The Rundown: Lester Struggles in Disappointing Loss, Soler to DL, Baxter Up (For Now), Kris Bryant is Rookie of the Month

Last night’s 7-3 loss to the Marlins really stings.

It was an all-around awful game. With ace Jon Lester taking the mound, the Cubs had a chance to take 2 of 3 from a team that has really underperformed this season.

Instead they laid an egg.

Lester gave up six runs on seven hits in only five innings. It was his first lousy outing since probably April, but it sure came at a bad time.

The offense wasn’t much better. Aside from a three-run 6th inning, which included a home run from Junior Lake, the Cubs bats were pretty quiet.

Very, very disappointing to not fare better against a team that’s 10 games under .500 — a similar feeling to the series loss to the Diamondbacks a couple weekends ago.

However, with things looking a bit dreary for the Cubs, I think this is where the Joe Maddon factor comes in. I believe he’ll be able to keep this thing from getting out-of-control bad, and will have the team playing better baseball soon.

If that’s going to happen during the next series, it will have to happen against maybe the best team in the National League, the Washington Nationals.

Soler to DL

Before the rough loss last night, the Cubs got some bad news regarding Jorge Soler.

The rookie outfielder is heading to the disabled list with a left ankle sprain. This was the news we feared after Soler missed Tuesday’s game and went for an MRI.

The injury occurred on Monday, when Soler tried to beat out an infield hit. It sounds like he’ll be out for at least three weeks. Nuts.

To take his place on the roster, the Cubs recalled Mike Baxter, but you have to wonder how long that will last. Javier Baez is cleaning up at Triple-A Iowa, and he played third base there for the first time yesterday.

Adding Baez to this lineup could help make up for the loss of Soler and make me feel better about things.

In the meantime, Junior Lake will be manning right field in Soler’s absence. I’m admittedly not a huge fan of Lake; however, he does appear to have a slightly better approach at the plate this year, and Joe Maddon really seems to like him.

I hope I’m wrong and he ends up being a useful bat. But I’m not ready to declare that as a certainty just yet.

Benches clear

Now that I’ve talked about how I don’t really trust Junior Lake’s bat, I’ll note that he homered yesterday. The home run cut the Marlins’ lead to 6-3, and Lake admired the shot for a bit before flipping his bat and beginning his trot.

As he rounded third base, with the Marlins dugout yelling at him, Lake shushed them. This prompted Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto to say something to Lake as he crossed the plate, and the benches cleared.

After everything settled down, Lake continued to jaw at Marlins ace pitcher Jose Fernandez (keep in mind Fernandez has been on the disabled list all year and isn’t even pitching currently), which was fairly hilarious considering Fernandez caused a bench-clearing incident of his own after hitting his first career home run a couple years ago.

I didn’t think Lake’s initial actions of watching the home run and flipping the bat were that offensive. But he probably shouldn’t have shushed the Marlins dugout or become so heated after crossing home plate.

After the game, he and Joe Maddon addressed the issue:


How about some good news, huh? A number of awards were announced yesterday, with Kyle Schwarber and RHP Ryan Williams being named Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Month (for May).

Additionally, Kris Bryant won NL Rookie of the Month honors. He hit .265/.369/.510 with seven home runs and 22 RBIs.

Bryant has been in a bit of “slump” over the past few games. He broke out of an 0-for-9 streak with a single in the 9th inning last night. I have a feeling he’s about to have some big games coming up.

Also, call it a hunch, but I’m pretty sure a Cub player will win another Rookie of the Month award at some point this year.

Other notes

* In his first game playing third base for Triple-A Iowa, Javier Baez went 1-for-3 with a walk and a strikeout. Arismendy Alcantara was 2-for-4 with a walk.

* For Double-A Tennessee, Kyle Schwarber had a pretty average night — 3-for-4 with a run scored and three RBIs. Dude is ridiculous.

* After being promoted from South Bend straight to Double-A, Cubs Minor League Pitcher of the Month Ryan Williams got the win in his debut start. He went 5.1 innings, giving up three runs and six hits.

* Former Cubs catcher Welington Castillo is already on the move again. He was included in a trade between the Mariners and Diamondbacks. Going to Arizona are Castillo, RHP Dominic Leone and two prospects. Heading back to Seattle are slugger Mark Trumbo and LHP Vidal Nuno. The Diamondbacks were long rumored to be involved with a trade of Castillo when he was part of a three-headed catching monster on the Cubs. They finally got their guy, I guess.


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