven hits with two bases on balls while registering just one out. Jared Young will no doubt face a Kangaroo Court for striking out against Espino.
The win probably didn’t change the inevitable deadline sell-off, but it was nice to see the Cubs finally dominate the inferior Nationals.
Cubs News & Notes
- The Cubs now lead the National League with 14 games scoring 10 or more runs.
- The team is hoping last night’s win is a sign of things to come. We’ve heard that before.
- David Ross will continue to run with Hoerner, Suzuki, and Happ at the top of the lineup, and last night the trio returned huge dividends.
- Suzuki looked relieved after his breakout performance. From June 2 through Monday, the 28-year-old slashed .198/.268/.270, with his overall OPS plummeting 152 points during that stretch.
- It doesn’t appear that now is the time for a Matt Mervis recall according to Sahadev Sharma of The Athletic. But his return probably isn’t far off ($), especially with a deadline sell-off likely.
- Mastrobuoni is seeing increased playing time because the Cubs don’t have a lot of lineup options at the moment.
- Miguel Amaya is impressing his teammates with his growth as a major league catcher.
- Mark Feinsand of MLB.com said the Giants, Guardians, and Yankees are the best potential fits for Bellinger.
- There are still at least eight bubble teams, including the Cubs, with just two weeks remaining until the trade deadline.
- Insider Jon Heyman believes the Cubs could ultimately win the trade deadline if they become sellers. Break out the champagne!
- Heyman listed Bellinger, Gomes, Kyle Hendricks, Drew Smyly, and Marcus Stroman as candidates to be traded at the deadline. If it were up to me, I’d rather see the Cubs acquire Juan Soto and Shohei Ohtani.
- The Rays and Cubs are optimal options if Anahaeim deals the two-way superstar, though Chicago is not mentioned in the linked article. The Reds are a dark horse.
- Cubs players have become huge fans of the Immaculate Grid. The players, like the casual baseball fan, have become enamored with the game but unlike the casual fan, there’s the unique opportunity to see themselves as an answer. Tucker Barnhart made the grid the other day.
Odds & Sods
Who knew Fergie Jenkins was a Bryan Adams fan?
— Fergie Jenkins (@fergieajenkins) July 19, 2023
- Milwaukee (52-43): Wade Miley went back on the IL with elbow discomfort, so expect Milwaukee to add a starter in the next two weeks.
- Cincinnati (50-46): The Reds have lost six straight, but that’s not nearly as embarrassing as what happened to one of the members of their grounds crew.
- St. Louis (42-53): The Cardinals finally climbed out of last place, but the organization still intends to sell at the deadline. That said, the front office may be looking to add to the big league roster, too.
- Pittsburgh (41-54): Rapper Wiz Khalifa admitted he was high on mushrooms when he threw the ceremonial first pitch for the Pirates on Monday evening. That reminds me of the heady, hallucinogenic days of Dave Parker and Dock Ellis at the old Three Rivers Stadium.
Climbing the Ladder
“They will see us waving from such great heights. ‘Come down now,’ they’ll say. But everything looks perfect from far away.” – The Postal Service, Such Great Heights
Suzuki needed a breakout game and finished 4-for-6 with the tater and three ribeyes. In fact, Chicago’s 1-2-3 hitters went 9-for-15 with seven runs scored and six RBI. A workmanlike effort by Jameson Taillon was lost in the offensive explosion, by the way. The veteran righty allowed three runs on seven hits in 5.2 innings. Michael Fulmer earned his first win as a Cub in relief of Taillon.
Wisdom is on a heater again, which means Ross will probably sit him tonight.
The Cubs were a very efficient 12-for-19 (.632) with runners in scoring position Tuesday evening. Chicago also raised its team batting average three points in the blowout. Let’s hope there’s something left in the tank tonight. Hendricks will toe the slab against Trevor Williams to close out the series, with the Cardinals coming to town for four games starting Thursday.
- Games Played: 94
- Record: 44-50 (.468)
- Total Plate Appearances: 3,610
- Total Strikeouts: 868
- Strikeout Rate: 24.04%
- Team Batting Average: .250
- Runs Scored: 450
- Runs Allowed: 417
- Chances of Making the Playoffs: 28.4%, 1.4% to win the World Series
How About That!
A dozen teams scored double-digit runs yesterday, including three in losing efforts.
It’s the first time that many teams scored double-digit runs since 1894.
The Astros have reportedly had internal discussions about acquiring Dylan Cease and Luis Robert Jr. from the White Sox, and there is momentum. Seems like a stretch to me, however, and Stroman is a more likely acquisition for Houston.
Home plate umpire Malachi Moore was a little childish here but you know Blue Jays pitching coach Pete Walker had some choice words even if his mouth was covered. It’s time for baseball to end the Umpire Sensitivity Show, however.
Tuesday’s Three Stars
- Josh Naylor – The Guardians’ first baseman has two home runs and six RBI in a 10-1 win over the hapless Pirates.
- Wilmer Flores – The San Francisco DH also had two homers and he plated five runners in the Giants’ 11-10 win over the reeling Reds. Cincinnati’s Christian Encarnacion-Strand also hit his first big league home run in the game.
- Christian Walker – The D-Backs first baseman was 3-for-5 with two big flies, five RBI, and a stolen base to boot in a 16-13 win over the Braves.
Seiya Suzuki – Chicago Cubs (8) pic.twitter.com/PS7jQoBVIU
— MLB HR Videos (@MLBHRVideos) July 19, 2023
Wednesday Morning Six-Pack
- Dozens of people, including some wearing fur coats, are showing up at Death Valley to experience 128-degree afternoons. “I may be dumb fellas, but I’m not stupid.” – Happy Felsch
- Illinois will become the first state to eliminate cash bail after a historic state Supreme Court ruling. Judges ruled the landmark criminal justice reform bill is not unconstitutional, and the change will take effect in September.
- TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram influencers will have to return to Tide pod and NyQuil chicken challenges because the SAG-AFTRA strike also applies to them. The stakes are high, too. If a non-union influencer decides to make some extra cash by posting a three-hour “Stranger Things Easter Eggs” YouTube video, they could risk never being allowed to become a member of the union.
- The new Gen Z TikTok trend is ice cream shop employees throwing soft serve at each other.That probably won’t make you a scab.
- Congratulations if you win the $1 billion Powerball drawing tonight, but be aware that winners of obnoxiously large jackpots tend to end up badly with alarming regularity. Jack Whittaker, a Johnny Cash-attired, West Virginia native, is the poster boy for the dangers of a lump sum award.
- The band Yes will embark on a Classic Tales of Yes tour starting this September. Each show will also feature an on-site presentation and gallery by artist Roger Dean, whose iconic work and logo design have graced the band’s album covers for five decades.
They Said It
- “It’s just nice to see after guys going through a little bit of hard work and trying to fix some things mechanically and approach-wise. Just to also throw a bunch of knocks out there. These guys [have been] putting in a lot of work and grinding a little bit lately. So it’s nice for that to break open and be able to add on for sure.” – Ross
- “[To] see the boys kinda go off like that, there’s nothing better. I believe hitting’s contagious, so it was a good win for us tonight.” – Mastrobuoni
- “I wouldn’t say we’re lacking confidence but showing that we’re in the right direction and doing the right things as a group. This group’s a lot of fun to be a part of. I think just reaffirming a lot of those things just to have a game like that down early and then have that explosion late, super fun.” – Wisdom
Wednesday Walk-Up Song
The win was nice, but the Cubs really need to string together six or seven more before the deadline, and then go get Ohtani.