The Cubs last played the Braves in June of 2019, winning a 9-7 barnburner that just seems impossible nowadays. Tyler Chatwood got blown up, but the bullpen of Steve Cishek, Brandon Kintzler, Pedro Strop, and Craig Kimbrel held things down long enough for the bats to break out. We’re gonna have quite a few of those looks back to 2019 when the Cubs face teams they haven’t seen since then. Of course, the 2019 Cubs team was disappointing in a lot of its own ways, so it’s not exactly like looking back on halcyon days.
• The Cubs have another suspension for today, apparently, with catching/game-planning coach Mike Borzello joining David Ross and Ryan Tepera:
Word is Cubs game planner Mike Borzello is suspended as well. So that’s three Cubs suspended and no one got hit. They deem intent as the key ingredient though. Still, kind of wacky.
— Jesse Rogers (@JesseRogersESPN) April 15, 2021
• I haven’t seen the specifics out there yet, but I’m wondering if Borzello’s suspension is for the Woodruff pitch (how would anyone know whether he was involved?) or for the game where he was ejected a few days earlier against the Pirates. He was shouting from the bench about Kris Bryant getting plunked – the Cubs get plunked a lot! – and was ejected by the home plate ump. In any case, whichever even led to the suspension, he’s gonna be sitting out, too. So, combined with COVID cases, the Cubs could be missing manager David Ross, catching/strategy coach Mike Borzello, first base coach Craig Driver, and bullpen coach Chris Young.
• Tepera is appealing his overly-aggressive suspension, by the way, so he’ll be around today.
• Midstream update – the Drew Smyly Revenge Game is off:
Drew Smyly going on the IL for the Braves. Scratched today v the Cubs. Kyle Wright starts in his place.
— Jesse Rogers (@JesseRogersESPN) April 16, 2021
• Kris Bryant is hitting .243/.341/.595 so far this year, and Willson Contreras is hitting .226/.390/.419. Great for Bryant, and really darn good for Contreras. Despite having two of eight regulars hitting that well, the TEAM slash line is somehow just .163/.254/.307. That really tells you just how atrocious the numbers are so far for the other six starters.
• The obligatory morning sweep of horrifying Cubs stats led me to something even more horrifying about baseball in general. No, batting average is not a great stat in isolation, but it definitely tells you some things about the state of the game. The MLB-wide average batting average this year? Just .235. Yikes. New school, old school, owner, player … it shouldn’t really matter. Everyone who cares about baseball should be able to see what a serious problem this is. This level of “no action” is completely unsustainable for the sport. Change is needed yesterday.
• The White Sox and Indians got into it yesterday because Andres Gimenez stood up, and Adam Eaton didn’t like it. So Eaton shoved him. I mean, that’s essentially what happened:
— Bally Sports Cleveland (@BallySportsCLE) April 15, 2021
• I hope this goes well for an important young player, because obviously the initial expectation is that he’d be out much longer, and might even need surgery:
News: Fernando Tatis Jr. is expected to be activated by the #Padres today, in advance of tonight's series opener against the #Dodgers. We have been anticipating this series for months — and now one of the main characters is returning. @MLB @MLBNetwork @FoxSportsRadio
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) April 16, 2021
• Blenders, outdoor gear, projectors and more are your Deals of the Day at Amazon. #ad
• The latest episode of our podcast, with some thoughts I’ve been kicking around on how things have gone so far south for the bats since 2016:
— Bleacher Nation Cubs (@BleacherNation) April 15, 2021
• The latest on the continuing investigation into serious cultural issues in the Mets’ workplace – the new owner is just going to have to clean house:
— Lindsey Adler (@lindseyadler) April 16, 2021