What is Happening, Hosmer's Role, Suzuki's Slump, Taillon's Night, Left on Base, and Other Cubs Bullets

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What is Happening, Hosmer’s Role, Suzuki’s Slump, Taillon’s Night, Left on Base, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

Just win the series finale tonight, Cubs. Please. With the off-day coming tomorrow, I cannot carry the energy of another loss – a sweep at home by the rival Cardinals, who came into the series with the worst record in the NL – all the way to Friday.

  • The Cubs are 5-12 since Drew Smyly’s near perfect game, when the positive energy was at its zenith. It’s been almost straight downhill since then. About two and a half weeks of awful. Not so much that you can’t turn it around, but definitely enough to make you feel miserable.
  • David Ross, understandably, just tries to put on the steady face:
  • I still think David Ross is probably an excellent clubhouse manager, a people manager, and has done a lot to help put many of these players in a position to succeed. I don’t even have a beef with most of his in-game decisions. (I didn’t, for example, have a problem with Javier Assad coming back out for the 9th last night, given that he’s a starting pitcher who was barely over 50 pitches at the time.)
  • My beef with those comments is the same as my beef with so much of the roster and playing time and lineup decisions that’ve been made over the last few weeks – you want to say that balls aren’t falling in for you right now and that you’re leaving some traffic on the bases, but you’re still rostering Eric Hosmer AND DH’ing him AND batting him 6th! That isn’t just on Ross, of course.
  • By expected wOBA – i.e., an evaluation of the quality of his contact plus walks and strikeouts – Hosmer is the second worst hitter in all of baseball this year. WHAT ARE YOU DOING. Why is he getting these DH starts, and why is he still on the roster? I have no doubt that Hosmer is a great guy in the clubhouse and a good leader for a number of these young players. But there obviously comes a point where the negative impact on the game results is more costly than the clubhouse upside is beneficial. That point has to have been reached by now. The Cubs have given Hosmer a month and a half and nearly 100 plate appearances to show that he was suddenly not the guy he has been over the last five years. It didn’t happen.
  • Seiya Suzuki’s struggles at the plate are making me so sad, because he just looks like the definition of a guy who is caught in-between right now, and so he finds himself up there guessing. He took a couple walks last night and had the one very deep fly out, but he also kept doing the check swing thing on very hittable pitches. Guys get out of this. We’ve seen it many, many times before. Suzuki just needs that comfort and confidence in the box to return – I’m not sure if it comes from getting better reads on pitches out of the hand, or getting something right with his mechanics/timing (which in turn improves discipline), or something else. I am still a believer, and I acknowledge the lack of a Spring Training. But he needs to get right quickly for this offense to be at its best. His bat is too important.
  • This is how it looked to me watching Jameson Taillon last night, so I’m kinda glad to hear it’s how he feels, too (Tribune): “I mean, results-wise, I don’t love where I was obviously,” Taillon said. “But physically I do feel healthy and strong and I feel like all my pitch shapes and stuff are fine. So kind of a tale of two stories: physically good, results-wise obviously we’d like to change that.” Taillon is still getting stretched back out – no rehab appearances – from his groin injury. He is healthy, his pitches DO look good, and he’s now up to 70ish pitches. My hope is that we’ll see a normal Taillon next time out. Long-term, I’m not worried.
  • We probably aren’t talking enough about how the Cubs lost by two runs in a game where they walked in two runners. Nothing to do with that information, but boy is it annoying.
  • Of course, it felt like last night’s loss was mostly about the failures with runners on base. Again. No surprise after the last few weeks, but the Cubs lead baseball in runners left on base:
  • Arguably, it’s not THAT bad to lead the league there – it means you’re getting lots of runners on base! the Blue Jays are up there, too, for example – but in the Cubs’ case, if that number were, say, about 10 runners fewer, they’d have won about five more games …
  • That’s kinda funny:
  • The Tennessee Smokies turned a triple-play last night:
  • Good lord, the zip he gets on this throw from that body positioning is ridiculous:
  • Just a mammoth home run:
  • I guess we’ll see if this becomes the new plan for the A’s:

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.