The Cubs have made a couple of roster moves today, in case you missed it, sending pitchers Jon Lester and Justin Grimm to the disabled list while recalling Rob Zastryzny and Felix Pena from Triple-A Iowa.
They also kicked off a three-game interleague set against the Blue Jays, but there’s more to life than just the Cubs (not), so let’s check in on some news from around the league …
- The Cubs, it seems, may not be the only team in the NL Central losing a veteran starting pitcher in the middle of a divisional race. Indeed, the St. Louis Cardinals are examining Adam Wainwright’s arm after three-straight short outings (totaling just 11.0 innings across the three games) wherein he’s felt some discomfort near his elbow. The DL is not a certainty at this point, but the Cardinals are apparently ready to plug Luke Weaver into the rotation if necessary. Here’s more at Cardinals.com.
- At USA Today, Bob Nightengale discusses the many confrontations between umpires and everyone else this season, but also highlights the league and Umpire Union’s support for those officials. In addition, and despite many expected changes to the game next season (pitch clocks, limiting mound visits, etc.) Nightengale writes that we shouldn’t expect robot umpires anytime soon.
- For the third straight appearance last night, Aroldis Chapman gave up at least one run (this time a 2-run homer that nearly blew the save). His ERA is up to 3.89 this season, while his walk rate has ballooned to 10.5%. He’s also rocking a 32.2% strikeout rate which seems great, but looks bad in comparison to his 41.6% career average through Thursday night. At NBC Sports, Craig Calcaterra wonders if Chapman is pitching himself out of a job, as the Yankees may consider bumping either of Dellin Betances or David Robertson up to the closer’s role. Each has been there before and has had success in that capacity. Chapman may soon become one crazy expensive set-up man.
- As I’m sure you’ve undoubtedly noticed, Giancarlo Stanton has been hitting homers at an almost hilarious place here in the second half of the season. He’s got 44 dingers as of today, 7 more than anyone else in baseball, and has plenty of games left to play. And, so, Stanton says he has the single-season record in his sights. But not the 73 homers Barry Bonds hit in 2001, or the 70/66 homers Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa posted in 1998, but instead, the 61-homer “real” record set by Roger Maris in 1961. “But at the same time it doesn’t matter. The record is the record. But, personally, I do [think 61 is the record].” Stanton’s not getting ahead of himself, of course, he tells reporters to come back when he’s at 59, but if he does inch closer to 60 long balls, the steroid era debate will be reopened. That much is sure.
- Given Stanton’s enormous contract and all-time-high value as well as the new Marlins’ ownership and some rumors at the deadline, many continue to wonder whether the right-handed slugger will be traded some time soon (as in, before September 1st). However, such a trade would be extremely difficult to pull off and is very unlikely to happen this season. But after the season is over … Jon Heyman says it’s “not a long shot.” All of the usual suspects are mentioned in his article, but if the Marlins do wait until the winter, a whole new group of front-runners could emerge. So, basically, don’t be surprised if Stanton is traded over the winter.
- Red Sox principal owner John Henry is open to renaming Yawkey Way, the Jersey Street extension outside Fenway Park known for being closed off during game days, because he is “haunted” by the racist legacy of his predecessor, former owner Tom Yawkey. The Boston Mayor is also reportedly in support of renaming the street, so it seems this may be something that happens. The Boston Red Sox were the last team in baseball to integrate their roster and it took them until 1959 to do so. Yawkey oversaw the team from 1947-1958.
- META: If you must discuss the previous bullet in the comments, do so respectfully, calmly, and with other people in mind. We’re aware tensions are relatively high right now, but we’d still like to be able to report the news without fear of a comment section melt-down. Seriously. Be nice.
- Hey, a strikeout record not held by Kyle Schwarber or Javy Baez!
For the 33rd straight game, Aaron Judge has struck out.
Judge passes Adam Dunn for most consecutive games w/a strikeout in a single season pic.twitter.com/2Y9bzDlxAU
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) August 17, 2017
- Judge is still hitting an impressive .288/.418/.608 for the season, but has had a below average bat (.179/.340/.384; 90 wRC+) by quite a bit in his 141 second-half plate appearances.