Disappointment Abounds, the Play at the Plate, Smyly, Hodge, Alcántara, and Other Cubs Bullets

I got to see a lot of friends yesterday, which felt like a very good use of the holiday weekend. Fill that bucket. Hope you have a chance to do something like that today or tomorrow.

  • The Cubs have now lost 8 of their last 11 games. I wouldn’t say it snuck up on us, because it’s kind of been a miserable two weeks, but it certainly feels like it is teetering on the precipice of something much worse. Getting Sonny Gray tonight won’t help, and hopefully Javier Assad is up to match him. It’s getting harder to stay chill by the day.
  • Craig Counsell isn’t the type to overreact or make grand pronouncements, and he remains rather placid in his reactions to a loss like last night:
  • The play I’ll be thinking about for a while (well, hopefully not, but it’s stuck in there right now), with the Cubs maybe possibly probably winning that game if Seiya Suzuki had just made an average throw, or if Miguel Amaya had pulled off a good tag:
  • Drew Smyly is back – he was officially activated yesterday from the IL, with Jose Cuas being optioned back to Triple-A Iowa in a corresponding move. The best guess is that, with Kyle Hendricks going to the bullpen and Ben Brown kinda in the rotation but not stretched out, Craig Counsell will try to get multiple innings out of Smyly’s appearances until Jordan Wicks is back (or until Brown stretches out).
  • It says a lot, I think, that the Cubs did not do a “last man in, first man out” situation when choosing to option Cuas instead of Porter Hodge. It was impossible not to watch that first Hodge appearance and think about how impactful he could be. I’m glad the Cubs are giving him more of a shot.
  • Pete Crow-Armstrong on his enormous statement moment:
  • Could be one of those extreme hot streaks coming for Kevin Alcántara, who has developed that kind of reputation – he has down stretches, and then when he gets hot, he goes nuclear:
  • Alcántara’s numbers after those brutal first ten days (remember how he started hitless for like a week?), are pretty incredible: .322/.361/.513/164 wRC+, 5.7% BB, 20.5% K, .191 ISO, .376 BABIP. I think you’ll see the BABIP come down a little (though he is the type to run an elevated one thanks to how hard he hits the ball and how well he runs), but I also think you’ll see the ISO and walk rate come up. I am loving that strikeout rate, by the way. Feels like Alcántara is constantly overshadowed by other prospects, but he remains a plus-glove center fielder, who is just 21 and raking at Double-A.
  • This is very cool:
  • So much had to go wrong on the defensive side for this to even have a remote chance to become a thing, but it’s fun that it did:
  • Speaking of wild plays, how about a walk-off steal of home:
  • A much sadder walk-off:
  • written by

    Brett Taylor is the Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and on LinkedIn here. Brett is also the founder of Bleacher Nation, which opened up shop in 2008 as an independent blog about the Chicago Cubs. Later growing to incorporate coverage of other Chicago sports, Bleacher Nation is now one of the largest regional sports blogs on the web.

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