I’m in Chicago today and heading up to Milwaukee this afternoon for the game against the Brewers and the Baseball Prospectus event at Miller Park. If you’re going to be there or at the game, make sure to say hello (I’ll be wearing the blue and yellow shoes, which could make me look like a secret Brewers fan tonight).
- I’m not saying it means anything, but it too notable not to mention: in his 13 appearances this year, Cubs closer Hector Rondon has allowed runs – any of them – just twice. Each time, he entered the game with the Cubs leading by four runs, and each time he gave up multiple runs. People always lean too heavily on the old saw about closers and non-save situations (technically, the first time Rondon allowed runs, he came in with two runners on, so, despite the four-run lead, it was a save situation), but you do wonder if there is something to the idea that having the pressure helps certain pitchers. Rondon came in last night with a four-run lead and had zero command or control, which is extremely unusual for him. You hope that he’s physically feeling fine, and, if he is, then maybe it was the size of the lead, or maybe it was just a random fluke. We won’t know the truth for a long time, if ever, but, as I said, it was too notable not to mention.
- For his part, Joe Maddon said after the game that it was fastball wildness and Rondon should not have kept going with the fastball (Tribune). There may have been some disagreement between Rondon and Miguel Montero on the approach that inning, and the two worked together watching video after the game, according to Mark Gonzales.
- As you would expect, Joe Maddon was a big fan of Kris Bryant’s hustle last night (Cubs.com). Many, many good points from Maddon here at CSN, including his thoughts that many folks would have taken a 15-13 record at this point if you’d asked them before the season (I would have). You combine that with the fact that the Cubs haven’t actually done anything great just yet, and that’s a really good record.
- The big one-day fantasy contest – cash prizes and an all-expenses paid trip to the All-Star Game on the line – is tonight. Sign up here to play. More about the contest here. The predicted weather in Colorado today is really messing with my planned lineup …
- The Cubs will face another big-time pitching prospect soon, with the Mets set to call up huge righty Noah Syndergaard on Tuesday to make his big league debut at Wrigley Field. For those who aren’t familiar with “Thor,” he’s one of the best pitching prospects in baseball (typically ranked as the second-best right-handed pitching prospect behind Nationals righty Lucas Giolito), is gigantic, and is probably going to strike out a ton of Cubs on Tuesday. That’s just the reality of this 22-year-old kid. Hopefully the Cubs can take advantage of maybe command issues due to excitement or something. The Cubs will also face Matt Harvey at some point in the series and Jacob deGrom on Monday, so, yeah, There Will Be Strikeouts.
- Joe Maddon heard from MLB – Joe Torre – about his post-game comments on the umpiring on Wednesday and it’s possible he’ll be fined (Tribune). I think everyone understands why Maddon did what he did, and why it was necessary for his young team. If that means a fine is forthcoming, so be it. (I guess that’s easy for me to say …. )
- Miguel Montero is intense (CSN).
- Anthony Rizzo’s battle with cancer, his grandma’s battle with the same, and a really incredible story – over at The Players’ Tribune. Have a tissue at the ready.
- A great read on Jason Hammel and his family at Cubs.com. They are loving Chicago.
- Matt Carpenter, who sat out the finale against the Cubs, will miss this weekend’s series against the Pirates due to “extreme fatigue.” It’s an odd ailment, to be sure (with some kind of scary symptoms, including an accelerated heart rate), though the Cardinals were able to win their last two games without him. One columnist wonders if it’s a sign that the Cardinals simply “work too hard.” Obligatory eyeroll and all that, but I suppose it is a question – you could work too hard between games, especially when you consider the long grind of a baseball season. I doubt that’s the issue here, though.
- For other notable MLB items, make sure to check out Michael’s latest MLBits.
- A couple stray tweets I won’t re-type here:
23-year-old pitching prospect Ivan Pineyro's last two starts w/@smokiesbaseball: 14IP, 3ER, 11H, 15K, 0BB. Sup.
— Brett Taylor (@BleacherNation) May 9, 2015
In his pro career, Cubs outfield prospect Mark Zagunis has struck out just 59 times in 82 games. He's walked 64(!) times.
— Brett Taylor (@BleacherNation) May 9, 2015