The Trade Deadline Blogathon is HAPPENING this year, and the Cubs are obviously going to give us a lot to cover (party like it’s 2014!). Please read the full announcement here, and please give to Make-A-Wish here.
• With loss number 11 last night, the Cubs are now on the precipice of tying that 2012 streak, which was the nadir of the rebuild. Not that you expect any team to lose 12 in a row, but that 2012 Cubs team was certainly constructed to, uh, not really emphasize winning. This year’s Cubs? Compare the actual talent on the field, and the fact that they’ve lost 11 in a row is really incredible.
• The only question now? Do you desperately want the streak to end every day, or has it gotten so big that now you darkly want to see them not only tie the 2012 streak tonight, but break the organization’s “record” streak of 14 games from the 1997 season? That streak, by the way, opened the 1997 season, so it was particularly rough. You knew the season was OVER within the first three weeks of the year. At least this year we got a few months. Oh, also, that 1997 team was followed by the 1998 team that made the postseason, so clearly, things are all good for the 2022 club.
• To stop the streak tonight, the Cubs will either have to get such a dominant outing from Alec Mills that they can last into the Phillies’ rough bullpen, or will have to score some runs off of Zach Wheeler, a top five pitcher in baseball this year. They did score three on Aaron Nola last night, so maybe!
• By the way, thanks to the Cubs’ hot earlier part of the season and the TRULY TERRIBLE bottom of the league, it’s still borderline impossible for the Cubs to actually fall into the bottom five records this year. So this is quickly becoming a worst of the worst situation.
• All right. There will be plenty of negativity to go around today (we’ll get into Jake Arrieta shortly), so let me go with something positive. Javy Báez is just on crazy fire following that long stretch where he appeared to be just taking pitches to take pitches. I mean … did it somehow work? Because the last three games, it’s not just that he’s getting results, it’s that he LOOKS like a different batter up there. Tracking pitches perfectly through the zone, or out of it. Sure, he still has some swing and miss, but he doesn’t look like he has no clue up there. To the contrary, it looks like he has a TREMENDOUS clue. If you haven’t been watching – can’t blame you! – then you might not quite know what I’m talking about. But just picture Joey Votto up there, watching pitches back into the catcher’s glove, and you can just tell you’re never going to fool him with a borderline pitch – he’ll only swing when he really thinks he can do damage with a pitch, or when he has to because there are two strikes and it’s in the strike zone. That’s what Báez looks like the last three days. Haven’t seen him look like this since 2018, to be honest. Now, it’s only three games, so I’m not saying it means there’s some long-term permanent change happening. But it’s just been so impressive against so many different pitchers.
• Also, he hit two more monster homers last night, which of course is also nice:
• This was before Robinson Chirinos’s homer, so this micro-bad streak within the bigger bad streak is actually up to 69:
The Cubs have hit 68 homers in a row that were either a solo or two-run shot (including Javy's two blasts tonight). It's the longest streak in franchise history without a three-run homer or grand slam, per team historian Ed Hartig.
— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) July 7, 2021
• Speaking of the Chirinos dinger, it was a SHOT. It was actually fun because it was his first homer as a Cub, and it came 21 years after he originally signed with the organization:
• With that blast, Chirinos has now been worth more than the other five back-up catchers combined. Of course, that was true before he even put on the gear, since the five other back-ups combined to be worth -0.9 WAR.
• Anthony Rizzo in a weird whiffy funk:
Since 2016, Anthony Rizzo has struck out three or more times in a game twice in a season just once — in May and September of 2017. The May game was 18 innings. He's struck out three times in a game twice in the last five days.
— Sahadev Sharma (@sahadevsharma) July 7, 2021
• Random, but hey, Randy Wells was pretty darn good for a couple years:
In 2012, the Cubs turned to Randy Wells to stop a 12 game losing streak. Tonight, the Cubs hope Alec Mills can stop their longest skid since that 12 gamer. pic.twitter.com/TmIjgSfPNH
— Daily Random Cub (@DailyRandomCub) July 7, 2021
• As for the whole crew that was there for the last 11/12-game losing streak:
The lineups the last time the Cubs had an L11… pic.twitter.com/pntaTeUYNb
— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) July 7, 2021
• Billy Hamilton can fly and slip-and-slide:
— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) July 7, 2021