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Where’s The Relief?

Written by , Posted in General

With the Cubs returning home after an exciting, season long six game win streak, Cub fans finally had a team to get truly excited about for the first time this season.  The Cubs began a five game home stand against the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday afternoon.  The weather was warm, the beer was cold, and……….the bullpen forgot to show up.  Now, as you read this, please know that I am very happy about our play after the All-Star break.  Hitters are getting key hits at the right time, starting pitching is not giving up a run in the first innings….being able to beat anyone for 6 consecutive games after how the Cubs  played before the break is really great to see.  I just don’t think fans were expecting this train wreck to occur against our rival at home.

The were able to come out of the gates fast by getting on the board first.  After a Ben Zobrist single to center the Cubs second half MVP (after 6 games), Willson Contreras, came up and delivered a two run shot (14) to center field off of Carlos Martinez.  The Cubs had some great bats off of Martinez our last outing against him and jumping on him early was a great sign for our offense.  Jake Arrieta (4.11 ERA) had a great outing on Friday.  He went six innings giving up 2 runs (HR by Randal Grichuk and double by Dexter Fowler) while striking out 6.  His pitching after the break was the type of effort that we have been wanting and expecting all season long.  That is the type of effort that he needed to show to get him the maximum deal as he heads into free agency at the end of the year.

After a shaky 7th inning, as we watched Strop somehow get through the inning, the Cubs still had a 3-2 lead.  Then we got to watch our bullpen take a big ol grease filled, rotten egg smellin, peanut butter oozing crap down their leg.  I hate lumping the whole bullpen into this circus show that we watched so I will tell you that Carl Edwards Jr., Hector Rondon, and Justin Grimm sucked yesterday.  There is nothing that gets me more pissed than watching pitchers give up walk, after walk, after walk, after walk, after walk, after walk.  6 total walks in the 8th inning.  I know that players are going to have off days.  But I expect players to come into the game and compete.  I expect pitchers to know that if they are not hitting their spots then they better start grooving pitches down the center of the plate.  I would rather see 700 ft home runs than the bases looking like a merry-go-round.  The Cardinals had 11 batters come to the plate in the 8th, score 9 runs before they registered an out.  Someone should send out an apology to the fans who have to witness that crap…and especially since the Cubs have allowed at least 7 runs in an inning in three of their last five home games (per Carrie Muskat).

I am going to call out Hector Rondon and Justin Grimm.  Ladies and Gentlemen, these guys are absolutely terrible!  There was a reason that Rondon did not see the mound last postseason.  There is a reason that Grimm cannot find the strike zone.  These players get paid money to do a job.  If I failed as often as these guys do, I would be unemployed.  Arrieta made a statement after the game yesterday, “That was just the turning point of the game.  A couple of guys had a pretty RARE outing.  You will likely never see that again from those two guys”.  Ummmmm….which two guys are you talking about?  Hopefully you and Junior.  Cause what we saw yesterday from the other two was 1) not rare and 2) we will likely see that performance(s) again.  Then Rondon had the balls to add on that “it was a weird, weird inning.  First time I’ve seen something like that”.  PFFFTTTTT!  What?!?!?!  Pack your bags and get outta here…both of yuns.  I don’t want to see your face again for a long time.

By the way…Cubs got beat 11-4.

Relief Help

If you have been keeping up in the twitter world, word is spreading that the Cubs have made call to the Tigers for Justin Wilson and the Padres for Brad Hand.  I don’t know what it would take to get those guys but after witnessing yesterdays crap show bullpen performance I’m sure Theo Epstein is ready to pull the trigger at any moment.  New flash….Rondon and Grimm are horrible.

Yu Kidding Me, Clark?

Other news in the past week has the Cubs in talks with the Rangers about Yu Darvish.  Darvish is a career DL guy who is having one of his best, and injury free, seasons of his career.  Darvish is in the final year of his contract with the Rangers so unless a team can sign him long term, Darvish would be a rental for the rest of the year.  Wonder if the Cubs sent a scout to Tampa Bay yesterday?  Darvish (3.44 ERA) turned in an 8 inning performance giving up 3 runs while striking out 8.  Darvish did give up 3 homers in that game…..good for Wrigley?  Another potential trade candidate, Alex Cobb of the Rays (3.57 ERA), started and went 5 innings giving up 3 runs (2 home runs) and striking out 4.

On Deck

Cubs and the Cardinals face each other in game two of the three game series.  First pitch is set for 3:05 CT at Wrigley.  Cubs will send Jon Lester (6-6, 4.07 ERA) to the mound against Adam Wainwright (11-5, 5.08 ERA).

Down On The Farm

AAA:  Oklahoma City Dodgers 4   Iowa Cubs 3

SP:  Williams Perez (ND, 4.98 ERA)-  6 IP, 7 Hits, 3 Runs, 2 BB, 5 K

LP:  Dylan Floro (3-2, 3.02 ERA)-  3 IP, 2 Hits, 1 Run, 1 K

1B:  Chris Dominguez (.342 Avg)-  2-4, 2 Runs, 1 Double

 

AA:  Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp 3    Tennessee Smokies 2

SP:  Trevor Clifton (ND, 4.00 ERA)-  3.2 IP, 2 Hits, 1 Run, 5 BB, 3 K

LP:  David Garner (2-2, 2.42 ERA)-  1 IP, 2 Hits, 1 Run, 1 BB, 2 K

LF:  Daniel Spingola (.270 Avg)-  2-4, 1 Run, 1 Triple, 1 HR

 

Advanced A:  Down East Wood Ducks 5    Myrtle Beach Pelicans 1

SP:  Justin Steele (L, 6-6, 2.66 ERA)-  5 IP, 8 Hits, 5 Runs, 4 ER, 1 BB, 2 K

C:  P.J. Higgins (.238 Avg)-  1-3, 1 Run, 1 RBI, 1 HR

 

A:  Wisconsin Timber Rattlers 5    South Bend Cubs 3

SP:  Jose Paulino (L, 5-3, 4.75 ERA)-  5.1 IP, 6 Hits, 4 Runs, 3 BB, 6 K

LF:  Kevonte Mitchell (.248 Avg)-  1-4, 1 Run, 2 RBI, 1 HR

 

Short Season A:  Eugene Emeralds  4     Tri-City Dust Devils  2

Rookie:  Arizona Cubs  7    Arizona White Sox  5

DSL:  DSL Rays2  9    DSLCubs1  7

DSL:  DSL Cubs2  8   DSL D-Backs2  5

  • Sherm

    Nice job, Ryan. If I had written today’s post it would have been titled “What the fuck was that?” so we’re all likely better it came from you.

    Reminder to self. The team is 6 – 1 since the break.

    Still not loving the game management. When it WAS a close game – Zobrist comes up with men on first and second and none out. The runner on second is Arrieta, so you know it’s unlikely he’d score on a single anyway. Why not bunt here? The odds of a DP with Zo up are huge. He didn’t. He ended up with a FC grounder – Arrieta forced at third, but with 3/4 coming up, isn’t the bunt the right thing in that situation?

    Also – somewhat disagree on the level of “suckage” from the bullpen. Not that they didn’t produce massive amounts of suck yesterday – cannot question that. We got to witness the bullpen suckage trifecta, or S3 (suckage cubed) with Edwards, Rondon’t, and Grimm. That is indisputable. I think they walked 89 batters. I can’t believe Jhon Jhay didn’t come in for some shits and giggles.

    Here’s my take on bullpens. It’s also my reason why they should NOT give much up to get bullpen help. Believe it or not and despite what your eyes told you yesterday, this bullpen is NOT that bad. It’s being utilized poorly, and it wouldn’t matter WHO was out there – Grimm, Wilson, Chapman, Hand…(please don’t trade for Hand. I couldn’t take the “punny fallout” from that on this site.) Bullpen pitchers need to pitch to be effective. I said this the other day about Grimm. The more he pitches, the better he is. That’s the way it is with most of them. Pitching “on the side” is not the same as pitching in a game – and they need game time. It’s a challenge for the manager when the starters go long into games – I get that, because the starter should always be the first option, but we know Maddon has a quick hook normally, so why aren’t these guys getting more playing time? Maddon seems to freak out (internally) and now he probably won’t use Grimm or Rondon for a week or two…which only will make them less optimal the next time they pitch. He’ll throw Duensing six times a week. Not sure why. He’ll throw Koji the firestarter two or three times. The other guys sit. The only exercise they get is dancing. Spreading it out, Joe, will make the entire pen more effective.

    I also think this bullpen is slider happy. So many guys with great fastballs – which, and I don’t care what anybody says – is still the best pitch in the game (a well-placed fastball) and they are all nibbling at the corners and/or throwing these sliders that don’t come close to the plate. If I’m the pitching coach? The only thing I tell these guys is “Go right AT them. Bring it. Don’t nibble. Be confident and go get ’em.” I think Bosio goes out there and says “Holy shit, what are we gonna do? I haven’t had a donut in an hour, and you can’t throw strikes, and Joe is catatonic. Okay, let’s pray…” Me? I’d rather see six straight hits than six straight walks. Walks piss me off.

    Reminder to self. The team is 6 – 1 since the break.

    I don’t want Darvish. I could not handle listening to the bad Frampton references from Len. (I want Yu to show me the way…) Plus the injury thing.

    And NO to Alex Cobb. Dude has the freakiest delivery I’ve ever seen with that little toe point thing he does? I’d have to gouge my eyes out. I’m thinking Schwarber the DH, along with some other talent for Michael Fulmer of the Tigers…make it happen, Theo.

    • Jerry in Wisconsin

      Looks like hand caused you to catch foot in mouth, or is it toe in eye, because this is a blog.

  • Doc Raker

    I really get aggravated when the bullpen comes in and can’t throw strikes, or can throw strikes but choose to throw big looping sliders off the plate hoping for a swing and a miss. Carl’s Jr walked the first batter on 4 pitches and never recovered, 1 hit and three walks later the game was tied and the Cardinals were given the game- HERE YOU GO, I AM AFRAID TO THROW A STRIKE SO LET THE MERRY GO ROUND START, JUST GIVE YOUR E TICKET TO THE UMPIRE WHEN YOU COME TO THE PLATE FOR YOUR RIDE AROUND THE BASES.

    Did Arrieta need to come out after 92 pitches? Could he have pitched another inning?

    Could we have scored a few more runs? We left 112 men left on base.

    Wrigley was rockin, 6 game winning streak, 1 game out of first place, getting some quality starting pitching, getting some hot hitting from some and then the bullpen can’t throw a strike and our hitters can’t make contact with men on base. Aggravating.

    How did Len and JD sugar coat the 8th inning?

    • CubbieBlue023

      Overall the bullpen has been good this year…there are just two guys I was targeting in my post. They constantly piss in my post Oates. Strop just about made the list. We need to go after Britton. I forgot to put that in my post today. Give up schwarber (gonna have to at some time) then have Britton and Davis in late innings. If Wade leaves after this year we would still have Britton. Hope Lester goes 9 today!

    • cap’n realist

      Edwards and Rondon have to have better fastball command in that situation…

  • Doug S.

    Agree, Jake had a great outing yesterday. No walks through 6. 4 pitches into the 7th Strop walks the guy, but luckily escapes the inning. I was relieved to see Edwards Jr start the 8th……….I’d thought. A bit surreal watching that unravel. Today, trade rumors for relievers are easy to find.

  • Seymour Butts

    I liked today’s 8th inning a lot more than yesterday’s.