I apologize for being late today folks, but I work for a bank and unfortunately audit season in Chicago coincides with the trade deadline.
So, a 7-2 homestand is almost as good as an 8-1 homestand, but the way the Cubs have played their last 18 innings of baseball isn’t giving me a lot of confidence heading into a month-ending road trip. By now you’ve read all the analysis and I really have nothing much to add.
Well maybe one thing. The Cubs have two bullpens right now. They have their A-list guys, which are Craig Kimbrel, Pedro Strop, Steve Cishek, and Brandon Kintzler. And they have their B-list guys, like Brad Brach, Carl Edwards, Jr., Kyle Ryan, and anybody that rides the trolley from Iowa to Chicago and back. Finally, there is the specialty guy, Tyler Chatwood. When Joe Maddon has to rely on his B-list guys, thinks generally go awry. Yesterday’s 5-1 loss to the Padres was a great example.
I know that there was no offense yesterday and that Cubs hitters looked like barreling up on a pitch was akin to kissing their sisters, but the game was winnable until Kyle Hendricks turned it over to the ‘pen. It was pretty ugly after that. I’ll say no more.
I did enjoy attending both weekend games with Cubs Insider readers, so let’s focus on that a little.
- Wrigley Field is still the most beautiful stadium in the world. No other stadium comes remotely close.
- I’ve missed the bleachers and yesterday was pretty eventful. I made a new friend and hopefully a new reader. Welcome, Chris from Indianapolis (and family)!
- Wil Myers took off his cap to wipe his brow, revealing a slightly balding crown, so the bleacher bums responded by calling him “Rogaine” all game. Who said we’re not lovable losers?
- There were five Padres fans sitting near us that dressed as Friar Tuck.
- Mai Tai Guy was allegedly in my section for awhile, but I missed him. Had I seen him, you might have seen me doing a perp walk on your local news.
- My view on Saturday (thanks Mary!) was so good I could see that Padres starter Joey Lucchesi was tipping his pitches. He throws a fastball, a sinker and a changeup. His motion when throwing his fastball was slightly different than his secondaries. Javier Báez was on it right away and after he scored a 1st inning run I could see him telling his teammates.
- It was so hot at the game Saturday it was the first time I drank bottled water instead of ice cold beer.
- I enjoyed myself so much during both games that next season I am going to attend a game every homestand with a reader. What a blast!
Cubs News & Notes
- The Cubs and Tigers are talking specific players? That’s usually an advanced stage of the trade process. Maybe it’s Nicholas Castellanos, or Shane Greene, or maybe it’s both. But what if it was Matthew Boyd they are trying to acquire?
The Cubs are among the teams showing interest in Nick Castellanos. They probably want to move Jason Heyward to center, add Castellanos RH bat in right. This one has some teeth.
— Chris McCosky (@cmccosky) July 21, 2019
- Eric Sogard is an intriguing option. He’s like Whit Merrifield light and would come much cheaper. I’ve liked him all along, but my fear is that the astronomical cost to acquire Merrifield will have many other teams turning to Sogard, too.
- I still think the best option to upgrade the bullpen is to do a deal with the Giants for Will Smith or Tony Watson. The Cubs meet the Giants tonight in San Francisco, and sweeping the series could force the Giants into sell mode.
- If I told you Jarrod Dyson was available and the Cubs could possibly acquire him, would that be something that might interest you?
- The Giants are the hottest team in baseball but they’re fooling themselves if they don’t start their rebuild now.
- Not to beat a dead horse, but the Cubs have been abysmal on the road this year. They need to pump the brakes on the poor road performances starting tonight. This is the most critical road trip of the year. “We need to [play better on the road],” Maddon said. “We have to do that to get where we want to be. We have to do that on this coming trip. Three really good foes, and we’ve got to be on our best behavior.”
- If you think the Cubs can get something of value for Addison Russell, stop dreaming. He is practically immovable right now, and Saturday’s performance didn’t add anything to the little value he might have had.
- The Cubs sent Edwards, Jr. down to Iowa. I’m no expert, but I don’t think he has the confidence to pitch on a major league mound. Hopefully he’ll find it in Triple-A.
- Cole Hamels will begin his rehab stint at Iowa tomorrow.
How About That!
The White Sox are set to unveil full protective netting for games played at Guaranteed Rate Field. The netting has been installed and will make its debut for tonight’s ChiSox-Marlins tilt.
The Marlins will be bringing back the old teal jerseys for a throwback weekend. I loved those versions back when the team was designated as a Florida franchise rather than Miami. But then 2003 happened.
Enough with the fans stalking players on the field of play. This gentleman should be completely embarrassed for the rest of his life.
Outside of the top ten teams in the game, mediocrity abounds throughout the major leagues.
Need a refresher course for navigating the single trade deadline?
Apropos of Nothing
- The Rays are said to be interested in Hunter Pence while the Red Sox appear to be shopping for a closer, including Kirby Yates and/or Ken Giles. I still think the Cubs will acquire one of those two and possibly Pence.
- If you’re hoping your favorite team can acquire Madison Bumgarner for the stretch run, that may be a tough get.
- Similarly, Bumgarner’s stance should raise the stakes and the return for other starting pitchers, such as Boyd, Marcus Stroman, Robbie Ray, or Mike Minor.
- Will the Giants consider trading their ace? It’s nearly impossible to call at this point.
- Mookie Betts loves the Red Sox organization and wouldn’t mind staying in Boston for the entirety of his career, but that doesn’t mean he is not going to test free agency. He sounds like he stole that from Kris Bryant.
- Here’s one way to get traded: Call your home field “a joke.” That’s what Castellanos said about center field at Comerica Park. If I was a betting man, I’d say he is trying to open some eyes and ears of buying front offices.
- The Phillies have talked to the Tigers about Boyd and Greene.
- Would the Mets really make Noah Syndergaard available? Te Padres, Twins, and Astros are salivating at the chance to jump on that.
Just throwing this out there, but if the Cubs fail to make the playoffs this year, who do they move this offseason? The core four are soaring mighty close to the land of absurd riches in free agency, and they may hold more trade value before next season starts than they will after. Let’s discuss in the comments, shall we?
They Said It
- “[Hendricks] was good. We just didn’t score enough runs obviously and it set up the bullpen differently for us at the end of the game.” – Joe Maddon
- “The mindset’s there. Everything’s good in the clubhouse. We can’t rely on what we’ve done in the past, but it’s a really good feel right now.” – Kyle Hendricks
- “I’m sure [the front office] doing their due diligence on everything [available]. We’ll see what happens there. They’re very smart and know what they’re doing. We never doubt them here.” – Anthony Rizzo
Monday Walk Up Song
Lunatic Fringe by Red Rider. Audit season is the bane of my existence. I can’t wait until August 1. See you all in about 12 hours with tomorrow’s column. Huzzah!