Pitcher Tandems and Versatility, Nico and Seiya, Nice Prospect Stuff, and Other Cubs Bullets

The Cubs have now lost 12 of their last 16 games, and however small the margins are for most of these losses, it’s a dang spiral. They have to figure out some way to pull out of it soon, or thoughts of making impactful addition moves in July are going to become irrational.

  • Ben Brown’s outing was defined mostly by two bad curveballs that stayed up and got taken out of the park. Neither was absolutely obliterated, mind you, but a belt-high curveball near the middle of the zone is the kind of pitch that gets pulled with authority and easily leaves the park even when not destroyed. It’s a particularly dangerous pitch against lefties – both guys were supposed to see it low and away (back-door attempts), and both guys instead got it served on a platter.
  • That said, Brown and Jordan Wicks combined for a 7.1-inning, 4 ER start, on just 6 H and 2 BB. That’s not terrible. It is enough to win if the bats are doing anything.
  • Speaking of which, hey, nice to see Wicks back and healthy after the forearm injury. He was sitting near 95 mph with the fastball, so I think he was feeling good.
  • I love this quote from Wicks (via Cubs.com) about how he, Brown, and Hayden Wesneski have had to adjust to pitching as starters and relievers this year at the big league level: “We call it the Javier Assad method. You try to be as effective out of the ‘pen as you are starting, because it is not easy. But I think the beauty of being able to do that, especially as young guys, is hopefully to give us some flexibility as a team and to give them the ability to do whatever it is they want to do to try and help us win games.” The respect there for what Assad has accomplished. I love it.
  • I don’t know if it’s possible for Yan Gomes to turn a corner on offense at this point, but he did hit three line drives last night. As we’ve discussed, getting ANYTHING at all from him and Miguel Amaya would be a huge boost to the offense.
  • Speaking of the offense, it’s not going to be great if the Cubs have to play shorthanded – minus BOTH Nico Hoerner and Seiya Suzuki for much longer – but it’s all day-to-day stuff:
  • Another highlight-filled night for the Iowa Cubs, who are doing their best to make up for the disappointment taking place at the big league level. In last night’s win, the I-Cubs got two homers from Alexander Canario:
  • And B.J. Murray Jr. got the walk-off hit:
  • More prospect fun:
  • One more for good measure: Cristian Hernández, 20, had a three-hit night (two doubles), and his season line is up to .301/.417/.415/147 wRC+. He’s repeating the level, you’d like to see more slug, and the line is largely BABIP driven … but that’s a whole lot of productivity. He’s still relatively young, his walk/strikeout rates are great, the power is increasing as the year goes on (in a brutal home ballpark for power), and we know the physical talent is substantial. Yes, Hernández got lapped by Jefferson Rojas, but that doesn’t mean he’s off the radar. He’s very likely to get the bump to High-A South Bend at some point this summer, and it’ll be very interesting to see how he looks.
  • 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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