Bryant and Rizzo Were “Unable” to Take Swings, Strikeout History, and Other Cubs Bullets
With a normal season schedule happening this year, it’s time to bring back the Blogathon … announcement soon!
• If you needed any confirmation that things are not great with Anthony Rizzo (back) and Kris Bryant (side), the fact that Jose Lobaton was brought in cold off the bench to face Josh Hader in a one-run game, with two-outs in the 9th … well, I mean, that’s as “no, seriously, Rizzo and Bryant were flat-out-completely unavailable” as it gets. Here’s how Ross then described it after the game (NBCSC): “Both of them, sore. Unable to try to take some swings. Both of them didn’t work out real well.” GREAT!
• With Rizzo, we know the issue is the lower back tightness, which is always difficult to predict how long it’ll keep a guy out when he’s otherwise been managing the issue for most of his career (and playing through it, I’m sure, to varying degrees). With Bryant, I’m still not entirely clear on what his injury is. It has been vaguely described as “soreness” in his “side,” and I’m like … are we talking about his oblique? Are we talking about soreness in his oblique? The kind that’s preventing him from swinging the bat without discomfort? Because if so, that’s the kind of situation where you need him to sit down for a while to make sure he doesn’t actually strain the dang thing and miss a month+. As we all know, even mild oblique injuries can wind up creating an enormous range of possible time missed, from a couple weeks to – with Rowan Wick, apparently – a year. Bryant has already struggled badly through an unproductive June, and if the Cubs want any hope at all of making a run in July (or, sorry to say it, trading Bryant at the deadline for anything at all of value), they cannot risk him getting seriously injured. Best hope now is that he misses a little more time, and then comes back strong for the remaining weeks of July to at least give the Cubs some options.
• (I’ve noticed a pre-game pattern with David Ross when it comes to non-IL injuries, by the way, and it’s worth sharing here so that we can all get on the same page: when a guy is dealing with some physical issue and it’s known publicly, and Ross says that he might be available off the bench, the guy is actually probably completely out. Ross says this so as not to give the other team any more information than required – it’s conceivable that a situation would come up where the other team makes Bullpen Move A instead of Bullpen Move B because they think so-and-so is available to pinch hit. So that’s why he keeps the info to himself, and defaults to, yeah, he might be available off the bench. So put that in your back pocket for later – for today’s game, for example – when Ross says Rizzo or Bryant might be available off the bench. Over his time managing the Cubs, 9 times out of 10, that has meant completely unavailable.)
• Not to pick on two plate appearances last night, but frustrating to see each of Ian Happ and Javy Báez strike out late in characteristic ways with so many runners on base. Happ’s strikeout rate is back up to 28.9%, his highest in a few years (and top 15 in baseball if he had enough to qualify). Báez’s strikeout rate is up to 38.1%, his highest since he was a rookie. It is tops in baseball … by a country mile (Michael Taylor is second at 32.6%). That all, by the way, puts Patrick Wisdom’s 40.0% strikeout rate in context, no?
• Speaking of strikeouts, more history for the Cubs:
5 straight games with 12 K is tied for the 2nd-longest streak. The 2010 Diamondbacks did it in 6 games in a row. https://t.co/mhMnvrX6Xl
— Jesse Rogers (@JesseRogersESPN) June 30, 2021
• Meanwhile, Kyle Schwarber homered again yesterday. Yes, again:
Home Runs Since June 12:
Kyle Schwarber – 16
Mets – 16
Tigers – 16
Marlins – 15
Royals – 15
Phillies – 14
Reds – 14
Pirates – 13
Cardinals – 11
Dbacks – 9
White Sox – 8@kschwarb12 // #NATITUDE pic.twitter.com/fdZzZJscqv
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) June 29, 2021
• Outdoor tools, lanterns, and bed linens are all among the Deals of the Day at Amazon. #ad
• The South Bend Cubs are trying to win some deserved plaudits for their park:
• Also me, if I had to face Shohei Ohtani, except there would be a little puddle there at the bottom of my leg shake: