That’s 12 losses in a row, tying the longest streak from back in 2012. The Cubs are just a couple losses away from their record 14-game losing streak, so, you know, SOMETHING TO WATCH FOR!
What gets very challenging here in this space – no complaints from me, just context – is when so many of the losses are like tonight’s: a joke. There’s nothing compelling about an absolute shit-kicking, and there’s really not much interesting to say about it. I’ll talk about Justin Steele’s outing, of course, because that *IS* interesting. But the game, itself? The loss? Meh. Whatever, man. Laugh if you want to laugh, and that would be my personal recommendation. Or maybe the five-run 8th Fake Rally gives you something to enjoy. That’s fine, too, if that’s your thing.
OK. To the one interesting thing. It was a fascinating outing for Justin Steele, particularly when juxtaposed against his first start. In that one, against the Brewers, Steele was clearly going for early contact, pounding the zone with sinkers and sliders (and he was getting groundballs like crazy early on, but then the Brewers started elevating). This time, he was hunting strikeouts, working the four-seamer up in the zone, and the slider down and out of the zone. He hardly threw any sinkers, and worked at the edges of the zone all night. He was in trouble repeatedly – not all of his own doing, there were some flukey hits – and kept getting out of it with strikeouts. He got a nice 13 whiffs on 82 pitches, and had a 32% called-strike-plus-whiff rate (CSW). That’s good.
The flip side is that he gave up the two-run homer to Jonathan India on a really bad pitch down the pipe, and worked such busy innings that he lasted just 4.0. Still, it was hard not to be impressed by some of the big time pitches he made for strikeouts when there was traffic on the bases. Much like his first start, I came away from this one thinking, yeah, I can see the potential for a big league starting pitcher here (and I can see why he already can have so much success in relief).
Anyway, the game and the losing streak continue their assault on our fandom …