Annoying losses after ugly losses after an off-day before another off-day. Not good. There will be a lot of breathing today.
- In any given one-run loss, there are invariably 10 things to which you could point and say THAT’s the thing that caused the loss. And that’s true for last night’s game, too, so anything that follows should not be mistaken for me saying the decisions made in the 7th inning were exclusively the reason the Cubs lost. And, moreover, even if the decisions had been different, we can’t say the outcome wouldn’t have been the same 1-0 loss.
- However. Having Javy Baez bunt against a lefty, with Anthony Rizzo on third base, and a runner on first with nobody out in the 7th inning was a managerial mistake. I think Joe Maddon is a great manager, and I think he often makes in-game decisions that prove to be quite savvy even as folks question them in the moment. This one? I thought it was crazy in the moment, and I’m angry about it in hindsight. Here’s the play:
- Just let Baez swing there. A double play scores a run. A strikeout leaves the tying run still at third base. A screwup on the bunt? And you very well may lose the game because of it. It was too cute in that particular situation, especially when you consider that Andrew Miller has not been ANDREW MILLER this year. Baez had tripled off him just the night before.
- Maddon’s explanation for the bunt was basically that it was a potential strikeout situation, Baez is a good bunter, and Maddon had talked to Baez about the idea and he was into it.
- (Of the bunt, Miller added this (Cubs.com): “Playing against Joe Maddon when he was in Tampa, it used to be a thing where it was almost automatic. You were prepared for it if you were in that situation. You know it’s a possibility.”
- Then, with two outs in the inning and two runners on base, Maddon allowed Jason Heyward to bat against Miller, despite having Albert Almora and Ben Zobrist available on the bench. Heyward, who is hitting .143/.226/.143 against lefties this year. That’s a 6 wRC+. Heyward is 94% worse than the average big league hitter against lefties this year. And he was allowed to take the most critical two-out at bat in the game, and ground out harmlessly to first. That’s tough to accept.
- Also tough to accept: the Cubs scored just one run (an Ian Happ solo homer after the game was already out of hand) in these two games against the Indians. Joe Maddon can’t carry the blame for that. And the pitching last night deserves a lot of credit for doing all they could to help the Cubs win.
- The Cubs are now down to a woeful .222/.330/.321 slash line with runners in scoring position, good for a 74 wRC+, fourth worst in baseball. And now for the real kick in the grapes: the Brewers have actually been worse (72), but are 12 games over .500 and 4.0 games ahead of the Cubs. BASEBALL! CATCH THE DISEASE!
- If the Cubs were indeed scouting Rolison, he’s projected to go right around where the Cubs will be picking in the first round (24):
- Meanwhile, in St. Louis, this led to Marcell Ozuna getting scratched:
Cardinals confirm Ozuna overslept, missed report time. #stlcards
— Derrick Goold (@dgoold) May 23, 2018
- Javy bein’ Javy:
“They still need help.” @javy23baez welcomed several families to Wrigley that were affected by Hurricane Maria. These families are being hosted by Chicago families w/PR ties. Javy chatted, took pics & signed baseballs for the group-all part of his “Los Magos” initiative. pic.twitter.com/QqiVKt0ofm
— Kelly Crull (@Kelly_Crull) May 23, 2018
- Another PED suspension, and this time it’s a former Cub:
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) May 24, 2018
- Castillo had some very good years with the Cubs, though his receiving skills never quite came along in time for him to lock down a job before the Cubs moved on to Miguel Montero and David Ross.
- Great set of Deals of the Day at Amazon today, including a cheap air fryer, phone cases, an espresso maker, and more.