All the Ugliness You Can Fit Into One Game, Smyly and Garcia Throw, and Other Bullets

No I will NOT apologize for wrapping my Raisin’ Cane’s chicken fingers in napkins to soak up the excess grease. They taste the same and I don’t need that extra grease, dang it!

  • There’s no shying away from a couple realities about last night’s game: it was a loss head-to-head against the team bearing down on the Cubs in the division (bad), it was full of inexcusable mistakes and self-immolation (bad). But I do want to remind folks about the very good, very long stretch of baseball that preceded these last two games:
  • Before this stretch started, the Cubs’ lead in the Central had shrunk to 0 games. They were tied atop the standings at the end of July, so to be up 3.0 games now is not so bad, right?
  • Also, the Cubs have now played 15 of the games in this brutal 23-straight-game stretch (with rough travel), and they’ve won 10 of those games. That’s not so bad either, right? Yes, it unquestionably sucks that two of the five losses (so far) came against the Brewers, but it is also true that the Brewers are kinda good. So you might expect SOME of that.
  • JUST. DON’T. GET. SWEPT.
  • (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

  • As for whether fatigue has played a part in these last two losses, Joe Maddon doesn’t think so (and he usually does concede it when he sees it): “No, I honestly don’t [think they’re tired],” Maddon told Cubs.com about their long trip. “The vibe’s good. Miley caught up to us today. He pitched really well. Last night, we had the game and gave it up late. Today, they just beat us and we got out-pitched.”
  • On that last part, yes, I’ll tip my cap to a resurgent Wade Miley, who developed a cutter and has been dominating this year in a legit way. Good for him. Good for the Brewers. Blah blah blah.
  • Lefties Drew Smyly (currently on 60-day DL) and Jaime Garcia (just added to 40-man roster) both threw live BP yesterday and generally impressed the coaching staff. (Cubs.com) Garcia figures to see time in relief this month so the Cubs can determine what he’s got for the postseason, though he’ll probably have to impress right out of the gate in relief. For all his struggles this year with Toronto, Garcia was still quite good against lefties.
  • Tricky stuff, indeed:
  • The Cubs are not only trying to win games right now. They are also trying to determine which seven or MAYBE eight relievers they would want to carry in the NLDS. Realistically, could you see enough from Smyly to have him bouncing another reliever in that situation? Let’s say the answer is yes; how many outings would that take? Four? Five? Six? Sure, there’s enough time left in the season for him to get those innings if he gets regular work like an integral part of the bullpen … but you can’t know if he’s ready for that until you just throw him into the fire at a time when the Cubs are, again, trying to win games. Would you be willing to risk even a single game to see what he’s got? If not, and you say that you’d try him out in low-leverage first … well, OK, but then how much is that telling you about what he could do in October? I’m just not sure there’s going to be enough time to do anything other than maybe get him a token inning or two. And if that’s all there is, maybe it’s not worth activating him and costing someone else a 40-man roster spot.
  • Belts, Thermos containers, networking supplies, and more are your Deals of the Day today at Amazon.
  • written by

    Brett Taylor is the Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and on LinkedIn here. Brett is also the founder of Bleacher Nation, which opened up shop in 2008 as an independent blog about the Chicago Cubs. Later growing to incorporate coverage of other Chicago sports, Bleacher Nation is now one of the largest regional sports blogs on the web.

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