How’s everyone doin’ today? My mood is, for better and worse, inextricably tied to the Cubs’ performance during the season. And after the previous five games, I am in a very bad mood.
So back up.
- The Cubs had a little practical fun last night in the blowout, with Joe Maddon taking the opportunity to get all three of his catchers in the game at once: Kyle Schwarber moved behind the plate to get in a little work there for the first time this year, Miguel Montero played at first base, and Willson Contreras moved to third base (where he does have minor league experience). Naturally, the very first ball in play was a grounder to Contreras, which he handled with aplomb. At least they all got a nice smile out of it in an otherwise awful evening.
- As for Schwarber behind the plate, he looked about as he did in Spring Training, putting his knee down to receive. The very first pitch he got was extremely in the zone but called a ball, though I wouldn’t put it on Schwarber – Brian Duensing was supposed to go in with the pitch, it was on the outer third, so Schwarber had to reach (but he really didn’t do a bad job of holding his arm, rather than stabbing … should have gotten the call). After the game, Maddon said he thought Schwarber looked fine and comfortable, and he appreciated the opportunity to get Schwarber some work to keep him “current” (Cubs.com). Perhaps it will help clear Schwarber’s head from the profoundly deep slump he’s in, during which, for the past eight games, he’s hitting just .121/.194/.121 with a 30.6% K rate, and a mere 13.6% line drive rate/31.8% fly ball rate. In other words, lately, Kyle Schwarber’s been striking out a whole lot and grounding out a whole lot. Neither of which are what you want to see from a guy with his power potential.
- As for Montero at first base, he has played there … exactly zero innings ever before last night. He seemed to do all right, and you can just stick anyone over there, right? Well, speaking of guys playing first base out of position, the Yankees tried to have a reliever do it so they could keep him in the game, and of course, the first pop up came his way. Turns out, first base is hard.
- Although Brett Anderson had a bad night, he kept his sense of humor:
Not an excuse but.. the top of the first tonight pic.twitter.com/rmkUNdBR5E
— Brett Anderson (@BAnderson3737) May 2, 2017
- Anthony Rizzo is doin’ work against premium fastballs this year:
Anthony Rizzo is 10 for 15 on pitches 94 MPH+ with 2 HRs this season. Best in MLB. He is crushing fastballs.
— Daren Willman (@darenw) May 1, 2017
- Adam Jones was subjected to racial taunts – including the use of the ‘n’ word – and had peanuts thrown at him at Fenway Park last night (USA Today). It was sufficiently bad that the Red Sox president issued an apology to Jones. It’s hard for me to believe that this kind of thing STILL happens, but here we are. General rule: if you can safely tell someone to shut the hell up (and inform security) when you hear stuff being shouted like that, do so. Don’t let them speak for you by your silence.
- And, after the Mets let him refuse an MRI after feeling discomfort, and then let him pitch a few days later, only to be shelled and leave injured … Noah Syndergaard has a torn lat, and he’s out for an undetermined length of time. It’s not only a terrible blow to the Mets, but also to baseball, which loses one of its brightest and most engaging stars for who knows how long (and who knows how he’ll pitch when he returns). The whole story seemed crazy to me from thing one, and it’s hard to understand how the Mets allowed this to happen.
- I’ve been waiting for the Cubs to finally appear on one of our Baseball is Fun graphics, and … this is not how I imagined it would be:
Here are the Top Five and Bottom Five Team Leaders in Starting Pitcher ERA: pic.twitter.com/xx0Nd0DYxj
— Baseball is Fun (@flippingbats) May 2, 2017
- Amazon’s deals of the day today include watches, yard tools, and a spy camera. Everything you need to go on a stakeout or something!
- Earlier, Luke looked at another breakout corner infield prospect for the Cubs, and David Ross did a sci-fi salsa.
- META: Thanks for the helpful feedback on new layout at The Ten-Yard Line, which will be coming over to BN. I spent a lot of time yesterday and last night making tweaks/fixes where I could, and I think it’s in good shape. Keep in mind, my priority in the redesign has been to improve the reading experience, which I feel has gotten clunky here – the look, the functionality, the speed – over the past three years of this iteration of BN. As the web changes daily, I’ve had to hack together ways to improve the site incrementally, but it’s long gotten past the point where a serious code architecture overhaul is necessary. Hopefully this goes well, and you’re reasonably happy. I’m sure there will be some bumps, and I’ll do my best to address them.