MVP – Zack Wheeler (.443 WPA)
When you’re team isn’t very good, it’s nice to have an off day. I enjoyed not having a game on the schedule on Monday, but I was ready to get back in there on Tuesday and was rewarded for my fandom with a win.
Prior to the game, there were a couple roster moves. Hector Rondon was activated from the paternity list, which meant someone had to go. Part of me actually wondered if the Cubs would consider carrying a nine man bullpen, as if an eight men pen wasn’t bad enough. Thankfully when the release came in, it included a move to remove a reliever. Jose Veras was designated for assignment. In case you need a quick refresher on what that means, here is the quick and dirty.
A player who is designated for assignment is taken off the 40 man roster immediately and placed in baseball purgatory for 10 days where one of four things can happen to them. In Veras case, let’s take a look at how they may play out.
Scenario 1 – Place the player on waivers – This is a given, but there is not a guarantee anyone will claim him. Given his inexpensive contract and the fact he’s only locked up for this year, I would think there would be someone interested in taking a shot on him. It’s a low risk, high reward given his history. If he’s claimed, he becomes the property of the claiming team and they assume his contract.
Scenario 2 - Trade the player – I don’t see this one happening, as teams know the Cubs have little leverage and need to move him.
Scenario 3 – Release the player – If released, the Cubs would pay the remainder of his contract and part ways.
Scenario 4 – Outright the player to the Minor Leagues – This one assumes the player has cleared waivers without being claimed. Because of the amount of service time in the Majors that Veras has, he has the ability to refuse the assignment and request his release. In other words, this scenario won’t happen.
The Cubs also placed Welington Castillo on the DL with left rib cage inflammation. The move is retroactive to June 2. In his place, the Cubs selected the contract of Eli Whiteside, who is old and bad. Move along, nothing to see here.
As far as the game itself, there were a couple takeaways. Jake Arrieta continues to get hitters out, but working deep into games is a frequent problem for him. He either gets into a jam, which drives the pitch count up or he works deep into counts on hitters. For strikeout pitchers this is a frequent issue for them early in the career. They look to announce their presence with authority and try to strike everyone out. I’ve not watched Arrieta’s starts close enough to know if it’s a lack of command or just an aversion to pitching to contact, but it bares watching going forward if he’s one that is being counted on for this rotation in the future.
Offensively, the Cubs were their usual offensive self, and by that I mean that I’m offended by their lack of offense. It wasn’t until the Mets bullpen took over that we were able to do anything at the plate and even then only managed two runs.
Nate Schierholtz got the game winning walk-off RBI single and the AP story read like this:
Schierholtz was one of the few dependable hitters in Cubs lineup a season ago. Now, he is starting to show signs he can shake out of an early season rut.
“I know I’m a better player than I showed the first few months. That wasn’t me. I knew it was going to come around. It took longer than I hoped, obviously I still have a lot to do in the next four months, but I’m confident and that’s all that matters,” said Schierholtz, who was 3 for 4 to move his average up to .224 from .212.
Schierholtz hit .251 with home 21 homers last season for the Cubs.
Wow, there is a lot there. Apparently if you get the game winning hit, it means you’ve turned the corner on your season. The statement that he was one of the most dependent hitters in the lineup last year coupled with the stats he put up at the end shows just how bad we were. Unfortunately, this offense isn’t going to get any better until the kids arrive. On a positive note, Kris Bryant hit his 19th home run last night. Edwin Jackson pitches tonight, so the Cubs will have to rely on Travis Wood in the finale to get a series win.