MLBits: Cardinals Rough Month, Retaliation All Over MLB, Bullpen Upgrades, All-Star Game, More

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MLBits: Cardinals Rough Month, Retaliation All Over MLB, Bullpen Upgrades, All-Star Game, More

Chicago Cubs

The Chicago Cubs won last night, but if you feel like that isn’t happening enough lately, I’ve got good news for you: they win every time that new NBC show Luis and I host, “Outside The Ivy”, is on the air (well, we’re 2-0 … ) … and we’re on again tomorrow night after the Cardinals game!

So after the post-game, head over to Facebook (or just stay on NBC Sports Chicago) and ask us questions/make comments for us to answer live. Or make fun of me. Either way, just give me your eyes. I NEED MORE OF YOUR ATTENTION.

Here’s a bunch of baseball news.

  • Like I said, the Cubs are heading to St. Louis to take on the Cardinals in their home ballpark, but things are pretty different since the last time these two teams met at Wrigley Field:

  • At the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Derrick Goold talks about the Cardinals’ rough month of May, and how the club could end up going from first to worst, depending on how this series shakes out with the Cubs. And it’s a lot of SCardenfreude fun: “They have the fewest wins this month in baseball (seven), have their most losses in May since 1980 (18), and are flirting with their worst losing May in more than 110 years.” Even Manager Mike Shildt is giving in a bit: “I can’t say the frustration hasn’t set in. I might be frustrated myself. I look around this and there’s patience required.” God – I know it’s petty, but I love it when the Cardinals are losing. RIVALRIES!
(Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
  • I really don’t know why some baseball players are so sensitive, but their egos need constant catering whenever someone like Tim Anderson celebrates a home run … a month ago. And they already threw at him back then! Then this was last night:

  • It’s not perfectly clear if that was on purpose, but … c’mon. Glenn Sparkman was immediately ejected, which gave the Royals announcers and team quite a shock, and I’m glad he was. When there’s so much obvious, surface-level beef between one team and one specific player, hitting him like that up near the head is going to stand out no matter how hard you try to sell it as an accident.
  • But kudos to Anderson, who keeps on keeping his cool (I’m becoming a big fan of his), and got back at the Royals in the ACTUAL way fans want you to do it … a game-winning hit in the 8th inning:

  • Keep doing you, Anderson. It’s working: .337/.372/.508 (137 wRC+, 1.6 fWAR).
  • Along the same lines, I have to give credit where it’s due: Joe Maddon’s Cubs have not been one to throw at teams too often. Obviously, some of that has to do with the personnel (Jose Quintana, Yu Darvish, and Kyle Hendricks don’t strike me as the retaliatory types), but Jon Lester and Cole Hamels are old-timers (in a good way!). Despite that, you don’t see many bean balls at Wrigley Field and I’m happier for it. And it’s not like it’s been easy in this division. The Cardinals are the sort of team that will (and have) retaliated, and the Pirates are notorious for it.
  • Speaking of which, the Pirates got into it again with the Reds – they’ve been beefing about Derek Dietrich’s homers, and have thrown at him – throwing at Eugenio Suarez last night.

  • Reds manager David Bell, who was tossed, was ticked:

  • 146 hit batters in seven years? Are you kidding me? Grow up and play baseball. Seriously. As a fan, I want my players to be trying to win at all times, not working on lame, personal beefs. I’m reminded of one my first big articles at Bleacher Nation back in 2015, where I discussed retaliation in baseball with former Cubs catcher John Baker. Give it a read.
  • LOL the Meets are so bad:

  • Although Steve Cishek came through in the 9th last night, his current role as the de facto closer of this team remains more than a little frustrating. And obviously, with Craig Kimbrel lingering out in free agency … let’s just say a boy can dream.
  • HOWEVA, the Cubs are hardly the only contender with bullpen drama. The Phillies have dealt with a ton of injuries and probably have more money to spend at the moment. That’s why they’re popping up us being likely to “aggressively” pursue bullpen upgrades following next week’s draft (a.k.a. Kimbrel). Remember: Kimbrel can be had for only money (i.e. not prospects) and that cost has trickled down from an already reasonable rate. I sure hope the Cubs pull up some couch cushions and reveal some loose change to at least take a serious look.
  • The Atlanta Braves are hosting the 2021 MLB All-Star game, which is just fine, but, uh, wut:

  • I mean … it JUST happened and the team is still being punished for it, even after their GM was literally banned from baseball. What on earth was the thinking with that comment there?
  • The Cubs have dealt with a lot of injuries to key players this season, but as we saw with the Astros’ lineups this week, Houston has, too. Carlos Correa, for example, sustained a rib injury recently, and it apparently happened … during an at-home massage?

  • That’s something, all right. Hmm.
  • Walker Buehler – a Dodgers pitcher – walked twice against Noah Syndergaard last night. Mildly interesting, right? Well:

Author: Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami is the butler to a wealthy werewolf off the coast of Wales and a writer at Bleacher Nation. You can find him on Twitter at @Michael_Cerami