A very Happy Fourth of July – hopefully you’ll be able to enjoy some time with family and friends today, and also hopefully you’ll be able to enjoy watching the Cubs rip up the Reds this afternoon. Because, well, hopefully that’s something that happens.
- After a loss like yesterday’s – and a sweep like that – I think it’s understandable that fans would want to be angry. And, I also think it’s understandable that their first instinct would be that they want to see the players raging, too. Hopefully, with a night’s sleep behind you, the irrationality and inadvisability of that became clear. If you want the Cubs to succeed long term, and hold onto this NL Central lead (which is still 8.0 games), the players need to turn the page quickly, discard everything about the series that is not useful information, and move on to today’s game against the Reds with a renewed sense of vigor and positivity.
- As for Jon Lester’s nightmarish start, which came just a day after he was named the NL Pitcher of the Month, you could see that he was not getting the ball down, and the Mets were not missing it when the ball was up. You wonder if he would have been able to re-set himself if he’d just been able to get out of that inning, but even the balls that weren’t well-struck found grass, and he just couldn’t get an out. Just as with his last very short start, which preceded a dominant run, I don’t really find myself terribly concerned by that start. Obviously it stinks to lose the game, but beyond that, I’m not especially worried that it means anything more.
- I wonder if we’re going to see a roster move before today’s game. The Cubs’ bullpen goes eight pitchers deep, but they’ve really been leaned on heavily in the past week, thanks to a super long extra-inning game, a lengthy rain delayed game, and some tight ones requiring many changes. The nice thing is that yesterday’s game, in which starter Jon Lester didn’t even finish the second inning, actually used up only two relievers thanks to Miguel Montero’s 1.1 innings of work. Spencer Patton threw 3.2 innings and 81 pitches (hopefully he didn’t over-exert himself) and Joel Peralta threw 1.2 innings and 37 pitches. Peralta already seemed like his stay in the pen was on life support, and Patton will now be down for the count for several days. Even though only two relievers were used yesterday, getting a fresh arm up today might make sense; of course two of the plausible options already on the 40-man roster, Gerardo Concepcion and Giovanni Soto, both threw a ton of pitches yesterday for the Iowa Cubs.
- Speaking of the Iowa Cubs, and, as Luke mentioned in the Minor League Daily, Clayton Richard’s latest appearance at AAA Iowa was an awfully long one: four innings of work, and 62 pitches thrown. Interesting. That sounds like a guy who is being stretched back out as a starter, not a guy who is working through a blister/nail injury and readying himself to return as a LOOGY to the big league bullpen. Since Adam Warren is already set to come up on Wednesday and be the temporary sixth starter for the Cubs, it’s not entirely clear how Richard would factor into the Cubs’ plans once his rehab assignment (which can last only until shortly after the All-Star break at the longest) ends. It could simply be that the Cubs rightly recognize their back-up starting options are extremely thin right now, and they want to have Richard ready just in case there’s an injury.
- A couple other interesting things to note as I perused that Iowa Cubs box score: Tommy La Stella started at third base (so, in case you were worried that yesterday’s Jeimer Candelario call up (instead of La Stella) was because of a La Stella rehab setback, worry not). Also, Tim Federowicz caught the game, so, he has in fact opted to stay in the organization on a minor league deal, rather than sign elsewhere. I find that very comforting in a juuuuuuust-in-case kind of way.
- Stephen Strasburg had a no-hitter in the 7th inning of his first start back from the disabled list (upper back strain), but Dusty Baker – yes, Dusty Baker! – pulled him after 109 pitches. Not unlike when the Nationals shut Strasburg down in his post-TJS season, this was the right decision, even if it might have been a temporarily tough one.
- 72% off some motion-sensor lighting at Amazon on a Lightning Deal. Nice.
- Now that the Red Sox have been punished for trying to get around the IFA rules, Buster Olney writes that punishment for the Cardinals hacking scandal should come next, and could be informed by the harshness of the Red Sox penalty. As you’ll no doubt recall, we’ve been awaiting that punishment for a very long time, after several delays.
- The Wrigleyville Nation podcast crew had me on last night for an interview, in which I waxed way too philosophical about why the current stretch of losing is impacting us in a different way than other bad stretches.
- I remember when Theo Epstein said this, and I knew he was right. But you still struggle as a fan when confronted with the reality of the thing:
— Brett Taylor (@BleacherNation) July 4, 2016
- Don’t forget: the BN Blogathon fundraiser is going on this month, and if you want me to go crazy at the Trade Deadline, it’s up to you to help make it happen!
- Just something fun:
Oof. That's a catcher pitching (Bryan Holaday) & an honest-to-goodness position player (Eduardo Nunez) falling down. pic.twitter.com/JfNdLHwHBj
— Baseball Is Fun (@flippingbats) July 4, 2016