Dirty Dozen, As Bad As They've Been in a Century, Wrigley Celebration and Cubs HOF, and Other Cubs Bullets

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Dirty Dozen, As Bad As They’ve Been in a Century, Wrigley Celebration and Cubs HOF, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

The tabs on my computer are out of control. I was approaching 50 open tabs (thank goodness for Tiny Suspender in Chrome or my computer wouldn’t function), and yes, I know that’s ridiculous. It’s just hard to go through them, because so many are like, “Yeah, I know I want to watch that video at some point, just not right now.”

•   The Cubs now have the 5th most losses in baseball at 69, which may or may not be nice, depending on your perspective. Because they’ve played more games than most, though, the Cubs have only the 8th worst record. Importantly, they have built a 6.5-game buffer between themselves and the 11th worst record, which is where you get bumped back an extra spot in the draft because of the Mets’ comp pick at number 11. The Cubs are a game and a half “behind” the Nationals for the 5th spot, which is as high as they can realistically climb.

•   … well, I mean, I guess I shouldn’t rule out anything after 12 straight losses. The Cubs are now just two games away from their record:

•   Because that 14-game losing streak came at the very start of the season, it is always going to hold in my mind as worse than any other 14-game losing streak – if one happens again in my lifetime (or, say, in the next two days). That losing streak in 1997 ended the season. Immediately. The entire year was over within two and a half weeks. This losing streak? Meh. The die was already cast on the 2021 Cubs long before they actually started losing these 12+ in a row. I think this one would have to get to, like, 18 or so before I’d be open to the idea that it’s “worse” than the 1997 opener.

•   The Cubs are part of history in a terrible, terrible year:

•   During the current losing streak, the Cubs’ bats have actually been only slightly worse than their season numbers (though those were not great to begin with). It’s been the pitching that has been an absolute disaster:

•   Note that, while there were obviously some arms traded (Kimbrel, Tepera, Chafin, Williams), that’s not exclusively been where the pitching has fallen apart. It’s been guys who were already here, as well as a lot of bullpen arms that you would’ve wanted to see come up for a look. Even a guy like Kyle Hendricks, who has had a down year overall, has been particularly rough lately – there was his blowup start last time out, and his 4.67 ERA since June 28. There’s a whole lot going wrong with the team right now.

•   Speaking of which, the Legend of Frank Schwindel has obscured it a bit, but the other older corner infielder who was an early-season delight has been in a very rough patch. In his last 11 games, Patrick Wisdom is hitting just .150/.209/.325 with a 44.2% K rate. The game demands constant adjustments and readjustments, and that might be the case here. I should also create some allowance for the fact that, in those 11 games, Wisdom faced the Brewers, White Sox, and Marlins, all of whom can throw some particularly dominant pitchers at you.

•   Speaking of the rough pitching, one of the worst offenders is no longer with the Cubs, and instead will be pitching in a playoff race for the Padres. Jake Arrieta is starting for the Padres tomorrow at Coors Field.

•   One more woof for the road – this was BEFORE the Cubs lost by 9 runs last night:

•   The Cubs are doing some kind of ceremony and dedication at the now completely-renovated Wrigley Field this Thursday, though all they’ve sent out is this teaser video:

•   Jon Greenberg adds more color here at The Athletic, with the most important news thing being the announcement of a long-requested Cubs Hall of Fame at the ballpark. I’m not quite sure why the Cubs aren’t announcing this more widely – Greenberg says it was an announcement yesterday, but I haven’t seen it beyond that video tease, which is pretty limited – but I suppose I could take a guess. When your team has been torn down at the Trade Deadline, and then is in the middle of a 12-game losing streak, it’s not exactly the best time to shout from the Ricketts-owned rooftops that you’re going to celebrate the renovation of the ballpark. Or, let me say that another way, you’re not going to get a lot of love for it at this particular moment in time, fair or not.

•   As for beefing about the Wrigley renovation dedication, my main thoughts are (1) this was apparently planned and scheduled for last year, but the pandemic squashed that, so the timing appears to be more bad luck than anything; and (2) is this really that big of a deal? Here’s the part I saw most people griping about:

•   Tone deaf? Eliding over the part where the renovations are designed primarily to generate more revenue (in part by preserving a cash cow ballpark)? Sure, sure. But Wrigley Field really was falling apart, and this renovation project really did preserve it for decades to come. So there is SOMETHING there, and if that means the Ricketts Family wants a plaque to commemorate their involvement in that process? I just really can’t get myself too worked up about it. I think if people step back and examine their reaction, they’ll realize that the plaque just isn’t a big deal, and they’re mostly pissed off about everything else going on with the Cubs (and this, as a gratuitous thing, just fuels the fire that was already burning for them). So, in other words, like I said at the Trade Deadline: I don’t much have a problem with people who are pissed off about the last few years and the direction of the Cubs. Fan however you want. But if you are asking *ME* to get pissed off, specifically, about the Wrigley Field stuff? I’m sorry. I just don’t have it. My range of reaction on pretty much all things Wrigley for the last 10 years have spanned “I don’t really care about that” to “oh I actually really like that addition.”

•   Willson and Adbert are able to play catch, at least:

•   For obvious reasons, the Cubs will be cautious in the returns of these two players, as much as I’m sure THEY want to be back ASAP.

•   Cole Hamels, signed recently by the Dodgers to a $1 million deal, felt pain in his shoulder while working his first two-inning simulated game, and has been shut down for the year. So he will have pitched no innings for the Dodgers after all that buildup of him finally coming back and contributing down the stretch for one lucky team. That sucks. Good for him that he got some extra scratch out of the deal, but he’ll now have thrown just 3.1 innings total in the last two years. He’s 37, so maybe he can still come back? But it doesn’t sound good when it’s the shoulder and it’s so immediate like that.

•   Surge protectors, battery backups, power tools, and more are your Deals of the Day at Amazon. #ad

•   Nothing but respect and kudos to Joey Votto for notching career hit 2,000 last night:

•   Our friends at Obvious Shirts will now be partnered up with the South Bend Cubs:

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Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.