The super early game today is really throwing things off for me. Here’s hoping the Cubs can pull off the sweep, because the lineup is rough but the match-up is right. Gotta keep winning the winnable ones, even as guys are out.
• Speaking of guys being out, this sure doesn’t sound great for a quick return to the lineup for Anthony Rizzo:
David Ross – made no sense to play Rizzo today. We will see how he progresses .( Rizzo lower back strain)
— Bruce Levine (@MLBBruceLevine) May 27, 2021
David Ross says Anthony Rizzo's back is still pretty stiff so he's not in the lineup today. Rizzo said on ESPN 1000 that this issue is in a diff part of his back compared to past issues which have kept him out of the lineup.
— Jesse Rogers (@JesseRogersESPN) May 27, 2021
• Not that the Cubs can afford to bring up ANOTHER non-40-man guy right now! My guess is Cubs will continue to try to day-to-day this thing, and then if Rizzo isn’t better within a few days, maybe they just keep playing a man down until someone else (Matt Duffy? Jason Heyward? Jake Marisnick?) is ready to come off the IL, and they just tag Rizzo out. Here’s hoping it doesn’t come to that, and Rizzo feels much better tomorrow.
• When he gave up the second homer in the first inning last week against the Nationals, I wondered if we were watching Trevor Williams’ final outing in the Cubs’ rotation – or at least the final before a break of some kind. At the time, Williams was coming into that game having been unable to throw more than a few rough innings at a time, his ERA had climbed to over six, and the peripherals left you with only a small bit of hope for positive regression. So then the two homers happened early, and it was like, welp. But since that moment, he’s thrown 10 innings and allowed just one earned run. He cruised through the next four-ish innings against the Nationals, and he cruised last night – looking very good in the process – against the Pirates. He’s bought himself some time, particularly because the Cubs kinda need him to be serviceable. Because for as much as I have confidence in the Cubs’ bullpen depth, the immediately ready starting depth is much less certain (and that’s not even noting that Shelby Miller was just DFA’d and Alec Mills is still on the IL).
• Williams’ batting average is up to .308 after his two hits, but that’s a mere 47th in baseball among hitters with at least 10 PAs. I thought it would be higher, and this bullet would therefore be more charming. But I had already started typing, so I’m gonna finish it anyway. Hey, here are highlights:
• The language used to describe Nico Hoerner’s hamstring strain was interesting, wasn’t it? David Ross called it “mild to moderate,” which was the same language he used for Jake Marisnick’s strain. Historically, those aren’t just general descriptors – they are words that were used to correspond to the actual severity of the strain, with “mild” typically meaning a grade 1 strain (minor damage to the muscle), “moderate” typically meaning grade 2 (partial tearing of the muscle), and “severe” typically meaning grade 3 (significant tearing of the muscle). Now, is Ross using those words in that traditional sense – i.e., is it just a coincidence that each guy had the same tweener kind of strain? – or does he just kinda talk that way about hammy injuries that are pretty bad but not awful? Because based on Hoerner’s reaction, I was definitely expecting a full on moderate strain at least.
• If you wanted to be hopeful, you’d say, well, if it’s the same as Marisnick, he was doing agility work and some hitting within three weeks, so maybe Hoerner can be, too? It’s conceivable that Marisnick could be back in a couple weeks, so again, if you want to be really hopeful, maybe you put a month and a half on Hoerner’s timeline and shoot for a return right after the All-Star break? I know that still sounds like a long time, but a true grade 2 hamstring strain will often have guys out more than two months. They just take forever to heal fully, especially with the stop-start nature of baseball action and the stress it puts on the hamstring.
• The Cubs have updated their masking policy at Wrigley Field to account for vaccinations: basically folks who are fully vaccinated no longer have to wear masks, except when “indoors,” which is … I presume, like, the bathrooms? What counts as indoors, and how vaccination status will be monitored (if at all) are not specified. As we’ve seen in other walks of life, these situations present challenges even when you’re trying to follow the science, because humans do not behave in a uniform way. I think the most important thing here is that I hope people are not jerks to folks who work at Wrigley Field.
• I’m just appreciating this play again:
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) May 27, 2021
The Cubs signed Dee Strange-Gordon which gives me an opportunity to tweet this iconic photo pic.twitter.com/hKBqMFYEnU
— Greg Huss (@OutOfTheVines) May 26, 2021
• Marcell Ozuna jacked up his fingers on a slide and is now out at least six weeks for the Braves.
• Elsewhere in the NL East, this happened during Noah Syndergaard’s rehab outing (Tommy John recovery) this week:
His fastball dipped into the high 80s. https://t.co/FwgngfSjlI
— Michael Mayer (@mikemayer22) May 25, 2021
BREAKING: Noah Syndergaard has been shut down for six weeks with right elbow inflammation. No structural damage, but he'll be down until at least August.
— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) May 27, 2021
• Happy birthday to a Chicago treasure, Pat Hughes:
Happy birthday to the legendary Pat Hughes! pic.twitter.com/nBRTyVmyT4
— Marquee Sports Network (@WatchMarquee) May 27, 2021