View From The Bleachers

Talking Cubs Baseball Since 2003



May 2017



When Will the Pitching Problems Be Resolved?

Written by , Posted in General

Man, this series was sort of depressing, huh? That is, until tonight! Tonight we had a game, which as of this writing and me going to bed is not yet over.

When Kris Bryant came to the plate in the bottom of the ninth, I was putting the finishing touches on this post and said, “They should pitch to Anthony Rizzo instead of Bryant, but he stands on the plate. They might hit him, and if they do, it’s tied.

Well, it happened, and here I am past my bedtime making additional edits to this post. I’m gunna be honest, I stopped watching in the 11th. I have a life to live, people. I couldn’t stay up anymore. The following post stands no matter how the game ended.

After this weekend, I am genuinely concerned about the starting pitching situation—and really the pitching situation in general. Thankfully, Jon Lester gave the Cubs a really solid outing last night, despite the first inning issues detailed below, but the starting pitching situation is still pretty grim. Not to mention that, on Friday night, Hector Rondon further confirmed my theory that he is, indeed, the second coming of Carlos Marmol.

First Inning Woes Continue

The Cubs have given up 41 runs in the first inning this year. According to Jesse Rogers, the record for most runs given up in the first inning in a single season is the 2000 Texas Rangers, who gave up 154 runs in the first inning that season.

This has to stop.

I, admittedly, have never played professional baseball and cannot speak from experience, but the struggles our starting pitchers are having certainly cannot be helped by the fact that they’re digging themselves into a hole in the first inning. The psychological effect of that alone has to be pretty toxic.

This might be more of a problem for me as a fan, though, than the players themselves. They’re going to play hard and try to score no matter what. But, as fan, it is kinda depressing to start in the hole so often this year.

Lester Looked Solid, Relatively Speaking

I mean seriously, he lasted more than an inning. HALLELUJAH!

After struggling in the first inning, or if not “struggling,” at least, giving up a run, Lester looked pretty strong. He pitched more pitches this outing than he has all year—he was pulled after the seventh inning and 120 pitches. Any time Lester or John Lackey gives up a run early in the game, you sorta have to be worried about it going to their heads. Thankfully, giving up that pesky first inning run didn’t seem to bother Lester too much.

I was also pleased to see that the Yankees didn’t try to break Lester by running on him like crazy. This Yankees team isn’t really known for its speed, so it wasn’t surprising that they didn’t try to run a whole lot, but when you have someone like Lester on the mound who would rather perform a root canal on himself than throw to a base, you never know what the other team may try on the base paths. It hasn’t happened yet, so maybe it will never happen, but I am always afraid some team is going to learn how to break Lester’s psyche and he won’t ever recover (similar to what happened when the Cubs walked Bryce Harper last year and he wasn’t right the rest of the season).

The Bullpen Is Almost As Bad as the Rotation

Like I said above, Friday night gave us even more evidence that Rondon is the reincarnation of Marmol, and last night, Justin Grimm gave up a two-run home run in the eighth in relief of Lester. The difference between a 2-1 game in the eighth and a 4-1 game in the eighth feels like a lot more than just two runs. You know what I mean?

If the Cubs don’t make some significant improvements on the mound between May and September, there is zero chance this club is going to make the World Series again, let alone win it.

Obviously, as bad as the pitching has been, it’s pretty remarkable that the Cubs are still above .500. So, I still don’t think it’s time to panic.

But, the pitching situation will prevent a deep playoff run if it isn’t fixed, without a doubt.

Looking Ahead

This week, the Cubs are on the road again for two series. Tomorrow, the club will be in Denver, Colorado, to play the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field, aka “Home Run Heaven.” The Rockies are leading the NL West with a record of 20-12. After visiting the Rockies in Denver, the Cubs will head to St. Louis to play the Cardinals, who are 16-14 and as repulsive as ever.

The starting pitchers have to hate that they’re heading to Coors Field after the week they’ve had, but that’s just how it goes. Have to wonder how long it will be until Eddie Butler is called up.

  • Dork

    I only made it to the 9th I almost turned it off in the 7th last night, but ended up hearing the rally. they have to find a way to win that game right there in the 9th with the bases loaded. Javy impressed me in that 9th inning AB – I was expecting a K for sure.

    Almora did a nice job also in that 9th inning AB. I have seen enough from Almora to play him everyday. I have to believe he catches that ball that goes for a run scoring triple. Last year you played Heyward all year for defense, Almora is just as good if not better in center.

    The first inning runs are frustrating, that is the real problem with the team right now is the starting pitching.

    The bull pen will never give up nothing and as a group they have pitched pretty well, and rank pretty high. The problem is we always need them to give up nothing, because they are playing from behind.

    I would not change the lineup. Swarbs and Rizz just have to start hitting, they are not right now, but last night Swarbs looked better. I would leave that alone at least until Memorial day and then if it is not better think about a change.

    My 2 cents.

    • chrismartin17

      I agree with everything here. Which makes us both Dorks.

    • Bartz

      I’ll agree that you want your best hitters to get the most ABs. BUT, Schwarber isn’t one of their best hitters yet. I bleed blue like the rest of you, but I feel like everyone has thrown up their blinders when it comes to Schwarber, simply due to his playoff performance.

      He has never played a full major league season, he’s playing out of position, and he’s being asked to leadoff. Maddon needs to drop him in the order.

      • Dork

        If Swarbs is not #3 does that make Zobrist #3 maybe Russell? I don’t think #3 is Baez Contreras or Heyward, montero or the CF’s at this point. They all emerge at times but just not consistently. Maybe that is the problem no one has emerged as that clear #3 and Rizzo is also not hitting right now. I think I would still stick with this for a bit longer, but it is just one dork’s opinion… maybe 2.

  • Doug S.

    Was at the game at Coors yesterday. Great stadium. 80 minute rain delay and more rain forecast for all 3 Cubs games. With luck the guys have checked in and are sleeping now. Tired team, worn out pen, high altitude – what could go wrong?

    • Bryzzo1744

      Rizzo and/or Baez on the DL.

      • Jerry in Wisconsin

        Bite your tongue hard and fast

      • Bryzzo1744

        Thank god Rizzo doesn’t have a broken wrist. I went to bed last night thinking there’s no way it’s not.

  • Buddy

    I think the Brett Anderson problem will be resolved one way or another very quickly. Either his injury is having a significant impact on his performance, which means he should pitch better after his return from the DL, or he really is this bad, in which case the Cubs will cut him loose before long. Looking forward to seeing what Montgomery can do as a SP.

    • Cap’n Anti Dentite

      I wouldn’t be surprised if we’ve seen the last of Anderson. He’s been that bad. He wasn’t even good when he was healthy in Mesa. Last night’s game was miserable…like a car crash I couldn’t turn away from. Rizzo needs the DL for a few days. Baez will hurt. Joe West is a blind old fool…how in the world could MLB have some of the finest and highly tuned athletes on the planet in clearly the most competitive baseball league anywhere and leave the calling of balls and stripes up to a 65 year old fat guy with 11 chins and obvious vision problems? Beyond that, he’s a blathering jackass that baits players and managers. He has no business being near a big league ball field without purchasing a ticket. Another elephant in the room is that fact that Joe, once again, horrifically mismanaged the bench and bullpen last night. Girardi played him like a maestro, and with the game on the line, all quirky Joe had left was Kyle Hendricks to hit. Bringing in Montero to hit in an obvious bunt situation was the dumbest thing I saw. Use Lackey or Hendricks to lay down that bunt there, and you’ve got a major league hitter on your bench, and you don’t have to make one guy catch 18 innings if the game goes to extras. It’s a rule of coaching, you NEVER burn your backup catcher until you are well into extra frames, because if you do, well, you saw the result. I liked it better when they were winning ugly. Losing ugly is worse.

      • Jack F

        Where was Heyward last night?

      • Bryzzo1744

        Jammed finger

      • pinky finger: jam

      • Bryzzo1744

        What kind of jam? I like orange marmalade, apricot and strawberry

      • I don’t eat jam. My small children love it, and also like to list off their favorite jams.

      • Bryzzo1744

        I don’t eat it unless it’s in a PBJ and those are my favorites.

      • My small children also really like jam on their sandwiches. They also like listing off different ways they eat stuff.

      • Doug S.

        CAPS teed the ball up and Frankenswan safely plays it on the fairway. Perhaps now thinking about a provisional.

      • Cap’n Mulva

        I like making every post about an obscure reference to a marginally funny sitcom that died 15 years ago.

      • Nothing marginal about that Mulva bit.. that’s comedy gold.

  • Adam Peters

    The Cubs have the good fortune of being in a division that–2 years removed from having 100, 99 and 98 game winners–is crap. They’re 16 and 15 and one game out of first, behind the REDS. My point is that they would seem to have ample opportunity here to right the ship and win the division. It would be nice if they started soon though.

    The starting pitching has been the main problem, but to me this team just doesn’t seem to be in sync. I don’t know why.

    Maddon hasn’t been rotating the players like he did last year. For example, Bryant has played all 31 games at 3B, and Baez has spent 98% of his time at 2B. I’m definitely not saying that’s a bad thing, but it is very different from last year. I dunno.

    • Dork

      And with that Bryant will be in Right tonight and Baez at short – Maddon is listening.

      • Bryzzo1744

        Who’s on first, what’s on 2nd, I don’t know is on 3rd

  • Doc Raker

    We should of won 2 out of 3 from the Yanks. Rizzo needs a rest, he is 2-34. We are in the middle of a long stretch without a day off and you have 2 extra innings games and a starting pitcher go 1/3 of an inning in another game. I don’t think it gets worse than that for your pitching staff.

    We need a complete game out of a starter.

  • Doc Raker

    I did hear Len on the radio discussing how Anderson will be working on a slider. OK, Len- Anderson is one pitch away. Cub Nation will hang in there because you say so. Any other talking points you want to throw out there?

    • Bryzzo1744

      I like it when Lame Len talks about anything but baseball

      • Jerry in Wisconsin

        I like it when people are talking about anything other than Anderson.

  • Karen Hirsh

    Before the season began, I said pitching would be a problem. Without it, no chance of repeating. Almora should play everyday!! There has also been too many mental mistakes especially on the base pads. Not the same team spirit.

  • Made it into the 16th.. glad I didn’t witness Kyle’s PH. How embarrassing is Maddon.. good god.

    Schwarbs going into the stands is the best thing ever.

    • Seymour Butts

      Did not watch the whole game but did see the 9th-12th and 17th-18th.
      Pretty much becoming “must not see TV”.

  • Junior Von White

    Watching the Cubs feels like watching a documentary on the Island of Misfit Toys. We have a 10+ year 2B playing right field, a DH/1B playing left field, a SS playing 2B, a lineup that is unconventional to the point of being nonsensical, and last year’s ERA leader as the 5th starter (and starting behind Lackey and Anderson besides). If you ask me, all of that intangible turbulence plays into the performance of the team. Playing out of position or out of place will mess up overall performance.

    For some reason, it seems that being unconventional and trendy is more important than doing what actually makes sense. Who knows, maybe Miggy will be our next starting pitcher?

    Winning cures all woes, so maybe if they can go an 24-6 tear like last year all of this unconventional nonsense can start looking like managerial genius. But until then, call me a skeptic.

    • Joe Davola


      Joe Davola

    • Buddy

      I would bet all the money in Joe’s wallet that the Cubs will go on a tear in the near future (probably not 24-6, but a nice stretch to be sure). I also don’t worry too much about what number a starter has in the rotation. That stuff matter’s opening week I guess, but that’s really about it. I know the Anti Maddon Movement is picking up steam, but I haven’t lost any confidence in him or the team. He’s already used 21 different lineups, not including pitchers, so he’s really doing what he’s always done. Anyway…Unless the starting rotation is complete shit for the next three months, (which is highly unlikely) or unless the Cubs lose Bryant and/or Rizzo to injury for a long period of time, all will be well in Cubbieland.

      “Patience you must have.”
      –Little green guy in one of the Star Wars flicks

      • Bryzzo1744

        Speaking of injury to Rizzo, thank goodness the X-rays were negative

      • They should x-ray the left field wall by the old bullpen.

      • SimpsonFan

        Remember the Simpson episode when Homer had x-ray vision? He could do it!

      • Buddy

        Yep. Sounds like Baez injury is nothing serious either.

      • Junior Von White

        Only because he drank milk as a child.

      • I don’t drink milk unless it’s in a protein shake. My favorites are vanilla almond and lactose-free 2%. What type of milks do you guys all like?

      • Buddy

        That outfielder on the White Sox isn’t too bad…hey hey!

      • The Cat

        I like milk. Meow.

      • Doug S.

        What the……

      • Jerry in Wisconsin

        You are a wimp nothing but whole milk in a dirty glass for me.

      • Just lay off the soy milk, unless moobs are your thing.

      • Jerry in Wisconsin

        For warned is for something, I just don’t remember what.

      • Seymour Butts

        Did somebody say boobs?

      • Bryzzo1744

        You read the same thing I did

      • SimpsonFan

        Remember the Simpson episode where everybody read the same thing and Lisa was going crazy because she was the only one who saw things differently and it was funny and Krusty was being stupid?

      • Junior Von White

        I’ve never been very good at patience. Kind of ironic that I am also a lifelong Cub fan…

      • Buddy

        Me neither. I need to take my own advice. Or rather the advice of that weird green puppet in Star Wars.

  • Doug S.

    Very large and heavy hail in Denver.
    Loud as hell for the last 15 mins.
    Stopping now.

    • Place hail in Coors Light. Send us a pic.

      • Doug S.

        Light beer? I’d rather drink milk.

      • Dare you to order a pint of lactose-free 2%.

      • Cap’n Coco the Monkey

        Coors Light is not my favorite beer. I like many other beers better. They make Dale’s Pale Ale near Denver…and Fat Tire. I knew a guy named Dale who’s fat, so we call him Dale’s Fat Tire. He hates it.

      • Buddy

        I used to work with a guy named Dale. He wasn’t fat, but his car had tires. His bike did too. I’m not sure if he liked beer. I like beer.

      • But do you like milk? And do you drink it for breakfast or only when you have a jam sandwich. And speaking of jam, we need to know what’s your favorite type, and whether you ate it as a child and with whom. Much obliged.

      • The same cat as from before

        I still like milk.

      • Doug S.

        Pass, too steep. CAPS?

      • Eddie Von White

        Whole milk, raw.

  • Doug S.

    I think I stumbled on foodfromthebleachers by mistake.
    In other news – game postponed,

    • Bryzzo1744

      Remember when we would have posts about fat people on a regular basis?

      • Doug S.

        No I don’t – but it sounds unkind.

        Double header tomorrow 12:10 & 6:40 mtn time with rain delays looming to mess that up.

        I have not seen so many Cubs fans outside of Wrigley in a ballpark as I did tonight. The word Invasion comes to mind.

      • I remember when YOU would insult fat people on a regular basis.

  • Bryzzo1744

    Heyward on the DL.