Morning Cubs Roundup: I came back for this?
today at 6:37 am
Well, I’m back. Kind of wish I wasn’t around for that one though. I promise, I totally watched all of it instead of switching to a movie.
It’s been a stretch since you’ve heard from me. The derecho (new word for me, I like new words) which tore through Iowa last week left me without internet for almost three days. When it returned I had some work I needed to catch up on. The NHL also did me no favors by scheduling the Hawks games so late at night. Oh, my mom has also come into town for a visit.
None of this was conducive to me waking up early to write. Hopefully, I’m back on track now.
Last Game: White Sox 10, Cubs 1
Up Next: White Sox (16-11) @ Cubs (16-9) – 7:15 CST, MARQ/NBCCH
Jon Lester threw pitches right down the middle. That’s it. That’s the recap.
We all know Lester is at the stage of his career where he needs command or the blessing of the BABIP gods to survive. He had neither last night and a powerful, young Sox lineup deposited four balls into the vacant Wrigley Field bleachers.
Lester is now a back of the rotation starter who can wily veteran his way to big games but is equally susceptible to big losses. We have to accept that nights like these are going to happen with him on the mound. Maybe Ross could/should have identified the signs earlier and got him out of there after the first two homers (and five runs). This was coming out of an off day, so there were ten fresh arms in the bullpen. But with a banged up and struggling lineup featuring both Hernan Perez and Albert Almora, I think the odds for a comeback were exceptionally low at any point.
Good news, the pen did alright. Which is no longer much of a surprise. We clearly aren’t dealing with a dominant group, and there are certainly some areas of concern (from the left side in particular), but they’ve been getting the job done more often than not. This is basically what I expected from this group when the season began. I’m still hopeful the front office can go out and acquire one more arm who can miss bats before the trade deadline next week, but the complete overhaul many called for a few weeks back has proven unnecessary.
Given Colin Rea pitched in relief last night I think it is fair to assume one or both of Jose Quintana and Tyler Chatwood will be back soon. Adbert Alzolay pitched well enough in his first start to provide hope he can be help to the rotation down the stretch should they require it (I assume they will).
It will be imperative to identify a third starter for the postseason roster behind Darvish and Hendricks. Chatwood has shown to be the best option so far, but we’ll have to see how he performs when he gets back. A fourth starter may or may not be useful in the postseason, depending on how Major League Baseball handles the scheduling. I’m confident the Cubs can get enough out of a Lester, Quintana or Mills in the event one is needed where it won’t make or break their postseason chances, but only if that third starter emerges. Alzolay has the stuff, but it seems unlikely he emerges that quickly, so that means getting Tyler Chatwood (or Quintana) right by the end of the season becomes a priority.
There wasn’t any on offense. Hernan Perez and Albert Almora combined for three of the Cubs seven hits. Exciting.
I suppose you could say Dan Winkler was the Cubs best player yesterday, which I believe sums up everything pretty well.
Injuries, Updates, and Trends
- Cubs are taking a wait-and-see approach with Kris Bryant. We’ve seen this club wait too long to place guys on the IL the past couple of years, but honestly, this bench already contains a couple pieces of dreck. I’m not sure replacing KB with another is going to help. Just giving him some time seems like the right approach. The big cushion in the standings the Cubs built offers them this luxury.
- Jose Quintana threw a two inning sim game yesterday, and Tyler Chatwood is scheduled to throw a bullpen tomorrow if his back responds to treatment he’s been receiving from a specialist.
- If neither Chatwood or Quintana are ready to start Tuesday in Detroit I would expect the Cubs to recall Alzolay at that time.
- I’m not sure of the status of Steven Souza Jr. But if he isn’t going to be back soon the Cubs should really look into adding another right-handed outfield bat at the deadline. Heyward has performed admirably against southpaws in his absence, but that is not an ideal situation, especially with Schwarber not lighting the world on fire and KB a question mark as well.
Morning Cubs Recap