The Cubs made it through their 11-games-in-10-days stretch without *too* much wear on the bullpen, thanks in large part to a rainout mixed in, plus great, long-ish outings from Jose Quintana, Yu Darvish, and Jon Lester. The pace at which the key middle relievers are being used is still gonna need to slow lest they be crushed come August, but that’s why you hope the rotation now starts to lengthen a bit. Enjoy the off-day, arms.
- Good use of a mound visit by Anthony Rizzo yesterday after Yu Darvish walked the pitcher in the 4th inning. Of the visit, Rizzo told ESPN, “He’s walked the pitcher a couple of times. He was pissed. I’ve gotten to know him. You just go over and calm him down a bit. I said, ‘Don’t worry, we’ll score some runs for you.'” Darvish’s description made me chuckle, as I’m imagining Rizzo actually saying it this plainly: “I was trying to calm myself, letting the frustration come out. I was thinking of saying something out loud, to get it out of my system, and Rizzo came over and said the same thing, ‘You look very frustrated. Let’s keep it together.'”
- Yu Darvish, Ride the Wave:
Yu Darvish, speaking through a translator after his first win as a Cub: “One win is much better than zero wins, so hopefully I can now ride the wave.”
— Patrick Mooney (@PJ_Mooney) May 20, 2018
- We’ll have more on the actual substance of Darvish’s outing soon.
- This section of Buster Olney’s latest really chapped my hide: “Cubs catcher Willson Contreras is a rising star and an emotional player who gestures, points and shouts. Not surprisingly, opponents often complain about his body language, suggesting that he’s just trying to call attention to himself. Contreras is well aware of that criticism, and a couple of weeks ago, he said quietly, ‘I hope I can get to know players on other teams better, and that way, they’ll get to know me better.’ Staffers in the Cubs organization explain that Contreras is just hypercompetitive and doesn’t mean to show up anybody.” There is no part of what Contreras is doing that is “trying to call attention to himself.” He’s a guy who runs constantly at a high gear, which means his reactions are going to be big and bold – good and bad. That’s really all there is to it, and it’s good for the sport for those guys to leave it all out there. You can GTFO here with anonymous shots at Contreras.
- Which, by the way, is why I wasn’t really gonna get all on Amir Garrett for his reaction this weekend in striking out Javy Baez. He was excited to get a guy who’d hit a grand slam off of him the last time they squared off. The Cubs didn’t mind Garrett’s excitement either. Their only beef was that he was screaming and celebrating at Baez. That is more likely to invite a response, which Garrett got from Baez, and that’s when the benches cleared. As Rizzo put it:
Anthony Rizzo felt Amir Garrett went a little too far by staring down Javy Baez: “Do it for your team. Don’t do it against the other team. That’s where we get a little upset because we celebrate all the time. We’re not ones to talk about guys celebrating and enjoying the moment."
— Patrick Mooney (@PJ_Mooney) May 20, 2018
- Kyle Schwarber was obviously not pleased about his first career ejection yesterday, explaining that he disagreed with the call and used a choice word, but didn’t feel like an ejection was at all warranted:
- Schwarber mentioned in the spring that he thought his catching days were probably behind him, but now it sounds like he’s even more in the “acceptance” stage:
I’m sure it’s happened before, but I think this is the first time I’ve seen Schwarber refer to himself as a “former catcher.” pic.twitter.com/a99jr7Y7dp
— Ben Finfer (@BenFinfer) May 21, 2018
- And, hey, when you’re the best defender in all of baseball out in left field, how could you not accept it?
- Speaking of Schwarber, miscellaneous fun:
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) May 20, 2018
- If you were among the folks wondering what was up with Chris Coghlan, who signed a minor league deal with the Cubs and then kinda disappeared, Tommy Birch reports that he is indeed still in extended Spring Training, but he has been working through shoulder soreness. Coghlan, 32, had a brutal year last year, but in the 2.5 years from 2014-2016 when he was actually with the Cubs, he was always good. Having him available as a depth outfield option in the second half at AAA? That would be some kind of luxury.
- The Reds played the part of the Rods yesterday:
— Born Salty (@cjzero) May 20, 2018
- If you missed anything this weekend, catch up here.
- Over at The Ten-Yard Line, the Bears’ GM still isn’t getting love, despite a fantastic offseason. Results are needed:
— The Ten-Yard Line (@TheTenYardLine) May 20, 2018
- Another great day of Deals of the Day at Amazon, including a mini projector, kayak, camping gear, outdoor gear, and more.