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Cubs’ Plate Woes Continue in Shutout; Minor Changes Happening

Written by , Posted in General

Unfortunately, the Cubs have been in this position before.

Last year in the NLCS against the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Cubs went 21 consecutive innings without scoring a run, tossing up goose eggs from Game 2 until breaking out with a four-run fourth inning in Game 4. On Saturday, the Cubs offense reached 18 consecutive scoreless innings against Los Angeles, falling 5-0 in an all-around mediocre performance.

The offensive inconsistency has resulted in some minor changes, though not really related to Saturday’s stinker. The patience for Kyle Schwarber’s struggles vs. left-handers finally reached a climax. ESPN’s Jesse Rogers reported that Cubs manager Joe Maddon, when asked if Schwarber is a platoon player right now, said, “If people want to say that, I can’t avoid it.” Until further notice, Schwarber will be sitting against lefties.

After an 0-for-3 (with a walk) performance against McCarthy Saturday, Schwarbs is sitting at a .178 clip for the year with a date on the pine against Clayton Kershaw this afternoon. This is the correct move – he’s looked off at the plate all year, in the lead-off position or wherever he was hitting. I do believe he was a fish out of water starting the year in the lead-off hole and his mental fortitude has struggled since then. He is a cornerstone of this offense and I think we are seeing how his struggles are affecting the entire team.

Everyone is down on offense in the Cubs lineup – Anthony Rizzo at .235; Addison Russell is down to .213 and Ian Happ has cooled off since his blazing start as he’s now hitting .273. Hopefully, Maddon has some more magic in store to get everyone else in this lineup going, but it has become a plague.

The looming question is … if Schwarber’s still mired in a continual slump, when is a demotion to AAA the answer? I think Schwarber will have a long leash, but perhaps a visit to Des Moines is not out of the question this year if the Oh-fers continue.

McCarthy for the Cy?

Brandon McCarthy vs. the Cubs this year: 12 IP, 0 R, 6 H, 10 K. Gonna leave that right here.

There are no words that describe the frustration of seeing the Cubs struggles against him in 2017, especially after beating Johnny Cueto, Matt Moore and Jeff Samardzija in the three games prior to the Dodgers series.

Meanwhile, the Cubs’ starting pitcher Saturday, John Lackey, continued his skid – allowing five earned in five innings. His ERA is 5.18 and he hasn’t made it through the sixth inning in three straight starts – trade talks for another starter can continue. Though, if the bats aren’t swinging consistently, does it really matter if it is Chris Archer or Lackey out there taking the L on the mound?

Boras Running Damage Control

Jake Arrieta’s agent, Scott Boras, apparently summoned some reporters over to him Saturday to clarify that Jake Arrieta is still elite despite his velocity dip and inflated home runs allowed (10) and ERA (4.92) – noting that Clayton Kershaw, Max Scherzer and Zack Greinke all struggled with velocity issues and endured rough starts before maintaining elite starter status.

Take this one of two ways, Cubs fans. For me, I feel sad for Jake – this is a joke of an attempt by Boras to try to add polish to a very disappointing season for one of his clients (and one of my favorite Cubs). Boras is trying to get paid, plain and simple. If you want to take Arrieta’s struggles from another perspective – if they continue – it could crash Arrieta’s expected-to-be-crazy market and maybe bring him back to the Cubs on a shorter-term deal for less money if they are willing to entertain a painful negotiation process with Boras leading the way.

On Deck

Today is not exactly the way the Cubs want to try to capture a meager game out of a 3-game set against the Dodgers – battling Kershaw while unable to hit much of anything.

Game time: 3:10 p.m. CDT

Television: Comcast Sports Net Chicago

Radio: WSCR Radio 670 The Score

Starters: Jon Lester (3-2, 3.19 ERA) vs. Clayton Kershaw (7-2, 2.01 ERA)

Brief: The last time the Cubs saw Kershaw was Game 6 of the NLCS, when they jumped on him for five runs in five innings pitched. The Cubs tend to get up for tougher competition (because Alex Wood and Brandon McCarthy apparently are beneath them), so I think this will be a good 3-2-type game with the Cubs coming out on top and salvaging a W on the road.

AAA – Iowa Cubs 2, Memphis Redbirds 1

SP – Casey Kelly W (2-0), 5 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 4 K

RP – Justin Grimm S (3), 1 IP, 2 K

2B – Tommy La Stella 2-3, R

LF – Mark Zagunis 2-3, 2B

AA – Tennessee Smokies 6, Biloxi Shuckers 5

SP = Trevor Clifton ND, 5 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 4 K

RP – James Pugliese W (4-2), 1 IP, 1 H, 2 K)

RF – Jeffrey Baez 2-4, 2 R, HR, 2B, 1 RBI

3B – Jason Vosler 2-4, 2 R, 2B, HR, 3 RBI

A-Adv – Myrtle Beach Pelicans 8, Carolina Mudcats 2

SP – Adbert Alzolay W (5-1), 6 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 4 K

2B – Bryant Flete 2-4, 3 R, HR, 2 RBI

C – P.J. Higgins 1-2, R, 2 RBI

1B – Tyler Alamo 1-4, 2B, 2 RBI

RF – Eloy Jimenez 0-2, R, 2 BB

A – South Bend Cubs 9, Fort Wayne TinCaps 2

SP – Tyler Peyton ND, 4 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 3 K

RP – Dakota Mekkes W (3-0), 2 IP, 4 K

C – Jhonny Pereda 2-3, 2 RBI

3B – Zack Short 2-3, 2 R, 2B, RBI

2B – Yeiler Peguero 1-3, 2 R

DH – Albert Mineo 2-3, 2 R, RBI

RF – Luis Ayala 2-3, R, RBI

  • Sherm

    Alzolay wins again!

    Calling yesterday’s performance “mediocre” is embellishing it.

    Schwarber needs at bats that don’t hurt the big league club. Those happen at AAA.

    Seabiscuit, er, Lackey is painful to watch. Both his performance and attitude. It’s time to turn him into a reliever, ala Dennis Eckersley. Eck was an awesome 4 inning starter for the Cubs when LaRussa took that and turned him into a reliever.

    • Doc Raker

      Lackey should be in the bullpen but who would be a starter then………….trade

  • Guy Karafa

    Was lucky enough to attend yesterday. First time in Dodger Stadium . Not a great memory. Heywards dive into the stands was an amazing effort. Both Heyward and Schwarbs hammered foul balls. Maybe it’s a hopeful sign. Trip takes us to San Diego for Mondays game. Bats will have better chance of being alive there.

    • Sherm

      A bunch of us will be at the games in San Diego. Reach out if you want to meet up…

      • Doug S.

        You guys got good seats at Petco?

      • Sherm

        I know we do tomorrow. I assume we do on Tuesday. Don’t know about Wednesday but I’d guess they’ll also be good.

        No bad seats when you are sitting with Raker and The Cap’n. Unless you are behind KAPS.

      • Sherm

        We’ll post some pics. Not of shirtless KAPS. That was wrong last year and we’re very, very sorry.

      • Much obliged. My eyes still burn.

      • Doug S.

        I’d like to caution any newbs considering searching the archives for these pix.

      • Bryzzo1744

        No worries. My shirt will be on

      • cap’n realist

        Seats Tuesday had better be good. Real good. They cost 1900 11 cent royalties.

      • Bryzzo1744

        I looked at the seating chart. Let’s put it this way: Safety Sue would want them covered in bubble wrap.

      • Doc Raker

        Wednesday we have seats in the left field Metal Supply building , we have a big group, my son and daughter will join us and a few other friends.

      • Guy Karafa

        Thanks , but it’s a “boys trip” with my son and grandsons. It’s been awesome . Except , of course , the score. Headed back to see Trout Tuesday night before heading out. Oh wait , maybe it’s a little sprain.

  • Doug S.

    2 days
    5 hits
    0 runs
    Today we face some mope named Kershaw.
    We got this.

    • cap’n realist

      Yeah…at least they’ve got the PAAdres coming up. Time to send SchwAAArber to IowAAA

    • Sherm

      Their starters are outpitching our starters.

      Their young guys are outplaying our young guys.

      Their manager is out managing our manager.

      That pretty much sums it up.

      Oh. Fuck their bloggers though. Our blog kicks ANY Dodger blog’s ass.

  • Doc Raker

    BorA$$ is like a politician who will refuse to recognize facts that do not suit his interests. BorA$$ knows he only needs one sucker out of 30 to get paid, see Giants Smarja contract. I don’t feel sad for a guy making $10M and instead of getting $200M in the future he will only get $100M- boo hoo, Jake is very fortunate no matter how you dice it and BorA$$ is a very rich con man.

    • It really seems to me he should just shut up and pray Arietta improves as the season goes on rather than calling attention to his own whining.

      • Doc Raker

        I would imagine he is being asked about it. It is an interesting story, dude has a stretch of the best pitching in the history of the game and then comes down to earth. What is his true value?

        I think the answer lies in why his velocity is down and can it come back to dominance. I think the only guy who knows is the Cap’n.

  • Sherm

    Adbert Alzolay deserves to move up a level. Adbert fans unite!

    • Eddie Von White

      Sign my petition: promote Adbert.

  • You made a good point there Jim. It really doesn’t make a lick of difference who is pitching for the Cubs. Zero never wins.