The Rundown: Cubs Losing Streak Reaches Nine Games, Kilian Struggles, Bullpen Rocked, Robertson Expects Trade

“Click click- see ya later.” – Talking Heads, Swamp

The Cubs are a fun bunch to watch (or not) these days, aren’t they? It’s said that death and taxes are the only two certainties in life, but I’ll add a Cubs reliever routinely allowing four runs without getting a single out. In last night’s 19-5 loss to the Padres, Daniel Norris was the culprit.

You can also count on one of a multitude of relievers having the ability to successfully navigate his stint and last night that was Eric Stout. The recent addition from Glen Ellyn was able to register six outs without surrendering a run, hit, or walk, and he struck out four San Diego batters to boot. He’ll probably get sent back to Iowa today because that type of success is just not tolerated on Chicago’s North Side.

For those keeping a running tally, the Cubs have now lost 10 of 11 games and have been outscored 86-26 in those losses. After they play the Padres this afternoon, Chicago’s North Side baseballers will entertain the Braves for the weekend, the same team that ran its win streak to 14 games last night.

Things are pretty ugly these days, but don’t you worry because Tom Ricketts, Jed Hoyer, and David Ross still have their share of rabid supporters. The Cubs are 46 games under .500 during the last calendar year and fan Joe DiGiacomo, like the majority of us, has had enough:

For those counting on Chicago’s vastly improved pipeline of minor league studs, Caleb Kilian showed us all just how painful the growing pains might be. The 25-year-old righty struggled with command in his second career start, giving up five runs on five hits with five walks in four innings. The rookie got squeezed on a couple of pitches but struggled badly otherwise.

Most franchises would cut their losses right now and make sweeping changes with the coaching staff and front office. You can praise Hoyer for last year’s trades, but he certainly struggles with free agency and there are no certainties with a pure prospect-based rebuild. Their current record of 23-39 has the Cubs on pace to win 60 games. With a payroll of roughly $147 million, that equates to about $2.45 million per win. Here’s how the league’s top five teams compare:

  1. Yankees – $2.06 million
  2. Mets – $2.50 million
  3. Dodgers – $2.51 million
  4. Padres $2.13 million
  5. Astros $1.76 million

Why isn’t Chicago as successful as those teams? Well, they trail the thriftiest of those franchises (Houston) by about $30 million in total payroll. The other reason is that the bulk of Hoyer’s expenditures belongs to Jason Heyward and a large group of players who will be free agents after this season. You tend not to attract the best players on the open market when you refuse to commit dollars and years during negotiations.

For those who think Hoyer is suddenly going to go on a shopping spree this winter, what has this organization done during the last seven years to make you think that he will get the green light to spend like the league’s other big market teams?

When Theo Epstein signed Tyler Chatwood and Brandon Morrow back in 2018, I thought he was being a little too analytically cute. In hindsight, that was probably the best he could do with $23 million AAV. The saving grace was Yu Darvish ($25 million), who fell into Epstein’s lap just before spring training started. He could have done a lot more with that same AAV allocation and you’re looking at a vastly different Cubs team if that happened. But there was simply no way Ricketts was going to sign off on the 13-year, $25 million AAV deal Bryce Harper received, let alone okay additional signings. Remember, we were told that the front office had to earmark dollars for their young core (cough, cough).

What you have seen, instead, is the organization’s way of conducting business, which is an embarrassing joke and an insult to Cubs fans. That starts and ends with Ricketts, but whether Hoyer and/or Ross would be more successful with extra resources is debatable.

Cubs News & Notes

Odds & Sods

I was unaware that Ángel Hernández has been umpiring for the better part of 80 years.

Climbing the Ladder

“This ain’t no party, this ain’t no disco, this ain’t no fooling around.” – Talking Heads, Life During Wartime

Morel, Contreras, and Ian Happ remain the team’s lone bright spots.

  • Games Played: 62
  • Total Plate Appearances: 2,365
  • Total Strikeouts: 536
  • Strikeout Rate: 22.66%
  • Team Batting Average: .243
  • Runs Scored: 264
  • Runs Allowed: 330

How About That!

The Yankees are an unbelievable 30 games over .500 and on a pace to win 120 games.

The Astros became the first team in MLB history to throw two immaculate innings in the same game.

Dodgers starter Tyler Anderson lost his no-hit bid in the 9th inning of last night’s game.

An umpire struck by the broken bat of Angels outfielder Mike Trout was hospitalized but should be okay.

The Angels have started informal extension talks with two-way star Shohei Ohtani.

The Department of Justice has some big concerns ($) with the league’s antitrust exemption.

Orioles rookie catcher Adley Rutschman notched his first career home run Wednesday.

Wednesday’s Three Stars

  1. Yoán Moncada – The third-sacker led the White Sox to a 13-0 win last night with five hits in six at-bats, including a home run and five RBI.
  2. Craig Counsell – With last night’s 10-2 victory over the Mets, Counsell broke the Brewers franchise record for wins with 564, passing Phil Garner.
  3. Austin Riley – The young third baseman hit two home runs last night and drove in four runs as Atlanta just keeps on winning.

Extra Innings

I wonder if the Cubs will resume their annual fan convention this January. Talk about barbarians at the gates.

Thursday Morning Six-Pack

  1. Skynet is finally here: California has approved its first autonomous taxis.
  2. Bears defensive end and reigning team Defensive Player of the Year Robert Quinn has refused to partake in the team’s mandatory minicamp.
  3. More than 100 million Americans – roughly 41% of the country’s population – are living with or ignoring their medical debt.
  4. A Google engineer says the company’s Lamda Artificial Intelligence is developing feelings. I suppose the software will create a Twitter account soon.
  5. The death of Internet Explorer is sadly imminent. The 27-year-old browser is going to be formally deactivated in a future Windows software update.
  6. Jared Leto said that he and Elizabeth Holmes had a “nice and lovely friendship” before the Theranos scandal.

They Said It

  • “I think I was trying too hard. I was trying to aim it, trying to throw it to a certain spot instead of just being aggressive and [letting] it rip. Once I started getting the tempo up and having an attacking mindset, I was able to command a little better. But I just didn’t have my sharp stuff.” – Kilian
  • “[The pitching injuries] have definitely been trying. But in that same breath, you get opportunities. You see other guys and have them step up and get to see what the future [maybe] looks like.” – Ross

Thursday Walk-Up Song

Sure, Hoyer is doing a fine job. These are just organizational growing pains.

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