Beer Snake Plays Star, Cardinals Think They’re Still Playoff-Bound, Wisdom, Alcantara, and Other Cubs Bullets

Among the family games yesterday at the event planned by The Little Girl, we did an egg drop. While the kiddos simply built hard cases around their eggs, I thought I was pretty clever making a parachute-type-deal with a plastic bag. I’m not saying I was gonna strut when my egg landed gently on the ground while theirs bounce around in their case, but I was definitely gonna do some teaching on that basis. Except the egg was too heavy for my makeshift parachute and the thing exploded on the concrete, while BOTH of their eggs remained safely nestled in the soft inner space of the hard cases they’d been thoughtful enough to line. Kids 1, Dad 0.

•   As the Cubs continue to grind out wins and the Brewers keep dominating the softest part of any team’s schedule this year, the Cardinals just fell under .500 for the first time since April 23. Since May 29, they went from first place and 8 games over .500 to 6.0 games back, in fourth place, and a game under .500. Getting swept by the Cubs sure didn’t help the Cardinals’ situation, and I feel awful about it.

•   Carlos Martinez, who has been terrible but pitched quite well last night, still believes good things lie ahead, telling Cardinals.com, “The team is a little frustrated, but I think we’re going to win a lot of games – we’re going to the playoffs.” His manager, Mike Shildt, agreed: “I’m glad he says it. We all feel it, and it’s good to declare it. I also, obviously, feel strongly about it as well. This is one of those stretches.” Hey, be as positive as you like, and we know that sometimes teams come back from deep holes. But being this far back in the Central now, behind three other teams, and with a rotation in shambles, I have a hard time seeing how the Cardinals don’t become sellers in July. Which is really wild to be saying on June 14, but that’s sure how it looks.

•   Interesting take on Sergio Alcantara from David Ross (Cubs.com): “When you get back to the big leagues and have some success on a winning team, and people take you lightly, that’s a powerful thing. I made a career off of being taken lightly. You can sneak attack guys every once in a while. But I think he’s a really good player. He’s done a ton for us.” Ross means all of that only in a very good way – and it’s clearly true – but there’s a bit of a backhanded nature there. The implication is that we don’t yet know whether what Alcantara is doing (heck, even half of what Alcantara is doing) is something he can sustain as (1) the luck evens out, and (2) the league adjusts to what he is now.

•   Clearly, he’s developed and improved from the prospect he was at Double-A, and very few teams/scouts/pitchers had an opportunity to evaluate that change. Now they’re seeing more of what he can do, and you know what I like? Early on, pitchers were just attacking him with reckless abandon, and he was hitting the ball hard with no walks and a decent amount of strikeouts for a contact guy through his first 12 games. He did enough damage that they’ve had to adjust, and these last two games? His first two walks and no strikeouts. If they’re gonna start pitching you cautiously, it’s your job to let them. It’s just two games, but I loved seeing the adjustment.

•   I was chuckling about Patrick Wisdom’s arm last night, because I can’t remember the last time I saw a third baseman throw the ball as hard as he does just for the hell of it. Routine grounder? ABSOLUTE MONSTER CANNON THROW. He made one such throw, and I tweeted about it, and then he IMMEDIATELY did it again on one he was charging in on a bit, and sailed the throw waaaaay over Anthony Rizzo’s head:

•   In general, though, Wisdom has looked really good defensively at third base. I had no idea that he was better than capable over there. Meanwhile, he got a double eaten up by another third baseman who is kinda good over there:

•   On Wisdom, a good read at ESPN about how the Cardinals let him go (they felt they had just run out of time to realistically keep him around), and about how the Cubs almost lost him between 2020 and 2021 to a deal overseas. Regression, by the way, was always coming, and it’s just a question of how long it lasts or to what extent we can attribute it to real struggles or natural variance. Over his last six games, Wisdom is hitting just .167/.250/.333 (64 wRC+) with a 35.0% strikeout rate.

•   Truly, the magic of Wrigley Field can convert anyone:

https://twitter.com/mikealexbolling/status/1404254086808182785

•   The Beer Snake was exceptionally wild last night, and being on ESPN made it a celebrity:

•   There was also a giant bag of popcorn in the house:

https://twitter.com/Cubs/status/1404215888375582725

•   Add Jason Heyward to the group of Cubs players who are admitting they have not received the COVID-19 vaccine, and while I do appreciate the candor, I just flat out don’t understand at this point:

•   I think about how wonderful it was to see a fully opened Wrigley Field, and about how relieving it is to know that the risk of the virus exploding once again is very low. I think about how that’s all possible because so many people chose to get the vaccine and actively participate in making themselves no longer a possible link in the transmission chain. So when I then think about the people who have been given all the information, and who choose not to participate in this community effort … it just makes me very disappointed. It’s true that guys like Heyward and Anthony Rizzo do so much for the Chicago community – really and truly important stuff – so I’m not going to tell anyone that any individual misguided decision eradicates all the good. But, like I said. I see the full Wrigley, and I know how that is possible, and it just makes decisions like Heyward’s and Rizzo’s – if they are otherwise safe to take the vaccine – really disappointing.

•   Anyway, it’s crystal clear now why the Cubs have known for a long time that they won’t get to the 85% mark needed to remove the protocols, so this is just their reality the rest of the way. If someone like Heyward or Rizzo were to test positive, there will be full contact tracing, and that’s going to mean certain other players could be shut down for multiple days – to say nothing of the risk of an actual mini outbreak – and who knows the impact or implications there. I hope it doesn’t happen. But that’s all we’ve got as fans now. Just a vague hope that it doesn’t happen. At least the odds of it happening have gone way down thanks to most of the team getting vaccinated, as well as so much of the rest of the population that transmission has gone way down.

•   Men’s watches, bedding stuff, women’s clothes, and more are your Deals of the Day at Amazon. #ad

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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