The Cubs are riding a bit of a hot streak lately, and I’m loving every second of it. Life is just so much easier when the Cubs are winning, and that’s mostly what they’ve done lately: 13 Ws in their last 18 games, including three in a row heading into tonight’s finale against the Mariners.
The offense, in particular has been killing it:
The Chicago #Cubs have scored more runs per game this season (5.52) than any other team in the National League.
Walk-rate: 10.6% (5th in MLB)
On-base%: .353 (2nd in MLB)
wRC+: 113 (5th in MLB) pic.twitter.com/0rno56rxn9
— Michael Cerami (@Michael_Cerami) May 1, 2019
And yet they’re still three games out of first, with four fewer wins than the St. Louis Cardinals. What gives?
- Well, what gives is the Cardinals are on freakin’ fire. They’re currently riding a four-game winning streak and have lost just once in their past ten games (and that includes two wins against the Nationals and three against the Brewers). Not unlike the Cubs, the Cardinals’ offense has been pretty stellar with a collective 112 wRC+.
- Thankfully, it’s not all good news for them. For however good the Cardinals’ offense has been, their pitching has been equally bad, if not worse. The rotation’s 4.59 ERA may just barely escape the bottom ten marks in MLB, but their collective -0.1 WAR is worst in the NL, and second worst in MLB (ahead of only the Orioles). The bullpen’s -0.4 WAR (25th in MLB) is hardly any better. If their offense starts to slip even a little bit here, the Cardinals could be in for quite the fall from grace unless the pitching turns it around.
- Speaking of which, the Cardinals are coming to town this weekend, and I’ll be at the game on Saturday.
- It is May, and Craig Kimbrel and Dallas Keuchel are still free agents. Ken Rosenthal figures they may just wait until after the June draft at this point to decouple themselves from draft-pick compensation. HOWEVA, he notes that waiting could cost them dollars this year (pro-rated deals) and will shorten their value-building time ahead of another round in free agency. For what it’s worth, that might only affect Keuchel, who does want a one-year deal (i.e. a deal that expires at the end of this season), whereas Kimbrel is still holding out for multiple years.
- YouTube will exclusively stream 13 MLB games this season, which is cool in some ways – the games will be free – but tricky in others:
My assumption is correct: the games will only be available on the YouTube platforms. Blacked out on At Bat/MLB.TV Premium and television. https://t.co/p38uj6rrqx
— Maury Brown (@BizballMaury) April 30, 2019
- That’s right: you will NOT be able to watch these 13 games anywhere but YouTube. In the past, when Facebook or Twitter streamed games, they usually went alongside traditional broadcasts. Not this time. YouTube will also include pre- and post-game shows for each of these games, as well as other “MLB and YouTube-themed content.”
- The Reds (12-17) are not having the surprise season they thought they were buying – er, uhm – trading for this offseason, but they’re still full-steam ahead:
Reds are contemplating promoting top prospect Nick Senzel to the majors and are expected to do so soon, possibly even when the team returns home Friday. Has adjusted nicely to CF. Big-time hitting talent who was No. 2 overall pick in 2016 draft.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) April 30, 2019
- Senzel, if you’re unaware, is the 5th ranked prospect according to MLB Pipeline right now, although he does have a 33.3% strikeout rate and a 93 wRC+ at Triple-A this season. It’s only seven seven games and 33 plate appearances, so that’s probably meaningless, I just find the timing of his promotion funny in that respect.
- Also worth noting: Of the four prospects ahead of Senzel in the rankings (Vlad Guerrero Jr., Fenando Tatis Jr., Eloy Jimenez, and Royce Lewis), only one has not yet seen big league time this season (Lewis).
- And speaking of Tatis Jr., he’s heading to the Injured List with a left-hamstring strain. An MRI revealed no structural damage, but he is expected to miss “a number of weeks,” which is quite a big bummer. Tatis Jr. was slashing .300/.360/.550 with six home runs and a 141 wRC+. The Padres will feel his absence, especially as they’ve gotten off to a good start (17-13) and are only two games behind the Dodgers. [Brett: Perhaps they will seek out a shortstop addition to fill the void *nods head subtly in the direction of the Cubs’ AAA roster*.]
- The Dodgers, however, have a notable injury of their own, as A.J. Pollock, who’s been struggling mightily this season (66 wRC+), is heading to the Injured List because of a potential infection in his twice broken elbow.
- At The Players’ Tribune – one of my favorite spots on the web that allows players to pen their own articles stories – Rich Hill opens up about his son who was born with a serious medical condition affecting his brain and who passed away not long after being born. I can’t really even begin to imagine the pain they must’ve felt – and make no mistake, this isn’t an easy read to get through. But if you have the time, I very much suggest reading it, because Hill has some serious words of advice and perspective that I think everyone could use.
- At FanGraphs, Craig Edwards explains how hitters have been fighting back against the rise of strikeouts and that while it’s led to more offense in one sense, it has not led to more action on the field overall.
- In a similar spirt, Jared Diamond explores how the increase usage of relievers/the bullpen may have reached a tipping point, and starters who can last deeper into games being more highly valued than they have been in recent times is on the horizon.
- C.C. Sabbathia has reached the 3,000 strikeout club, which is a threshold met by just 16 other pitchers in baseball history.
CC Sabathia records his 3,000th career strikeout, also becoming only the 3rd LHP in history to reach that milestone pic.twitter.com/ehCnBEFJZn
— Starting 9 (@Starting9) May 1, 2019
Congrats to CC Sabathia on his 3000th career strikeout… Here's a never ending list of every player he's struck out along the way. pic.twitter.com/Z1u32Gp3NQ
— Daren Willman (@darenw) May 1, 2019
- And finally, the silly and ongoing home run boom in the game:
– The single-season team record: 267 by the 2018 Yankees. Six teams alone this year are trending toward 250+, with Seattle and Milwaukee on pace for 300+.
– Baltimore destroyed the one-month record for homers allowed. It was previously 57. The Orioles yielded 69 in April.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) May 1, 2019