View From The Bleachers

Talking Cubs Baseball Since 2003



July 2017



The Pitching Implodes and Kyle Schwarber Returns

Written by , Posted in General

Thursday morning I woke up, let my dog Rizzo out, and sat down at my desk in my home office to start working at about 6:30am CT.

I had a work phone call at 1pm CT and planned to spend my lunch hour on the treadmill in our bonus room watching the first hour of the Cubs game before getting back to work for the rest of the day with the game on the radio. I was looking forward to it because it’s been a while since I last wrote a post here.

It quickly became not very enjoyable.

I watched through the top of the fourth inning while I was on the treadmill, and then I stopped because I have better things with which to occupy my ears while finishing the work day.

I watched almost every Cubs game in April and May, but in June and July so far, I have only watched about one game a week. I’ve been a bit busy, but even so. Every time I sit down to watch, I just get frustrated. Maybe I’m the only one around here who feels this way, but I’m betting I’m not.

The three-and-a-half innings I watched yesterday gave me my fill for a good seven days or more. I look forward to the Home Run Derby. Perhaps they’ll have some of our guys on the mound.

Let’s recap, because we hate ourselves.

The Pitching Was Very Bad

Mike Montgomery started the game by walking Jonathan Villar, and it only got worse from there.

Montgomery ended up giving up two runs in the first inning and ended up being credited with seven of the nine runs scored by the end of the third.

Worst of all, Montgomery gave up a home run to Ryan Braun, which shouldn’t count because he’s the Lance Armstrong of baseball. Every time Braun hits a home run I throw up in my mouth a little bit.

Anyway, the other two runs were attributed to John Leathersich who was making his first appearance on a major league mound since recovering from Tommy John surgery. Because hey, it’s a Thursday afternoon in July, why not goof around a bit?

In the two-thirds of an inning he pitched in the top of the third, Leathersich walked four batters, walked in two runs, gave up a double and a sacrifice fly.

The Brewers had batted through the lineup two-and-a-half times and the Cubs were losing 9-0 before Javy Baez even had a chance to bat.

Kyle Schwarber Returned

I guess this is supposed to make things better?

Thursday was the first game back for Schwarber from his short recalibration at AAA Iowa, and he may be wishing he was back there this morning.

Here’s Jesse Rogers interviewing Schwarber about his return.

Here’s Rogers interviewing Kyle Hendricks about the return of Schwarber.

Here’s Rogers talking to Theo about the same thing.

And Maddon, too.

A question of my own for Schwarber, “Did you learn to pitch or hit eight-run home runs while in Iowa?”


May God have mercy on us, then.

What a Disappointment

This tweet about sums the game up, coming straight from the Cubs account.

The only real highlight of the day was when Jon Jay started pitching in the ninth inning and proved to be as efficient as any pitcher had been all game.

Last week, when I saw that Wade Davis was the only Cub voted onto the All-Star team, I thought, “Good.” No one on the team except for him has been playing like they have any business spending the upcoming week in Miami.

I hate to sound all doom-and-gloom in my first post back here in a while, but man, this is tough to watch.

I haven’t lost all hope or anything like that but, like I have said here before, I wish the team was a bit more fun. Just feels so blah.

Just call me Eeyore.

How are you all feeling?

  • Brad Lyerla

    My joy so far this season has been watching Contreras, Happ and Wilson. They look like they are playing with a purpose. The rest of the team, not so much.

    If Maddon got the credit for keeping them loose last year, then he has to take the blame for their aimlessness this year.

    • chrismartin17

      I agree! Great thoughts. Happ has really been a joy.

    • Seymour Butts

      OK, I’ll bite, Who is Wilson.
      The sad thing is I had to go check the Cubs 40 man roster just to make sure we did not have one. This is how memorable this season is.
      I will give a shout out to Willie Wilson, my buddy from fantasy camp.

  • Sherm

    I think you sugar-coated it. The reigning WS champions are 42-43 and are playing like shit. The only reason this team has a PRAYER to get into the postseason is because they are in a crappy division. I think Milwaukee plays better as a team, has a far superior manager, and quite frankly? Wants it more. (“Hey Sherm? What do you mean by “wants it more?” Glad you asked. I think this Cubs team is complacent, and is still “reveling” in their WS victory. They thought they simply had to show up this year, and there are a bunch of other teams who think otherwise…and Joe Maddon has done NOTHING to change the course since the day the season opened.) ((I also think that Theo is getting a little fed up with the way the team is playing…see his comments about “fix it in the clubhouse first.”))

    So. What’s the fix? To me? Fire Maddon. RIGHT NOW. Fine…let him manage the stupid All-Star game. I can’t think of anything that will light a fire under these knuckleheads more than that. Let’s all agree that the days of stupid lineups, favoritism, and little league mentality (everyone gets to play wherever they want!) are done. Let’s get back – if they were ever even there – to fundamental and solid baseball.

    Theo is not off the hook with me. They let Fowler go. Fine. But they did not replace the “table-setter” lead-off hitter…and that has hurt. Sure they have centerfield options, but replacing the defensive gap and ignoring the offensive one is a mistake. Filling that gap with a guy who FAILED at it – fine…take a shot. Sticking with THAT guy for 65 games or whatever it was? Not only a huge mistake…but just poor leadership. (That’s on Maddon.)

    We all had the expectation of a better rotation. I’m sure the team did, as well. I have no problem with that. If they were potentially “buyers” right now? I’d say go ahead and pull the trigger on a trade…but I’m not sure it matters, as Theo inferred. BUT…NOT working with Jon Lester all off-season, and pre-season, to work on a pick-off move and actually throwing the fucking ball to first…or anywhere other than at the catcher? Unforgivably BAD management. Heyward worked on his deficiencies all winter. I respect that more than I can say. I have very little respect for Lester.

    Injuries? Shit happens.

    If you don’t want Ryan Braun to hit home runs? Get ahead in the count and make him chase. Don’t groove pitches to him. Whatever you think of the guy? He can HIT.

    Ben Zobrist. Seems like a GREAT guy. SHOULD NOT bat cleanup. Should not bat clean up on a COLLEGE team. He’s hitting .214 with a .373 Slugging % – come on, Joe, pay attention.

    Pitcher hitting 8th = STUPID. Sorry, but that simply means MORE at bats for bad hitters than better hitters. PERIOD.

    I’m a very disgruntled fan. Maybe this is the baseball Gods reminding us that we are Cub fans…and one WS championship does not give us anything more than we had before. Life didn’t really change. It’s baseball.

    • Adam Peters

      HEY! Comparing Maddon and this year’s Cubs to Little League is an insult to Little League. And I didn’t let anyone play wherever they wanted. In fact, I had fewer people play 2B this past season than Maddon has for the Cubs so far this year.

      And I hate to say it, because he was so integral last year, but Zobrist is not an every day starter anymore. Baez should be the every day starter at 2B. And don’t get me started on him playing RF. He’s not hitting well enough to work so hard at getting him in the lineup.

    • Bryzzo1744

      I agree with you. Maddon needs to go. Theo canned Grady Little for far less in Boston, than what Maddon has done. Little’s crime? Leaving Pedro in too long in game 7 of the 2003 ALCS, and for that he was fired. The Cubs pulled a Homer game 7 last year, plain and simple. To pull Hendricks who was dealing simply for the sake of putting Lester in the game. Pitching Chapman in game 6 with a huge lead, after he had pitched 3 innings in game 5 (which was needed). Being more concerned with what suit he’s going to wear home after an 0-6 road trip than actually WINNING GAMES! I finally understand why in baseball, the head coach is called the manager. He is supposed to manage the game. In football and basketball, the head coach is coaching the game. Maddon is a great coach. But he is an awful manager.

  • cap’n realist

    how is this team, the way they’ve played and the way they look on the field, ONLY a game under .500. On paper they’re slightly worse than last year, but in the field, they look like 2012.

    • Doc Raker

      Pitching, 2016 pitching was dominant and covered up a lot of other flaws

      • Bryzzo1744

        The offense was a lot better too last year. They were always rallying when the team was trailing and you usually had confidence in them pulling out a win. Now not so much.

  • Michael S.

    In other news, it looks like Adbert Alzolay is one step closer to the show; he’s up to Tennessee.

    • Adam Peters

      Is Adbert the guy from Dilbert who is in charge of advertising?

      • Dork

        Sounds right to me

  • Doc Raker

    The pitching is horrific and you can’t win consistently with horrific pitching. The Cubs are second in the MLB in comeback wins, 23, and it is not because their line up is so potent, it is because their pitching gives up so many 1st inning runs.

    I have heard several broadcaster, none of them named Len or JD, say that Maddon looks perplexed during games. This happens to every Cub manager after a successful season, Frey, Zimmer, Baylor, Dusty, Pinella and now Maddon. When things start to unravel they just don’t know how to make a change.

    Sticking with Schwarbs is wrong. I guess they are hoping he shows well after his ‘fix it’ week in AAA so they can make a trade but I would much rather have him stay in AAA until he really does fix it, then trade him for a serious ace whenever that may be, in the off season or next July. Or if he does figure it out and become the monster he was in his short time in 2015 & 2016 then keep him and let him tear it up.

    • Doug S.

      The timing on Schwarbs return is most puzzling – 4 games before the ASB?

      I see our buddy Leathersich is back in Iowa. He mustn’t feel too great about his experience here.

      • Yeah not sure what that is all about. Seems like they’d want him to take more cuts in Iowa.

      • Doc Raker

        It only makes sense if they are shopping Schwarbs for a trade. If he comes back strong, making contact he becomes a high value trade piece. Only have until July 31

      • Doug S.

        Well, his caught looking, groundout, groundout, wiffed, error line from yesterday needs work. Isn’t that what Iowa’s for?

  • Junior Von White

    My comment was blocked and marked as spam. How do I fix it?

    • Seymour Butts

      What makes you think the system is broken?

      • Junior Von White

        Who said I was talking about the system?

    • Very odd. I received it as an approved comment (not blocked or pending moderation) yet it’s not here, nor is it in the moderators’ queue. So I’m going to repost it for you. First I’ll post this in case yours gets blocked again.

      • Here was JVW’s earlier commentary.

        Junior Von White

        It seemed to me that this game was not taken very seriously. Or at least, not as serious as it should have been. This isn’t the 2016 Brewers, this is the division leading 2017 Brewers. Why did Schwarber have to come back right now? Couldn’t that wait another day? Most players need some time to readjust after a call up anyways, so the thought that he was going to come and contribute immediately is just silly. And why did they just quit? I know it was a 9 run game, but would they do that in the playoffs? I sure hope not. For all intents and purposes this was a playoff game. They need every division win they can scrap together especially against the NL-Central favorites.
        Honestly, it just makes me sympathize more and more with Miggy. Yes, his comments were stupid, but they were grounded in overall frustration with how this team approaches, well, everything. I think that someone who worked their way to the majors from a foreign country, like Montero, can’t help but be incredibly angered at the lack of discipline, focus, and overall coddling that this team does. Seems like it goes like this:
        Problem: Lester can’t throw to first or play defense.
        Management: “Shhhhhh, he’s a star player and we can’t hurt his ego.”
        Problem: Arietta is slow to the plate.
        Management: “Shhhhh, he’s a star player and we can’t hurt his ego.”
        Problem: Lackey needs to be the fifth starter or a reliever.
        Management: “Shhhh, he’s a star player and we can’t hurt his ego.”
        Problem: Schwarber sucks.
        Management: “Shhhh, he’s a star player and we can’t hurt his ego.”
        Problem: Miguel Montero is frustrated with how this team is approaching games.
        Management: “Not a star player, give him the ax.”
        Management: “We just can’t figure out why we aren’t winning.”
        And the list could go on and on. Coddling players won one WS, but it won’t create a dynasty.

      • correcavonmundo JVW.. they are trying to create a dynasty via media instead of fundamental baseball

      • Sherm

        I can see how this was marked as spam. It’s intelligent, lucid, and makes a ton of sense. It just doesn’t’ fit with the garbage this team has forced out of us lately.

      • Doc Raker

        Rack it JVW!

      • Bryzzo1744

        JVW hit the nail on the head. Exactly how I feel. What players did to win the World Series last year should have no bearing going forward. We all love you for what you did in 2016, but what are you doing for me today?

      • Eddie Von White

        Thank you Lizzie; I appreciate it very much!

      • Junior Von White

        Thank you Lizzie; I appreciate it very much!

  • Seymour Butts

    Great news!
    Butler did not give up a run in the first inning. Cubs now a lock for WS repeat.
    Now he did load the bases and missed giving up a run by about 6 inches, but heh, progress.

    • Michael S.

      Let’s see if we can convert men on 2nd and 3rd with none out into some runs.

      I’ll give it 3-1 odds.

      • Doug S.

        I hope you kept your money in your pocket.

  • Buddy

    I guess Montgomery was due for a crappy outing. Not feeling very good about Butler today,or any day for that matter. Hopefully the Cubs swing the bats!

  • KB sort of threw the team on his back today.. not sure how Von Butler got out of the first few w/o a six run deficit.

  • Eddie Von White

    Well, the Cubs win a nice one on a most beautiful day at Wrigley.

  • Dork

    I thought we decided not to talk about losses and talk about parking tickets instead