The Rundown: Cubs Struggling Away From Home, Brach Bombs in Colorado, Báez and Contreras Lead All-Star Voting

Brad Brach is just not easy on the eyes. As soon as I saw the reliever warming up in Colorado yesterday, I felt that the Cubs were signaling that they had already surrendered to the Rockies, and Brach proved me correct. The Cubs trailed 3-1 when he entered the game and were down 8-1 just two outs later.

Brach seems like he has good stuff and he was getting ahead of Colorado’s hitters last night, but he failed to close out almost all of them. His ERA now sits at an unsightly 6.39 with an even scarier 2.01 WHIP. Worst of all, he immediately seems to remove any chance of winning or even keeping the game close whenever he pitches. Including last night’s putrid performance, Brach has now given up eight runs on eight hits in one full inning pitched against the Rockies this season. That’s a 72.00 ERA if you’re keeping score at home.

I don’t even think Brach would be able to get Daniel Descalso out. Yes, it was another banner free agent offseason for the North Siders. Wouldn’t the Cubs be better off with Dillon Maples and Ian Happ on the roster instead of those two aging veterans?

The loss aside, the Cubs continue to look like a team that needs more than just Craig Kimbrel to have a shot at winning the division. The team’s starters have performed admirably, but losses like this will wear any staff down, and at some point, the relievers are going to have to find ways to protect leads or keep games close.

Yesterday’s 10-3 loss means the Cubs are now 0-2 to start this seven-game road trip and are losers of their last five road games. They’re 13-18 on the road overall, including their current 3-10 road skid, and will close out the series in Colorado today before going to Los Angeles for a four-game set against the Dodgers. This has all the makings of the worst road trip of the Joe Maddon era.

Cubs News & Notes

  • Jason Heyward hit his 10th home run of the season last night. That’s two more than he hit all of last season.

How About That!

Rangers’ outfielder Hunter Pence hit one of the quirkiest inside-the-park home runs you will ever see. Pence has a 134 OPS+ and is a leading candidate for Comeback Player of the Year.

David Ortiz is in stable condition after a second surgery yesterday for his gunshot wound.

Starter Chris Archer continues to struggle since joining the Pirates last July. Last night he gave up five home runs against the Braves, with four of those coming in one inning.

Eloy Jiménez hit another long home run last night. His bomb against the Nationals traveled 462 feet as the White Sox beat Washington 7-5. It was his first home run at home this season.

Rookie outfielder and DH Yordan Álvarez became the first Astros hitter to homer in his first two games in the big leagues.

The Rangers may be interested in controllable starting pitching leading up to the trade deadline. They also may be in the market for bullpen reinforcements, per Jon Morosi.

Check out this catch by Yankees’ outfielder Brett Gardner.

Tuesday’s Three Stars

  1. Brian McCann – The veteran catcher was 2-for-4 last night with four RBI. Both of his hits left the yard.
  2. Max Muncy – The infielder was 2-for-4 last night with two homers as well in the Dodgers’ 5-3 loss to the Angels.
  3. Yasmani Grandal – The Brewers backstop deserves All-Star consideration this season. Last night he hit his 14th home run and had four RBI, going 3-for-5 at the plate. Grandal is slugging .544 on the year and has reached base 38% of the time.

On Deck

Some Dodgers stats, per ESPN’s Buster Olney:

  • Dodgers’ offense: .805 OPS (3rd-best in the majors)
  • Rotation: 2.73 (2nd)
  • Defensive Runs Saved: 75 (1st)
  • Bullpen: 4.42 ERA (18th)

Extra Innings

The Giants really don’t have a single player who is All-Star worthy this season. League rules state that every team must be represented in the mid-summer exhibition game. Buster Posey is the only San Francisco player to rank in the top 10 at any position, but the injured catcher (right hamstring strain) has almost no chance of overcoming Contreras for a starting nod as the fourth-year Cubs veteran has already received 850,613 votes. Posey has just shy of 80,000 votes. Will Smith is 14-14 in save opportunities, but could be traded before the break.

They Said It

  • “It’s frustrating. Something I’ve been working on all week, to execute pitches, then I go out there and put up another stinker. It’s not fun…I’m not throwing the ball where I need to. Frankly, it’s embarrassing. It’s just going out there and just giving up line drive after line drive. It’s just not good..I think the most frustrating part is I feel like I’ve had some of the best stuff, in the last three weeks, and it’s been the worst results probably in my whole career.”Brad Brach

Wednesday Walk Up Song

Easy to Be Hard by Three Dog Night. The Cubs really need a win today.

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