Gonna do some over-boogying today.
- Addison Russell defended his hard turn at second base in the 9th inning last night on a single with one out, a runner ahead of him, and the Cubs down three. The throw came in behind him as he tried to retreat to second when he saw that Starlin Castro was being held at third base. Essentially, Russell tells Cubs.com and ESPN, he believed that Castro was going to be sent and the throw would come home, allowing him to take third (and maybe Chris Coghlan to take second). His mistake, he believes, was not having his head up to pick up third base coach Gary Jones quickly enough, but he doesn’t think it was “stupid” to take third.
- Here’s the play if you didn’t see it:
- I like Russell’s attitude – it’s a thing that happened, next time here’s what I’ll do differently, and I still want to be aggressive – but he’s got to know in that situation that he’s not the run that matters (he would have been run two with the Cubs down three). Yes, getting to third base would have helped a teeny tiny bit (takes away the force at third), but I’ve been running through the scenarios in my head, and I’m not sure there’s much of another reason to risk taking third base in that situation even if the runner was going home. Stanton would have had to completely forget himself to throw home on that play. I know for sure there was no really good reason to try and send the runner at third, which I was glad to see Gary Jones didn’t. Almost every time, taking the extra base is a good thing. In that situation, it wouldn’t have been worth the risk, and Russell will have to remember that going forward, whether he’s looking up or not.
- Now, as I type all of that, I’m second guessing myself a little on the lead runner: might it be worth it to send Castro home? It either draws a throw and could maybe get that tying run to second, or Stanton does the smart thing and simply throws it in to the infield, and the Cubs are down two with runners on first and third and one out. Of course, it’s possible he throws home and nails Castro, which would be the worst of the outcomes. All in all, I think I’d still rather you hold that runner at third, leaving the bases loaded and one out. Anyone else think differently?
- Russell with a Q&A at ESPN.
- Joe Maddon says the Cubs will know by this morning whether Jorge Soler (ankle) is going to need a DL stint, and the preference is to not send him to the DL, even if he needs to sit out a few days (Cubs.com). That suggests, then, that if Soler does go to the DL today, it is probably more than a minor ankle turn. Either way, the Cubs braced for playing short in the outfield for a bit by calling up Matt Szczur yesterday, and I think you’ll see Soler sit tonight in favor of Junior Lake again no matter what.
- With a late single yesterday, Starlin Castro become the youngest Cub ever to reach 900 hits. While it may not mean a ton in terms of predictive ability – counting stats are flawed that way – it’s still really cool thing to see. Castro came up at such a young age and had so much success. I think it’s a lot of fun when that happens, because it reminds you how a young player can surprise.
- Don’t look now, but Castro’s hitting .286/.375/.714 in June! (No, seriously, don’t look now. It’s been two games.)
- An interesting read at the Hardball Times on the Cubs’ College of Coaches experiment in the early 1960s. If you’re not familiar, the Cubs had no manager – just a rotating set of coaches, each of whom might rotate down into the minor leagues for a while, back with the big league team for a while, to be the head coach for a while, to be a different coach for a while, etc.
- If you missed it early this morning, Javier Baez went deep again – twice – and Luke wrote about the draft and the farm system.