The Rundown: Jorge Soler Misses Game with Sore Ankle, Matt Szczur Called Up, Bryant Plays LF, Baez and Alcantara Knocking on the Door
I may just have to accept it, but it seems like every loss for the Cubs this year is a frustrating one. Tuesday’s 5-2 loss to the Marlins was no exception.
Kyle Hendricks pitched decently, but made a couple key mistakes that led to four runs. And that was enough.
As usual, the Cubs made it interesting in the ninth. Starlin Castro led off with a single and Addison Russell followed with a walk. Then with one out, Chris Coghlan singled. Castro was held at third base, but Russell missed the stop sign at second and rounded the base too far and got picked off.
It really hurt, as the Cubs went from having the bases loaded and one out, to first and third with two outs. But it’s the kind of mistake you’re going to see with a young team. Hopefully Russell will learn from it — too bad the learning moment had to occur at that crucial part of the game.
Miguel Montero struck out to end the game, and that was all she wrote.
Jon Lester takes the mound today. It’s a game the Cubs should win. A win would definitely help take the sting out of Tuesday’s lousy loss.
Jorge Soler sat out last night’s game with a sore ankle. He tweaked it Monday night while trying to beat out an infield hit. The Cubs sent the young outfielder for an MRI, and it’s not clear how serious this could end up being.
“I’m still waiting to hear,” Joe Maddon said before Tuesday’s game, Patrick Mooney writes. “It could be day-to-day. It could be longer than that. I’m not sure.”
Soler has dealt with a bunch of lower-body injuries the past couple years. I thought the Cubs would ease his workload this season to help protect him from injury, but Soler has played in every game of the season — until last night.
Here’s hoping it’s more of the day-to-day estimate, and Soler won’t need a stint on the disabled list. I’d really rather not see Junior Lake out there every day.
OF Matt Szczur is back with the Cubs after hitting well down at Iowa. He had been on a seven-game hitting streak, batting .379 with two home runs and six RBIs during that span.
To make room on the roster, infielder/outfielder Mike Baxter was sent back to Iowa.
I’m hoping Szczur can stick around — I enjoy watching him play (even though he hasn’t been great while with the Cubs thus far). If Jorge Soler misses a significant amount of time with his ankle injury, it would probably guarantee Szczur stays.
Lineup … fun?
Yesterday’s game saw a fairly unconventional lineup, with Jorge Soler out due to the sore ankle.
Kris Bryant got the start in left field, with Jonathan Herrera playing third and batting ninth. Addison Russell was moved up to sixth in the batting order. Junior Lake filled in for Soler in right field and batted fourth.
The problem with this lineup is that the bottom third was pretty awful. David Ross was in the lineup with a lefty on the mound, then the pitcher spot and Herrera.
Losing Soler definitely downgrades the lineup, unfortunately.
Could Bryant in left field be a precursor to some positional shifting? Gordon Wittenmyer writes that Joe Maddon said it was simply a one-day process.
But you have to figure the Cubs will be considering bringing up Javier Baez, with him tearing up Triple-A at the moment. And with Baez in Chicago, somebody among Baez, Starlin Castro, Addison Russell and Bryant would need to move to the outfield.
Bryant is the most likely candidate, with either Baez, Castro or Russell shifting over to third base.
Maddon on the Score
Joe Maddon made his weekly appearance on the Spiegel and Goff Show on 670 the Score and shared a lot of great insight.
Highlights included a discussion of Anthony Rizzo’s ability to hit with two strikes. Maddon said he thinks choking up and cutting down on the swing is something a lot of ballplayers could implement, but choose not to. I found this interesting, as I figured it was maybe more of a skill thing rather than pride/stubbornness.
He also addressed Starlin Castro’s slow trot around the bases after his home run on Monday. He didn’t have a problem with it, but when the conversation turned to criticism of Castro in general, he became a bit defensive. He said he can’t understand why Castro has a bullseye on his back, but he supports him fully.
I’d agree with this — I don’t understand why Castro is scrutinized for every little thing he does. I’m on board with Castro on this team and I think he’ll be here at least for this season. I just wish we could watch him without the overreactions to his play.
* Matt Szczur is now back with the Cubs, but a couple other familiar faces in Iowa are trying their hardest to return to Chicago as well. Arismendy Alcantara went 3-for-4 with a home run (his eighth) and four runs scored yesterday. And not to be outdone, Javier Baez had four hits with two home runs and four RBIs. The homers were Javy’s sixth and seventh. Both Alcantara and Baez have been hot lately, and it’s probably only a matter of time before one or both are back with the Cubs.
* Donn Roach and had another typical Donn Roach outing last night. Tossing six innings, Roach gave up one run and five hits. He walked one and struck out two, and now is carrying a 2.12 ERA.
* For the Tennessee Smokies, catcher Kyle Schwarber had a rare 0-for-5 game yesterday, but OF Albert Almora went 3-for-5 with two runs scored.