The Rundown: Cubs Swept by White Sox, Stretch Run Feels Like Ultramarathon, Rizzo Hits COVID IL, Holt Makes History
“I wish I looked before I leaped, I didn’t know it was so deep. Been down so far I don’t get wet, I haven’t touched the bottom yet.” – The Monkees, Goin’ Down
The Cubs would select 10th overall in next year’s draft if the season ended today, but those who fear underachievement need not worry. Our heroes still have 49 games left in the season and after getting swept by the White Sox, they get the Brewers for four starting tonight at the Friendly Confines. With series against the Marlins, Royals, Rockies, and Twins coming up this month, Chicago has a real chance to jump into the top five if they continue to play like the team that has gone 2-8 since the trade deadline.
Thank you, Tom Ricketts. Thank you, Jed Hoyer.
Sox pitchers punched out a total of 45 Cubs batters over the three games this weekend with Carlos Rodón striking out 11 on Saturday and former prospect Dylan Cease silencing 10 batters last night in a 9-3 win for the South Siders. I think it’s safe to assume those high strikeout totals were not the fault of the players Hoyer traded away. Heck, the team’s current 2-6 hitters struck out 13 times last night. It was as ugly to watch as it sounds. If the Cubs continue to play .200 baseball — not a stretch considering the team’s less-than-replacement-level roster — the North Siders will end the season with a 62-100 record. Two months ago, they were in first place.
If the Cubs intend to be competitive next year, as both Hoyer and his boss have indicated, it’s difficult to see how that’s possible. A roster overhaul and big expenditures in free agency would be necessary, something that seems contrary to the moves Chicago has made since trading Yu Darvish over the winter. That said, criticizing the team’s top-level executives has become as dull as dishwater. All we can do is bide our time until some of the premium minor leaguers reach the bigs.
For the second day in a row, @Cubs No. 7 prospect Alexander Canario has crushed a long homer for the @SBCubs. pic.twitter.com/HIrqy2j3kO
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) August 8, 2021
That starts with Justin Steele, who will take the bump tomorrow night. The lefty has been impressive at Iowa while being stretched out as a starter and could be the first of the next core of impact Cubs. Brennen Davis has been tearing it up in Tennessee and new arrival Alexander Canario is mashing for South Bend. Both have similar paths to Chicago and could arrive late next season, or certainly in 2023. Ed Howard, Pete Crow-Armstrong, Kevin Alcantara, and Cristian Hernandez will likely arrive the season after that.
As far as pitchers are concerned, Brailyn Márquez, Caleb Kilian, and Jordan Wicks should join Steele and Adbert Alzolay in the rotation over the next two seasons. In the meantime, we can expect mediocre-to-poor baseball from the Cubs during this Great Reset. We’ve been here before, know what to expect, and have no choice but to wait for the better days ahead.
Cubs News & Notes
- Steele is confident and believes he’s ready to join the rotation.
- The Cubs will go to a six-man rotation once Steele is recalled. With the playoffs out of the question, the team wants to limit innings for the rest of the staff.
- Last night’s nationally televised broadcast coronated the White Sox as Chicago’s number one baseball team.
- Rodón could be someone the Cubs target in free agency after this season.
- White Sox players believe that Cubs’ reliever Codi Heuer has a very high ceiling, possibly as a closer. “He knows that he’s better than everyone out there,” Aaron Bummer said. “And that’s not to say that it’s cocky or it’s too much, but he’s an extremely confident human. He’s got the stuff that can put anybody away.”
- Kris Bryant refuted the claim by Hoyer that the team truly tried to extend him, but harbors no ill will toward the organization.
- Anthony Rizzo tested positive for COVID-19 and will not be returning to Chicago when the Yankees play the White Sox.
- The Cubs were one of seven teams that failed to reach the 85% threshold for fully vaccinated Tier 1 employees needed to relax MLB’s coronavirus protocols, which Hoyer has said put them at a “competitive disadvantage.” The Yankees met the 85% threshold but have had two outbreaks.
- The Cubs may be difficult to watch right now, but there are some intriguing players who will be part of the bigger picture in the near future.
Odds & Sods
Brock Holt is not Nolan Ryan, but how many Cubs’ hitters do you think he’d strike out?
Brock Holt, Grenade Throw Mechanics. ☄️🔥 @PitchingNinja pic.twitter.com/xzYbEAJ4Ur
— Codify, Inc. (@CodifyBaseball) August 8, 2021
Climbing the Ladder
“Now they’ve darkened all the windows and the seats are Naugahyde. I’ve been waiting for an hour, I can’t find a place to hide.” – The Monkees, Randy Scouse Git
- Games Played: 113
- Total Plate Appearances: 4,150
- Total Strikeouts: 1,094
- Strikeout Rate: 26.4%
- Team Batting Average: .227
There sure were a lot of White Sox fans at Wrigley Field last night, and it was tough to watch.
How About That!
The Phillies have won eight straight to seize first place in the NL East over the slumping Mets, and Bryce Harper is garnering consideration for NL MVP.
Marlins outfielder Lewis Brinson was a target of racial slurs in Colorado. The Rockies say they are investigating the incident.
A video of the incident has been viewed more than three million times.
White Sox phenom Luis Robert is expected to rejoin the team today after missing three months due to a torn hip flexor.
The Padres reportedly made a push to acquire Trea Turner from the Nationals at the deadline. Turner went to the Dodgers in the trade that also sent Max Scherzer to Los Angeles.
The Reds have won 10 of their last 12 games and are now just 2.5 games out of a playoff berth.
A Dodgers ball girl took down an idiot who ran onto the field.
Sunday’s Three Stars
- C.J. Cron – The Colorado first baseman was 2-for-4 with two home runs, including a grand slam, and seven RBI as the surging Rockies defeated the Marlins 13-8. Colorado is 7-3 since the deadline.
- Eloy Jiménez – The former Cubs’ farmhand sure loves to remind us all what Theo Epstein traded away. Last night Jiménez was 3-for-5 with two home runs and five RBI.
- Brett Phillips – The Rays centerfielder also had a two-tater, five-RBI night.
It’s Field of Dreams Week and Iowa has a much stronger connection to the 1919 White Sox than just the movie.
This week, @MLB heads to Iowa for the first time to play at @fodmoviesite — and while you may hear Shoeless Joe Jackson's name come up a lot on @MLBONFOX, you won't hear much about the Des Moines gamblers who fixed the 1919 World Series. https://t.co/rk6HmfxC48 #BlackSox100 1/x pic.twitter.com/iOLjsIZgLS
— Jacob Pomrenke (@buckweaver) August 9, 2021
They Said It
- “I feel like I’m ready. I’ve done it out of the bullpen. Now that I’m stretched out, I’m showing that I can do it over multiple innings, so yeah, I’d say I’m ready.” – Justin Steele
- “I feel like we have to take four steps to get any sort of national recognition while our crosstown rivals just have to put together one game and they’ll get on it.” – Liam Hendricks
- “I have the same emotional reaction that a lot of the fans did. Frankly, if I didn’t see the big picture, I probably would have sent myself a nasty email.” – Tom Ricketts
Monday Walk-Up Song
Pleasant Valley Sunday by the Monkees. If you found a better way to enjoy your summer Sunday evening instead of watching baseball, you’re the big winner.