Everyone keeps saying they can’t wait for the Cubs to get to the break, but wouldn’t it be nice if they won at least one more game before that break got here? The games all still count, and it’s not as though the four days off are some guarantee of a turnaround. Sure, taking a breather – for fans, and for player health – might be nice, but I’m growing uncomfortable with how many people seem to think the break will *definitely* be a magic elixir.
In other words, if the Cubs start playing better after the break, it’ll be because more hits start falling with runners on base, the bullpen mix is better figured out, and a couple starters string together some great outings in a row.
And, as I said, it would be nice if those things started tonight, not next week.
- Like I said in the EBS last night, I thought Jake Arrieta looked as good as he has in a while. The results weren’t there – 6 ER over 6 IP is not good – and he definitely missed his spots and got wrecked a few times. But there was a little more precision with the fastball command at times, and the breaking pitches looked a touch sharper. The only walk he gave up probably shouldn’t have been a walk (more on that in a moment). All in all, if you can allow yourself to set the results aside (tough to do, I know, in a stretch like this), you’d see that there were genuinely encouraging signs in the performance, itself. It sounds like Arrieta felt the same way, even as he knows he’s needs to keep getting better (Cubs.com).
- Arrieta also netted 14 whiffs over 88 pitches last night, which is pretty darn good.
- Because I know this stuff tugs at you after the fact the way it tugs at me, you were correct when grousing that Arrieta got squeezed on the one walk he gave up last night, a walk that led off the decisive 7th inning. In the plate appearance, he actually threw only two balls. That’s a bummer.
- Dexter Fowler walked twice and struck out once as the DH for South Bend yesterday. The plan has been for him to play in the outfield today, and then head to San Diego for the All-Star Game if he’s feeling all right. It sure will be nice to have him back in the second half.
- The strange story of Cody Stanley, a former Cardinals catcher who has tested positive for the same steroid five times in less than a year, testing positive even after he’d been suspended for that same substance. It seems there are a lot of players currently suspended for that particular steroid – Turinabol – all of whom openly question how it was possible that they tested positive. To be sure, players routinely claim innocence in these situations, but with this particular steroid, it’s a little odd how many players got suspended around the same time and all claim they used only acceptable supplements. Testing for Turinabol did improve recently, so, in fairness, it’s also possible that more players are getting busted for it simply because the testing improved.
- If you missed it, the Red Sox have kicked off the reliever trade market, picking up Brad Ziegler.
- Huge sale on Easton baseball gear at Amazon today.