The 2018 MLB Draft is this evening and MLB would very much like you to watch. We at Bleed Cubbie Blue will have a couple more stories today on the draft, including a preview and an open discussion thread at 5 p.m. Central time. Later tonight there will be a look at the newest Cubs, giving you whatever I can find on the latest addition to our family. MLB tried to clear the schedule for the Draft tonight, but a rainout earlier this year forced the Tigers and Yankees to play the second half of a day/night doubleheader during the draft. Other than that, they only MLB games tonight are on the West Coast, after the festivities have started to die down.
In the meantime, enjoy MLB Bullets.
- Things are not sunny in Philadelphia, as a weekend sweep at the hands of the Giants have dropped the Phillies to third place. Former Cub Jake Arrieta took the loss on Sunday, despite personally hitting a home run. (He also gave up five runs, which counteracts the solo home run and then some.) After the game, Arrieta blasted the series as “horse****” and said the Phillies use of defensive shifts were actively hurting the team. The numbers say that Arrieta have a point—the Phillies are not effectively using defensive shifts. As far as his assessment of the overall play of the Phils, that’s subjective.
- Cardinals pitcher Michael Wacha took a no-hitter into the ninth inning on Sunday, only losing it on a single by Pirates third baseman Colin Moran to lead off the ninth. David Schoenfield looks at Wacha’s “comeback season” and the rest of the Cardinals rotation, which he calls a “first-place” rotation. Of course, he adds that the rest team is not performing at the same level.
- Twins outfielder Eddie Rosario hit three home runs on Sunday including a walk-off winner against the Indians.
- The Mariners won yesterday and took over first place in the American League West. That must be a typo. (checks) Wow. It’s not.
- The Mariners won despite Rays pitcher Blake Snell tying an AL record by striking out the first seven batters of the game.
- Mariners lefty James Paxton had a big month of May, and that’s a big reason why the team is in first place. Jeff Sullivan breaks down what Paxton was doing right that month, after a poor April.
- Marc Topkin explains why the Mariners keep making trades with the Rays.
- The Braves are still in first place thanks to Charlie Culberson, writes Bradford Doolittle. That must be a typo. (checks) Wow. It’s not.
- Marly Rivera spoke to Astros ace Gerrit Cole (and I think the Astros have more than one of those ace-thingies) about what he’s done this year to transform himself into one of the most dominant pitchers in the game.
- Nationals ace Max Scherzer has been one of the best pitchers in the game over past two or three seasons. Maybe even the best. Jay Jaffe writes that somehow he’s been even better in 2018. (Jaffe does actually try to explain it.)
- Sarah Langs breaks down a bunch of stats from the first third of the season and explains how important it is to be in first place on June 1.
- Dayn Perry gives his take on the current state of the race for the BBWAA postseason awards.
- The soap opera surrounding baseball’s top prospect, Blue Jays third baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr., continues as Guerrero is still terrifying outfield walls in the Eastern League. Bradford Doolittle breaks down the Blue Jays thinking on Guerrero and when we can expect to see him in the majors. (And yes, the Blue Jays aren’t lying when they say Vladdy Jr.’s defense at third base is not major-league ready. Of course, many think it will never be ready.) Also Doolittle has some stuff on the Cubs lack of clutch-iness.
- Grant Brisbee believes that while it may make financial sense for the Blue Jays to leave Guerrero in the minors, it’s bad for the overall business of baseball.
- Giants first baseman Brandon Belt exited Friday’s game and was rushed to the hospital where he underwent an emergency appendectomy.
- Yankees manager Aaron Boone is upset with his former employer ESPN for moving a Yankees game in July to Sunday night before the team is expected to fly to Baltimore for a day/night doubleheader with the Orioles.
- As you no doubt noticed, the other team in New York is struggling. New Mets manager Mickey Callaway may have stuck his foot in his mouth on Sunday when he said after the loss to the Cubs that New York was a “tough place to play” and “This isn’t Cleveland,” thus insulting two fanbases with one quip.
- Bad news for the Nationals as second baseman Daniel Murphy, who hasn’t played all year, still isn’t ready to play. He played in minor league rehab games this weekend and apparently he did not look healthy.
- The Indians signed Oliver Perez to a one-year deal. Parents, teach your kids to throw left-handed.
- The Orioles are considering signing the recently-released Hanley Ramirez.
- A few draft stories before the big event tonight. Jonathan Mayo has ten storylines to watch for in tonight’s draft.
- Craig Edwards looks at how much the Padres paid to trade for a draft pick from the Twins. Basically, $7.6 million of Phil Hughes’ salary for the 74th pick in the draft. (That’s one of those “competitive balance” picks which are the only ones than can be dealt.)
- Jon Heyman has 12 trade suggestions.
- Bob Nightengale talks to agent David Sloane, who is quitting after 44 years in the business which he calls a “sewer.” Also over $33,000. OK, here’s a quick peek at how the sausage gets made. I read a lot of national sportswriters for this column and I’ve developed a loose hierarchy of the best and the worst. The best is Ken Rosenthal and Jeff Passan is not far behind. Those guys I’ll link to pretty much everything they write, except that Rosenthal is behind The Athletic paywall now and I try to avoid paywall stories. The “Bob Nightengale line” is that if you’re a worse writer than Bob Nightengale, I pretty much don’t consider you reliable enough to generally link to. Nightengale is not a good writer, but he has good sources and he doesn’t make stuff up. He just lacks any ability to critically analyze anything he’s being told. After this piece was published, both Passan and Jon Heyman wrote on Twitter that Sloane is among the nastiest and rudest jerks in the business. They both said that sure, the business of baseball may be a sewer, but that Sloane is one those making it one. But read the story if you want and make up your own mind. Honestly, Sloane doesn’t do himself any favors in this piece.
- Alex Rodriguez played catch with Astros outfielder J.D. Davis between innings of Sunday Night Baseball. A-Rod was calling the game from the bleachers.
- The Padres Hunter Renfroe hit a grand slam in the fifth inning of Sunday’s game. He put up an epic pose and bat-flip afterwards. For the record, I have no problem with this, but it shocks me that as far as I can tell, no one else did either. There were no comments about Renfroe showing up the pitcher and needing to learn to play the game the right way. I wonder why Renfroe received different treatment?
- Finally, two legendary comedians, David Letterman and Jerry Seinfeld, got around to talking baseball and the subject of Joey Votto came up and both of them had an amusing story about the Reds first baseman talking to them during a game. Votto then responded to their conversation with a statement that seems a little fishy.
And tomorrow will be a better day than today, Buster.