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junior lake featureAfter last night’s loss, the Cubs slipped behind the Diamondbacks in the NL standings. It was their 10th loss in their last 12 games.

  • It has become very tough to talk about Junior Lake and Mike Olt without betraying a latent sense of hopelessness, which may or may not be fair, given that we’re talking about 24/25-year-old players with obvious talent, playing in their first full big league year. Their numbers have sunk along with their playing time (Lake currently sports a 69 wRC+, and Olt is at 58), and it’s no longer clear that either will have much of a future with the Cubs once the next wave of young talent emerges. Patrick Mooney writes about Olt and Lake, and speaks with Ricky Renteria about how you keep the spirits/focus/etc. up for guys who aren’t seen results, and who are not getting regular starts. More on the struggles of Lake and Olt here and here.
  • It’s comforting, at least, to know that the Cubs have the luxury of viewing Lake and Olt as lottery tickets – great athletes with big upside if it all came together – rather than necessary building blocks. Either one developing into a long-term contributor was going to be gravy, as opposed to the only way the team can find success. We’ll see what happens for them as the rest of the season plays out.
  • Renteria is not going to speculate about any possible trades in the coming days (Cubs.com). That’s at once a “duh” kind of thing, but also a legit question, given that it’s the manager who has to deal with the immediate fallout of any trade. I get the feeling, however, that he’s in pretty regular communication with the front office about this kind of thing, and won’t be too terribly caught by surprise.
  • After another rough start, Travis Wood opines on some of the possible reasons for his struggles this year, including maybe teams being in on his approach this time around, after adjusting to the things he was doing successfully last year (Cubs.com).
  • Still no announcement yet on the Cubs’ fifth starter, who figures to be Tsuyoshi Wada (with an outside shot of Dallas Beeler or Dan Straily). It remains possible that the Cubs will skip the fifth starter this time through the rotation, given tomorrow’s off-day.
  • FanGraphs with the strikes that were most egregiously called balls, and the balls that were most egregiously called strikes. The Cubs show up on the short end in both lists, with two Samardzija/Castillo pitches looking so ugly (strikes that were called balls because of how badly Samardzija missed his spot and how badly Castillo received the pitch – I remember watching both live and thinking, “I wonder if those were actually strikes”, which they were … dead freaking center of the zone).
  • Colby Lewis believes that if you’re up two runs in the 5th inning, with two outs, it’s totally inappropriate to try and get on base any way possible (bunting against the shift, for example). I am dumbfounded that these thoughts are going through a professional baseball player’s mind, let alone that he had the balls to give voice to them.

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