View From The Bleachers

Talking Cubs Baseball Since 2003



September 2017



Playoff Push – Part 2

Written by , Posted in General

Well…this was not the best week.

Record: 2-5

Current Standings:

Cubs are up 2 games on BOTH St. Louis and Milwaukee…

Magic Number: 18

Moments that Mattered:

Monday – Cubs lose 12-0. This game captures the emotional low of watching Arrieta leave with a hamstring strain. As of now, the latest info has Arrieta missing 2 starts.

Tuesday- Cubs lose 4-3, Edwards blows Hendricks gem. Edwards had only given up 1 run in previous 12 appearances.

Friday – Sunday – The Cubs are swept by 2nd Place Milwaukee, making the division up for grabs.

The Week Ahead: 

Monday – Off

Tuesday- Mets, Quintana vs Gsellman

Wednesday- Mets, Lester vs Harvey

Thursday- Montgomery vs Lugo

Friday- Lackey vs Martinez

Saturday- Hendricks vs TBD

Sunday- Quintana vs TBD
Keys to the Week:

Ultimately, the Cubs need to find the bats. This weekend, they went quiet at the worst time. On top of that, health is going to be the most important. Contreras has been activated, so hopefully that is the jolt they need. Baseball is a game of runs. If you ask the Dodgers, they know they are better than their current run. This team has the talent to make a special run. The question is: Do they have it in them?

We will see.

  • Sherm

    I tried really hard to stay optimistic this weekend, as Dork prescribed, but I think the Brewers beat the optimism out of me. I’m glad I wasn’t posting today – the title would have been Jugger-NOT. The Cubs were out-managed, outplayed, outhit and out-pitched by the team from Wisconsin. It may not mean anything since the Cubs are still in first place…but it may very mean something, too. I don’t know. Ask me in a couple of weeks.

    I cannot complain about Kyle Schwarber playing too much this series…in fact, he hardly played. In fact, I thought he SHOULD have pinch hit at the end instead of Avila. If you are going to put ANYONE up who actually has a chance to tie it in that situation? Isn’t it “all or nothing” Kyle? I don’t even try to understand the decisions any more.

    That said, I do have someone “on the inside” who was able to sneak into a top secret Joe Maddon iPad session to see exactly how the magic is done, and he was able to get this picture from over Joe’s shoulder while Joe was “creating the lineup”

    I watched the Indians last night. What a fun team. All those years I lived in Akron…why didn’t I become an Indian fan? Dammit.

    Kyle Hendricks was good yesterday, but not as good as Zach Davies. The Brewers were more patient, and played some small ball and drove up the pitch count…which eventually led to the win. Hendricks can’t do it alone. He needs help. He needed some runs. I still say that a lot of it boils down to APPROACH. I know there are those who disagree. Sure, they can beat up on crappy pitching. But against good pitching, the OFFENSE needs to change, and I just don’t see this team DOING that. Last year, at least they ran up pitch counts…not even doing that. Plus, KB is playing hurt. I don’t care what they say – his swing is not the same, and he’s not getting the loft he usually does. But what do I know. I don’t even PLAY Candy Crush.

    • Michael S.

      My positivity was sapped on Saturday as I watched Montgomery twist in the wind in the 3rd, followed by Grimm being about as effective as a pitching machine for an inning.

      And that was before Maddon left Zastryzny in to be the sacrificial lamb for four innings.

      I don’t even care that they only managed 2 runs that game; I actually didn’t catch that they *got* a second run by the end of the game. When the D-Team is playing as the pitching staff enjoys their newly-stomped mudhole, you don’t expect much. As finicky as baseball is, and given that we’ve been on the giving end of a few of those games recently, you can’t help to think that it isn’t supposed to happen to our guys.

      Come yesterday, I watched the Bears game before turning it over to whatever channel ended up having the Cubs game for me yesterday (I let the cable box figure it out now; I can’t keep track). At least there, a 1-score loss wasn’t completely deflating; it was actually a bit encouraging given their opponent.

      Hard to imagine this series going worse. One frickin’ game is the difference between a 2-game lead over the Brewers and Cards and a 3-game lead over the Cards with the Brewers 4 back.

  • Jerry in Wisconsin

    The way things are going we will be seeing the Brewers sweep the Dodgers out of the playoffs in the first week of October.

  • SouthCarolinaCubFan1991

    I was left scratching my head over these last 3 games. I honestly thought we would take 2 of 3. We’re at home and have a golden opportunity to put Milwaukee in a pretty deep hole this late in the year. And what do we do? We crap the bed.

    • Kyle

      And it was runny and smelly. Even the dog wanted nothing to do with it.

  • Kyle

    After this weekend, I’m considering going on a Ross and Rachel type break with the Cubs. Maybe I’ll root for the Indians for a little bit, at least until my heart gets the better of me and I come crawling back begging for forgiveness, even though I did nothing wrong since we were on a break.

    • Sherm

      Good strategy. I’ve decided to leave the country for a while and pay absolutely no attention whatsoever to baseball. I’m leaving for China at 6am tomorrow morning and will NOT (probably/maybe) check scores, or even THIS BLOG, while I am gone.

      I’m a fucking liar. But I’ll try.

      • Bryzzo1744

        By the time you get back, we might be the ones who need to watch the playoff rampage

      • Jerry in Wisconsin

        Does that mean this blog will be Shermless?

      • Michael S.

        Aaaaand now I have Garth Brooks stuck in my head.

    • Doug S.

      David Ross is dancing with somebody named Rachel?

      At least you other multi-sport guys have another team for happiness, distraction or relief when the Cubs struggle. I have the sad sack Jets.

      • Seymour Butts

        Go Pack Go!

      • Kyle

        Of course you would be a fudge-packer fan. 🙂

      • Bryzzo1744

        I am too

      • Michael S.

        That’s ok, we all have bad judgement on something in our life.

      • Bryzzo1744

        Yeah. Being a Bears fan was the dumbest thing I did.

      • Michael S.


      • Bryzzo1744

        Bears fans are the dumbest fans in the NFL. They flamed me for wanting losses so Lovie would get fired and then 5 years later, they started doing the same thing. When I did it, they said true Bears fans don’t do that.

      • False.

      • Kyle

        I’m also a Bears fan. So, umm….

      • Doug S.

        Interesting that nobody’s mentioned college football here. Guess you guys don’t care for it. Go U-dub!!

      • Jerry in Wisconsin

        No he is not,they are on a “break”, whatever that means.

      • Doc Raker

        Go Blackhawks!

  • Sherm
  • Doc Raker

    This 2017 reminds me of the 2004 team. The pitching in 2017 has been sketchy after an outstanding season of pitching in 2016, just like the 2004 pitching compared to the 2003 team. The 2017 team is missing the leadoff catalyst it had in 2016 as did the 2004 team missed 2003 lead off catalyst Kenny Lofton. The 2004 team contended into September before losing a bunch of games in a short period of time to blow the division lead. Chip Carey and Steve Stone were fired after the 2004 season for being honest about the 2004 Dusty Baker under achievers. My only hope is that when the 2017 Cubs blow the division like the 2004 team, Len Kasper is fired like Steve Stone was.

    • Bryzzo1744

      Don’t forget a hurricane to screw with our travels to Florida

    • Sadly Kasper will never be honest about it.

  • Buddy

    OK, I’m officially nervous.

    • Doc Raker

      Why? We have 4 more games verse the Brewers and we have 7 more games verse the Cardinals and we scored a total of 2 runs in 3 games verse the Brewers. What’s to be nervous about?

      Nolan Arenado has is hitting .310 with 32 HR’s and a 120 RBI’s and is heading for his 5th gold glove in his first 5 years in the MLB which has never been done before. Who was talking about Rizzo being an MVP candidate? Was that someone here or was that the Cubs radio post game shills? Or both?

      • Doc Raker

        Make that 33 hrs and 123 RBI’s for Arenado. This guy can rake

      • Jerry in Wisconsin

        Well we know it is not Len, he predicted Addison Russell. He sure has a lot of baseball knowledge. Next year I hope he chooses Ryan Braun or Yadi Molina as MVP.

      • Doc Raker

        Sandberg had 9 gold gloves in a row but did not get a gold glove in his rookie year. Sandberg played 3b in his rookie year and the gold glove went to Mike Schmidt but if you compare Schmidt and Sandberg I think Ryne deserved it in his rookie year also.

        How does Nolan Arenado not get more MVP attention?

      • Bryzzo1744

        If 3B had been a revolving door after trading Santo, why was Ryno moved off 3rd?

      • Doc Raker

        He had to much range to leave at 3b and they signed Ron Cey as a FA to play 3b, Sandberg was a short stop in the Phillies organization

      • Kyle

        Maybe you’re thinking of me. I said he’s working his way into the discussion. I, by no means, think he should get it.

      • Doc Raker

        They talked about it on the Cubs post game radio show during his hot stretch against AAA Reds pitching also. I don’t think anyone on this team is an all star let alone an MVP. I was watching DBAcks Rockies last night and seeing what Arenado is doing I gotta believe he is the front runner to MVP.

  • Doug S.

    ESPN’s batting line-up to fix the Cubs woes…
    Not sure I agree with much of it.

    • Michael S.

      About the only thing I could get behind in that is Rizzo/Contreras batting 3-4. Bryant leading off isn’t the worst idea in the world (that was Schwarber, as it turns out), but there’s gotta be a better option on the roster. Zobrist doesn’t work in the 2 hole and, frankly, probably shouldn’t be starting often; while Russell is out, I’m still on the Tommy La Stella train a bit here. Heyward doesn’t *have* to play; you can have a pretty good defensive outfield with Jay, Almora, and Happ, and your offense improves. You’re paying Heyward the same whether he sits or strikes out. That right there changes some assumptions.

      • Bryzzo1744

        RE Heyward: I was thinking about this on my drive to work this morning, how about offer a trade to Boston, him for Price. Straight up. Bad contract for bad contract. This would allow us to clear some of the outfield logjam and also another arm for our rotation if Price is healthy.

      • Michael S.

        That’d be taking on a fair chunk of money (about an extra $23M), and compresses it into 5 years–I don’t see Price improving enough to opt-out after ’18 to spare us the blow. It’d be a good deal for the Sox, I’m sure they’d jump at the chance to shed some salary and spread it out, and it’s more realistic that Heyward takes a gamble on opting out after 18 or ’19 and saves them a lot more.

        Sure, it serves a purpose, but I don’t think the numbers make enough sense.

      • Bryzzo1744

        Heyward won’t opt out. He won’t get 90M on the open market.

      • (At some point you’ll realize it’s easier to simply not engage.)

      • Kyle

        I’m not the biggest fan of Bryant leading off either, but this year, I think it might be the best option considering how everyone is hitting. I agree with ESPN on this lineup. Would love to see him deploy it for 10 games and see how it goes.

      • Agree. I like the proposal and I especially like your idea of ten days.

    • Doc Raker

      I saw that. Maybe Bryant leading off is better than anyone else but Zobrist in the 2 hole is a NO. Almora deserves a shot at the top of the line up. It is clear that Schwarbs and Zo have failed to produce, let’s move on. If Heyward stays in the line up because of his D why doesn’t Almora stay in center? He is our best CF plus he hits better than Heyward so why does Heyward get an everyday spot and Almora does not?

      • cap’n realist

        Though I’ve never thought much of Jesse Rogers, this lineup actually makes sense. A boatload more sense than the ones that Joe’s ipad’s been spewing.

      • Doc Raker

        Put Almora in the 2 hole instead of Zobrist

      • Bryzzo1744

        I know why