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Cubs Lose to Pirates; but will still win the division if …

Written by , Posted in General

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.

On Deck

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

Organization Recap

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

 

  • Doc Raker

    This Cubs team needs good old fashion baseball players in the line up, enough of this all or nothing line up of big bomb or K. LaStella and JJay need to play, JJay gives you good AB’s and puts the ball in play as does LaStella. Schwarber, Russell, bAez- enough. This teams needs an infusion of smarts in the line up and pitchers that can get people out.

    Last year our pitching was so dominant it covered up a lot of stupid baseball and a lot of bad AB’s. Look at the Giants playoff series, we hit less than .200, our pitchers drove in most of our runs and we beat Cueto with 1 hit and the Giants were dumb enough to remove a dominant Matt Moore and go to a bullpen dumb enough throw bAez a strike on a 1-2 count in a pivotal AB. We were lucky to win that series, our pitching was dominant and our pitchers hit, the rest of the line up was caca and the Giants bullpen was horrible. Now our pitching is caca and our hitters are the same caca but now have the hitters have the impression that they are so good they don’t need to learn anything more or make any other adjustments. It is difficult to watch such bad AB’s every day.

    Joe needs to mix it up, we need major league AB’s, LaStella and JJay need to be in the line up.

    • cap’n realist

      Spot on analysis from Raker as usual. Is this Cub lineup potent and cohesive as today’s top part reads? I don’t see either. Lots of mistakes and bad baseball. Poor approaches at the plate. Bad decisions on the base paths. This is MAJOR league baseball, boys.

      As for the pitching woes, I quote a great American Patriot and Father on this Fathers Day. ‘Give me Adbert or give me death’-Jon Sherman.

  • Bryzzo1744

    Happy Father’s Day to all the dads on this blog, including Joe, Swan, Sherm, Butts, Doc, Cap’n, EVW, and anyone else here who is a dad.

    • Doc Raker

      Call your dad and wish him a Happy Fathers day. Let him know we had a blast in San Diego

  • Adam Peters

    I’m sure Billy Bean wouldn’t mind getting back some prospects for a starter after giving up Addison Russell back in ’14, though I think that was a fair deal. But I would prefer Archer over Gray.

    And I think Schwarber needs to be the one to go if he still has that much value. Happ can actually play defense, and he’s a switch hitter.

    • Bryzzo1744

      I’m okay with moving Schwarber since they didn’t add the DH to the NL. I want to see the DH added soon.

      • Adam Peters

        My only hesitation is Schwarber has shown he is a prime time player. With the exception of the Mets series in ’15 when nobody hit, Schwarbs has absolutely KILLED IT in the postseason.

      • Bryzzo1744

        Small sample size

      • Adam Peters

        True, but if he had hit .067 with 0 HR in the playoffs, people would be all, “He sucks in the postseason.”

      • Bryzzo1744

        I’d still say small sample size. What he did last year should be taken with a grain of salt. It’s all situational. On to victory and to hell with all the rest

      • He sucks and it’s time for him to go.

  • Jerry in Wisconsin

    I hope everyone had a great father’s day! My son is now a licensed HAM radio operator, as opposed to his father who is just a ham.

    • Haven’t renewed my license in ages.. I have a few coworkers who are fairly active HAMs. Seems like you can get handhelds for super cheap now.

  • Seymour Butts

    No write up after a win.
    Lassitude, complacency, boredom?

    • Jerry in Wisconsin

      I think it may be shock that Lackey pitched well. Especially after the Baez error that cost the double play in the 2nd.

      • Seymour Butts

        I was thinking mid-game yesterday about making a comment asking for the definition of a Lackey-proof lead. But I couldn’t muster the effort.

      • Jerry in Wisconsin

        I was listening on the radio, and they were giving definitions to pirate jargon, and the best description of Lackey’s performance was Shiver Me Timbers.

      • Seymour Butts

        To be fair, umpiring balls and strikes has been rather poor lately. I can see a pitcher just saying ” how about you just call them correctly”.

      • I started calling him Wacky Lackey when he got the win.

  • Bryzzo1744

    Work won’t let me go to Phoenix in August or any other time the Cubs are on the road. So I was able to burn the rest of my vacation time going to Toronto and Niagara Falls. So I need suggestions from my friends here what to do in Toronto. The blue Jays will be out of town while I’m there.

    • Never been, but did you ever find the donkey thing in Tijuana by the way?

    • Mark_from_Toronto

      Living here, I’m obviously not much for the touristy stuff, but a few things I’d suggest:

      – CN Tower
      – Eaton Centre (if you’re into shopping)
      – Yonge/Dundas square (next to Eaton Centre)
      – Yorkville
      – King Street West
      – Danforth (Greektown)
      – Harbourfront and Toronto islands (if they reopen in time, currently closed due to flooding).

      All of these assume you are staying downtown or are willing to head downtown. The burbs where I live aren’t very interesting.

      • Bryzzo1744

        The CN Tower is for sure on the to-do list. Hopefully the Blue Jays will be in the playoffs and I can take in a game at the Rogers Centre. What’s on those Islands, what is Yorkville, and what’s significant about Greektown?

      • Mark_from_Toronto

        The islands are for the most part just a large park but they also provide some great views of the skyline (they are just a short ferry ride from harbourfront). Yorkville is one the trendier parts of city with lots of interesting restaurants, shops, etc. Greektown is also a great place to walk around and explore (lots of interesting restaurants, bars, and of course Greek food).

      • Bryzzo1744

        Would I be seeing sunrises or sunsets from the islands?

      • Mark_from_Toronto

        Both I suppose depending which side you are on. The city skyline would be to the north of the islands.

  • I think SD figured out Schwarbs’ weak spot.. mediocre stuff in the strike zone