The Rundown: Cubs Big-Game Hangovers, Javy Okay, Maples Debuts

The Cubs exploded for 14 runs Saturday afternoon against the Braves, which could mean only one thing: utter offensive failure on Sunday. I mean, that’s how this thing is supposed to work, right? Every time the Cubs have a big game they follow it up with a stinker. Or at least that’s what we’ve kind of been conditioned to believe.

But is that really the case?

The Cubs have scored in double-digits 15 times on the season, averaging just over 13 runs per game in those contests. And outside of that super-crazy game against the Reds in which they stormed back from a nine-run deficit, the Cubs have won every one of those. What would you guess their record is in the subsequent games and how many runs do you think they’ve scored on average in them?

If you guessed 6-9 with 4.07 runs/game, you are correct. If I’m being honest, that’s a lot nicer than I had actually thought it’d be. And if you look at their last eight “hangover” games, the Cubs are 4-4 and are scoring 4.35 runs/game. So where is this stigma coming from? And why am I asking so many questions?

Perhaps the most interesting little nugget is that the Boys in Blue (or gray, or white with blue pinstripes) have scored four or more runs in nine of the games that follow double-digit outputs. They’ve scored three runs once and have not had a game in which they scored two runs. Which brings us to the real boogeyman here, the fact that they’ve laid two goose eggs and have notched a single tally twice more.

And like monsters under your bed or things that go bump in the night, our fear and anxiety comes from the projection of greater importance onto these entirely arbitrary events. While I suppose there could be something to be said for the Cubs resting on their laurels following these big games, thereby leading to them taking it easy and putting forth disappointing efforts the next day, that just doesn’t hold water.

The reality is that the anemic production simply stands out in sharper contrast to what we witnessed the previous game, thereby making it look that much worse. Would you even bat an eye if the Cubs scored five runs one game and then only four the next? Of course not, but those are their average outputs in terms of their overall runs scored versus the aforementioned hangover games.

My job isn’t to tell you how to fan, so by all means, continue with the hand-wringing when they have a slow offensive game. It sucks and it’s frustrating as all get out and I understand that. My goal here was simply to look at the evidence and see if there was really anything to the idea that the Cubs always suck after a big offensive output.

Javy avoids serious injury

I feared the worst when Javy slid headfirst into Ozzie Albies’ knee at second base, knocking his helmet and sunglasses askew and leaving Baez prone in the dirt. Then when he sat up and shook his head as if to clear it, my fears grew. But he stayed in the game, so I took a breath.

The dying ember of dread was then reignited when Baez, back out to play short for the top of the following inning, began playing with his glove and squinting. He finally signaled for the trainer and was escorted from the field with what appeared to me to be an unsure gait, almost as though he was dizzy. Everything about it screamed, “Concussion.”

Thankfully, we learned after the game that Javy was not in the concussion protocol and that he had suffered a bout of blurred vision as the result of an eye contusion. His vision cleared after he was removed from the game, but he went to Northwestern to be checked out just the same. All was well, just precautionary stuff.

That’s super good news since not only is Addison Russell still out for another three weeks or so, but the primary backup to El Mago at this point is Mike Freeman.

*whispers: Who’s Mike Freeman*
*Googles “Mike Freeman Cubs,” sees Cubs Insider post he wrote Thursday, sighs*

So yeah, it’s entirely possible that the new guy gets a start to open the Pirates series, but Javy will be back very soon.

Maples debuts

The much-anticipated debut of backwards-pitching flame-thrower Dillon Maples did not disappoint. It didn’t really light anyone’s hair on fire either, but certainly not bad for a guy who began the season in high-A Myrtle Beach. Maples displayed a fastball that touched 99 and a nasty slider that has more bite than sweep.

It’s the slide-piece that Maples pitches off of for the most part, hence the “backwards” stuff. It’s likely that the adrenaline of that first appearance got the better of him for a bit there, but just look at what this breaking ball does when it’s right.

It’ll be interesting to see how Joe Maddon continues to deploy the righty and how Maples adjusts to this level. As Len and JD explained on the broadcast, there are so many different factors involved that it’s entirely possible Maples will get better results with the Cubs, particularly when it comes to the walks.

You’ve got catchers who can better frame your pitches, umpires who are more used to the kind of velocity and movement they’re seeing (for the most part, anyway), and so on. And if this young man can continue to do for the Cubs what he’s done for three of their affiliates this season, the sky’s the limit.

More news and notes

  • Reports say that the Marlins’ new ownership group, led by Derek Jeter, is looking to slash payroll costs. Could that mean a Giancarlo Stanton trade this winter?
  • The Cardinals have been calling up a lot of young guys as their vets get hurt or are traded away. It’s kind of like what the Cubs did a couple years ago, only late in the season instead of early.
  • Lucas Giolito looks like the real deal for the White Sox after his second consecutive quality start.
Back to top button