The Rundown: Losing Streak Continues, Arrieta Could Lose Rotation Spot, Báez Hot, Brewers Land Power-Hitting First Baseman
“I was feelin’ so bad so I asked my family doctor just what I had. I said doctor, doctor, Mr. MD, now can you tell me what’s ailin’ me?” – The Young Rascals, Good Lovin’
The Cubs proved last night that even an offensive onslaught can’t prevent a team that is tail spinning out of control from stopping its losing streak. Despite scoring 10 runs, Chicago still lost by five and the streak has now reached an unbelievable 11 straight. One had to be a masochist to continue watching after Jake Arrieta spotted the Phillies a seven-run lead in a game that felt like it was over just as most of the crowd in attendance were taking their seats.
Final: Phillies 15, Cubs 10. pic.twitter.com/CZYORGccrg
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) July 7, 2021
The Cubs had a little comeback in them, though it wasn’t enough. Javier Báez, who really doesn’t want to leave this team, was the team’s star at the plate, going 2-for-4 with two home runs and four RBI, but there was no way the North Siders could undo the mess Arrieta left behind once he hit the showers. He was only 10 pitches into his outing when he gave up the 1st inning grand slam to Andrew McCutchen that helped drive Chicago into the loss column once again.
The former ace, who probably deserves to be released after his second straight start in which he failed to record six outs, has an 8.55 ERA over his last 12 outings. To his credit, Arrieta still believes he can turn things around.
“It’s still there,” Arrieta said of his major-league stuff. “It is.”
David Ross wasn’t exactly in agreement with his starter and wouldn’t fully commit to letting Arrieta make his next scheduled start.
“I’ve got to look at that,” the skipper said when asked after the game. “We’ve got a lot going on. Eleven losses in a row. I think there’s a lot to look at. I’ll wrap my brain around this one tonight and try to attack the problems in the morning.”
If you’re looking for a bright side to yesterday’s loss, a few silver linings popped up from behind the dark clouds. The Cubs were 4-for-6 with runners in scoring position, pounded out 14 hits, and Brad Wieck was excellent while mopping things up, registering four strikeouts in two innings of work while throwing 28-of-39 pitches for strikes.
Perhaps Alec Mills will end the miserable losing streak this evening. Once almost unfathomable, the Cubs are in danger of falling 10 games off the pace of the NL Central-leading Brewers despite leading the division after no-hitting the Dodgers in a combined effort on June 24.
Cubs News & Notes
- The current 11-game losing streak is nearly historical. The organization’s longest losing streak in the modern era is 14, set in 1997 when the Cubs started their season with an 0-14 record.
- According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, one high-ranking baseball executive believes the Red Sox are out on acquiring Craig Kimbrel. The Astros and A’s may be more likely destinations if Jed Hoyer decides to trade his closer.
- Báez is closing in on a Cubs record held by Ryne Sandberg. Báez hit his 20th and 21st home runs of the season, three shy of Sandberg’s mark for most by a Cubs middle infielder before the All-Star break.
- The Cubs activated Trevor Williams from the IL among a number of moves before yesterday’s game. Williams could end up replacing Arrieta in the rotation.
- Before yesterday’s loss, the Cubs’ chances of reaching the playoffs had dropped to 6.3%
- Dee Strange-Gordon has opted out of his minor-league deal with the team.
Odds & Sods
The 1880 Bisons represent some pretty heady company.
The Cubs now tied with the 1880 Buffalo Bisons for second most consecutive losses after throwing a no-hitter. Can tie the 1925 Brooklyn Dodgers tomorrow for that top honor.
— Jesse Rogers (@JesseRogersESPN) July 7, 2021
Climbing the Ladder
“Now when you’re feelin’ low and the fish won’t bite, you need a little bit o’ soul to put you right.” – The Music Explosion, Little Bit O’ Soul
- Games Played: 86
- Total Plate Appearances: 3,144
- Total Strikeouts: 836
- Strikeout Rate: 26.6%
- Team Batting Average: .226
Cubs pinch-hitters helped spark the offense last night, as Jake Marisnick, Rafael Ortega, and Robinson Chirinos combined to go 3-for-3 with a homer, a double, three runs scored, and two RBI.
How About That!
Shohei Ohtani and Ozzie Albies were named AL and NL Players of the Week.
Bryce Harper is disappointed he wasn’t selected to play in the All-Star Game but said he would have opted out anyway.
The Brewers and Blue Jays completed a trade yesterday that will send first baseman Rowdy Tellez to Milwaukee in exchange for reliever Trevor Richards. Do the Brewers really need another .200 hitter? Tellez is eerily reminiscent of Gorman Thomas of the 1982 Harvey’s Wallbangers Brewers.
The Rockies have no intention of trading ace German Márquez at the July 30 deadline.
White Sox outfielder Billy Hamilton made one of the more spectacular catches you’ll ever see.
Trevor Bauer is unlikely to return to the Dodgers after his seven-day paid administrative leave has ended. Caveat Emptor: There are links to recently released pictures in this article that may be offensive or triggering to some individuals.
Aroldis Chapman has a 22.24 ERA since June 10, and Yankees manager Aaron Boone said he may seek other options to close games.
Marlins CEO Derek Jeter and GM Kim Ng believe they have a foundation for success in place.
Giants manager Gabe Kapler sees similarities between Jay-Z, Biggie, and his club’s success.
The bi-partisan Minor League Baseball Relief Act was introduced last week in Congress and could steer some $550 million in COVID relief to dozens of eligible minor league teams. The link includes a form for fans to advocate on behalf of their favorite organization.
Tuesday’s Three Stars
- Bryce Harper – The right fielder led the Phillies attack last night, going 5-for-6 with a home run and four RBI.
- Yordan Álvarez – The Astros continue to be one of baseball’s hottest teams and Álvarez is a big reason why. The left fielder was 3-for-3 with two home runs and five RBI in a 9-3 win over the Athletics. Houston is now 53-33 on the season.
- Javier Báez – El Mago is really heating up and his two-homer, four-RBI night led Chicago’s offense. He has four taters and six unintentional walks in his last eight games.
Other than a better-than-average spin rate, there is nothing here that indicates a tweak or two will right Arrieta. It’s sad to witness opposing hitters just feasting on his pitches.
Arrieta: "I know where my stuff ranks in the game. I watch a lot of baseball and it's still there. It is. This is a tough stretch for us as a team and for me, individually."
Here are Arrieta's ranks via Statcast. pic.twitter.com/WED3896NI6
— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) July 7, 2021
They Said It
- “I’ve seen [Arrieta] at his best. I’ve seen too many good outings to believe this version of him, and maybe that’s me being naive. This guy’s meant so much to the franchise, to me personally, that it’s a hard thing for me to wrap my brain around.” – David Ross
- “There’s no storybook ending that’s just magically going to be written, you know? We have to create that as a group and I have to be a big part of that as an individual. And that’s as simple as I can put it.” – Jake Arrieta
Wednesday Walk-Up Song
Mystic Eyes by Them featuring Van Morrison – From the album The Angry Young Them and perhaps one of the most underrated songs of all time. A little anger or any type of emotion from the Cubs players would be nice to see, frankly.