“You say you wanna go for a spin. The party’s just begun, we’ll let you in. You drive us wild, we’ll drive you crazy.” – Kiss, Rock and Roll All Nite
I’m going to skip the preamble and let the Cubs speak on my behalf. Before I do that, I want to say I’m tired of the fans who unforgivably trash this team and then celebrate a walk-off win like they’re the greatest fans in Chicago. Just stop, rant over.
A quick recap:
- Javier Assad belongs in Chicago’s rotation.
- Big Stick Nick Madrigal sparked the team.
- Michael Fulmer was as clutch as it gets.
- Christopher Morel…fughedaboutit.
- Last night’s 4-3 win over the White Sox is the type of game that propels a team to the postseason. Will the Cubs make it? Nobody knows, but I love their chances.
Cubs News & Notes
- Last night’s big win added another chapter to a season full of drama and excitement.
- That said, Morel’s game-winner was most definitely the walk-off moment of the year.
- With one swing, Morel turned what would’ve been a disastrous two-game sweep at the hands of the White Sox into an electric comeback party.
- The Cubs are now three games back of the Brewers but lead the Wild Card race by a percentage point over the Reds and Marlins.
- Marcus Stroman suffered a right rib cartilage fracture and will remain on the IL indefinitely.
- The Cubs have not provided a timeline, but these injuries can take 6-12 weeks to heal in some cases.
- President of baseball operations Jed Hoyer said he has no idea how much time Stroman will miss.
- In addition to commenting on Stroman, Hoyer provided updates on some of Chicago’s top prospects.
- Hoyer, whose love for Cody Bellinger knows no bounds, reiterated once again that he’s glad he didn’t trade the center fielder/first baseman.
- White Sox manager Pedro Grifol called last night’s loss the toughest of the year, which is saying something when you consider the ChiSox are 48-73.
- The Marquee Sports Network will televise an hour-long feature on Hall of Fame announcer Pat Hughes tonight at 7pm CT.
- The Cubs this week sent postseason invoices to season ticket holders.
Odds & Sods
Do they call Ozzie Albies “Aquaman?” If not, someone should start.
Ozzie Albies is a superstar for the Braves.
He's also fascinated by aquariums.
He maintains 4 huge tanks at home, calls fish over like puppies and checks them while away with a ring camera. I've never seen a player enjoy talking about something more. https://t.co/aH1RxT9vCd
— Matt Monagan (@MattMonagan) August 16, 2023
- Milwaukee (65-56): William Contreras was called for interference in the 1st and 2nd innings, leading to runs in the Dodgers’ 7-1 over the Brewers. J.D. Martinez was the beneficiary both times. Contreras leads the majors with five interference calls, by the way.
- Cincinnati (63-59): The Reds are dealing with a bevy of injuries to the pitching staff, but also to key position players Jake Fraley and Jonathan India.
- Pittsburgh (54-67): Andrew McCutchen wants to return to the Pirates in 2024 and beyond, and hopes to “chase a championship” with the team.
- St. Louis (54-67): Matthew Liberatore was shelled last night, and like Adam Wainwright, he may be pitching himself out of the Cardinals’ rotation.
Climbing the Ladder
“I was caught in the middle of a railroad track. I looked ’round, but I knew there was no turning back.” – AC/DC, Thunderstruck
Yes, I referenced that song. Suck it, Sox fans.
Morel’s home run was hit so hard that the exit velocity wasn’t even recorded by Statcast, and it sent a sonic boom through Wrigley Field. The second-year slugger was mired in a 4-for-39 slump with 16 strikeouts when he won the game, but stats don’t matter as long as you win.
I can’t say enough about Madrigal. That was a gigantic blast by the Liliputian infielder against his former team.
None of that would have been possible without Fulmer, who came in with the bases loaded in the top of the 8th and struck out Luis Robert Jr., Yoan Moncada, and Andrew Vaughn. He earned every penny of his contract with that performance. The expected tally is slightly greater than two runs in that situation, on average.
- Games Played: 120
- Record: 62-58 (.517)
- Total Plate Appearances: 4,606
- Total Strikeouts: 1,079
- Strikeout Rate: 23.43%
- Team Batting Average: .254
- Runs Scored: 604
- Runs Allowed: 541
- Chances of Making the Playoffs: 66.8%, 1.8% to win the World Series
How About That!
Rays infielder Wander Franco may never play in MLB again, according to insider Héctor Gómez. One assumes he’s probably going to forfeit the remainder of that 12-year, $223 million contract extension, too.
Is your favorite team a contender or a pretender, last night’s results aside?
While a false narrative has circulated that Major League Baseball is a “dying sport,” a groundbreaking report peels back the data to show that the sports property is an exceptional value for advertisers.
Which team has baseball’s best rotation? I was shocked to learn it is the Phillies, who boast Zack Wheeler, Ranger Suárez, Michael Lorenzen, Aaron Nola, Cristopher Sánchez, and Taijuan Walker among their top six.
Marlins minor leaguer Ian Lewis stole five bases without recording a single hit on Wednesday night. That’s so rare it’s been done just once in AL/NL history dating back to 1901. That one player is Rickey Henderson, who did it in 1989.
Wednesday’s Many Stars
There were plenty of superb performances yesterday besides those by Madrigal, Fulmer, and Morel, so let me expand this category this morning. Last night offered plenty of surreal experiences for fans of the game.
- Spencer Torkelson, Stone Garrett, DJ Stewart, Christian Walker, and Bryce Harper – Each hit two home runs in wins by their respective teams.
- Zack Gelof – The A’s second baseman was 4-for-5 with two doubles, two RBI, and a stolen base in an 8-0 thrashing of the Cardinals. Paul Blackburn had a big game, too, with eight strikeouts in seven scoreless frames.
- Charlie Morton – The veteran Braves starter blanked the Yankees with 10 strikeouts in six shutout innings. Atlanta’s 2-0 victory put New York below .500 on the season.
- Reid Detmers – He took a no-hitter into the 8th inning in the Angels’ 2-0 win over the Rangers. Shohei Ohtani hit his AL-leading 42nd home run in the contest. He trails Matt Olson by one for the MLB lead.
- Luke Raley – A pinch-hit, inside-the-park home run is a notable achievement, and almost as fun as Morel’s walk-off bomb.
- Matt McLain – The Reds rookie was 3-for-5 with three RBI, a home run, a double, and two stolen bases in a 7-2 stomping of the Guardians.
- Fernando Tatis Jr. – The Padres shortstop was 3-for-4 against the Orioles and stole home uncontested in a 5-2 win.
You want to see it again, don’t you?
— Miguel Esparza (@Miguelsvoice) August 17, 2023
Thursday Morning Six-Pack
- The Bears are running joint practices this week with the Colts before the two teams will play an exhibition tilt on Saturday. Justin Fields had an up-and-down day, but D.J. Moore continues to impress everybody. Chicago’s rookies have also been impressive so far.
- Sean Tuohy Jr., better known as “SJ,” claimed in an interview that Michael Oher threatened the Tuohy family a few years prior to the legal petition the former offensive lineman filed in court on Monday.
- It’s my personal goal to use the following words in this space before the end of the year: suspire, inchoate, flâneur, Csárdás, and of course, rigmarole.
- On this day in 1998, former President Bill Clinton turned everyone’s minds into slush when, during grand jury testimony over his affair with Monica Lewinsky, he retorted, “It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.” That’s not rigmarole, but it’s still a funny quip.
- A pig’s kidney transplanted into a brain-dead human is still working after a month, but for the love of Gene Wilder, hasn’t reanimation proven to be a massive failure?
- This is an old story but I still dig it: People who love the Dave Matthews Band need to come out of the closet. The music bullies aren’t as tough as they pretend to be.
They Said It
- “What a great swing, great environment. Morel, he’s just so electric. That ball’s smoked. A line drive to get over the basket like that, that exit velocity — I haven’t even seen it all. Crazy, crazy swing.” – David Ross
- “I thought initially, off the bat, it was too low to get out. But [Morel] hit it probably as hard as you can possibly hit the ball. It just kept going and going. For that ball to get out in that situation, it’s just so much fun. The crowd went crazy, the guys also went crazy, and everyone was going in all different directions. That’s probably one of the most fun games to be a part of.” – Madrigal
Thursday Walk-Up Song
No need to come down from last night’s high!