At Least It Wasn’t The First Inning?
Most days, if you can send your starting pitcher out for the top of the 2nd inning with a 4-run lead in hand, you get the feeling that the game is gonna be on cruise control: the other team will come up and go down fairly quietly, maybe getting a guy on here or there, a solo homer to say they tried, something like that, then suddenly it’s the 7th inning and the lock-down bullpen guys come out to play.
Spoiler Alert: That did not happen yesterday.
Instead, we saw Jake Arrieta pretty much fall apart in the fifth inning, with a sequence that went like this: Double, Walk, HBP(?), run-scoring Walk, K, Single, lifted for Carl Edwards Jr. At the time he left, the Cubs’ lead had been cut in half, only one out in the inning, and no way to walk away with a W. Edwards’ first batter sent a single up the middle before he got out of the inning to score two, and the game was tied.
At least it wasn’t the first inning though, right?
Maddon Gives ‘Em an Earful
You may notice the HBP above has a question mark next to it, because, well, that whole thing was a little bizarre. The home plate umpire, if I followed correctly, didn’t call Charlie Blackmon getting hit in the pants (at best) on his calf, but after making a fuss, another umpire indicated that he had. Enter Joe Maddon, who probably was out there trying to get tossed to get the team riled up. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen, but it may have gotten the plate umpire worked up enough to have a short fuse 2 batters later when Carlos Gomez argued strike three and got tossed in about three seconds.
.500 Once Again
The Cubs head out on the road again after finishing this homestand 6-4, and right at .500 again after 62 games– meaning there are 100 games left to go in the season. And yet, due to the overall weakness of the division, they’re only a game out of first place (with the Brewers having played–and won–two more games than the Cubs have year-to-date). The division is clearly the only way the team has a shot at the postseason this year, as it seems like every day they’re doing just enough to be able to win OR lose on a daily basis. Can the trade deadline help the team shore up enough to go on a bit of a run, and get a nice cushion at the top of the division, or are there just too many holes in the dam to fill right now?
Long Stretch Coming
After the Cubs’ upcoming series against the New York Mets, they’ll have an off day Thursday before entering a stretch of 17 straight games, all but 3 of which will be on the road, thanks in part to back-to-back four-game series against the Marlins and Nationals. Almost the whole trip is against NL East, with the rest against the eastern time zone NL Central teams, so it’s not the most cruel route possible, but it surely will prove to be a difficult end to June. I’d expect a few roster moves along the way.
Triple-A: Iowa @ Colorado Springs (L, 8-3)
Double-A: Tennessee @ Jackson (L, 9-4)
A-Adv: Myrtle Beach v Carolina (W, 6-1)
Single-A: South Bend @ Great Lakes (L, 4-3)