The Taylor Family is doing a little family time this weekend in advance of the holiday, and I hope you’re also finding some fun things to do.
I get to be in charge of the fireworks tonight, so I’m feelin’ good. Hopefully the Cubs will give me a reason to light a few extra ones off.
- Mike Montgomery gave up four runs last night in his fifth start this year, but I really think it pitched well for the fifth straight start. Over his 6.2 innings, he struck out 7 and walked just 2, while getting his heathy complement of groundballs. He mixed five pitches well, and got 10 whiffs on the day. Sometimes you just give up some hits (.444 BABIP in the game), and sometimes they’re sequenced just right (three hits in a row, with the third being a homer). Pitch like that again, and on most days, it won’t yield four runs.
- Over the past month, Montgomery’s been the Cubs’ best starting pitcher not named Jon Lester, posting a 3.58/3.39/3.74 line with a 22.2% K rate, an 8.6% BB rate, and an OMG 62.8% groundball rate. If he had enough starts to qualify, that would be the second highest groundball rate in baseball, and would be super elite – only 13 pitchers have a groundball rate above 50(!)%. Montgomery was effective as a starter last year with the Cubs, too, and he’s pitching with so much more command than he was earlier in the year out of the bullpen. If this is really who he is? Then he’s a huge revelation for the Cubs going forward, and into 2018. And he also won’t be leaving the rotation when Kyle Hendricks comes back.
- I also really like that Montgomery pitched well with Victor Caratini behind the plate in his big league catching debut.
- And a happy 28th birthday to Montgomery, too:
The most iconic pitch in #Cubs history.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) July 1, 2017
- Kris Bryant (ankle) was able to field, take batting practice, and run before last night’s game, but Joe Maddon wasn’t ready to commit to Bryant being back in the lineup today (Cubs.com).
- As for the Cubs’ other walking wounded: Jeimer Candelario was just relieved his knee wasn’t broken when he was drilled on Thursday (Cubs.com), but his return to the lineup is also unclear. He thinks he’ll be able to play this weekend (Tribune). Ben Zobrist had another successful rehab game with Tennessee last night, and you’ve got to figure he’s very close to a return. Kyle Hendricks threw again without pain, and hopes to pitch off the mound on Tuesday or Wednesday. Jason Heyward was able to take batting practice yesterday.
- Kyle Schwarber ripped two homers for the Iowa Cubs last night, which is nice to see. He’s working with the organization’s hitting coordinator Andy Haines while in Iowa, with a special focus on hitting to the middle of the field (Tommy Birch).
- The Deals of the Day at Amazon today include a refurbished Roku stick and bed sheets. You know, so you can watch shows in bed all day on new sheets.
- The MLB Shop now has three Cubs fidget spinners for you or the fidgeter in your life: