Extra Man Today, Bryant Blasts Heckler, Brilliant Catches, Iowa Big Leaguers, and Other Bullets

I refuse to get too excited about the Cubs having a chance to end the horror streak of winless series on the road tonight, including the chance to do it in The Little League Classic, which would be extra fun. Nope. Not gonna get my hopes up. I have been burned for three straight months.

… but then again, it’s kinda totally different this time, you see, because it’s the rubber game of a “road” series taking place on a neutral site, and the Pirates are so very bad … and … dang it, Brett.

  • Because of the unique travel involved, each team gets to call up a 26th man for the day, and for the Cubs, that figures to just be the activation of Craig Kimbrel from the IL. For more on The Little League Classic, which is on ESPN tonight at 6pm CT, you can read up here. Should be fun.
  • And if you haven’t see the uniforms yet, they’re awesome:
  • Eat it, Mr. Heckler:
  • Also, people should heckle Kris Bryant constantly during his swing, apparently. If it works, it works.
  • A couple fantastic catches in the outfield yesterday:
  • That Happ catch was particularly incredible given the horrible situation it would have led to if he’d missed it. If it feels like Happ has made a lot of nice plays in left field in his young career, I think that feeling is justified. Through 420.0 career innings there, he’s rated above average defensively. It’s not a huge sample, but it seems to match the eye test, at least compared to center field (passable), third base (meh), and second base (a challenge).
  • This tweet is wild, man, but it really happened:
  • https://twitter.com/IowaCubsGameDay/status/1162874137183969281

  • All three of those guys could/should be back up with the big league club in September as they work on their various situations.
  • And just as many blown saves:
  • Just like everyone would have predicted back in April (or, heck, back in July), Rowan Wick and Jonathan Lucroy meeting to celebrate closing down a Cubs win:
  • (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

  • This is funny, and also instructive, because there’s no way pitch classifications would have caught this as a splitter based solely on the way it moved:
  • I’m going to have to learn how to type Aristides Aquino’s name without double checking ten times (nailed it that time!), because the dude just homered for the 11th time in 17 games (and 10th time in 11 games). Nearly half his balls in play are fly balls, and more than half of his fly balls are leaving the ballpark. With 41 batted balls and 11 home runs, MORE THAN A QUARTER of his batted balls have left the park. If he did this over a 162-game season, he’d hit 105 home runs.
  • This is pretty awesome to see – it’s Indians pitcher Carlos Carrasco throwing live batting practice for the first time since his leukemia diagnosis and subsequent treatment:
  • The juiced ball is so obviously very real, and it needs fixed:
  • Rene Rivera never hit more than 11 homers in any year at any level, and now at age 36, he’s on a 35-homer pace. It’s not good. As Bryan wrote this past week, the juiced ball is really wrecking AAA.
  • Dodgers pitcher Julio Urias has accepted a 20-game suspension under the league’s domestic violence policy. The 23-year-old lefty was involved in a violent incident in a parking lot on May 13, was arrested, was placed on administrative leave, and was reinstated five days later. The investigations (both criminal and MLB) continued from there, and led to the suspension just handed down. Urias is not being prosecuted because “Urias has no record of criminal behavior and the incident did not result in any physical injury, nor did the woman involved in the altercation indicate to police officers or witnesses that she believed she was a victim.” The suspension is the shortest I can immediately recall under the domestic violence policy (Addison Russell’s, for example, was 40 games), which is also suggestive of what MLB found in its investigation.
  • Fancy shoes, lunch boxes, books, and mattress toppers are among the Deals of the Day at Amazon today.
  • Aramis Ramirez’s, Carlos Zambrano’s, and Jim Hendry’s final season with the team would come the next year, marking a pretty clear end of that era:
  • written by

    Brett Taylor is the Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and on LinkedIn here. Brett is also the founder of Bleacher Nation, which opened up shop in 2008 as an independent blog about the Chicago Cubs. Later growing to incorporate coverage of other Chicago sports, Bleacher Nation is now one of the largest regional sports blogs on the web.

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