Good morning, frents!
Not sure if you were able to catch any clips of a packed arena in North Carolina fired up for playoff hockey last night, but man do I need some of those goosebumps in the worst way possible.
cc: Stan Bowman
bcc: Joel Quenneville
Cubs 7, Nats 3
Sox 16, Twins 4
Nats at Cubs (6:40, Marquee)
Sox at Twins (6:40, NBCSCH)
The best kind of reunion
Jon Lester came into Monday night's lovefest at Wrigley with a decent results sheet. He'd only given up four runs over three starts and had yet to surrender a home run in 2021.
But by the time Lester walked off the mound in the sixth inning (to more cheers, natch), his record had a few more black marks.
Compliments of his old pals, of course.
Jason Heyward, Javy Baez and Willson Contreras all hit homers off the beloved lefty and the Cubs tagged him for five earned runs, pushing his ERA south by more than a run and a half.
On the plus side for Nats who used to be Cubs, Kyle Schwarber put one in the bleachers for old times' sake and found his favorite candy waiting for him when he took his spot in left field.
The 7-3 win over Washington pushed the Cubs back to .500 at 20-20 and will probably go down as one of the most fun nights at Wrigley in 2021, no matter what happens the rest of the way.
A lot of that was due to the Cubs' triumph, though our pal Silvy sparked a mid-afternoon Twitter debate by saying he was rooting for Lester.
Me? I thought the way it went down was just about perfect.
Anthony Rizzo showed up at the park wearing Lester's jersey and there were plenty of pregame hugs.
Schwarber got his video on the scoreboard and Lester got the multiple ovations he would have received had fans been around last September.
And, yes, the Cubs won.
Letting Lester walk was the right move and that no doubt plays a role in the good vibes. Welcoming back Rizzo as an Angel or Kris Bryant as a Met will no doubt hit differently if and when it comes to that.
Monday, though, went as well as it could have.
• Nico Hoerner's diving stop of Starlin Castro with two outs and the bases loaded in the eighth is one of the reasons we love baseball and may have saved the win. What a play.
• Tommy Nance pitched a scoreless ninth and made his major-league debut at age 30. The next time you're feeling some self-doubt, read what Nance wrote four years ago about chasing his dream.
Next: Patrick Corbin (2-3, 6-19) faces Zach Davies (2-2, 5.60) who has a 1.10 ERA over three starts in May so far.
News and results
Sox 16, Twins 4: No Jose, no problem
The Cubs weren't the only Chicago baseball team having fun on Monday night. Despite missing Jose Abreu — who's resting his ankle for this Twins series — the Sox lineup still posted a season-high 16-piece.
- Nick Madrigal hit his first career homer with a drive off J.A. Happ in the third. It came, naturally, with two strikes in the count.
- Danny Mendick hit a grand slam off Derek Law in the fifth.
- Yermin Mercedes hit his first home run in May, unloading on a 45-MPH pitch from catcher Willians Astudillo in the ninth on a 3-0 count. The Yerminator cares not for your unwritten rules, nor should he.
- The 25-15 Sox are the only team in baseball 10 games over .500 and sport a run differential of +73. More than a third of that total comes from outscoring Minnesota 42-17 in four games this season
Next: Lance Lynn (4-1, 1.30) gets Michael Pineda (2-2, 2.79) tonight.
Wrigley Field gets a new PA announcer
And it's Jeremiah Poprocki, the first African-American to hold the job in Wrigley's 100+ year history. He's also young at just 21 years old, though his predecessor Andrew Belleson was hired at 24.
- Mike Ditka, Ric Flair and Mongo himself were among the attendees at a Monday night fundraiser for Steve McMichael's ALS care. WGN-TV
- The Bears got good attendance at the team's voluntary workouts, particularly on offense. ESPN
- Steve Greenberg catches up with Robin Ventura, who's getting his degree and coaching college baseball at Oklahoma State. Sun-Times
- Javy Baez will be starring with John Legend in a Walgreens ad encouraging people to get vaccinated. Maybe they can show it to the holdouts on the team? Tribune
- Elias Schuster on the possibility that Zach LaVine won't give the Bulls a hometown discount. Bleacher Nation
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