Cubs Lose to Pirates; but will still win the division if …
At noon today, I am going to enjoy a nice Father’s Day grillout, probably make some bad decisions at the dinner table and then settle in for a noon Cubs game that is probably going to leave me with some heartburn. I’m almost sure of it.
It’s getting tiring watching what should be a very potent and cohesive Cubs lineup being shown up by the likes of Brandon McCarthy, Jeff Hoffman and Ivan Nova. It’s just as frustrating that the Cubs pitchers own a 4.21 ERA with 86 long-balls allowed after compiling a 3.15 ERA all of 2016. The 4-3 loss to the Bucs on Saturday was just another log on the fire.
I really don’t think the Brewers are going to ride this season out to a NL Central title. Much like during Joe Maddon‘s stint with the Rays, there’s always that July/August run that ignite some movement in the standings and likely a playoff berth. Though, this year it’s tough waiting and waiting and waiting for that match to spark.
I get that there are tired Cubs arms because of the Series run a year ago. I get that everyone is a year older. I get that injuries to Kyle Hendricks and Brett Anderson and general *bleeping* ineffectiveness by John Lackey have often put the Cubs offense in a place where it needs to continuously rally.
Forgive me if I sound like every Cubs fan on Twitter, but the Chicago Cubs need to make the trade everyone’s been talking about before the season. And they need to do it soon, before the market goes crazy near the deadline in a month. If they do so, I believe they will win the NL Central Division by more than 5 games.
I think that the Cubs brass – not shockingly – have made some pretty decent moves in showcasing its young talent to the rest of the league. Kyle Schwarber and Ian Happ have played significantly during this 33-34 campaign (and endured their share of struggles despite still being coveted). I believe one of the two of them will have to be the centerpiece in whatever deal the Cubs make for a front-line starting pitcher.
With Hendricks not having a timetable to return; Lester looking fatigued; Arrieta not able to pitch out of the fifth and Eddie Butler still a question mark; the Cubs pitching is at a crossroads with the team still very much in contention for a division crown.
Let me just put this right here – the Cubs will not give up the farm system for a rent-a-starter at this point of the season. If Theo and Jed are going to get a pitcher, it’s going to be a pitcher who is young and controllable for at least two years – not Yu Darvish for 2 months. For me, those pitchers are Sonny Gray (27, 2 years of control) and Chris Archer (28 and 2 years of control). I want nothing to do with Alex Cobb or Ervin Santana or even Johnny Cueto (unless they are the SECOND pitcher the Cubs acquire at the deadline). I really doubt the Cubs would give up a prospect haul to division foe Pittsburgh for Gerrit Cole, and apparently the Sox won’t send Carlos Quintana up north, so Gray and Archer make the most sense.
The price will be steep, sure. Happ or Schwarber, plus any number of the other Cubs rising prospects such as Victor Caratini; Jeimer Candelario; Duane Underwood Jr., Mark Zagunis (who hit his 10th homer of the year Saturday), Dylan Cease (though, I doubt Cease will be the pitching prospect to go) and Justin Steele are all on the table.
The defending champs are like any competitor. Let them make the playoffs and you’ll regret it. I think it’s time for a shakeup that can wake this time up from the sleep walk they’ve been in for the first 2.5 months of the season and give them a legitimate shot at back-to-back. Leave things how they are and they will be about as exciting as my meat coma nap coming on Father’s Day afternoon.
Sunday, Chicago Cubs @ Pittsburgh Pirates, PNC Park
GameTime: 12:35 CDT
The Matchup: The rubber match looms for the Cubs and Pirates on Sunday. The Cubs send Lackey (4-7, 5.26 ERA) against Jameson Taillon (3-1, 2.90 ERA).
Television: Comcast Sports Net Chicago
Radio: WSCR Radio 670 The Score
Class AAA – Iowa Cubs 8, Omaha Storm Chasers 1
SP – Aaron Brooks W (4-5), 7 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K
RF – Mark Zagunis 2-5, HR, 2 RBI, 2 R
1B – Victor Caratini 3-4, 3 RBI, R
CF – Jacob Hannemann 2-5, 2 R
2B – Stephen Bruno 1-4, 2B, 2 RBI
Class AA – Chattanooga Lookouts 7, Tennessee Smokies 5
SP – Jen-Ho Tseng L (6-2), 7 H, 7 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 5 K
DH – Ian Rice 2-4, HR, 2 RBI, R
Carlos Penalver 1-4, HR, RBI, R
Trey Martin 3-5, 2B, RBI
Jason Vosler 1-3, R
Kevin Cornelius 1-4, 2B, R
Class A Advanced – Myrtle Beach Pelicans 4, Down East Wood Ducks 2 F/10
SP – Ryan Kellogg ND, 6 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 4 K
RP – Pedro Araujo W (4-0), 2 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 4 K
1B – Matt Rose 1-3, HR, RBI, R
2B-SS – Trent Giambrone 2-4, HR, RBI, R
SS – Andrew Monasterio 2-4, 2B, R
DH – Eloy Jimenez 1-5
Class A – Lake County Captains 5, South Bend Cubs 3
SP – Jose Paulino ND, 6 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 7 K
RP – Wyatt Short L (1-2), 2 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 1 K
RF – Chris Pieters 3-3, 3B, R, 2 BB
C – Jhonny Pereda 2-3, 2B, BB, R
LF – Roberto Caro 1-3, RBI
CF – Luis Ayala 1-3, 2B, RBI
3B – Adonis Paula 1-4, 2B, R
Class A Short Season – Eugene Emeralds 4, Vancouver Canadians 2
SP – Bailey Clark ND, 3.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K
RP – Yapson Gomez W (1-0), 3.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB 4 K
DH – Gustavo Polanco 2-4, 2B, 2 RBI, R
1B – Miguel Amaya 2-4, RBI, R