The Cubs were supposed to have played the Cardinals in St. Louis over the weekend, but as you know, the entire series was postponed due to several Cardinals players and staffers testing positive for COVID-19.
The team had some workouts Saturday and then played a simulated game Sunday. Here’s how that went:
Via Cubs, some early info from today’s scrimmage...— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) August 9, 2020
• Kimbrel: 1 IP, 1 H, 2 K, 11 pitches
• Sadler: 1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 HR, 23 pitches
• Rea: 1 IP, 3 K, 23 pitches
• Hoerner homered off Sadler.
Additional scrimmage info...— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) August 9, 2020
• Mills: 5 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 58 pitches
• Underwood: 1 IP, 11 pitches
• Brothers (taxi squad): 1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 2 K, 20 pitches
• Happ: 3-for-3, 2 doubles, RBI
Alec Mills, who had been originally scheduled to throw one of the upcoming games in Cleveland, will instead be pushed back to the Brewers series over the weekend. Jon Lester and Kyle Hendricks will start the games against the Indians.
Good to see that Craig Kimbrel can get some guys out, even if it is his own teammates. Baby steps. Here’s the plan going forward for Kimbrel:
Ross said focus with Kimbrel is to get pitch characteristics back to prior levels. That means limiting use of changeup, which Kimbrel had talked about working in more.— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) August 9, 2020
"We found that changeup, at times, can drop his arm and really get some things that can create bad habits."
Also ICYMI over the weekend, there was this minor roster move:
Per Cubs, Derek Dietrich was granted his release to pursue an MLB opportunity. Chicago’s 60-man pool has been trimmed to 59 players.— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) August 9, 2020
So, the Cubs will have room to add another player to the 60-man pool if they so choose.
Regarding the games that were postponed over the weekend, the Cubs are not scheduled to travel to St. Louis again this year. Thus the games will have to be made up at Wrigley Field. And the Cardinals’ series against the Pirates in St. Louis that was scheduled to begin tonight is now postponed:
The upcoming Pirates-Cardinals series has been canceled.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) August 9, 2020
And that will give the Cardinals a lot of doubleheaders to make up for the lost games.
The Cardinals are scheduled at Wrigley Field August 17-18-19 and September 4-5-6. The most likely makeup scenario, as of now, is probably two doubleheaders in the first series and one in the second. Why? Because the second series includes a Sunday Night Baseball appearance for the Cubs and Cardinals (September 6) and I can’t see MLB trying to squish two twin bills into that series. As of today the Cardinals have 55 games to play and there are 48 days remaining in the season. It’s not going to be easy to get them to 60.
Presuming they do that, the Cardinals would wind up as the “home” team for some of the games and bat last. Or, perhaps:
I really wonder how close we are to MLB telling the Cardinals that "we'll see you in 2021" and restructuring the schedule for the remainder of their games. https://t.co/9BDRM2UQMh— Mike Harrington (@ByMHarrington) August 9, 2020
Per Mark Gonzales in the Tribune, manager David Ross wants the Cubs to do “something fun” on their off day today before they head to Cleveland.
I would also like everyone here to remember Ross’ words:
Cubs manager David Ross:— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) August 8, 2020
"We send our best to the Cardinals, those players. It's a scary time and we all want baseball to move forward and guys to be healthy. It just shows how fast it can get out of control. That part of the virus is super frightening."
Everyone in baseball is part of a big family. My best to the Cardinals as well.
A couple of MLB notes... first, Indians pitcher Zach Plesac, who threw six shutout innings against the White Sox Saturday, went out with friends in Chicago Saturday evening in violation of MLB’s newest protocols and was sent home:
Plesac upset teammates and club officials by going out with friends in Chicago on Saturday night in violation of team rules and the league’s health and safety protocols, sources told The Athletic.
The Indians, fearing an outbreak of COVID-19 similar to those that occurred with the Marlins and Cardinals, took quick action to isolate Plesac from his teammates and the rest of the club’s traveling party. The team arranged for a car service to take him back to Cleveland, but not before both he and the driver received point-of-care testing. The pitcher will be quarantined for 72 hours and tested daily, and the team could take additional preventative measures, sources said.
“I would like to apologize to my teammates, the entire Cleveland organization and all of our fans for my actions Saturday evening,” Plesac said in a statement released late Sunday. “I realize I made a poor choice to leave the hotel, which broke protocols and could have endangered other people. I understand that in these times of uncertainty, I need to be more vigilant and responsible, and I am determined to earn my teammates’ forgiveness and get back to work.”
I’m not sure how Plesac managed to get past the compliance officer that every team’s now supposed to have. But this incident shows that everyone in baseball absolutely needs to follow the protocols 100 percent of the time, or it puts others in the game at risk. Incidentally, Zach Plesac is the nephew of former Cub and current MLB Network analyst Dan Plesac. Dan Plesac pitched for the Cubs in 1993 and 1994, part of an 18-year MLB career.
Lastly, after Athletics outfielder Ramon Laureano was hit by an Astros pitch for the second time during Sunday’s game, a bench-clearing brawl followed [VIDEO].
This is in clear violation of section 5.2 of the 2020 MLB Operations Manual, which states:
Fighting and instigating fights are strictly prohibited. Players must not make physical contact with others for any reason unless it occurs in normal and permissible game action. Violations of these rules will result in severe discipline consistent with past precedent, which discipline shall not be reduced or prorated based on the length of the season.
And this, apparently, is what instigated the brawl:
We’ll know more soon, but a person I respect has been told that the A’s Ramón Laureano charged toward Alex Cintron because Cintron mentioned Laureano’s mother in a bad way.— Jose de Jesus Ortiz (@OrtizKicks) August 9, 2020
In Latino culture, those are fighting words. #Astros #Athletics
In 2020 more than ever, umpires, managers and coaches MUST be the adults in the room. Thus, unless there is a mitigating circumstances not shown in film clip, MLB should come down very hard on #Astros hitting coach Alex Cintron for the provocation in this altercation. https://t.co/7EwX2qNygc— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) August 9, 2020
I would think some major suspensions will be coming down later today, in particular for Alex Cintron. This was an incident that shouldn’t have happened in any case; in a pandemic situation it’s 100 times worse.