Let's Talk About the Losing Streak and Other Bullets

Social Navigation

Let’s Talk About the Losing Streak and Other Bullets

Analysis and Commentary, Chicago Cubs News, Cubs Minor Leagues and Prospects

wrigley scoreboard featureI’m headed to Chicago later today for games this weekend – specifically, if you’re there tomorrow in the bleachers, stop by right field (in the corner by the LED board) and look for the guy in the blue BN shirt and the blue/yellow shoes – but you shouldn’t notice too much of a slow down in the recent insane posting volume.

  • Correlation does not always implicate causation. Since trading Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel on Friday night, the Chicago Cubs have lost every game they’ve played. Being that the losing streak followed a really nice spate of games for the Cubs makes it all the more easy to say that the trade, and its deleterious clubhouse and rotation effects, have caused the Cubs to go on a losing streak. To be sure, the Cubs did have a rough pitching outing on Saturday (in place of Samardzija) and a so-so outing last night (in place of Hammel), so there’s a little something to the performance side. On the clubhouse side, I’m not so presumptuous as to say that I can tell you there was absolutely no subtle, latent, psychological impact of the trade that, by layers of extension – this affecting that, which affects this, which affects that – impacted other players’ performances. I’m sure it was tough to deal with the trade. But I’m also sure the players would tell you it didn’t affect their performance.
  • So, here’s the thing about the losing streak: six-game losing streaks happen. And when a team with a talent deficit loses six in a row following a stretch where they arguably won more games than they “should” have, we would usually just call that expected regression. That is to say, sometimes there isn’t a convenient boogyman. Over a 162-game season, a lot of things can happen, and losing streaks are among those things. Is there always a singular cause for those streaks? Nah. Is The Big Trade the cause of this losing streak? Nah. Maybe it didn’t help the Cubs win any games over the past week, but a thousand little things all came together to generate the outcomes of these six games. Because that’s what baseball is: the compilation of a thousand small events into one game outcome. As humans, I understand that we want a “story” to glom onto, but sometimes shit just happens.
  • Writing for BP, Harry Pavlidis takes a magnificently deep look at Jake Arrieta’s evolution over the years, complete with charts and pictures and videos and words.
  • Rick Renteria was ejected for the 5th time this season last night (Cubs.com). He was arguing a fair/foul call, but, really, he was arguing to protect his player, Luis Valbuena, who felt like he got the short end of the stick.
  • With his 20th homer last night, Anthony Rizzo became the first Cub in nearly 10 years to have at least 20 before the All-Star break (Derrek Lee had 27 in 2005*). Much more on Rizzo soon.
  • Rizzo to Patrick Mooney about the influx of talent over the past couple years, and looking ahead to the future: “It’s about time we start contending.”
  • The big free agent contracts of the offseason? Not doing so well. We should remind ourselves of these things each November.
  • The big Landmarks Commission hearing on Wrigley Field is today at 12:45pm CT. Stay tuned.
  • Billy Beane writes an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal about the leveling of baseball analysis, with outsiders looking more and more like insiders. It’s a great read, and it immediately makes me think about the Kevin Goldsteins and Mike Fasts and Tom Tangos who’ve leveraged this new era of baseball analytics and scouting (together with their own superior intelligence/talent/hard work/etc.) into jobs in baseball. In Tango’s case, that’s a consulting gig with the Cubs, which was among the less-discussed, but deeply awesome early indicators about this front office. If outsiders are becoming less “outside,” as Beane indicates, then it becomes increasingly valuable to plumb the outsider ranks for talent.
  • Presented without comment (save for a nod to recent Cubs trade deadlines):


  • Masahiro Tanaka is officially on the DL now with “right elbow inflammation,” and that is pending those MRI results. As discussed yesterday, that could be an enormous story. Wonder if the Yankees will act quickly.
  • The Cubs will be doing the 1960s when they return to Wrigley Field tomorrow.
  • Neuro-scouting, anyone?
  • Keep making those (tax deductible!) donations to Make-A-Wish to get us to our Blogathon goal, and to make some kids’ wishes come true:


Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.