The Chicago Cubs got awful news on shortstop Javier Baez on Saturday.
Baez, who had been playing with soreness and discomfort in his left thumb, was diagnosed with a hairline fracture on Saturday. No timetable was offered, but Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times suggested that it may cost the star infielder the remainder of the 2019 season.
At minimum, Baez will miss the bulk of September. The timing on that could not be worse, with the Cubs trying to hold off their NL rivals. They currently sit 2.5 games back of the St. Louis Cardinals in the NL Central and 2.5 games ahead of the Arizona Diamondbacks for the second NL wild card spot.
The 26-year-old infielder had hit .281 with 29 home runs thus far this season. He’s an integral part of the Chicago lineup, and the Cubs’ task becomes that much harder without him, no matter how long he’ll be absent. The only good news is that a new acquisition has really picked up the slack recently.
Chicago Cubs shortstop Javy Baez often makes the incredible look ordinary, and he gave us another amazing play on Saturday.
With the tying run on first and the Cubs nursing a 6-5 lead over the Padres, San Diego’s Wil Myers tried to steal second and put the tying run in scoring position. The throw to second was off target, but Baez caught it and reached behind him without looking to tag Myers and get a massive second out.
Baez simply does everything at a high level, from tags to slides, making the mundane look like art. He may be the most talented infielder in the entire sport, and things like this explain why.
Tuesday’s All-Star Game gave a glimpse of one of baseball’s best bromances.
Cleveland Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor hilariously FaceTimed Chicago Cubs counterpart Javy Baez before Baez’s at-bat in the third inning against Minnesota Twins ace Jose Berrios. Lindor made the revelation to reporters after the game and said he was trash-talking Baez, per MLB.com’s Dan Hayes.
Baez wound up flying out on the first pitch he saw, so it’s entirely possible that Lindor got into his head. The former NLCS MVP was a good sport however.
Despite the smack talk, the two players are close friends. They were drafted with back-to-back picks in the first round of the 2011 draft and play together on Puerto Rico’s national team, making for a fearsome middle infield combo. Perhaps in next year’s Midsummer Classic though, Baez will return the favor by giving Lindor the wrong batting helmet.
Yu Darvish has not pitched all that well this year, and he felt particularly bad about his latest outing after getting knocked around for four innings and putting his teammates in an early hole. Fortunately for Darvish, a very determined Javier Baez bailed him out.
The Cubs battled back from a 5-1 deficit against the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday to tie the game at 5-5 in the fifth. Darvish was pulled after walking the lead-off man that inning, and he apologized to Baez in the batting cage for letting the team down. Darvish said Baez told him, “I’ve got your back.”
Baez wasn’t kidding. He belted a solo home run in the eighth inning to give Chicago a 6-5 lead, and it proved to be the game-winner. The homer also helped the surging Cubs win their sixth straight.
Darvish is now 2-3 on the year with a 5.79 ERA, which is surprising considering the way he described his game back in spring training. Thanks to Baez and his confidence, the right-hander got away with another rough start on Saturday.
The Chicago Cubs seem open to the possibility of having Javy Baez remain at shortstop if and when Addison Russell returns from suspension.
Russell is completing a 40-game suspension for violating the league’s domestic violence policy. While he’s been out, Baez has played shortstop and Ben Zobrist and Daniel Descalso have mostly played second.
Russell exclusively played shortstop for the Cubs the past three seasons, though he split time between there and second base in 2015. Baez mostly played second last season, though he also played shortstop and third base. On Wednesday, manager Joe Maddon indicated it’s possible Baez will not move back to second.
Baez has been so hot lately — four home runs in his last seven games and nearly a 1.000 OPS on the season — that it might not make sense to move him. He’s off to a torrid start and is the leader to be the NL shortstop representative. How do you move a guy and mess things up when he’s playing that well?
Javier Baez offered his side of what transpired during a bizarre double play in Thursday’s game between the Chicago Cubs and Pittsburgh Pirates.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, with runners on second and third and one out, Baez hit a ball to third base that was fielded by Jung Ho Kang. Kang threw the ball to home plate where Ben Zobrist was tagged out. Baez, who did not run to first base on the play, was also tagged out, resulting in an inning-ending double play. The turn of events was critical because it was a scoreless game.
Baez’s claim to the umpire was that he fouled the ball off of his foot.
While it’s possible the ball did ricochet off of his foot and down the third base line, that’s going to be a tough sell for the umpire more often than not. Conventional wisdom says Baez should have run to first since a foul ball was not immediately called by the home plate umpire. The play allowed Pirates pitcher Joe Musgrove to escape a situation where the Cubs had two runners in scoring position.
A bizarre hug from Javy Baez and Nolan Arenado in the middle of a play during the NL Wild Card Game drew some funny reactions on Twitter.
Willson Contreras was batting for the Chicago Cubs with runners on first and second and one out in the bottom of the 11th. He grounded one to Arenado, who tagged Baez, the lead runner. But Baez, knowing he was dead meat, stopped in his tracks and then reached out to hug Arenado while the play was still going on.
The umpires and Rockies manager Bud Black actually discussed whether Baez’s actions were legal considering he could have prevented Arenado from throwing and attempting a double play. They decided not to penalize Baez, while the next batter grounded out to end the inning, allowing the game to continue.
Twitter still had a blast with the awkward mid-game moment.
Baez is lucky the umpires didn’t call him for interference or something worse. That still was the most unexpected moment of the postseason.
Javy Baez was upset with what he felt was unprofessional treatment from umpire Joe West during Friday’s game.
Baez was called out on a 3-2 pitch in the first inning of the Chicago Cubs’ 2-1 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies. Replay showed that the pitch was inside by an inch or two and should have been called a ball. Baez tried to say something to West about it, and the two exchanged words.
After the game, Baez complained about West and hinted the umpire did not talk to him with respect.
West continues to make bad calls and demonstrate unprofessional behavior, yet he continues to umpire MLB games. The list of complaints against him is lengthy and growing.
The MLB playoff race can conceivably be boiled down to about 12 teams, with one or two more on the fringes but looking less realistic by the day. Those 12 teams are in different spots. Some will feel better than others about their chances of making an impact in the playoffs, but each team has at least one player upon whom they can rely.
Here’s a look at each contender’s most important player.
Arizona Diamondbacks — Paul Goldschmidt, 1B
For a team that has often been known for having a powerhouse offense, the Diamondbacks have at times struggled to get men on base this season. That has not been a problem for Goldschmidt, who remains one of the game’s more overlooked stars. For the fifth time in seven seasons, he has surpassed 30 home runs and is the centerpiece of Arizona’s offense. When he does well, they do well.
Javier Baez hit by far the longest home run of the season for the Chicago Cubs on Thursday night, and the slugger made it clear that it did not feel like just another homer for him.
Baez’s moonshot, which gave the Cubs a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the third, measured at an incredible 481 feet. He said after the game that some of his teammates were ribbing him about not being able to hit it further, and he also described the blast as “one of my dreams.”
Here’s a video of the homer, which traveled almost 30 feet further than any home run a Cubs player has hit this year:
There’s really only one other MLB player who comes to mind when you think about home runs going that far. Though they count the same if they go 350 feet or 481 feet, there’s no denying that big fly from Baez was one of the most impressive we have ever seen.