“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”
–The Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776
Which, when you think about it, is just a longer way of saying “Enough already.”
Hoo boy, we needed this one, huh? After a four day death march through Queens, just about everything about this game was a reminder of how much fun the 2016 Cubs still are.
Anthony Rizzo looked like what would happen if a Toby Keith song grew arms.
Hector Rondon pitched the 9th and Miguel Montero didn’t.
Jeff Garlin announced that Joe Maddon will be appearing on the new season of Curb Your Enthusiasm. Which means there will be a storyline where Larry David asks a barista “Why the hell would you bring Joel Peralta into a two run game?”
And then there were these highlights:
Top Play (WPA): After Kyle Hendricks reminded us all what a scoreless first inning looked like, Kris Bryant drew a walk with an eight pitch at bat. After Rizzo struck out swinging, Willson Contreras was hit by a pitch and Addison Russell singled Bryant home. Then, before you could ask “When did MLB legalize hits with runners in scoring position,” Jason Heyward smoked a 2-2 offering into the left center field gap to score two more and give the Cubs a 3-0 lead. (+0.163)
This is the second day in a row Heyward has crushed one to the opposite field. And this one came off of a lefthander, no less. I’m now going to press CNTRL-V to activate my computer’s paste function from every previous recap I’ve written:
Hopefully this means he’s turning it around.
Bottom Play (WPA): Man, it’s nice to have a game where I can barely remember this part. The bottom play was the previously-referenced Rizzo strikeout on a low outside pitch (-0.027). Presumably because he was busy reminding himself that when it comes crashing down and it hurts inside, he’s gotta take a stand; it don’t help to hide. Or something.
Key Moment: Following their first inning outburst, Kris Bryant helped break the game open by going Team America on a Cody Reed pitch down the heart of the plate 407 feet to deep left center. The Cubs went up 5-0 in the second and never looked back.
Unfortunately, in the 5th Albert Almora, Jr. did what Jumbo Diaz couldn’t and knocked Bryant out of the game in an outfield collision. The diagnosis was “knee contusion.” Which hopefully will mean nothing more going forward than proving that Bryant bleeds red, white, and blue.
Tony Massarotti immediately deemed Bryant’s knee overrated for not colliding with a better center fielder like Mike Trout.
Trend to Watch: The other blemish was decidedly minor but illustrates a larger issue with the Cubs having to play so many minor league call ups to cover for injuries. With Joey Votto on first in the sixth, Jay Bruce hit a slow grounder to second base. But since the shift was on, Jeimer Candelario had to cover second and in his hasty attempt to turn two, he missed the base entirely and everyone was safe.
With the score 8-0, it meant very little in the grand scheme of things. But it again showed that the downside to all of this under-25 talent is that the Cubs are going to have to endure some young player mistakes while they attempt to get healthy again. There’s not much they can do at this point other than hope the talent wins out in the end as it did today.
Up Next: The schedule demands the Cubs continue to play Cincinnati and I couldn’t be happier. Brandon Finnegan (4.48 ERA/5.29 FIP/4.52 DRA) takes on John Lackey (3.27/3.51/3.06) in another 1:20 affair. Which means that by this time tomorrow, the Reds will probably have fired another pitching coach.
Lead photo courtesy Dennis Wierzbicki—USA Today Sports.