Cubs outfielder Kyle Schwarber beat the shift to lead off the bottom half of the first inning during Monday night’s game against the Brewers. The pull-prone slugger, facing an infield shifted to the right side, decided to lay down a bunt on first-pitch fastball from starter Chase Anderson.
It was a beaut. The ball appeared to have enough momentum to carry foul, but it slowed up just enough after leaving the lip of the infield grass. The ball hugged the third-base foul line all the way up to the bag. Third baseman Travis Shaw watched in the hope that fate carried it just an inch further to the left, but to no avail.
As the Cubs put it on Twitter, Schwarber [crushed] a leadoff single.
Schwarber finished 1-for-5 on the night as the Cubs lost 6-3 to the Brewers. The Cubs are now below .500 at 6-7 to begin the season.
Yankees first baseman Greg Bird gave his team tons of confidence to hand him the everyday job at first base to start the 2017 regular season, batting .451/.556/1.098 with eight home runs in 51 spring at-bats. But he’s followed that up by hitting .107/.254/.214 through the first month of the regular season.
GM Brian Cashman doesn’t have any intent to demote Bird back to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch reports. Cashman said, “It’s not even an option for me in my mind right now, at all.”
Bird didn’t start Sunday’s game against the Orioles, a 7-4 loss in 11 innings. Lefty Wade Miley started for the Orioles, prompting manager Joe Girardi to put Chris Carter into the lineup at first base. If Bird isn’t able to figure things out, Carter might have an increased role on the team.
Rays starter Chris Archer threw his first pitch to Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista behind the slugger’s back with one out in the first inning of Sunday afternoon’s game in Toronto. Bautista and Archer then had a staredown. Home plate umpire Jim Wolf issued warnings to both teams. Bautista ultimately flied out to right field and he appeared to have a quick word with Archer on his way back to the dugout.
Archer could have been exacting revenge — euphemistically known as “protecting his teammate” — because Jays reliever Joe Biagini hit Rays outfielder Steven Souza in the seventh inning of Saturday’s game. Souza was forced to leave the game and underwent an X-ray, which came back negative. He was held out of Sunday’s lineup. Biagini’s pitch did not appear to be intentional.
The Jays won Sunday’s contest 3-1 with no further incident. The two clubs meet again in Tampa for a three-game series starting on May 5, so we’ll see if Sunday was the last of the bad blood between them.