A Compounding Loss, Contreras the Villain, Suzuki’s Slump, Hoerner’s Hammy, and Other Cubs Bullets
The Chicago Blackhawks won the draft lottery last night, which means they’ll pick first overall in the NHL Draft, and which means they’ll get uber prospect Connor Bedard. Quite a run for Chicago sports lucking their way into transformative top overall picks, eh? Hopefully the Cubs WON’T be in this year’s draft lottery, but if they are, then I guess I hope they win it. Pretty annoyed MLB didn’t rig it for the Cubs last year, to be honest …
- Much in the same way that Sunday’s marathon loss to the Marlins was just “one loss is one loss and they all count the same,” last night’s loss to the Cardinals was just “one loss is one loss and they all count the same.” But it sure didn’t – and still doesn’t – FEEL that way. The Marlins loss feels like a terrible, terrible missed opportunity. And the Cardinals loss feels like a terrible, terrible harbinger.
- To that latter point, my publicly-stated and privately-held fear is that the Cardinals would come to Wrigley Field and get themselves right on the backs of the Cubs. Through one game, their pitching was brilliant (because the Cubs once again could not do diddle with runners in scoring position), and Willson Contreras had a fantastic night. I bet they feel pretty darn good about it, ESPECIALLY at Wrigley Field against the Cubs, and ESPECIALLY after what happened over the weekend. This is the kind of thing that can turn a team around when they have the talent and just need to start playing better. I’m probably being overly dramatic because it’s the Cardinals and because the Cubs have kinda been bad for several weeks now. But I nevertheless feel it in my bones. The next two games are critical.
- As for last night’s loss, it sucks that the Cubs squandered another great start from Marcus Stroman. He has been fantastic this year, and yet the Cubs have done very little with his starts.
- I don’t have a ton more to say about the Willson Contreras part of the game. He embraced the villain role – very well – and had a good game at the plate. You knew that’s how he would be, and it’s part of what we loved about him when he was a Cub.
- “There were a couple of people booing me, and I just love that. When you get booed, that means you’re doing something right,” Contreras said of his hand motions daring fans to bring more boos in his direction, per Cardinals.com. “The boos were kind of an extra boost I got there. At the same time, as I was doing [the hand gestures] I saw that my teammates really responded to it, so I decided to keep doing it.”
- Some of Willson’s pre-game commentary, and the pre-game tribute:
- Seiya Suzuki is now hitting just .259/.330/.353/89 wRC+, including .245/.302/.286/60 wRC+ with runners on base. We’re talking about only 94 plate appearances for a guy who didn’t get a Spring Training, so I can have a little more patience and sympathy, but he isn’t helping the Cubs right now. I don’t know that you *DO* anything about it at the moment, but you hope he shakes things loose sooner rather than later. His bat remains extremely important to the Cubs.
- Let me say loudly that, although I can understand the explanation for not starting Christopher Morel last night – he’d played a full week, including a double-header this weekend, and then had just traveled to Chicago – but it makes zero sense to me why he never made it into that game, especially after Nico Hoerner got hurt. If Morel was totally unavailable, then why the heck call him up yesterday in the first place? Why would you CHOOSE to play short-handed, instead of just waiting a day to officially call him up?
- The timing may prove very fortunate in any case, with Hoerner having to leave last night’s game with hamstring tightness and scheduled to get imaging done today. Losing Hoerner for any length of time right now would be a serious blow.
- If Hoerner goes on the IL today, I wonder if the Cubs would use that to bring back someone who was recently optioned (i.e., Nelson Velazquez or Jeremiah Estrada, who couldn’t otherwise come back yet for several days), or if they’ll just swap him out with Yan Gomes, who could be activated today. If it’s Gomes, then Miguel Amaya would stay up a bit longer as the third catcher.
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- One nice thing:
- Mark Grace’s cycle was 30 years ago today: