Last night’s 5-4 loss to the Reds was one of those games that felt like nothing would go the Cubs’ way.
It’s a little strange, but with the pitching performing so well lately, four runs sounds like a lot.
But the Reds hit three home runs to the Cubs’ none. That was the difference.
Clayton Richard got the start and was OK. He went 5.2 innings, giving up three earned runs. Unfortunately, the Cubs’ bullpen couldn’t hold it down.
Soriano makes debut
RHP Rafael Soriano pitched the 9th inning yesterday after being called up from Triple-A before the game.
It was only one appearance, but I wasn’t blown away by what I saw. Soriano managed to escape the inning without surrendering a run, but he looked shaky.
It’s still early, but he didn’t look like a guy who saved 32 games a year ago.
A Neil Ramirez sighting
To me, the Soriano signing is a roll of the dice that will hopefully pay off for the Cubs. I don’t expect a ton from him, so his appearance last night doesn’t exactly have me panicking.
However, one piece of the bullpen that is starting to worry me is Neil Ramirez. I had been wondering why we haven’t seen him much lately.
Well, last night was probably a good indication why.
Ramirez gave up a lead-off triple and a hard grounder to short that Starlin Castro was able to keep on the infield without allowing the run to score. Ramirez then retired Jason Bourgeois on a hard-hit line drive to Addison Russell at second — and that was the end of his night.
Ramirez clearly looks different from what we saw from him last season. His stuff doesn’t seem quite as electric. I really hope he can regain the magic. And fast.
Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips last night made one of the best plays you’ll see.
It was a huge play. With two outs and runners at first and second in the 7th inning, Jorge Soler hit a shot up the middle, but was robbed. Well, see for yourself:
* Great to see Dexter Fowler start to get back on track. On Monday, Fowler reached base four times and has now walked seven times in four games since the All-Star break. The offensive floodgates haven’t opened yet for the Cubs in the second half, but having Dexter firing on all cylinders can only help.
* Javier Baez could be back at Iowa in 2 1/2 to 3 weeks, Tommy Birch wrote over the weekend. Hurry back, Javy. It would be so much nicer to have Baez coming off the bench late in a game, whereas last night Jonathan Herrera came up in a crucial spot. Herrera has actually been pretty good as of late, but I’ll take my chances with Javy.
* A report from Bob Nightengale says that the Tigers likely will be putting ace David Price and outfielder Yoenis Cespedes on the trade block. This would certainly make things more interesting for buyers, as both free-agents-to-be could make a huge impact for any team. I still don’t see the Cubs going after a top player at the deadline. I think they will be much more likely to go after Price once he hits free agency.
* So with the Cubs wanting to add a starting pitcher to help round out the rotation, what are their options? Nightengale says the pitchers with the highest likelihood of being traded include the Reds’ Johnny Cueto and Mike Leake, the Phillies’ Cole Hamels, the Padres’ James Shields, Jeff Samardzija of the White Sox, Scott Kazmir of the A’s, and the Rangers’ Yovani Gallardo.
* I think the Cubs will be more likely to target someone from Nightengale’s secondary list: Dan Haren and Mat Latos of the Miami Marlins, the Brewers’ Kyle Lohse and Matt Garza, Ian Kennedy from the Padres, and the Phillies’ Aaron Harang. There are a lot of options out there, and the addition of Price makes things really interesting. I have no idea what the Cubs will do, but a starting pitcher acquisition is very likely.