MLBits: Brewers Off to Their Best Start Ever, Molina Taking it Slowly, HR Derby Participants, More

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MLBits: Brewers Off to Their Best Start Ever, Molina Taking it Slowly, HR Derby Participants, More

Chicago Cubs

Because of my move yesterday (Hello, Lincoln Park), I wasn’t able to catch much of the Cubs/Indians finale. Thankfully, I might add. But I see that the Cubs lost, which, combined with the split earlier in the year, means the Indians win the season-series.

However …

  • Alright, jokes aside, losing both games stinks – especially because the Brewers just swept the Diamondbacks at home, outscoring them 14-4 in the process. The Brewers now stand at alone in first place of the NL Central with a 3.0-game lead over the Pirates, 3.5-game lead over the Cardinals, and a 4.0-game lead over the Cubs:

(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
  • Sticking in the Central, Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina (surgery to address traumatic hematoma in his scrotum) has “slowly increased his activity,” according to STL Today, though the team is purposefully taking things slowly, presumably because of his drive to get back as soon as possible. “You’re always holding on to the reins with him,” manager Mike Matheny said.
  • After Molina’s injury – sustained by taking a foul-tipped 102 MPH fastball below the belt – various cup manufacturers reached out, offering their new and improved designs. Apparently, the cup industry has changed a lot since my Little League days, as there’s now wholly different shapes and even “bullet-proof” cups. Yep. But more importantly, there’s an increase in the need for the product. At least, Cubs catcher John Baker hopes so: “I would argue there’s probably more discussion about EvoShields and elbow guards than there is about groin protection,” Baker told USA TODAY  Sports. “Hopefully Yadi’s OK and he makes a full recovery, and hopefully it starts a talking point.”
  • Cardinals reliever Tyler Lyons might get one more rehab appearance before re-joining the Cardinals bullpen, but there’s a chance he’ll be back for this weekend’s series against the Pirates.
  • At the start of play today, you’re MLB home run leaders are Mookie Betts with 16, and then Manny Machado, J.D. Martinez, and Bryce Harper all with 15. But two of those guys, Betts and Martinez, reportedly have no interest in participating in the Home Run Derby – joining Aaron Judge. That’s a bummer, and must be fairly frustrating for MLB. But there must be something to the derby that guys don’t like, because I recall Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo both saying they prefer not to participate again after giving it a shot back in 2015. Shrug. It’ll still happen. And having seen Javy Baez take batting practice … I wouldn’t mind if he got a shot. Which other current Cubs, aside from Bryant or Rizzo, would you wanna see?
  • If you missed it, MLB’s long-awaited study on the baseballs confirmed what we long believed to be true: they’re different now.
  • Although I am disappointed that former Cub Wellington Castillo used PEDs – cheating is cheating – I think his statement, released by the MLB Players Association is just so refreshing:

  • “The positive test resulted from an extremely poor decision that I, and I alone, made. I take full responsibility for my conduct.” Mr. Castillo, thank you. Thank you for finally doing what nearly every other player fails to do: take responsibility for your actions. It’s good to see and should probably earn him some respect among fans.
  • And speaking of the court of public opinion, has anyone changed their public perception as quickly and effectively as Alex Rodriguez? Mike Oz (Yahoo Sports) doesn’t think so. In fact, Oz calls Rodriguez the Robert Downey Jr. of baseball, but adds that Rodriguez did it in half the time. Downey Jr. went from “rehab and TV exile to donning the ‘Iron Man’ armor” in eight years, but just four years ago, Rodriguez was serving a one-year suspension from MLB for PEDs, was just a few months away from suing the Yankees’ team doctor and the league, and much more. Now, he’s won two Sports Emmys hops on the Tonight Show, and is generally well-received. And perhaps even crazier, the beloved Derek Jeter has sort of gone in the opposite direction because of how he’s handled the Marlins.
  • The Washington State Major League Baseball Stadium Public Facilities District Board has approved terms for a new 25-year lease at Safeco Field. The Mariners will be there for a long, long time.
  • Yesterday, the Mariners called up former long-time Cub prospect John Andreoli, and in his first ever Major League start he recorded his first big league hit! Andreoli spent over seven years in the Minors before last night, so I’m sure that meant quite a lot to him.
  • The NFL recently passed a rule forbidding players from kneeling during the National Anthem, and that decision could eventually (albeit indirectly) impact Major League Baseball. At FanGraphs, Sheryl Ring breaks down that question from a legal standpoint, focusing on the particular wrinkle that many baseball stadiums are publicly (governmentally) owned or funded.
  • Pirates first baseman Colin Moran homered on an obscenely high pitch, and FanGraphs walks you through how rare it is.
  • Former MLB All-Star Lenny Dykstra has been arrested for allegedly threatening an Uber Driver with a weapon, saying he’d kill him if he didn’t change the destination as requested. The Uber driver somehow managed to drive the car to a police station and jump out, running to the police. No weapon was found, but they did find cocaine and marijuana on Dykstra.
  • This is just … what? What could have been:

  • I know the ivy in the outfield at Wrigley presents a similar problem from time to time, but this is still a new one for me:

  • Rafael Palmeiro may be 53 years old, but he’s still sending baseballs over fences. Sure, it’s an independent league, but my word:

Author: Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami covers the Chicago Cubs, Bears, and Bulls at Bleacher Nation. You can find him on Twitter @Michael_Cerami