Double Header Review and Notes
Not the distraction from work I was looking for. Started out alright but went downhill in the third. The Cubs got out to an early one nothing lead with plenty of chances to add more, but a not so crisp Jake Arrieta couldn’t silence the deep and powerful Rockies lineup. Arrieta was chased after just 3.2 innings in which he gave up 9 runs (5 earned). The cubs squandered chances in the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 7th and 9th (8 LOB, 2 for 14 W/RISP). Dylan Floro, acquired from the padres for Matt Szczur (sad), deserves recognition for his 4.1 quality innings of relief in which he struck out five, walked zero, and gave up both an inherited run and one of his own.
If your ace is your stopper, then call John Lackey the ace. I don’t think the logic really works that way, but nonetheless was brilliant. He got the scoring started with a single in the second. The Cubs would go up 5-0 by the end of the inning and didn’t look back. Javier Baez and Kris Bryant would add runs in the 8th and 9th on homeruns (not the hardest hit balls, but anything to spark this offense is fine by me. Denver altitude do your thing). The Rockies would break the shutout off Felix Pena on a two base “error” by Jon Jay in left (a play that will surely be changed upon review).
These two games were an example of how random the game is and how quickly things can change. It’s time for a winning streak, especially with division games on the horizon. Let’s hope for Kyle Hendricks can continue the way he has been trending in his last few starts. And the offense figures it out with runners on. The bullpen has been making strides, they just seem a little worn out from the lack of starters going deep. If momentum is the next days starting pitcher, and the Cubs have typically played negatively into that narrative so far this season.
Other news and notes
- What do Lackey and Pedro Martinez have in common? They are the only players, ever, with 7 plus innings and double digit strike outs at Coors Field.
- The Cubs traded Szczur to the Padres for pitcher Justin Hancock. They will still have to replace injured Brett Anderson in the starting rotation. I’m note a betting man, but I would put my money on Eddie Butler to get a shot to prove himself at the Major League level. Are there odds on stuff like that? Anyone know a top-rated sportsbook I could check?
- Jeimer Candelario has the poise of someone who is ready for the big leagues. His success is welcome for a team looking to add starting pitching. I won’t try and put together any sort of trade scenario, but I also don’t think it takes an insider to see what teams would ask for. An infielder blocked by Kris Bryant seems to be a viable option for a trade package (The Ian Happ situation seems a little more convoluted, but that remains to be seen). During a segment on Comcast Sports Net, Dave Kaplan, argued that end of the Championship drought marks the time for Chicago’s interleague rivals to get real about the Quintana situation. While I still see a trade as a long shot, I agree with Kaplan’s logic for his argument.
- I want to rearticulate a point I tried to make in my May Preview post. The 2015 Chicago Cubs won 97 games for the third best record in Major League Baseball. This team was not considered “real” by most until a four-game sweep of the San Francisco Giants in early August. They had to settle for a wildcard spot because the central was so deep. The beginning of the 2016 season was nothing short of magic. Their win percentage and run differential prompted comparisons to some of the greatest teams of all time. With many players under performing, and a division “winnability” more like 2016 than 2015, this team has more reasons to stay relaxed than to worry. However, if things don’t turn around soon, it could get late early.
AAA – Iowa Cubs (14-17) Won 3 to 1
SP – Jake Buchanan – 8 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K
1B – Victor Caratini – 4 for 4, 2B, 2 RBI
AA – Tennessee Smokies (20-12) Won 8 to 0
SP – Trevor Clifton – 6 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K
RF – Jeffrey Baez – 3 for 5, HR, RBI
A – South Bend Cubs (20-11) Won 9 to 0
SP – Duncan Robinson – 7 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K
C – Alberto Mineo – 3 for 3, 2B, 2 RBI