The Rundown: Cubs Snap 5-Game Losing Streak, Maddon Looking for Some Magic, Donnie Dewees with a Big Night in Eugene

With Tuesday night’s 1-0 win, the Cubs have won five straight against the Mets (including a four-game sweep back in May).

Hard to find anything negative in that factoid, but it sure would be nice to see some offense from the Cubs. The win snapped a five-game losing streak in which the Cubs scored a total of six runs. Their most recent win was a 1-0 score as well.

Big hits with runners in scoring position have been hard to come by, and the Cubs haven’t hit a home run since Kris Bryant’s two-homer game on June 22.

I’m not particularly worried, however. I think the offense will come back around eventually.

Luckily, the Cubs didn’t need more than one run on Tuesday. Kyle Hendricks had his best start in over a month, tossing six scoreless innings and giving up only three hits. And the trio of Hector Rondon, Pedro Strop and Jason Motte shut the door without giving up a hit over the final three innings.

The Mets’ Jon Niese, whom the Cubs have reportedly talked about in a potential trade, went seven innings, giving up just the one run on four hits.

Bartolo Colon will be on the mound tonight for the Mets. Will we finally see the offensive breakout we’ve been waiting for?

Magic in the air

Before last night’s game, the Cubs closed off the clubhouse, and the beat writers were giddy on Twitter trying to guess why. Most wondered if Joe Maddon would bring a bunch of random zoo animals into the clubhouse, as he did once while managing the Rays. They really wanted it to be zoo animals:

Alas, it wasn’t zoo animals — it was Simon the magician. (Don’t worry, I’ll spare you the magic puns.)

The whole incident sounds a bit goofy, but it appears that the players got a kick out of it. This quote from Lester gave me a chuckle:

Over the weekend, I wrote that if there was one person I’d trust to turn around the Cubs’ struggles, it would be Joe Maddon. The magician demonstration is a great example of this.

The Cubs lose five in a row, but instead of panicking or railing about the struggles at the plate, he has some fun with the team, loosens everyone up.

Remember his mantra from shortly after he was hired as Cubs manager?

“Don’t ever permit the pressure to exceed the pleasure.”

So Maddon hires a magician and the Cubs snap their longest losing streak of the season, despite scoring only one run. It may not have been magic, but it was a good move.

Other notes

* Jorge Soler remains hitless during his rehab assignment in Triple-A after going 0-for-4 yesterday with two strikeouts. His timing at the plate isn’t quite there yet, Iowa manager Marty Pevey told Tommy Birch. Meanwhile, Kyle Schwarber went 1-for-4 with an RBI double.

* Second-round pick Donnie Dewees went 3-for-5 with three doubles for the Eugene Emeralds last night. Should be an interesting bat to watch this year, as many people saw him as a first-round talent. Eloy Jimenez added his first home run of the season.


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