The off-day after a frustrating Cubs loss is always crummy. When that loss came to the Cardinals, it’s even worse. When that los to the Cardinals came a day after another frustrating loss to the Cardinals, it’s even worser.
Gonna get myself a cinnamon crunch scone from Panera to compensate. (You had one of those? I’m a fan.)
- It was expected, but now it’s official: Trevor Cahill will start the first game of tomorrow’s doubleheader against the Brewers, with Jason Hammel taking the nightcap. Cahill has been pitching at AAA Iowa for about a month now, nominally rehabbing a knee issue, but also stretching out (and giving the Cubs roster flexibility) as a starter. Interestingly, Cahill went just two innings (36 pitches) in his last outing at Iowa on August 10. I’m not sure if that was because the Cubs were trying to preserve his ability to pitch sooner than tomorrow (recall, the bullpen has been in quite a bit of flux), but he was pitching on just three days rest. In any case, he’ll probably be in a position to give the Cubs 60 or so pitches, which will hopefully cover at least four innings. Today’s off-day will help the bullpen rest up, but a doubleheader to kick off a 10-game stretch, most of which is a trip out West? Oof. That could be really brutal, especially with the Cubs at just seven relievers.
- To that end, I would not be surprised to see Cahill stick around after the start tomorrow – well, he pretty much has to unless the Cubs are going to try to option him to Iowa (he has options left, but, because of his service time, he has the right to elect free agency rather than accept the option; would he give up the rest of his $4.25 million contract with the Cubs to explore free agency for the rest of the season? Eh, maybe not, now that I think about it, since he’d be right back up with the big league team in two weeks). Setting aside that lengthy parenthetical, I still think the Cubs will be inclined to want Cahill on the big league roster for the rest of August, because, when he’s right, he’s a very good, very flexible arm in the bullpen. How he figures into the mix from a roster perspective is debatable, but the closer we get to September (when rosters expand to the full 40), the less I’m concerned with short-term moves to option guys to Iowa whom you would otherwise want to see stay on the roster.
- Even more bullpen stuff to get into after a deep dive yesterday; Hector Rondon returned to action out of the bullpen last night, and it went rather poorly, as he gave up a line drive single, a bunt single, a monster homer, getting a groundout, and then giving up another homer before being pulled. After the game, he said he felt fine physically, so that’s mostly all you care about (ESPN). His velocity was normal, even if his command was way off. Not to talk myself out of concern, but that does seem to be what it looks like when a guy is healthy but rusty. It stinks that it wound up costing the Cubs the game, but longer term, it’s a good step.
- In baseball moments that make you shake your head and knowingly smile: before the game in which Rondon got blown up, he spoke with Carl Edwards Jr., who’d melted down the game before, about how “it happens to everybody. Don’t feel bad. It’s in the past. We have to have a short memory and come in today like nothing happened …. Hey, man, learn from that.” (Cubs.com)
- Of the day-night doubleheader format (which is much more popular among teams than the back-to-back games doubleheader format, because it’s logistically easier to get two admissions that way), Joe Maddon talks about why he’s not a fan (CSN). If MLB does try to put more doubleheaders in the schedule next year and beyond as a way of incorporating more rest for the players (as opposed to shortening the schedule, which is also on the table), I’d have to agree with Maddon – you really cut into the benefit if it’s a 12pm start and then a 7pm start.
- It sounds like Chris Coghlan still views himself as a starter, but he knows that’s not his role on this particular Cubs team, and he’s accepting of it because he wants to do his best for this particular Cubs team (CSN). His season numbers are atrocious, as everyone knows, and there are some defenses/explanations for that, but, even if he were hitting as well as he did in 2014 and 2015, he’d probably be sitting a lot on this team. There’s just too many good players to accommodate. (Also, for what it’s worth, he’s hitting .216/.385/.314 with the Cubs so far this year, which is a 97 wRC+. Not where he needs to be, but also not as abysmal as you may have thought.)
- Eloy Jimenez was hit by a pitch last night, played the field in the inning thereafter, but then was removed the next inning. I have no information beyond that, but it was something I noticed perusing box scores this morning in Luke’s absence this week. We’ll see if there’s more information available today or tomorrow, or if he’s just right back in the lineup.
- I wrote up John Lackey’s reaction to his shoulder tightness earlier this morning, since, if you’re anything like me, that was the first thing on your mind after last night. (Also, if you’re anything like me: we got issues, yo.)
- Also from this morning, if you missed it: ARod will reportedly be signing with the Marlins.
- I like the way adidas stuff fits me for workouts, so when they’re on sale at Amazon, I’m always going to point it out, even as OBVIOUS ADVERTISEMENT as it sounds. I’m just a fan.