Last night turned out to be everything I hoped would not happen: Another wasted pitching performance due to a lack of offense. Meanwhile, Eloy Jiménez made the most of his opportunity to take advantage of the Cubs’ flailing bullpen. Pedro Strop missed his spot by about 15 inches and Jiménez tattooed a fastball. There’s your ballgame, kids.
THIS IS WHAT YOU'RE MISSING, @Cubs.
Eloy Jimenez off the team that traded him!pic.twitter.com/vzDI52hS8z
— Sporting News MLB (@sn_mlb) June 19, 2019
As I feared yesterday, I woke up to a deluge of what could have been articles infiltrating my inbox, including one from Jon Greenberg of the Athletic that posted so quickly after the game ($) it almost seemed like he willed the White Sox to victory.
Including yesterday’s 3-1 loss, the Cubs have now managed to score just 11 runs in the five games since they plastered the Rockies 10-1 on June 11. That type of feast-or-famine offense has defined this team for the last 20 months. It won’t get any easier tonight as Lucas Giolito will take the mound for the South Siders. He has been just about the hottest pitcher in baseball over the past six weeks.
Yesterday’s highlights were few and far between, but those silver linings do deserve to be mentioned:
- Craig Kimbrel was perfect in his first inning of work for Iowa, needing just eight pitches to get three outs.
- Cole Hamels notched his 2,500th career strikeout, becoming just the 10th lefty in MLB history to reach that historic benchmark.
- Kyle Schwarber continues to excel in the leadoff spot. He blasted a home run on the first pitch of the bottom half of the 1st inning off of Ivan Nova yesterday.
Other than that, it was a crap day all around in Wrigleyville. Hopefully the home team can salvage a split tonight. It ticks me off that I even have to hope for that kind of consolation.
Cubs News & Notes
- The Cubs are in no rush to get Kyle Hendricks off the Injured List and back into their rotation.
- Ryan Thomure provides Occupational Therapy 101 when it comes to explaining the ins and outs of the shoulder impingement that Hendricks is dealing with. He should know, he’s an OT when he’s not writing for CI.
- Schwarber is an unlikely but dangerous leadoff hitter.
- Kris Bryant blames himself for his lack of hustle in the 8th inning of yesterday’s game.
- Current White Sox and former Cubs skipper Rick Renteria should get the chance to lead the South Siders to the World Series, something he was not afforded when the Cubs released him to sign Joe Maddon.
- Here’s this week’s obligatory Cubs article from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. It’s almost as if the Gateway City pretends that Milwaukee doesn’t even exist. Perhaps Cardinals writers get PTSD when they think of Christian Yelich. When your pitchers entitle a slugger to a 1.731 OPS and a 354 OPS+, I suppose PTSD is a real concern.
- You don’t have to read between the lines to surmise that Brandon Morrow has probably thrown his last pitch as a Cub. Morrow has been throwing from 135 feet but Jed Hoyer isn’t buying into any progress the reliever has made from his elbow injury. “With Brandon, we’ve been down this road a few times where he feels good and he has a setback, so I don’t want to be overly optimistic,” Hoyer said. “I don’t want to be pessimistic. This is where he is.”
- Tyler Chatwood will get the start in Thursday’s game against the Mets. Speaking of the Mets series, I will be at the game on Sunday if anybody wants to grab a cocktail or a patented Chicago Cubs Malt Cup before or after. Just let me know.
- Meet the Mets! Meet the Mets! New York is calling up starter Walker Lockett from the minors to pitch against Chatwood on Thursday. If status remains quo (can I say it like that?) Cubs hitters will make Lockett look like a future Hall of Famer. If you just wondered “Walter who?” you are not alone. Oh, sorry. “Walker who?”
How About That!
The White Sox will become the first MLB franchise to extend protective netting from foul pole to foul pole.
Nationals ace Max Scherzer was injured during batting practice yesterday. The starter broke his nose while bunting, but isn’t expected to miss a start. In full disclosure, he’d probably still take the bump in a body cast.
Per Marly Rivera of ESPN, Dominican Attorney General Jean Alain Rodríguez said that he will offer the most recent findings about the investigation on the attempt on David Ortiz’s life in a joint press conference with the Dominican Police later this afternoon in Santo Domingo.
Tuesday’s Three Stars
- Jordan Yamamoto – The Marlins’ rookie hurler blanked the Cardinals with a seven-inning seven strikeout performance for his second career win. He allowed just two hits.
- Charlie Blackmon – Last night the Rockies outfielder became the first player in Colorado franchise history to get at least three hits in five consecutive games. Blackmon has 18 hits over his last five games, one shy of the modern major-league record for most hits over a five-game span, which is held by Jimmy Johnston of the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1923.
- Whit Merrifield – Taking a cue from Tommy La Stella, the diminutive second baseman slugged two home runs with a career-high six RBI as the Royals blanked the Mariners 9-0.
Fan Buzz reported on a 2018 study that indicated which umpires are truly the worst MLB has to offer. One alarming statistic: There were 34,294 pitches incorrectly called during the 2018 MLB season, about 14 per game on average.
“Joe West is one of baseball’s most unpopular home plate umpires and for good reason; West made 21 incorrect calls per game in 2018 despite working over 5,000 games in his career. During Game 4 of last year’s ALDS between the Yankees and Red Sox, veteran umpire Angel Hernandez blew three calls at first base in a four-inning span, all of which were overturned using video replay.”
They Said It
- “[Schwarber] has a better understanding of how he’s going to get pitched. And you see, the at-bats are a lot better. He’s [a] presence. You can’t mess around or it’ll be 1-0 real quick.” – Anthony Rizzo
- “Just gotta be able to take it a pitch at a time and go from there. Keep grinding things out. Things are gonna turn. There’s no doubt. We’ll be fine. We’re gonna figure it out. Don’t worry about it.” – Kyle Schwarber
- “When I signed [with the Cubs], I said I wanted to hit one in Wrigley. Now with the White Sox, it feels really good.” – Eloy Jiménez
“It was good just to get back out there and get the ball in my hand and just go out there and compete and face some competitive hitters. It was a good first step.” – Craig Kimbrel
Wednesday Walk Up Song
Gimme Shelter (from all of the Eloy email, please and thank you) by the Rolling Stones. This version from the is Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 25th Anniversary Concert and features Bono of U2 and Fergie of Black Eyed Peas, and Fergie owns it. By the way, I will be at the Stones show Friday night so hit me up if you’d like to meet for a beer or a patented Chicago Cubs Malt Cup before or after the show.