I have been vocally down on the season so far, so it’s only fair that I say: this week’s ‘Obi-Wan’ was actually good. I think they finally got to a lot of the things that were the whole reason this series even needed to exist.
In seasons that are still not good, however …
- Maybe I’m way off base on this, but does this year’s 10-game losing streak for the Chicago Cubs feel somehow shorter than the 11-game losing streak(s) (lol, plural) last year? Those ones just felt interminable to me, maybe especially that first one, which locked up the sell-off. This losing streak has just felt … like … ambivalence? Like, just nodding my head and thinking, mmmhmmm, losses, that’s correct, this is normal. I guess it’s probably mostly the product of having now accepted, completely, what this year is.
- The latest sweep put this year’s Cubs in historically bad company (Tribune): “The Cubs’ loss to the Padres on Thursday — completing a four-game sweep — also meant they were outscored by at least 20 runs in back-to-back series for the first time in 143 years, according to Hartig. The last time that happened was in September 1879, when the Providence Grays outscored the Cubs by 20 runs (29-9) and the Boston Braves by 23 (31-8).”
- Get ready for more dubious history today for the Cubs:
- Yesterday, Marcus Stroman (shoulder) played catch for the first time since going on the IL, the outcome of which is TBD. When the Cubs see how he feels, they can figure out a plan for when he gets back on the mound, and then from there they can try to figure out a timeline for his return. Jed Hoyer was uncertain about that timeline (among other timelines!) in his comments yesterday, saying that a Stroman return would be “hopefully weeks” as opposed to months.
- It never made any sense to me that folks were rumoring/speculating about Stroman being traded this year, so, personally, I’m not too worried if the Cubs opt for a slower return on Stroman (assuming he’s not capital-I Injured). By contrast, I’d really like to see Wade Miley and Drew Smyly back for at least a few starts before the Trade Deadline for obvious reasons.
- Speaking of which, Miley is simply in “rest” mode, so there’s no clear timeline on him yet, either. That was expected when an older guy comes back from a shoulder strain and then immediately leaves his very first start feeling the same issue. That means it’s gonna be a long rest. Hopefully he can be back in a month or so.
- As for Smyly, he tells the Sun-Times that he feels good as he ramps up his throwing distance and cardio work, with no lingering soreness in the oblique. His hope is to return before the All-Star break, which would be perfectly fine for getting in several pre-Trade Deadline starts. Guys like Smyly and Miley have trade value every single year, as long as they are healthy at the time of the deadline.
- If you’ve been thinking about a mesh WI-FI system for your house, a heads up that Eero is on a big sale today at Amazon. It’s what I use, and it was pretty transformative for my home internet experience. This is an #ad, but it’s quite true.
- Anthony Rizzo hit a walk-off homer last night for the Yankees (good for him), and I have to admit, this perspective video of the homer and the celebration is pretty freaking awesome:
- Rizzo continues to succeed in his new home, while other old friends Kris Bryant (hasn’t played in a month) and Javy Báez (one of the worst bats in baseball so far this year) aren’t faring nearly as well. Kyle Schwarber, who’s been gone a little longer, is really heating up:
- Gordon Wittenmyer lays into the Cubs and Jed Hoyer here at NBCSC, even as there’s an understanding on why the competitive timeline is now unclear (not a defense of that reality, mind you). Wittenmyer also offered more clarity on something Hoyer said that was a little confusing to me when I first heard it:
Hoyer was asked whether he’s getting questions about the process from his bosses, business president Crane Kenney and chairman Tom Ricketts — who said in an open letter to fans Oct. 15 that “we have the resources necessary to compete in 2022 and beyond, and we will use them.”
“Everyone has questions,” Hoyer said. “I have questions. Rossy has questions. You’d be not paying attention or not doing your job if you didn’t have questions about why we’re struggling in certain areas. They should be asking questions.”
If that sounds like those are questions with heat or accountability attached to the results, maybe not so much, at least not yet.
“I probably said that wrong,” Hoyer said. “I talk to those guys all the time. And of course when you’re losing [you hear] the basic questions we’re all asking: Why are we struggling? What can we do about it? What are we working on? Those are the questions I’m here late at night asking as well.”
- That’s all well and good, but as it relates to ownership and the business side, I think the only questions anyone wants to know about are the ones about financial resources that will or will not be made available to baseball operations this offseason. I’m not just blindly banging the drum for SPENDING JUST TO SPEND, but I want to know that baseball operations is going to have THE ABILITY to do what they think is necessary to turn the corner in 2023.
- I cannot say that left field sucks, but I will always sit in right field if given the choice: