The Little Girl has a big performance today, so that’ll be my bright spot no matter what happens in the series finale for the Cubs today against the Rockies. It sure feels like a big swing game, though, with a win making for a winning homestand, and a loss marking not only five straight losses, but also a mere .500 homestand that started with five straight wins.
- In recent interviews with various outlets, Chicago Cubs president Theo Epstein offered that the team would really have to “roll snake eyes” to have this many capable offensive players perform this poorly over the course of an entire season, which, incidentally, is what it would take to keep the team out of the playoffs. In other words, it is extremely unlikely – but dreadfully possible – that this Cubs team could suffer through deep offensive woes all season. I wouldn’t say that’s what I’m betting on – who bets on snake eyes, right? – but I do think we have to acknowledge that it is possible some guys will not shake loose from this funk before the season ends, much in the way it became clear by the time July rolled around last year that Jason Heyward was not going to shake loose (hopefully) until after the next offseason.
- Almost across the board, the trouble for the Cubs is not bad luck with batted balls, it is instead a total lack of hard contact. Consider that the Cubs’ overall average exit velocity for hitters is just 86.6 mph, 20th in baseball. Their hard contact rate is an abysmal 29.2%, 27th(!) in baseball. They lead baseball in medium contact (52.4%), which is better than soft contact, but absolutely not a category in which you want to be leading the league. Couple this consistent lack of hard contact with particularly poor performances with runners on base and you’ve got the recipe for a terrible offense, which is what the Cubs have had. They are now tied for the 6th worst wRC+ in baseball. Did you ever think you’d see that in mid-June with this team?
- Joe Maddon doesn’t believe the hitters are dealing with mechanical issues so much as struggling with big moments and swinging at the right pitches (CSN). There’s some support in the data for that, as the Cubs have the 8th highest rate swinging outside the strike zone, and only the 13th highest rate swinging inside the strike zone.
- Kris Bryant said after yesterday’s game that this is the lowest point for the team since he’s been up (Tribune). It sure feels like he’s right.
- What’s difficult is the desire to “DO SOMETHING!” at a time when, upon truly reviewing all realistically available avenues, there is not something to do but wait and hope that a well-constructed roster full of talented players turns things around. Sure, the coaches are, I’m sure, working with the players. But at some level, the players are the players, and they’re either going to start succeeding or they are not. Tinkering – or making major changes – just for the sake of it in mid-June would not be my recommended approach.
- A portable power station is a Deal of the Day at Amazon in case you want to do some preppin’.