Tag: Chicago Cubs

Mookie Betts

And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights


Red Sox 9, Nationals 4: The Mookie Betts show. A three-run homer, a home run-saving catch. Two stolen bases on one play because the Nationals, apparently, forgot that when you’re in a shift, no one is covering a third, leaving that bag wide open. The Nats defense overall was a total disaster, with mental lapses, balls plopping onto the turf between two fielders and all of that jazz. It’s been like that the entire first week of the season. Which shows you that, even when you’re everyone’s World Series favorite, you still have to play good baseball.

Mets 2, Phillies 0: The Phillies are going to make a lot of pitchers look good this year, even the bad ones. So when a good one like Jacob deGrom faces them, welp, this sort of thing is going to happen. A shutout into the seventh supported by an infield single and a sac fly.

Pirates 5, Tigers 4: The dream of 162-0 is over for the Tigers. Alas. They had their chances, but Jared Hughes bailed Gerrit Cole out of a a no-out, bases-loaded situation in the seventh and Mark Melancon bent but did not break in the ninth. Josh Harrison, Pedro Alvarez and Corey Hart all homered for Pittsburgh, which has won 3 of 4.

Royals 12, Twins 3: The Royals, however, still have a shot at 162-0, right? At this rate, why not? The bullpen has been amazing and unlike last year they’re not jus eking by in the one run games. Get this:

Rany later went back and checked and, yes, that extends back to the beginning of the American League as well.

Brewers 5, Cardinals 4: Carlos Gomez had two hits and an RBI for the Brewers in what Ron Roenicke called “an ugly win.” But this play from K-Rod was pretty:

Rockies 2, Giants 0: The Giants raised their banner and carried out their trophies and stuff, then got shut out. Rockies rookie starter Eddie Butler outdueled Giants rookie starter Chris Heston, tossing five and a third shutout innings. Heston only allowed one earned run, but the Rockies’ second run was his fault as he committed an error to allow a run to score. The earned run rules are dumb.

Yankees 6, Orioles 5: Stephen Drew had to pinch hit for Brett Gardner after Gardner needed to exit following an earlier hit-by-pitch. No worries, as all Drew did was hit a grand slam in the seventh to put the Yankees up by two. Chris Young and Mark Teixeira also homered. That’s two in a row for the Yankees. Winning streak.

Rays 2, Blue Jays 1: The Rays runs scored on consecutive bases-loaded walks by R.A. Dickey. It was three walks in a row for Dickey, actually, all after he had recorded two outs. Tampa Bay starter Jake Odorizzi allowed one run over eight innings to spoil the Jays home opener.

Braves 3, Marlins 2: Reading some news stories and random Twitter comments, the whole “the Braves are playing small ball, doing the little things” narrative is clearly starting to take hold. Someone call Whitey Herzog, then, and tell him that they’re defining small ball down. In the fourth it maybe sorta looked like small ball, as Christian Bethancourt made his way around the bases without the aid of a hit, but it also came via a Marlins throwing error and a wild pitch. And the inning ended with another Braves runner caught stealing. The other two runs came the next inning via a combo of single-double-single-single. Yes, the Braves have been really home run dependent, but stringing hits together is not the same thing as “small ball.” I know I probably should care — hey, my team won! — but I don’t want to encourage Fredi Gonzalez into thinking he’s some master button-pusher.

Angels 6, Rangers 3: The Rangers jumped out with three in the first, but Angels’ starter Matt Shoemaker bounced back and didn’t allow anything else while pitching into the seventh. LAA got a pair of two-run homers from Collin Cowgill and David Freese in the fifth inning and they never looked back.

Cubs 7, Reds 6: Jon Lester was roughed up pretty good — and revealed that, yeah, maybe he has the yips — giving up six runs on 10 hits over six innings, putting his ERA at 7.84. Jorge Soler helped bail him out, however, hitting two two-run homers. The Reds bullpen imploded here, as they were up 6-4 when starter Mike Leake left after seven innings. Jumbo Diaz gave up one of those Soler homers to tie it. In the tenth everything unraveled, as relief pitchers who were not Aroldis Chapman allowed the Cubs to win. Such a shame that God Almighty Himself handed down that Commandment about not using your closer in a tie game on the road because He in all of His wisdom and glory has declared the save statistic to be sacred.

Athletics 8, Astros 1: Hey, Evan Gattis finally got a hit. His line on the season is now .042/.080/.042, which is sort of satisfying looking, aesthetically speaking. That was it for Houston highlights, however. Billy Butler hit a three-run homer in the fifth, but the game was already decided by then. Scott Kazmir allowed one run over six.

Dodgers 6, Mariners 5: Alex Guerrero hit a bases-loaded single with two outs in the 10th inning for the walkoff win, in a game the Dodgers trailed 4-0 in the fourth inning. Nelson Cruz hit two homers in a winning effort in a losing cause. Dodgers starter Brandon McCarthy gave up four homers but also struck out ten dudes. That combo doesn’t happen often, according to the Elias Sports bureau. But I suppose both results are a function of guys on the other team hacking like hell.

Diamondbacks 8, Padres 4: Ender Inciarte hit two doubles, a triple and drove in four. If the sports headline in the Arizona Republic is not “Ender’s Game” today, I’m just giving up.

So, Jon Lester might have a problem with pickoff throws

lester throw 2

Prior to tonight, new Cubs left-hander Jon Lester hadn’t made a pickoff throw to first base since April 30, 2013. That’s right, nearly two years. If you watch the video linked here, you’ll know why.

Here’s a look at the aftermath of pickoff throw in the second inning tonight:


Anthony Rizzo is lucky he didn’t get seriously hurt here. He ran into the runner’s path back to first base and could have injured his knee. Fortunately, Jorge Soler bailed out Lester with a fantastic throw to nail Zack Cozart at third base. Lester and the Cubs keep trying to downplay any talks of him having the “yips” with pickoff throws, but teams are going to keep running on him until he finds a way to combat it.

By the way, Lester gave up six runs on 10 hits over six innings against the Reds tonight. His ERA sits at 7.84 through two starts with Chicago.

Correction: This was Lester’s second pickoff throw of the game. The initial version of this post indicated that this was his first. My apologies for the error.

Kris Bryant homered twice over the weekend

Kris Bryant

The Cubs’ third baseman, Mike Olt, was smacked on the wrist with a pitch over the weekend but luckily didn’t break anything. He’s also 2 for his first 13. The heir apparent, Kris Bryant, is cruising in Iowa. This from yesterday:

On the young season Bryant is 5-for-16 with two homers, a double and seven driven in. Only one walk, though, so it’s probably good that he’s getting that highly necessary seasoning.

Just figured you’d want an update.

And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

Miguel Cabrera

Tigers 8, Indians 5: Two homers for Miguel Cabrera and yet another sweep for the Tigers. When they go 162, fine, I’ll support him for the MVP.

Cardinals 7, Reds 5: Jhonny Peralta tied it with a two-run homer in the eighth and Matt Carpenter put St. Louis up by two with a homer of his own in the 11th. This game note is really darn interesting: “Reds catcher Brayan Pena left the game in the seventh after injuring his left shoulder in a fall at first base while beating out a leadoff bunt.” Just a LOT to unpack there.

Rays 8, Marlins 5: Miami’s season sure ain’t starting well, what with them being 1-5. Actual postgame quote from Jarrod Saltalamacchia: “It could have been worse. We could have been 0-6.” He must of said that before he realized two Marlins players — Don Kelly and Jeff Mathis — each broke a finger during the game. For real.

Blue Jays 10, Orioles 7: UPDATE: Though I probably get more “you don’t respect us!” rebop from O’s and Jays fans than any other two fan bases, please trust me when I tell you that I didn’t mean to leave this one blank earlier as some sort of passive-aggressive “this game was boring comment.” I just write these hella early and sometimes the brain hasn’t kicked in yet. Anyway: the Jays hit three homers because homers are their thing. The last one — from Jose Bautista — came after Darren O’Day threw one behind him. Those two have a history, of course. And Bautista is way better than O’Day, of course, so he’s gonna get the better of them over time. Maybe O’Day should cut it out?

Mets 4, Braves 3: I suppose it was folly to think Atlanta would go undefeated this year. And, if you have to lose a game, better to lose it in one which contained some outrageously awesome performances from athletes of bleeding-edge skill.

That was Colon’s first RBI in a decade. Colon started play yesterday as a .075/.080/.081 career hitter.

Nationals 4, Phillies 3: Bryce Harper homered and Wilson Ramos drove in two, including the go-ahead run in the 10th. Max Scherzer: one run, eight strikeouts in six innings. Yet, once again, does not pitch well enough to win. I am afraid of what the intimidating, influential and wise columnists of Washington will say today.

White Sox 6, Twins 2: I guess this means that Chris Sale’s foot feels OK (6 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 8K). Adam LaRoche hit a homer and had an RBI single.

Pirates 10, Brewers 2: And I guess this means Andrew McCutchen’s knee feels OK (2-for-4, HR, 4 RBI). Chris Sadler got his first MLB win after allowing two runs in five innings.

Astros 6, Rangers 4: Hank Conger had a two-run homer in the 14th to win it. But he wouldn’t have had the chance to it if wasn’t for George Springer’s amazing, grand-slam-saving catch in the 10th. That gave the Rangers three of their 15 stranded runners in the game. They drew seven walks and four Rangers batters were hit by pitches on top of that. If you can’t win a game when the other team just gifts you 11 base runners like that, fate ain’t letting you win that game.

Royals 9, Angels 2: Put the Royals in the 162-0 camp with the Tigers. Alcides Escobar and Alex Rios hit two-run doubles  and Salvador Perez homered There was some chippiness here because, apparently, Yordano Ventura doesn’t like athletes on the other team to say incendiary things like “let’s go, you guys!” Um, OK.

Mariners 8, Athletics 7: A 10th inning Nelson Cruz homer put the M’s ahead for good. Earlier in the game Rickie Weeks hit a pinch-hit three-run job. This day was not perfect for Seattle, but a couple of offseason additions designed to help fix the M’s biggest problem — offense — paid off well.

Padres 6, Giants 4: Wil Nieves hit a grand slam off of Jake Peavy as the Padres take three of four from the defending champs. Nieves’ Made his big league debut in 2002 for the Padres, catching Jake Peavy. A few things have happened since then, I suppose.

Cubs 6, Rockies 5: La Troy Hawkins came in to save the game with a comfy lead in the ninth — And he needed to only get two of the three outs with a two-run lead. But then a walk-wild pitch-single combo brought Chicago to within one and a subsequent two-run homer by Dexter Fowler put the Cubs ahead. That’s three appearances for Hawkins this year, the last two of which were blown saves. He’s allowed five runs on seven hits in two and two-thirds innings. Ick.

Dodgers 7, Diamondbacks 4: Alex Guerrero made some waves in spring training when he said that he deserved to be in the big leagues and wouldn’t allow the Dodgers to send him down. They’re happy they have him on the big club now, I reckon. He went 3-for-5, homered and had four RBI after being pressed into service due to injuries to Justin Turner and Juan Uribe. Yasiel Puig and Joc Pederson homered too, so viva youth in Los Angeles.

Yankees 14, Red Sox 4: All Yankees started got a hit and all Yankees starters scored a run in this romp. A-Rod hit a three-run double and Chase Headley and Stephen Drew hit back-to-back bombs. Masahiro Tanaka wasn’t fantastic, but he pitched five generally competent innings to get the win, so maybe the columnists will wring their hands over something else this week.

Report: Johnny Cueto seeking $200 million “or thereabouts”

Johnny Cueto

The Reds and starter Johnny Cueto didn’t reach an agreement on a contract extension before the right-hander’s Opening Day deadline. In fact, the Reds were so sure they wouldn’t be able to strike a deal, they didn’t appear to have even submitted an offer to Cueto, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports. Per Heyman, Cueto is reportedly seeking a $200 million contract “or thereabouts”.

Cueto, 29, is coming off of the best season of his career, finishing second in NL Cy Young balloting to Clayton Kershaw. He posted a 2.25 ERA and a 242/65 K/BB ratio in 243 2/3 innings. Cueto has finished with an ERA below 2.85 in each of the last three seasons (min. 20 starts).

Given the recent contracts signed by Max Scherzer ($210 million over seven years) and Jon Lester ($155 million over six years), it’s understandable why Cueto is holding out for a big payday. However, he’ll be joining a very crowded market for free agent starting pitchers this off-season. Barring new extensions, he’ll be joined by Doug Fister, Yovani Gallardo, Scott Kazmir, Mat Latos, Mike Leake, David Price, Jeff Samardzija, Jordan Zimmermann, and potentially Zack Greinke if he opts out of his contract with the Dodgers. The saturation of the starting pitching market could take a year or two and quite a few million off of Cueto’s final price.

The Reds should be expected to shop Cueto heavily leading up to the July 31 trade deadline.