It’s become so habitual for me to type “Cubs” after the colon in these titles. Feels weird.
The Cubs couldn’t pull off the dozen-strong winning streak, which won’t exactly get me down today. The reason these streaks become so remarkable is precisely because they’re improbable.
I’m also not too down because I look at a game like today’s and I see Kyle Hendricks looking absolutely overpowering – not just typical Hendricks (which is really good!), but owning batter after batter, flailing away helplessly. Late, Hendricks made a few mistakes up in the zone, and two of those mistakes left the park. Every pitcher is going to make some mistakes on location in a game, and they won’t always leave the park. I didn’t see anything but a really, really impressive outing.
As for the bullpen. Well, it was a really rough outing for Carl Edwards Jr., who showed off for the first time in the big leagues this season the control problems that periodically poked up over the past two years. He was simply really, really off. Joe Maddon gave him the opportunity to work through it – partly for the experience, I’m sure, and partly because the bullpen does not have its full complement of arms available right now – and the results weren’t there. I think there’s still a benefit to having an outing like that, but we can get into that tomorrow, perhaps, when it’s not so fresh.
Of course, three of those Edwards runs scored after he’d departed and Joe Smith gave up a grand slam. It’s fair at this point to be very concerned by the fact that Smith seems to have entirely lost the ability to get ground balls, which was the primary skill that gave you hope he could turn his otherwise ugly season around. So far, so not good.
The Cubs messed around and put a little something together in the 9th (oh, also, Addison Russell’s homer early was awesome), but the game was out of reach by that point. On to tomorrow.