While Brett’s still basking in the glow of last night’s come from behind win, I’m here to deliver the Bullets for the very first time!
And, in my opening thoughts, I was prepared to lead with some version of “What a game, that was!” but I don’t think that does it justice.
Not only were the Cubs losing late into the evening, they were being no-hit by a 22-year-old lefty who posted a 4.80 FIP in 2015. But, after some late game heroics and timely hitting from Jason Heyward and Addison Russell, the Cubs pulled one out of nowhere and improved to 6-1 on the year.
And that’s just type of year it’s been so far, hasn’t it? Already, the Cubs have gotten off to a great start while scoring a ton of runs, lost a key player for the season, almost got no-hit, and came from behind for a win in dramatic fashion. Maybe the fun in 2016 won’t match last year, but the insanity is well on its way.
- And Addison Russell’s big hit was just the beginning. After the game the Cubs celebrated in their big, brand new clubhouse party room. Indeed, there is an actual room inside the Cubs clubhouse with a disco ball, fog machine and “who knows what else” for post win celebrations. Last night, I suspect, it was put to good use. “I try to stay out of that,” Maddon said, smiling, via ESPN Chicago. “It [the party room] was heating up … which is a good thing.” You can read more comments about the post game celebration here.
- And, on the at-bat and game itself, Russell shared some interesting, poignant thoughts with Jesse Rogers. “If you take your walks it’s going to help you out in the long run …. You’re going to see more pitches.” Which is certainly true. Consider that, despite being no-hit, the Cubs drew 5 walks and pushed the opposing Reds starter out the game after 6.2 IP (111 pitches). Had he thrown fewer pitches, he may have remained in the game a while longer and continued to dominate (even without a no-hitter). But, instead, he lost his command rather seriously, was up over 110 pitches and was taken out. The, Cubs, then, were able to take advantage of the Reds bullpen and put up 5(!) runs in under two innings. Relentless is this team’s motto.
- (For what it’s worth, Russell said he knew it was gone right away, and despite not normally pimping home runs, was excited because of the situation. I say, enjoy it, young man, you earned that pimping.)
- What may be brushed over because of just how much happened yesterday was Anthony Rizzo’s tribute to former teammate Starlin Castro. In his first at bat, Rizzo surprised those at Wrigley (including his teammates) when he approached the plate with “Ando En La Versace” the clap-along walk up music used by Starlin Castro. Rizzo said that the plan was to do it just the one time – to recognize all that Castro did for both him and the Cubs – but that he may reevaluate given the extraordinary response. If Castro was okay with it, I wouldn’t mind hearing it once a game.
- At CSN Chicago, Tony Andracki spoke with Theo Epstein on the “grieving” process that occurred alongside the news that Kyle Schwarber would be out for the season. The team, obviously, was bummed. They were bummed for the season, bummed for themselves, but, most importantly, bummed for Schwarber, who will miss out on what still projects to be quite an exciting season. For his part, Schwarber plans to be around as much as he possibly can, and I, for one, hope he’s able to join the team a lot. It’s hard to describe how one guy with less than 300 MLB PAs can be so important to a team (both on the field and in spirit), but Kyle Schwarber has somehow managed to become that guy.
- At CSN Chicago, Patrick Mooney discusses the less obvious, but equally important aspects of Jason Heyward’s game (contact, defense, base running, etc.), and how it has already made a huge impact on the team, as well as the actual results on the field. Just off the top of my head, I can remember two runs scored by Heyward that were directly related to his own heads up base running on the play before. Additionally, his ability to put the bat on the ball became apparent last night when he scored two with a two-out, two-strike single. That hit put the Cubs on the board and brought them back into the game. Heyward is just such a perfect fit for this team in so many ways.
- At the Chicago Tribune, Joe Maddon and Jake Arrieta discuss the tremendous depth of the Cubs, with special recognition of Jorge Soler and Tommy La Stella. In the wake of the Schwarber news, those two (in addition to someone like Javier Baez) will be expected to step up and take on a bigger role than they were otherwise expecting.
- Speaking of Javier Baez, in the first game of his rehab assignment in AAA Iowa yesterday, Baez, playing third base, went 1-3 with a home run, and was, by all accounts, working deep in each of his three at-bats. The good news is that if Baez has a few good games in Iowa and looks healthy/ready, he might be back by the weekend. (Just no head first slides, please).
- And also some bad news from Iowa: Cubs top pitching prospect Pierce Johnson was struck in the arm by a ball hit back to the mound and is awaiting results from an X-ray today. With some luck, the injury could be nothing more than a bruise and perhaps a missed start or two, but something more serious is always possible. After an injury cost Johnson the first half of 2015, a quick recovery is something we’re all pulling for.
- An incredible in-crowd video of Addison Russell’s homer thanks to Brian and Ryan:
- Lastly, before yesterday’s game, Brett and I took a walk around Wrigley, while discussing a variety of Cubs related topics. As we dip our toes into video more and more, we’ll be trying out a number of new, fun ways to deliver this content. Unfortunately, for this one, we made a rookie mistake by taking the video in portrait mode (instead of landscape). Still, the walk was great, the talk was fun and we still really enjoyed this one. So, check it out: