I’m writing these here MLBits before the start of the Cubs game that is likely on-going right now. Here’s to hoping I’m in a good mood when they finally publish. [Brett: You’re not thrilled. Actually, KB just hit a bomb as I clicked publish. So you’re OK for now.]
Here’s some news from around the league …
- Well, the Indians did it, or they didn’t do it, or they sorta did it, depending on who you ask. I don’t really care about the debate anymore, but I certainly care (in a fun way) that the Cleveland Indians have won 22 consecutive games. That is just so unbelievably awesome and I congratulate everyone on and/or rooting for that team. Hopefully now, they can get to 26 games and put the whole 1916 Giants tie debate to rest.
- At The Athletic, Ken Rosenthal updates us on Bryce Harper’s status, with the expectation that he’ll be fully ready to play by the time the postseason begins on October 6. The remaining question, however, is how much work he’ll be able to get in before then. The plan, it seems, is to fly some instructional league pitchers up from Florida to Washington to face Harper in simulated games. If that (and his work shagging balls in the outfield) goes well, he could get into game-action before the end of the regular season. Given that, as of now, the Cubs would play the Nationals in the first round of the NLDS and Bryce Harper is arguably one of the best players in baseball, this remains something to keep an eye on.
- If you allow yourself to peek beyond this October, though, you might enjoy Jon Heyman’s recent look at the potential destinations for baseball’s top 25 free-agents-to-be. Among one of the bigger Cubs-related bits, you’ll find that Heyman sees Jake Arrieta going to one of the Dodgers, Rangers or Cardinals, though his future could be interconnected with Yu Darvish’s. Among other Cubs bits, Heyman sees closer Wade Davis headed to the Angels or … ugh, again the Cardinals. On the flip side, Heyman believes that the Cubs will be in on Rays starter Alex Cobb, whom they’ve certainly been connected to in the past.
- Here’s a type of article I’m getting sick of seeing every damn year: Have the Cardinals Found the New J.D. Martinez? At FanGraphs, Dave Cameron takes a closer look at first baseman Jose Martinez and why he might be the latest marginal talent turned star contributor to come out of St. Louis. COOL.
- On Wednesday night, our old friend Luis Valbuena did as Luis Valbuena does, and flipped his bat after hitting a home run in the first inning. So, naturally, Mike Fiers made the terrible decision to throw over his head a few innings later. It was a dumb, reckless, ridiculous, and dangerous overreaction from Mike Fiers, and I’m getting really tired of this mentality. But apparently, so is the league, because Fiers has been suspended five games by Major League Baseball and fined an undisclosed amount. In my opinion, that’s not enough, but it’s a start.
- Apropos of that … this is, without a doubt, the best MLB promotional video I’ve yet seen:
- In 51 games since his return from injury at the All-Star Break, Mike Trout has slashed .305/.457/.563. And despite missing a ton of time, he’s actually building a case to be the American League’s MVP once again. At FiveThirtyEight, Rob Arthur helps build that case for him.
- MLB is investigating whether Buck Farmer purposefully threw at the umpire after a couple of ejections to Tigers manager Brad Ausmus and catcher James McCann. Here’s the pitch in question:
— Mike and Lisa (@mikelisa800) September 14, 2017
- I sure hope that wasn’t on purpose, but apparently, that was home plate umpire Quinn Wolcott’s immediate reaction, as he was being examined by the trainers. Ugly stuff.
- In other beef-news, the Yankees had a little fun on Twitter last night, when Gary Sanchez hit his 18th home run since the All-Star Break and 31st of the season:
- That quote is in reference to Rays infielder Logan Morrison, who was upset about being left off the Home Run Derby team in favor of Gary Sanchez earlier this year, despite having more home runs than the Yankees catcher. The Rays, however, were not amused:
Imagine having the ability to reach 2.7 million people and using it to be this petty. ✌️ https://t.co/7W44zbwezM
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) September 15, 2017
- The Yankees eventually responded with another video of the four Yankee homers of the night and addressed it to their “2.72 Million followers.” In my opinion, what are the Rays thinking here? The Yankees took a jab at them and Morrison, sure, but it was a fairly benign one. Most MLB accounts, including the Cubs, would’ve come up with a snarky, funny response back and shrugged it off. Instead, the Rays came off as offended by mostly nothing.