Competing with the Best, Stroman's Uncharacteristic (But Historic) Outing, Rotation Ahead, Sticky Stuff, and Other Cubs Bullets

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Competing with the Best, Stroman’s Uncharacteristic (But Historic) Outing, Rotation Ahead, Sticky Stuff, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

With every new episode of ‘Succession,’ I feel more and more somber that the show is ending this year. It’s like the few great athletes who TRULY go out on top, seemingly knowing full well that they have many more productive years ahead of them if they wanted.

  • I think there are a number of ways to think about that Dodgers series, almost so you can reverse engineer your feelings. You could frame it as the Cubs’ first series loss since the very first series of the year. Or you could say that a 3-1 series loss is worse than a 2-1 series loss. You could chunk the recent stretch of games and say the Cubs went 6-4 against the Dodgers and A’s, with 7 of those games coming against the Dodgers. Or you could say went 3-4 against the Dodgers.
  • That last one is probably how I’d do it, because it feels like the most accurate summation of what those twin series were: the Cubs were clearly competitive with the Dodgers – these are not two rosters that are in totally different universes (anymore) – but the Dodgers did just a bit more to win. So taking the seven-game set by a game sounds about right. I don’t feel great about it, but I also don’t feel particularly bad about it. There isn’t much time to feel bad anyway, as the Cubs now have the Padres – another supposed-to-be-juggernaut that hasn’t quite clicked yet – coming to town on Tuesday.
  • Speaking of that series, the Cubs are indeed using today’s off-day to skip the Jameson Taillon spot in the rotation. So it’ll be Justin Steele, Drew Smyly, and Hayden Wesneski for the Padres series. Marcus Stroman figures to then go on Friday, at which point the Cubs would finally need another starter on Saturday. That spot is still TBA, though we know it can’t be Javier Assad (unless he comes back up replacing someone who is going on the IL, he cannot return for 15 days from the date he was optioned).
  • Having been nearly perfect through his first four starts (and with a streak of quality starts that went back into last season), it was only a matter of time before Marcus Stroman had a rough outing. The Dodgers gave it to him, primarily by way of three home runs, two of which came in the 6th inning and ended his day and gave up the lead. You have to go all the way back to June 3 of last year for the last time Stroman gave up three homers in a start.
  • Stroman always has the bigger picture attitude in mind:
  • Stroman added that the Cubs came away from the series feeling like they could compete with the Dodgers (Sun-Times): “We know we can compete with them every day. We don’t feel we’re way behind them. We performed well out there, and a few of these past games could have went our way and didn’t. But we’re right there with them. We think we can compete with anyone in the league. There’s no one we’re looking up to. It’s reassuring to know we’re right where we need to be.”
  • Congrats to Stroman, by the way, on notching career strikeout number 1,000 in the game:
  • Not sure yet what to make of this number, save perhaps for the fact that it’s just small sample noise:
  • It’s not as if the Cubs are a lineup of hulking sluggers who swing for the fences even with two strikes; they do a great job of putting the ball in play with two strikes, though, so maybe that’s what is floating their slugging in those situations? Are they particularly good at hitting the ball with authority in two-strike counts, or is this the kind of thing where a few fortuitous doubles could skew the numbers?
  • So, David Cone showed on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball just how sticky you can make rosin, especially if you use rubbing alcohol (as Max Scherzer did, which he said was under the supervision of an MLB official). It becomes incredibly sticky:
  • So the next set of questions will obviously have to do with whether Scherzer honestly thought alcohol was the best way to clean his hands, or whether he knew and intended that it would make his hand even stickier. But I mean, if his fingers felt like what Cone’s look like in that video, how on earth would he think he could pass an inspection? Especially knowing – as we do now – that players were told they couldn’t apply rosin in between innings?
  • Really bad news for the Angels and their young catcher:

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.