The Family is going hiking this morning, and, although it’s gonna be chilly for this time of year, it at least looks like it’s gonna be dry. Fun times.
- Also fun times: with a win tonight, the Cubs can pass the Cardinals for first place in the NL Central. At worst, the Cubs will exit this series tied in the loss column, which is just incredible when you consider not only how the Cubs started the season, but how the narrative around the teams in the NL Central has played out. The Brewers were scorching hot to begin, so they got the attention as the “wow, so good” team in the Central. The Cardinals, coming into this series, had been just a touch hotter than the Cubs, so they got the, “wow, they’re actually the good team” treatment. Meanwhile, it’s the Cubs that have now won six games in a row, haven’t lost a series in nearly a month, and have already locked in this important series win.
- Also also fun times: The Cardinals got mad in the 9th yesterday when Jose Martinez requested time, it was not granted, and Pedro Strop just proceeded to throw a strike. I lulz’d:
— FOX Sports Midwest (@FSMidwest) May 4, 2019
- Strop was set and about to deliver, so even if the request for time was clear, the umpire doesn’t *have* to grant it. It’s a request, after all. What the heck was Yadi Molina doing coming over to b*tch in the middle of Martinez’s at bat? Feels like that should be an immediate boot, but that would never happen to Molina, who has done some utterly incredible things and still not been booted. Add this to the list, I guess.
- Bonus: the pitch was, of course, not actually a strike. But it was pretty close, and when the batter is just standing there with his arm up, it’s pretty easy for the catcher and umpire to get together on it being a strike.
- Free advice for Martinez – next time, just do this:
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) December 20, 2016
- Daniel Descalso left yesterday’s game with ankle soreness he experienced early in the game running the bases. Hopefully we’ll have a happy update, and not a roster move, later today.
- A couple fun facts on the Taylor Davis grand slam:
Taylor Davis becomes the seventh player in MLB history and the first @Cubs player to hit a game-tying grand slam for his first career home run.
The last player to do it was Will Middlebrooks on May 6, 2012. #EverybodyIn
— Stats By STATS (@StatsBySTATS) May 4, 2019
Esteemed research historian Ed Hartig here. Says Rene Rivera was last player to hit a grand slam for his first #Cubs HR, 9/2/17.
— Bruce Miles (@BruceMiles2112) May 4, 2019
- You are reminded that Davis was an undrafted free agent, came up through the system as a nearly entirely pure org guy, whose future in the game many figured to be coaching. And although it still might be, he’s earned this shot at getting in some big league games in the meantime. Such a fantastic story for the rest of the farm system.
- I still just don’t even know what to do with this information:
It is *INSANE* how much better the #Cubs bullpen has been than the rest of baseball since April 7 (the day after they reshuffled).
Seriously. Look at this. LOOK. AT. THIS. pic.twitter.com/Ozxdy7DioV
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) May 5, 2019
- This won’t last at THIS level forever, but the Cubs’ bullpen has been SO EXTREMELY THE BEST in baseball for nearly a month now. Also, it is also not entirely a coincidence that the bullpen has pitched so few innings compared to the other teams on there while managing this impressive ERA feat: the better your starting pitching, the better the bullpen usage can be optimized, and thus the better the bullpen results.
- An inning before Javy Baez won the game for the Cubs, THE RALLY DUCK RETURNED:
what the duck pic.twitter.com/vmwCFwg3Ve
— Cut4 (@Cut4) May 4, 2019
- About that game-winning homer … I’m still pretty darn sure the foul ball that preceded it was fair. The Cubs challenged a blooper that Kolten Wong tried and failed to catch down the right field line – it was called foul on the field – and lost the challenge. You can watch the play here, and Jordan Bastian has tons of angles and discussions here. To me, I actually believe I see plenty of evidence to overturn and call that a fair ball. Obviously I’m glad it didn’t go that way, because who knows if Baez ultimately scores from second in that case. I’m just saying: I think they got that one wrong, and in another life, we’re sitting here this morning very angry about it, instead of relieved by it.
- Also, about that game-winning homer – you no doubt noticed it was yet another oppo shot by Baez, who is just wearing out right center this year:
Javy Baez has the most right-handed oppo homers (7) in MLB this season. He had 8 in all of 2018. Here's a look at the previous six, and then today's off Brebbia. pic.twitter.com/cX49nq0cbe
— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) May 5, 2019
- Like we’ve said: if you’re the kind of special hitter who can generate that much power the other way, you can really improve your results by letting pitches get a little deeper in the zone, giving yourself just a fractional bit more time to react. Not everyone can pull it off, because they don’t have enough power to make it hurt. But Javy? Javy does, and that’s why he’s been putting up *the best* opposite field numbers in baseball since the start of 2018.
- Even the Cardinals’ crew knows how good Javy Baez is:
Cards announcers (zooming in on Baez in the dugout after he hit his home run yesterday): "There isn't another player in the game today who is as good on both sides of the ball as that young man right there."
I thought I needed to adjust my TV set for a minute.
— Josh James (@pacoj44) May 5, 2019
- Cubs winning the World Series, confirmed:
The Cubs are: 7-0-1 in their last eight series; a plus-43 in run differential; a half-game out of first place (Cardinals have played three more games); and 18-12 overall, their best record through 30 games since the 2016 World Series season.
— Patrick Mooney (@PJ_Mooney) May 4, 2019
- Sincerely, as much as I love following this dude in the box score each day, I still really don’t know what to think because of his unique trajectory:
Infielder Robel Garcia hit another homer for the @smokiesbaseball tonight. His slash line is up to a crazy .328/.418/.672. He's walking, not striking out, and hitting for tons of power. The 26-year-old came to the Cubs out of ITALY. No idea what to make of him, but it's fun.
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) May 5, 2019
- I guess mostly I would need to see him continue to be this all-around-good against AAA pitching, where you aren’t just facing prospects and career minor leaguers trying to work their game to the next level. At AAA, you’re also going to be facing much more established pitchers who can really execute a scouting report against you. If you’ve got serious holes – as a lot of older, breakout types do – AAA is where it can really be first exposed.
- Amazon devices are all on a big sale for Mother’s Day, which, hey, you don’t have to buy them for a mom, but you could.