You never know when the bridge falls apart. Brewers sweep doubleheader 6-5, 3-2.

You never know when the bridge falls apart. Brewers sweep doubleheader 6-5, 3-2.

As a baseball fan, if you can step back and look at it, you have to appreciate the randomness and wild unpredictability that is baseball. But as a Cub fan, it is pound your glass on the bar so hard you pull shards of glass out of your face infuriating to watch this club come off a series so fun and impressive as the Giants and turn around and gift wrap 3 games to the struggling, lame, and bad Brewers. Yet that's what happened. And it happened twice. Following an all-too-familiar script. Sporadic offense with missed opportunities which trusted a lead to a tired spotty bullpen. And the Bullpen going all fat kid at the spelling bee and letting the game run down their leg. The Cubs looked to be in full control in the first game. A five run fifth which featured 4 clutch two out RBI hits by Darwin Barney, Wellington Castillo, Carlos Villanueva, and David Dejesus gave the Cubs a 5-2 lead. But a tired Carlos Villanueva let on two in the seventh, and when Dale Sveum asked James Russell to make his 148th trip to the mound this year, the result was a 3 run homer by Khris Davis. The Cubs appealed the play on the grounds that someone who who spells Khris with a K and an H shouldn't be allowed to do anything, but that appeal was overturned. A couple batters later, Jean Segura doubled home the ever annoying Norichika Aoki and that was pretty much that. In the second game, the Cubs once again employed a "just score runs in one inning" approach, getting two runs on a gapper by Kim Dejesus' husband. But the Save-Bot couldn't nail down the victory as he couldn't overcome a double speak strike zone of Umpire Jim Wolf and watched as the would be 5th out went off of Starlin Castro's glove and into left field for the winning RBI's. Double shot of ice for the Cubs and their fans. Gimme a glazed doughnut and a bottle of anything....to go.

ARIETA, GENTILLE ARIETA. ARIETA JE TE PLUMARAI

Today marked the debut of Jake Arieta, acquired for Scott FELDMAN!!!!!! earlier this month. There's enough to be excited about. What hits you right off the bat is the easy gas Arieta throws. Jake was mid 90's without really throwing that hard. Reminded me a lot of Cashner. He also has a sharp breaking ball which he seems a little more hesitant to throw as his control of it is....well....not very. His fastball could also use a heaping help of movement as it is very straight. Hey one run on two hits over 6 innings is great. But this was a last place Brewer lineup resting three of its better players. Still some things to work on.  Villanueva was fine starting the first game, but tired in the 7th as swing pitchers who go from starter to reliever to starter tend to do.

QUIT BEATING THAT DEAD HORSE. I NEED IT TO PITCH THIS INNING.

You hate to use something as tired and blasé as "It is what it is" to describe the Cubs bullpen. But  here we are. I could recite Everyday Jimmy's over use and talk about how righties are hitting over .400 with RISP against Russell. But Russell has earned Dale's trust, he's the only pitcher to do so and Dale's simply going to use him. Gregg had a ton of misfortune in the second game. The Ump  had some Cybill issues. defense let him down. But, the closer is judged in pretty black and white terms. And Gregg blew the lead.....so black. You can say that Castro should have caught that last ball. In fact, YOU SHOULD say that Castro should have caught the ball. But why were we looking at bases loaded against this team. Why would you ever throw a ball against them?

SWINGING THE BAT UNTI IT GOES CLIQUE!!!!!!!!

So while Russell, and Gregg were making GM's around th league say "yikes" one player that might have raised some eyebrows was David Dejesus. Dejesus has played enough since coming back from injury to show that he's healthy. And he plays that gritty all-around game that would mesh well with post season ball. But he does WANT to be here. And if traded, Epstoyer will have to replace him in the off season via free agency. Are you sure you can find a veteran as solid as DDJ who wants to be here at a contract as reasonable as his?  Sure you're sure? That better be one hell of a prospect.

How did we get back here? The Cubs were seven games under .500 on a roll with a goal of .500 almost a reasonable goal. And this was an awful Brewer team rocked by PED suspension that can't win on the road. And they've won 3 in less than 30 hours.I need a shower just thinking about it. Anyway, Multiple Ed - Edwin jackson takes the bump tomorrow trying to avoid the sweep. He takes on Wily Peralta- Suuuuuper Genius! Jackson has been pitching really well of late. But, YET AGAIN, starting pitching hasn't been this team's problem.  Ahhhhhhh.... OK, back to the Schierholtz rumors. And onwards.

Boxscore 1

 

Boxscore 2

 

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  • I hope Kim DeJesus hubby stays with the Cubs, the guy puts up a consistent professional AB every time up and Lord knows this team needs someone to set an example for what plate discipline looks like. And more Jake Arrieta please... let's see what he can do against the Reds or Cards

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    David Dejesus and Nate Schierholtz: there's your comprehensive list of Cub regulars hitting above .250 with runners in scoring position. Starlin Castro's hitting exactly .250 in those situations, and there's another steep drop-off after him too. Rizzo, Lake, Barney, Castillo, and Rizzo are all .222 or worse.

    As a team, the Cubs are dead last in MLB in that category as well, hitting .225.

  • Yeah..... Ouch. Not a too good.
    Rizzo especially. He's suppose to be the three hitter.

    I think Rowson/Sceum have made some inroads in terms of approach. This isn't a hacktastic bunch of strikeoutees. But the results could, and should be better....

  • Sveum. I meant. Sveum. It's late. Goodnight.

  • I have previously questioned and was shot down by some, but how long do the Cubs persist with Sveum and Rowson while our BAs and BAs with RISP plummet?

    Had we hired MIke Maddux as manager we would have expected him to positively influence the pitchers at MLB level at the very least. Why is nobody calling out Sveum for this with poor BA?

    Don't get me wrong, I'm actually glad we lost as it pulls us closer to a better draft position and a protected pick next year.

    Where we have improved recently has been again in the main down to good pitching and until very recently an improved bullpen.

    The batters we have seem largely incapable of playing small ball, it is homerun or very little else despite the improved number of pitches per at-bat.

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    In reply to Hustlelikereed:

    You don't teach hitting with runners in scoring position. Some players may be more clutch than others, depending on how they handle pressure, but these stats tend to even out. Of course, a weak-hitting team like the Cubs is not going to be stellar hitting with RISP.

  • Gregory - I have to disagree... every player is coachable. Yes you are not going to turn Castillo into Pudge or VMart but there is some improvement which could and should be expected from every player with a good batting coach.

    At the elite level players should not be too much worse with RISP than their normal batting average. It could almost be said that there are more gaps to hit into with RISP (certainly with a man on first also) than with the bases empty.

  • I watched the implosion known as game 1, didn't get to see game 2. I was hoping to see Arrieta. If Bosio & Co are able to "fix" him, we raped BAL on the Feldman deal. Though it's probably a case where both teams benefited by the trade, we will certainly be much much better off, assuming he makes the necessary adjustments.

    Felz was spot on in that Jake throws "easy gas". But he usually gets arm side run on it (doesn't sound like that was the case last night). He also has a nice "Downward plane" which generates lots of ground balls and he can typically command it to both sides of the plate against boht LH & RH hitters.

    He's a bit too much of an east to west pitcher for my liking. Struggles with control and consistency of all of his pitches. Especially that 11-5 Curveball (though I've seen MLB batters jump out of the box only to watch it dive into the dirt on the opposite side of home plate). The other thing that really bothers me is when he struggles or has a runner on base - he tends to slow things way down ala E-Jax and circles the mound twice for every pitch thrown... He's also very easy to steal on so Beef's defensive #'s will dip with Jake on the mound. Still, he has the makings of a #3 power pitcher with upside depending on consistency. Just curious what everyone else saw in him and do you think he earned a spot now or is it back to Iowa until 9/1?

  • Strop Russell and Gregg. Ouch. Three best in Cubs bullpen just gave up 11 runs in 3 innings. Can we petition Selig to move out of NL Central.

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    Trying to find a positive... How about Arrieta's first cubs start? I always tell my sox fan roommate that he overrates Nate Jones because despite his velocity, his fastball is straight as an arrow and batter's get to see the ball throughout the delivery. Do we expect the cubs coaching staff to tinker with his grip to add some run or sink, or will the first goal be command, then maybe work on movement down the road?

  • After these last 3 games I'm beginning to worry a little bit about Castro again.

    He's done very little hitting in this series (and the last series) and that is worrisome to me going forward, since we all have annointed him one of the building blocks for the future.

    At this point it looks to be more than just a slump. It looks like he is still having trouble making the adjustments to his hitting approach.
    Hopefully, he can turn it around before the end of the season.

  • In reply to DetroitCubFan:

    Yes, it's worrisome. I'm not seeing any offensive progress this year. Bad on-base skills and no power and suspect defense. I thought our up the middle core of Castillo, Castro and Barney would carry us this year but all three have serious flaws that keep them from being core players to build around.

  • Let's call it what it is at the moment - the plan is not coming together and I believe that in the next year or so, 2 of the 3 middle core players will be replaced or moved off their current position.

    This is not the building blocks needed to carry the team to the next level.

    For the record (again), I am not one who stands firmly in the Castro camp. I think he is not the answer as the Cub SS.

  • In reply to JK1969:

    "The plan is not coming together"?
    The Plan is indeed coming together, with each trade, draft, signing, and transaction. Look at where we are vs. two years ago, or one year ago.
    (Yes, we know you are not in the Castro camp, you make that clear with almost every post. I disagree with your take. However, what you or I think about Castro has no effect on his value, or on what the FO thinks of him.)
    I have the utmost confidence that, every day, the FO is making us into longterm contenders.

  • my feeling on Castro is he is what he is erratic on defense and a hacker at bat. Don't see him getting better under Sveum. He has shown he can hit 300 with a free swinging approach but has trouble with the Cub way.of grinding at bats.

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