Yes, yesterday was disappointing on many levels.
With the Cubs’ loss, they’ve now dropped three series in a row, with this particular series to a particularly bad team. It was also a tough way to lose — after Kris Bryant’s dramatic two-run home run with two outs in the 8th they blow it in the 9th.
That final inning was especially frustrating: A two-out infield single (a low rumple). A big Kris Bryant error (a metallic squink). Hector Rondon falls behind 2-0 to the red-hot Joey Votto and throws him a hittable fastball (a galonk). Votto deposits the pitch into the bleachers for a game-winning three-run home run (someone cries out “Dear God!”).
This was all bad, I agree. But honestly, the most important part of the day is the health of Kyle Schwarber.
Khal was scratched right before the game yesterday after feeling soreness in his right rib. He underwent an MRI, and we won’t know more until today.
Best-case scenario is that the Cubs were being overly cautious with Schwarber, and after an off-day today, he’s back in the lineup on Friday.
Worst-case, he has a dreaded oblique injury.
The Cubs haven’t hinted in that direction yet. And Schwarber did make a diving attempt on a line drive in Tuesday’s game — here’s hoping the injury is just some slight soreness from that play.
If Schwarber is cleared as healthy tomorrow, I definitely won’t feel as bad about yesterday’s disappointing loss to the Reds.
The Cubs’ offense clearly hasn’t been the same since Jorge Soler went on the disabled list Aug. 24. The team has gone 4-6 since then, which isn’t horrible, but the offense was really clicking right before Soler was placed on the DL.
They certainly faced some tough pitching out west, so that has something to do with it. But even at times during the Reds series, the Cubs’ bats have looked lifeless. Soler did his best Arnold Schwarzenegger impression yesterday, telling Patrick Mooney “I’m going to be back.”
The acquisition of outfielder Austin Jackson maybe could have been a sign that the Cubs weren’t sure Soler would return. That may not have been the case, but it’s looking like a very good move at this point, especially if Kyle Schwarber has to miss any time.
Soler has battled injuries all throughout his young Cubs career, though Joe Maddon says a player can overcome early injury troubles. “It happens,” Maddon said. “But a lot of times, my experience has been guys that maybe as they’re younger fall into this trap. And as they gain more experience, it kind of goes away.”
That would be nice. But until Soler proves otherwise, I’ll always have injury worries for him in the back of my mind.
* Prospects Gleyber Torres and Jeffrey Baez have been promoted from Single-A South Bend to High-A Myrtle Beach. Torres, an 18-year-old shortstop, has slowed down a bit over the past month but has had an overall nice season. He’s one of the Cubs’ most exciting young prospects. Baez, a 21-year-old outfielder, hit .284/.324/.427 for the South Bend Cubs this year.
* Trevor Cahill made his Cubs debut yesterday. He came in to relieve starter Jason Hammel, pitching 1.2 scoreless innings and not giving up a hit. So a nice start to his Cubs career. He could be an interesting piece down the stretch.