The Rundown: Neil Ramirez Exits Game After Only 3 Pitches, Avoiding ‘Negative Town’

Last night was going so well.

The Blackhawks had overcome a three-goal deficit, eventually leading to an overtime victory. And the Cubs were well on their way to a stress-less shutout over the Reds.

Then I saw this:

Just great.

With Justin Grimm going on the disabled list late last week and this new development with Neil Ramirez, the depth of the Cubs’ bullpen will certainly be put to the test.

We should have a better idea of the outlook on Ramirez on Friday after he receives an MRI, but things didn’t sound good after last night’s game.

Maybe I should take a page out of Joe Maddon’s book and stay out of “Negative Town,” but I’m having a hard time doing so. After the Grimm injury surfaced, I actually started having worries about Ramirez. Perhaps because I link the two since they came to the Cubs together from the Rangers. And because Ramirez has dealt with arm injuries in the past.

In the meantime, I’m trying to stay positive. The Cubs are in first place. They are winning without Kris Bryant and with a very short bench. They were even able to take two out of three from the Reds, a team the Cubs have struggled mightily with over the past couple years.

Losing Ramirez for an extended period of time would be a definite blow. But this is what happens with bullpens — thankfully the Cubs have options.

Tweaking the lineup

Shortly before last night’s game, the Cubs announced that Arismendy Alcantara and Jonathan Herrera switched positions in the lineup, with Alcantara going to third base and Herrera to second.

A bit strange because of the timing, but then again, this is the kind of thing we’ll probably see quite a bit with Joe Maddon at the helm.

He did say we’d see a rotation among Alcantara, Tommy La Stella and Mike Olt between second and third base, before the latter two were injured.

And speaking of the depleted infield, Welington Castillo was taking grounders at third base and Chris Coghlan at second base before last night’s game, according to Carrie Muskat.

La Stella said he should be ready to go after his 15 days on the DL are up, Mark Gonzales says.

Other notes

* Donn Roach pitched six shutout innings for Triple-A Iowa last night, but the I-Cubs lost 3-2 in 10 innings. Blake Parker blew the save. Kris Bryant was 0-for-3 with a walk and a run scored. Addison Russell went 1-for-5.

* 2014 second-round draft pick Jake Stinnett got the start for the South Bend Cubs last night and gave up eight runs (five earned) on seven walks. He lasted only 2.1 innings.


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