May the weather today hold out well enough for me to enjoy a big Cubs-Cardinals game in the bleachers. These weekend sets against the Cardinals tend to be the bleachers at their best, especially during the day: Cubs fans are having fun, but it’s not so late in the day that everyone is too sauced. Which, in turn, means the Cardinals fans in attendance get some gentle ribbing, but generally don’t get it too rough.
- It’s one of those narratives you create after the fact, but we all should have known the Cubs were going to win the game when Pedro Strop managed to do this to Yadier Molina with the game on the line and the bases loaded:
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) June 2, 2017
- Strop has famously had his struggles against the Cardinals, and Molina has famously tortured the Cubs in the clutch. So that was pretty much as perfectly the opposite of that as possible. Thus, the Cubs went on to win the game.
- I love seeing the recognition on this adjustment from John Lackey yesterday:
What did #Cubs Lackey change after 1st two innings? "This is going to sound weird, but I started throwing less strikes."
— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) June 2, 2017
- Lackey, especially in his post-Tommy-John years, has been a guy who pounds the strike zone, especially early in the count. That teams would try to jump on him early – think about all the first inning home runs – should not be a surprise. Now, it’s not as easy as saying, “Just stop throwing strikes,” because obviously. But there is a way to adjust, as Lackey himself noted. And after the first two innings, he cruised. The Cubs, and Lackey, really needed that.
- Jason Heyward had a great day yesterday, not only because he drove in two of the Cubs’ three runs, but because he wrecked the ball. His exit velocities for the day: 95.7, 100.8, 103.1, and 104.2. Typically, you’d expect that to result in about two to three hits. Heyward, because baseball has been especially cruel to him this year, had just one. But it is was this one, and it was a biggy that missed being a home run by about two inches (and included a weird misplay by Stephen Piscotty):
- Sahadev Sharma writes about the Cubs’ continued search for the right leadoff option in a sea of obviously imperfect options. My guess is we’re going to see Javy Baez get a shot against lefties, and then more mixing and matching against righties (unless Ian Happ really takes to the job, which I don’t necessarily foresee). It seems Joe Maddon really prefers to have Ben Zobrist batting behind Anthony Rizzo.
- Eloy Jimenez led the way on a dramatic Pelicans comeback.
- Hot Stove Cool Music was last night:
- MLB is going to host a new Home Run Derby overseas for retired sluggers on July 4. For now, it’s just former Dodgers and Red Sox players socking dingers in London, but perhaps it can be expanded in the future (h/t FanRag). Also … doing this on the Fourth of July in England … a little on the nose, isn’t it, MLB?
- A Tigers minor league chucked a baseball at an opponent from 10 feet away during a brawl and has been suspended 30 games. Don’t do that.
- If you missed it earlier, Peter Gammons connected Bryce Harper to the Cubs, and I passed out briefly.
- Random, but might be worth having in your home or car: a first aid kit on a huge sale.