That was a rough long weekend from a Cubs fan perspective, with almost nothing positive to take away, and a team that now sits at .500. It’s cold comfort to know that no other team is yet running away with the division, because until the Cubs show signs of consistency, all these banked losses are probably going to matter when September rolls around.
- It doesn’t sound like Joe Maddon is inclined to shake things up right now, telling the Tribune, “We’ve tried everything possible. Guys have been rested. Guys have been given days off. These are our players. I have all the faith in the world.”
- Similarly, Anthony Rizzo says “it’s not all peachy right now” (CSN), but all the Cubs can do is keep playing, keep grinding. It sounds simple, but it’s also true for now: the Cubs have the talent on the roster to win games. For now, they’re either going to start winning games with these guys or they aren’t. The front office may eventually make a move for a starting pitcher, but it’s not like they’re going to trade for a new outfielder or a new shortstop. The bats are the bats, and they’re going to have to figure out how to start producing.
- All that said, Maddon does point to what he believes is an issue with the Cubs’ hitting woes with runners on base (Cubs.com): “The thing is to not try to hit homers and take what they give you. You’ve got to convince them to do it. It’s not complicated. You can see the big swings, coming out of our zone, when a single will do. We have to keep talking, and you have to use the velvet hammer as opposed to a real one, otherwise you have no chance whatsoever.” More on that later.
- Ben Zobrist departed early yesterday because of the wrist that’s been troubling him, though he might play tonight (Tribune). Hopefully this is not a lingering issue.
- As noted yesterday, Mike Trout injured his thumb on a headfirst slide, and the Angels have announced that he’ll undergo surgery, with a typical recovery time of six to eight weeks. Already 10.5 games back of the Astros, it’s hard not to see this sinking the Angels when you consider that he’s been worth 3.6 WAR already, and the rest of the team’s position players have been worth 2.1 WAR *total combined*.
- (Side note: the Angels’ best pitcher by WAR? Reliever Blake Parker. Remember him? Long-time Cubs prospect and reliever, Parker was very good with the Cubs in 2013, but then couldn’t stay healthy, and now has finally put it all together at age 31 with the Angels: dude currently sports a 40.0%(!) strikeout rate through 23.1 innings.)
- As for the other big baseball thing yesterday – the brawl between the Giants and Nationals – Buster Posey offered his thoughts on why he didn’t step in to stop Bryce Harper from going after his pitcher Hunter Strickland:
— KNBR (@KNBR) May 30, 2017
- Some will see that as Posey being soft or afraid. Me? My guess? You would *never* hear a catcher say something like that if he thought it was terrible that the batter was going after his pitcher. I think Posey either knew Strickland wanted to fight, or thought it was ridiculous that Strickland threw at Harper in the first place. And Posey was like, “Eff this, I’m not going to get hurt defending that.”
- It’s all our fault, folks:
@BleacherNation What we're seeing right now is a direct result of all of the deals that Cubs fans made with the baseball gods after the 8th inning of game 7
— Mister En (@BrentNieter) May 30, 2017
- If you missed anything this weekend – there was a fair bit of stuff that wasn’t “Cubs lose again, my heart hurts” – catch yourself up here.
- Among today’s Deals of the Day at Amazon are tool sales and fishing reel sales – I’d imagine they’re hitting the Father’s Day thing. You can also get a certified refurbished Echo Dot for just $37.99 today. We get a lot of use out of ours, mostly for stray song requests that pop into mind at a given moment.