The fiancée and I are headed out to Wrigley Field tonight to (hopefully) watch the Cubs get back ahead in this four-gamer against the Reds. So if you’re in the bleachers and happen to see us, come say hi!
I mean, I plan on catching at least 3-4 Bryzzo home run balls tonight, so you’ll definitely want to be in my general vicinity (you’ll find a way to deal with the smell).
Okay, news from around the league …
- You may have missed it, but last November, Rockies pitcher Chad Bettis discovered that he had testicular cancer. Thankfully, after catching it early enough, he was able to get past it and report to Spring Training on time. Unfortunately, in March, doctors discovered that his cancer had spread and that Bettis would have to undergo chemotherapy with no timetable for a return to MLB (read all about his story right here at Sports Illustrated).
- But get ready for some good news, because on Monday night Bettis returned to the Major Leagues and pitched an absolute gem against the Braves at Coors Field: 7.o IP, 6H, 0ER, 2Ks. According to SI, Bettis’ prognosis is good and about 90% of patients in his situation have gone on to make a full recoveries. And in case you were wondering, yes, Jon Lester reached out to Bettis to congratulate him on his recovery and return to the Major Leagues. You can read all about that here at the Chicago Tribune.
- Moving on, Giancarlo Stanton just hit another home run. Well, not really, but you’re almost never wrong when you say that this season. In case you’ve missed it, Stanton has been on a homer-streak lately the likes of which are only comparable to Barry Bonds, Mark McGuire and Sammy Sosa in their primes. The only difference, of course, is that Stanton has not been accused of using performance enhancing drugs. He’s just an absolute monster. Indeed, Stanton has hit 23 homers in his last 35 games and is currently on a six-game homer streak. The active record is eight straight games, so all eyes will be on Stanton tonight. Check out this article at MLB.com, to see all of the records he’s breaking, both as a Marlin and an MLBer in general.
- I saw this earlier today, and I still can’t believe it: The Dodgers (84-34) are now 50 (FIFTY!!) games over .500 this season. That’s just unbelievable. To think that the Cubs are angling for 89-90 wins this season while the Dodgers are likely going to hit that sometime next week is truly mind-boggling (and a teeny, tiny bit frustrating as hell). At MLB.com, manager Dave Roberts and a number of players discuss their ridiculous run.
- Oh, and if they simply kept their .712 win pace up for the remaining six weeks (or so) of the season, they’d win 115 games. Although, for what it’s worth, the projections are guessing that they wind up with just 110 wins (LOL).
- The other night, Angel Hernandez kicked Ian Kinsler out of a game when Kinsler turned around – but said NOTHING – after a pitch was called a ball (obviously in Kinsler’s favor). A few moments later, Hernandez sent Kinsler’s manager, Brad Ausmus, out with him. You can watch and read all about it right here. But the real story is that after the game, Kinsler dug in on Hernandez, suggesting that “he needs to find another job,” and stop “ruining baseball games.” The words are harsh, but I sure am getting fed up with umpires kicking players out on such short fuses.
- Remember when Adrian Beltre was kicked out earlier this season for moving the on-deck circle, also this:
OH GIVE ME A BREAKpic.twitter.com/M8mHYLTcXO
— Baseball is Fun (@flippingbats) July 27, 2017
- At Baseball America, Ben Badler writes about how scouts are targeting younger and younger international players every year, because the IFA and CBA rules permit the signing of 16 year olds. Which means, scouts are actively scouting 14-year-old ball players as a preparation to sign them later on. The past-impact and future fallout can be read about here at BA.
- In an interesting, uncommon take, R.J. Anderson (CBS Sports) points out that players (and, more specifically, their agents) are at a HUGE disadvantage to front offices, when it comes to player valuation. In other words, a front office has the advantage of using an entire analytics team to pinpoint which players they like for the future and why they like them, but don’t necessarily share that information with agents (who don’t have access to this sort of data on their own). Pretty interesting stuff in this one. Give it a look.
- Going back to Stanton for a moment, Travis Sawchik at FanGraphs has identified a clear batting stance change from the beginning of this season (and previous seasons) until now. Indeed, combined with an effort to make more contact, while sacrificing some power, Stanton has actually become a much better overall offensive player. I love the way Sawchik put it, “It makes sense that a player with Stanton’s sort of power might find a greater level of efficiency by sacrificing 470-foot home runs for 400-foot homers and more contact.” And, more importantly, I love/wonder what this could mean for someone like Kyle Schwarber, who may not have Stanton’s power, but I mean, let’s be honest, when he’s on, he can hit it as far as anyone. Perhaps something akin to the spirt of Anthony Rizzo’s two strike approach or Stanton’s contact-first approach could work wonders for a power bat like Schwarber.
- The monster free agent class you’ve been hearing so much about doesn’t come until after the 2018 season, but this 2017-2018 group was supposed to be pretty great too, right? Well, yes and no. While there are still a ton of exciting players to pine over, many were just expected opt-outs. Of course, of those opt-outs, not every player has lived up to their potential (and some may not even opt out at all). Steve Adams has info on all of them at MLB Trade rumors, and of Cubs’ note, you’ll find Masahiro Tanka (trending up), Johnny Cueto (trending down), and Wei-Yin Chen (holding steady).
- Lol … watch what Scooter Gennett says when asked how long he’s been throwing that side-armed “curveball:”
Scooter Gennett stepped up when asked, he's just curious if the radar gun was broken? pic.twitter.com/aYQIoozXgF
— FOX Sports Ohio (@FOXSportsOH) August 15, 2017
- “… It’s a fastball.” lulz.
- And finally, this is a refreshing, appropriate take:
— Sox On 35th (@SoxOn35th) August 16, 2017
- I can understand the desire to “go for it,” but he’s right, it’s not his team (even if it is his team). And to that end, the White Sox recently extended executive vice president Kenny Williams and GM Rick Hahn for undisclosed amounts and years. Given the way they’ve handled the past two years, I’m inclined to believe that was the right move. Now let’s see if they can steward this group of talented youngsters into the World Series, the way the Cubs did over the past 4-5 seasons.