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That...wasn't great: White Sox 3, Cubs 0

That...wasn't great: White Sox 3, Cubs 0

Zero runs.

Let's start with this: this game was not good for the Cubs.

The offense didn't show up and everyone named Travis Wood was pretty not great on the mound (three straight walks?). But let's look at the positives because I don't like negatives. First, Kyle Hendricks was great again. Second, the White Sox throwback uniforms looked to remain in tact tonight. And third, it's a nice night out in Chicago?

White Sox got things going first in this one as Jose Abreu lined a shot to Dexter Fowler scoring Adam Eaton. Sox lead 1-0 after 1.

Cubs had a chance in the top of 2nd. After loading the bases and with 2 outs, Dexter Fowler popped up behind the backstop on a 3-2 count to end the inning. Scoring didn't happen.

Eaton added onto to the score in the bottom of 5th after homering. White Sox lead 2-0.

With the bases loaded in the bottom of the 6th, Wood walked in another run putting up the Sox 3-0.

This was your final score of the game. Plain and simple, the Cubs offense didn't really show up tonight. Let's hope Wrigley bring back some of that magic.


Source: FanGraphs

James Shields isn't good
He's so lucky. Seriously. So many walks. So little runs. I don't get it. It really doesn't make a lot of sense to me. But that's baseball I suppose.

No Cuts
Look at the White Sox jerseys tonight. They were totally in tact. There was no cuts, no shreds, no nothing. Instead they were looking pretty good. I think that may have had something to do with the game tonight. Perhaps the Cubs hitters were looking for a tattered team. They didn't get that. They got a team that freaking shut them out.

I don't like this series
As far as analysis goes, this is terrible. But let me just air my grievances. I hate this series. I hate it so much. I hate it with everything in me. I remember being a kid and being in a crowded bathroom at Wrigley when the Sox where "in town." Sammy Sosa was 0-3 to that point and a guy to the left of me and my dad yelled, "Hey Sammy sucks!" It took everything in me to tell him that, in fact, he didn't suck. He was the best player I could name. But I didn't. I stayed silent and was just mad the rest of the day.

Anyway, I always think of that moment of people yelling stupid things about professional athletes in their own town. I decided at that moment that I didn't like this series. Honestly the Sox are fine. We are all Chicago. But man, people get way into this.

Onto tomorrow I suppose.

Three stars of the game:

Honestly, I'm too upset to create a three stars of the game. The Cubs didn't show up and Adam Eaton had a homer. Whatever. Create your own three stars.

Filed under: Game Recap

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  • I feel the sane way you do Myles. Let's bounce back tomorrow and start playing good baseball again. I gotta feeling we're gonna get a win tomorrow and Strop, Rondon, and Chapman will finish it off.

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    Nuff said.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Ava . if you think Gerald `s postlng is shocking, last wednesday I got a top of the range Lancia Straton after having earned $8326 this-past/month and-also, 10k lass-month . it's by-far the easiest-work Ive had . I actually started 6 months ago and pretty much immediately was bringing in over $85, per/hr .------------------- j­o­b­.­i­n­c­o­m­e­h­i­nts.­org­

  • Hendricks gives up a bloop hit that tips off Rizzo's glove, but gets charged a run out of it cause Wood walked 3 straight.

    ERA can be cruel stat sometimes

  • Myles, how can you say Hendricks was "great again" giving up 3 ER in 5.2 innings? That's a game ERA of 4.77. That is horrible in my book.

    I was unable to see the game tonight, so if I am missing something that went on, then I am not following the talk track of him being great.

    This offense is far from complete. This was discussed a few weeks back and we have too many guys who either aren't finished products, guys struggling, and guys who are done. You can fill in the blanks for yourself but we have anywhere from 3-4 hitters in the daily lineup that just are well below par. This needs to change. Time for guy to step up.

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    In reply to rbrucato:

    He should of had a line of 6 inn 2 runs but Joe thought it was a NL game so he prematurely took him out.

    He didn't pitch great, but he pitched plenty good enough to win. 1 bad inning (limited damage to 1 run in that 1st too) and 1 bad pitch was his night.

    Cubs 12-20 in last 32 games

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    I'm right there with you. The main reason I didn't like giving up Torres for a rental player. Despite what the odds are of the Cubs making the playoff, it is going to take a lot of adjustment for them to do anything significant...

    The Brewers do not possess a great pitching staff, and the Cubs aren't going up against the Sox' best starters. Shields has been about EJax level this season. 4-12 coming into this game. And the Cubs gave him a win and didn't even score a run.

    I nearly stopped watching this team when the Cubs had the bases loaded, no outs against Familia and the Mets and managed to not even get the one run they needed to tie the game. Offense has a loooong ways to go.

  • In reply to cubbie steve:

    Shields has been basically the same James Shields he has always been with the exception of a horrific 4 game stretch that might be among the worst in the history of baseball. Beyond that, same guy.

  • What can we do with J-Hey? Do we have an out after so many years or is it player opt out only, which he would never do at the rate we signed him.

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    In reply to Squareburgers:

    only chance is for him to hate the city or our best chance, he actually turns it around.

    Thats how terrible of a position we are in w him and his contract.

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    I think everyone needs to cool their jets on Jason Heyward. Is he struggling mightily? I mean, yeah of course. I know I'm frustrated watching him ground out weakly and pop up on the infield time and time again. He looks uncomfortably lost up there.
    But this is a guy with a proven track record. It's not some 22 year old who had 1 monster year and got paid because of it. He is going to hit. Maybe he doesn't figure it out at all this year. But he has been too good of a hitter for too long for all of us to say that this 1 terrible three month stretch is who he is now, and the previous 6 years don't matter. Let's give it more that 100 games into an 8 year deal before we write it off as a sunk cost.
    Plus, he might be *the* best defender at his position in MLB. Even if he keeps hitting like this, he's likely going to provide you as many wins as someone like Kyle Schwarber would, just because of how good his defense and base running are.

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    I'm not concerned about his overall performance over the term of his 8-year contract. I'm concerned about his performance THIS year, as the Cubs try to get to the playoffs and beyond. I'm not willing to believe that he'll just magically start hitting. It's long past time for that. I'm interested in what action is being taken to "fix" the problem, rather than patiently waiting for it to fix itself. I don't advocate getting rid of him, but every player should have to justify his place in the starting lineup, eventually.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    You're completely justified in worrying about him THIS year. I think there's a very real possibility that addressing his problems requires an overhaul in the offseason.
    Heyward's justification of his starting spot in the lineup is his defense. Until they get someone like Josh Reddick, who is capable of playing a good corner OF spot while OPSing north of .800, Heyward is the best option. Maybe you drop him down to 8th or 9th (and we could argue about how much of a difference that would really make), but you've got to have his glove and arm on the field.
    The worry from others about the onus of an 8 yr/$180 million dollar deal after 100 games of year 1 is laughably premature.

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    Addi had nice game yesterday. Hit a line shot off a hanging curve ball for a base hit. Drew a walk and had 2 weak contacts but was in twice. He also had couple nice plays in the field

    As far as Jason comments go. You are hyping up his career. He had a very good 2012 but the rest of his career he has been average at best but got paid like a super star. Career average is below average, 701 whiffs compared to 411 walks. Has been in the low teen/mid teen most of career and this year will not make double digit u less he gets hot. He had a nice year last year and got paid.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    His strength is his glove, sure. But he is not just a "glove first OF" with no bat. He is the BEST defender in baseball.
    Career:
    OPS+: 110 (better than 10% of the league)
    OPS: .768
    wOBA: .339
    These all include his dismal 2016. He's been a good hitter. A slugger? Someone you build a lineup around or hope can carry you for a month? No way. But definitely a good hitter. Good enough, with his elite glove, to bank on 6 years of success and not write off his contract when we're like, 7% of the way into it.

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    I agree on his glove. He isn't an elite hitter but got paid like one. Your comment about until he figures it out isn't accurate. Not sure he ever got to the point where he figured it out. He was just an below average to average hitter who can take walks. We need him. But his post season numbers terrible.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    He got paid like a 27 year old who has been top 15 in MLB in WAR since his debut in 2010.
    I just showed you that for his career, he has been an above average hitter. Not elite, but above average.
    Postseason? He has 56 career plate appearances, spread out over 6 years. The more PA he accumulates in the postseason, the more we'll see those numbers creep back up to his career averages.

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    You can find a above average stat about most players in the MLB. If you search hard enough you can find it. But if you look at the stat line it tells you at best he is a average hitter to below average hitter in a hitters position. Even if having his typical year he was over paid. The comment about post season is funny. Guess you could say the same about this season too except he has been brutal in post season.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    I just had 2 comments eaten by the approver/moderator machine. Suffice it to say, I disagree with everything you just said.

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    I am okay with that. His stats speak for themselves. He is struggling in 2016 and has struggled in postseason. Hope he can "figure it out" soon.

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    His stats show he is an above average hitter for his career. He has batted 56 times in the postseason over a 6 year period. The more PA he accumulates, the closer those numbers will creep to his career averages.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    And a BB/K of 411/701 (58.6%) is pretty darn good

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    In reply to Kramerica20:

    He has a proven track record? He's a freaking lifetime .260 hitter. Jason Heyward is all the proof i need that the "WAR" statistic is just another b.s. statistic created by some frickin geek that never actually played the game of baseball. Numerous GM's said that the cubs front office were way overvaluing Jason Heyward and that he wasn't the player the cubs thought he was. Damn were they ever right.

  • In reply to Greg Simmons:

    Completely agree

  • Perhaps the team is out of sorts with how to respond to a great pitcher and equally flawed human bring joining the team.

  • In reply to Skidoorunner:

    Who is the 'great' pitcher?

  • In reply to Skidoorunner:

    I seriously doubt that has any bearing whatsoever on anything.

  • I can't let this pass. The guy made one mistake for which there were no injuries and no charges (read the police report). He snapped momentarily, backed off from his error, accepted blame and paid the price. This is hardly a flawed human being. Shame on you.

  • In reply to veteran:

    I agree. Tired of the sanctimony.

  • In reply to veteran:

    You see where the girlfriend hid in the bushes until police arrived??? Doesn't matter if charged he did the behavior described. That more then a mistake and needing cooling off time. DUI or smoking weed is a mistake. This is much stronger then that. Lots of ppl need more time then 4-5 months and cause we are in a pennant race doesn't make it less of violent behavior.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Ok. If he were a serial killer his flaws would be equal to his pitching abilities. He did not injure the woman. He's sorry. They are still together. At worst he committed the most mitigated offense of this nature. The sanctimony is driving me nuts. And those who said that a Cubs championship will be somehow tainted because Chapman helped secure it are in my humble opinion squire ridiculous.

  • In reply to TTP:

    Who are you to tell someone who has issues with Chapman's very real off-the-field issues how to feel?

  • In reply to TTP:

    You are entitled to your opinion.

    If you believe that, this is just a little problem they had that is fine.
    But if part of reason for it being ok, and it wasn't as big of a deal as people are making it to be. is b/c she didn't leave him proves he's not such a bad guy. I'm not bashing your opinion.

    I on the other hand, look at stat's like this.

    https://www.quora.com/How-often-do-battered-women-return-to-their-batterers

    Have dealt in my real life with people who have committed similar things. I have the exact same right to have a problem with it, as you do to not have a problem it.

  • In reply to TTP:

    It's not only that she didn't leave him. I'm well aware of the data you cite and most of the women in that situation are poor and feel they have no alternative. But given his income level, she could get a ton of money over the next 16 or 17 years in support so that she and their baby can live a lifestyle commensurate with his his income level. That's the law. She does in fact have the option to leave him. But she supports him and you can’t assume that she choses to stay with him for the same reason that battered women stay with the batterer

    And I'm not saying it is of no consequence whatsoever. But 1) he has said he shoved her with two of his fingers; 2) he was not convicted of anything; 3) he was not even charged; 4) he did not cause her any injury; 5) they are working it out; 6) this is the only reported instance of such conduct; 7) they appear to be in a good place; 8) he accepted and served his suspension; 9) many of his teammate vouch for him that he's a good guy.

    This amounts to substantial mitigation in the context of a personal relationship and we will likely never know exactly what happened. These are facts and it is not fair to anyone to simply speculate and assume the worst. If anything like this happens again, then you can nail him to the wall and I’ll help you do it. But based on what we know he deserves a second chance and not have this lone incident define him. I am appalled at how easily so many people tar and feather someone on the slimmest of evidence and information.

    To Eric’s point, I want to be clear. I am not telling anyone how to feel. I have expressed my opinion, based what we know, as explained above, that it is ridiculous to conclude that this trade and his potential contribution taints the Cubs, its ownership, the FO or the significance of a World Series Championship. I applaud the FO for not letting this one ambiguous episode stop them from taking a big step toward fielding the best possible team for a serious run at a championship this year.

    (I know that the Denizens have moved on to other threads and I don't know if anyone will read this, but I wanted to full express my views on this situation).

  • In reply to TTP:

    Then if all of those things are true. Why was he suspended?

  • I've lived in Texas for over 20 years. Most years, the San Antonio Spurs are anywhere from 4-6th place in their conference, using all kinds on roster configurations during the first 45-50 games of the year. Popovich puts players in positions in games that no other coach does. He does it all to see who fails and succeeds in all types of situations. I think that's what Joe has been doing for the last 2 months. Aggressive hitters against a soft tosser (Shields) to see how they perform and adjust. I believe this is all part of the long term plan of figuring out how to succeed in what will be the biggest pressure cooker any of them will ever experience.

  • In reply to TexasCubsFan:

    Interesting take on Joe. Q does same thing with the Blackhawks.

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    The Cubs offense is horrible. Zobrist hasn't hit since the middle of June, Heyward continues trying to pull everything, Bryant will chase curves down and away non-stop, Fowler looks lost since his first game back, and there are at least 25% of the 8 hitters that are below 230. I cannot believe the Cubs didn't try to acquire Carlos Beltran from the Yankees along with Chapman. He currently is hitting better than any Cubs starter, would be fine in left field at Wrigley, and is a dynamo in the postseason. The Cubs have not had a real left fielder all year except when Soler was playing. They've played a 3rd baseman, a catcher, and a 2nd baseman there.
    The Cubs have only played .500 ball since May 15th. Not only do they look very average...they don't look like any kind of World Series contender. And I will make a prediction right now...if they don't add another lefty bat right away, they will not get past the first round in the playoffs at all, if they even GET there.

  • In reply to jeffblazing:

    Nice post. I happen to agree with you whole-heartedly. I think they will absolutely make the playoffs, but you're right in the sense that if they don't pick up the urgency it'll be a quick exit.

    We can talk about breaks and the grind of a full season, but this team looks incredibly different from the team we saw early on in the season that let the game come to them and not press.

    I'm afraid that the hype has gotten to them.

  • In reply to jeffblazing:

    While it may be from a hodgepodge of players the Cubs overall LF production is .260/.370/.447
    Which of course has been dragged down by Soler's line of .239/.325/.422

    Only 4 teams have gotten a better OPS from LF.

    RF (especially) and SS are where the Cubs are receiving below average production. Even C they are above average.

  • *WARNING: Vent in progress*

    I'm so confused by this team. It's such a difficult club to understand. So many different angles and would-be's, should-be's, can-be's, won't-be's.

    The team started off what, 26-6 if I recall correctly? Fast forward 67 games later, and the Cubs are playing .500 baseball since. Actually, one game under .500.

    What is it with this team? They struggle against pitchers they should be bowling over, and they can't seem to put it together against teams in 1-run games.

    The pitching has been pristine for most of the season, and the strong hitting start to the season has been able to keep the Cubs afloat amongst the league leaders offensively. Defensively they are okay, and their bullpen has had ups and downs, but it's not like it has been a total abomination.

    ARE the Cubs contenders? On paper it's easy to say so. Heck, any team with Bryant and Rizzo in the lineup has a chance of competing. But what about the supporting cast? Where have they been?

    We know how important Fowler has been to the organization, and is the only LEGITIMATE lead-off option on this team. Joe is 100% correct - Dex goes, the team goes. But where has Dex gone? He's still working on getting eased back into the lineup after missing so much time, but he cooled off considerably in the month of June and even now his timing if off as he's chased some bad pitches lately.

    Zobrist and Heyward? Where has their offense gone? I'll save face and refrain from talking about the non-existance of Heyward's offensive contributions, but after Zobrist's heroic month of May, he has been atrocious in June and July. Is this a guy the team is comfortable with having hit behind Bryant and Rizzo?

    We can look at Conteras and point to his on-base streak and how he's been a nice breath of fresh air from the minors, but the past 15 games, he's also been struggling as he's hit for a .225 average with only 4 RBI, and he's right in the heart of the order.

    What's going to happen when Soler is able to come back? Joe referred to him as an "August addition", but is this just posturing from him as the team looks to find a taker for him? What about Coghlan?

    I don't want to look back to find the exact quote, but I recall a game recently where Addison Russell batted fifth and succeeded, and then said that "it was the most comfortable he's been all season". Sorry, but if the team is hitting Russell fifth, that's bad news in my opinion. Personally speaking, when he hits seventh is when the lineup is optimized.

    There are still so many uncertainties that the team is going to continue to face moving forward.

    Are Theo/Jed done making moves? They moved valuable ammo to provide bullpen reinforcements, but how about adding an every-day bat to play left field? We understand Joe prefers to mix-and-match, but you're going to need stability come playoff time.

    The team is going to need to bite the bullet and slide Contreras to catcher full-time. Let him catch for Lackey, Hendricks, and Hammel and let Montero catch Jake; and Ross catch Lester. It's for the best of the team, but who knows how it'll play out.

    Maybe Soler does come back and provide a spark in left field. Maybe he's used as trade bait.

    Personally speaking, with less than a week to go before the trade deadline, I make a move to bring in a left fielder that can help this team immediately. Like an above poster said, I was astonished that they didn't at least seriously explore the possibility of adding Beltran in the deal for Chapman. A proven veteran who is having a terrific season, performs like a hero in October, and is an expiring contract. Not to mention, he hits switch-handed so that is a huge weapon.

    If the team has the expectations that the front office has, they'll all need to start clicking soon. Can't continue to rely on Bryant and Rizzo to carry the offense. Fowler, Zobrist, and Heyward will ALL need to step up. Otherwise, I just can't envision a scenario in which we are parading the streets of Chicago in early November.

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    I guess I will jump in and say a few things too...

    1) Plant Heyward's butt on the bench. Insert Szczur.
    2) Please God let Soler return healthy and swinging the bat well.

    ...and mostly...

    3) Where in the name of baby Jesus is the passion and emotion for the game!?!?! Are these guys bored??? It sure looks that way. I know people swoon for Maddon, but I don't. Even Maddon looks bored in the dugout. It's like he gives out Xanax in the pre-game snack packs. I'd kill to see some passion and emotion out there! Yell, break a bat, do something to wake your teammates up. This is pathetic. Show that you want to be the best!

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    Amen CCF. And i'd also like to see Maddon start getting the runners moving,hit@run,squeeze bunts,etc.... quit waiting around for someone to hit a 3 run hr. WTF happened to the Joe Maddon that called 2 squeeze bunts in a row against the cardinals in game 2 of the playoffs last year? Leo Durocher said that when he had a hitter that was struggling he'd call for a hit n run play.

  • In reply to Greg Simmons:

    Hit and runs dont work when the whole team is striking out.

  • There were several times when the camera found maddon in the dugout and I thought he looked flustered and irked. Joe needs to come up with a theme again. For a ton of young guys they look bored no pep in the step.

    One thing I did like yesterday was Lester was at the opening of the dugout giving high 5 to the guys coming off the field.

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    The Cubs are an emotional team, but they keep their emotions under control. If they get a hit to drive in an important run they yell and pump their fists. Personally I would rather not have a Sean Rodriguez type who wears his emotions on his sleeve. The team is emotional right now, though. They express it with focus and intention, not with displays and outbursts.

    My favorite of the current Cubs players is Bryant BECAUSE he doesn't get carried away on his emotions. If he strikes out in a big situation he walks back to the dugout rather than throwing a tantrum, breaking his bat over his knee etc. When he gets a big hit he acts the same as he does on every other hit. Its the old football story: When you score a TD hand the ball to the official and act like you've been there before and you plan on getting there again.

    I also don't see lack of outward emotion as being any sign of lack of passion. To me it is a sign of maturity that they are able to govern their emotions and possibly channel them. Just because a guy doesn't throw a fit doesn't mean he doesn't care.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    Nobody said they have to throw a fit!!!! Like when Rizzo had a nice stretch on the addi double play. Why not high 5 each other for making a nice play and saving addi??? That stuff carries over. I don't want to see punching coolers. Nobody said they don't care just get fired up after a nice play. It doesn't have to be in the top of 9th to be a great hit or play.

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    In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Maybe a high-5 would have been appropriate. But I believe not giving a high-5 is also appropriate. I guess I get worried when a team starts showing much emotion. To me emotion is something that gets in the way of good performance as much as it enhances it. But that could simply be a difference in opinion.

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    In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Yes, thank you. Throwing a fit was not what I implied nor want to see. And especially no Sean Rodriguez stuff. But it's ok to show some emotion, both good and some bad at times.

  • Step away from the ledge people. 97 wins and a playoff round victory vs the Cards last year. Best record in baseball this year. And we are going to get on Maddon? Half the starters any given day are 1st or 2nd year players. There are going to be ups and downs.

    I’m not saying the play lately has been inspiring, but on the flip side, they have the best record in baseball with Montero, Russell, Zobrist, Heyward and Fowler all struggling mightily at the plate. Texas is struggling, Cleveland struggled for awhile, as did the Giants, as did Baltimore, as did Washington. No one is going to run away with anything and if the Cubs do hold on to the division, every playoff series will be tough. But they have as good a chance as anyone to win it all and better than most.

    PS Please trade for Reddick!

  • Everyone agrees and knows a baseball season is a GRIND.....

    I believe in this team and believe they are a team built to be just where they are.....a .600+ winner.

    There is only one time of year where they HAVE to play playoff caliber ball, that time is not now.

    They'll dial it up when they need to.....we'll be fine.

  • In reply to Wickdipper:

    Playing up to potential is not a switch that gets magically flipped in October. This is who the Cubs are in 2016. An underachieving team (on paper) who should start selling some of the useful assets to recoup what's been lost (Strop, Wood, Rondon, AC, Edwards).

  • In reply to Stubbs:

    It works for the Blackhawks. Coast through the regular season, especially the middle of the regular season, then get it going in the playoffs. Probably more difficult in baseball than in hockey, but it is certainly possible.

    And lets not forget that WC teams with less than 90 wins in the regular season have won WS in recent memory. The regular season just does not mean much as long as you get into the big dance.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    I ultimately don't care how many games a playoff team wins during the season. It's about how they play. The Cubs beat MIL on Sunday because of plain luck (errors) and a pitcher that couldn't recover. That's not exactly a win that makes me think they can beat Bumgarner, Scherzer, et al. At this point, I don't expect any success against good pitchers, but it sure would be nice to see some hope against mediocre-to-bad pitchers. Shawn Estes could come back and shut us down.

  • In reply to Stubbs:

    I'm honestly curious to know what it would take for you to consider trying to win. A 30-game division lead? Absolute, crushing domination in every game? Here we are, heading into August, with the best record in baseball, two legitimate MVP candidates, stud pitchers, just acquired the best closer in baseball, a proven GM who asks "if not now, when?", and you want to tear it down for more prospects, because we've admittedly gone through a tough stretch. I don't get it.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I agree with everything you say but the Theo comment. The if not now then when is a way to take pressure off a hot topic. As a GM that is the easy and safe answer. Why not last year then??? This team isn't as good as last years team. He could have made a big move last year.

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    In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    I agree with everything you say but the Theo comment. Theo is the PBO. Hoyer is the GM. I am sure they work together a lot but let's be clear on roles.

    As for why didn't they make last year's team better? Simple. That team went on an absolute TEAR in August and Sept. At the trade deadline last year the Cubs were a game out of the WC and 1/2 game ahead of WAS to even maintain that. They were a young team and I don't think anyone expected them to go on the streak they went on. Remember, at that point we had just been no-hit within the last week or so. Arrieta was looking good but not great. Castro was still our SS and Russell was struggling at 2B. None of the pivotal turning point performances had really taken place.

    This year was TOTALLY different. We "won" the offseason (for whatever that's worth). We got off to a historic start. As BP points out we have 2 MVP candidates, solid pitching overall and a roster full of interestingly interchangeable parts. Not everything has worked as we hoped (this was basically a worst-case scenario for Heyward--though still has a decent fWAR) but I think lots of teams would love to trade places with us. This year is fundamentally different than last year. This year the FO is going for it. Last year they traded guys the just didn't see being in their future. This year we have dipped into the top of our farm system. Whether you see Torres as "blocked" or not he was seen by most as one of our top-2 prospects (depending on how you evaluate Contreras). That is qualitatively different. Last year they took a conservative path. This year they took about the most aggressive path they could (traded a top prospect and a couple other solid prospects for a rental of a relief pitcher, albeit a very good one).

  • For those that want to continue using valuable prospects to put lipstick on a pig, do you really think a shiny new LF will help Heyward, Zobrist and Montero hit? Or Jake find his command? Or Lackey not be Lackey? Or KB lay off junk? Or Fowler show up but once a week? This team is only competitive if viewed through the lens that they are equivalent to a .500 team and as such, with a few breaks, could compete to steal a wild card spot. They are not competitive when talking about a pennant or WS. This was not the year to go all in. I can't understand how any rational person could objectively view the Cubs as true contenders. April was a long time ago. They are not who we thought they were. But I have hope for next year. Let's not buy another rental.

  • I said yesterday the cubs started off great because of the weak schedule.18 of their 25 wins from the 25-6 start were vs the angels,dbacks,brewers,reds and add a win vs the padres,rockies and braves all of these teams are bad.They won series vs the cards,nationals and pirates but mainly feasted on bad teams.I have an eeery feeling of deja vu from the 2008 season.Great start high expectations nlds flop.This team has been average for months they cannot hit!!! The reds had the worst bullpen in mlb and shut the cubs down for 6 innings.In the playoffs you will face teams best starters then bullpen pitchers I'm genuinely concerned about the cubs lack of situational hitting they had the bases loaded vs the marlins,and mets twice with less than 2 outs and couldn't score a run.They easily get shut down by 4-5 starters no use in drawing walks if you can't drive em in.I hope they can get a hitting rhythm in august and september or this could be another painful chapter in the cubs history.

  • In reply to bolla:

    Cubs are currently in a 12-20 streak, with 4 more wins they are 27 over .500 and everyone is dancing. 32 games is not months and is not acceptable at this time. They haven't hit or pitched very well in the current streak. If they started 12-20 and were in the same position, again dancing. Timing is everything.

    If they continue the current trend all is not well in Wrigleyville but if they revert to the first 67 game performance all will be well. Even the Giants have lost 8 of 10 since the break. Let's see what happens in the first few weeks of Aug and see which team plays before jumping off the bridge.

  • Joe Nathan looks good.

  • In reply to Hagsag:

    Thanks for the positive comment.

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    In reply to BarleyPop:

    What is interesting is when the Cubs were bad by all measures and accounts there was relative harmony on the board. Everyone knew we were likely to lose most games. Now when we legitimately expect to win most of the time EVERY loss is hard. Some people take a C'est la vie (sp?) approach and others go apoplectic. Some try to find a silver lining. Others point to nothing but clouds. I've seen it before. When things are going badly groups tend to pull together. When things start going well then tensions form. It is counterintuitive but it does happen in many instances.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    I've commented before that I think it is "easier" to be a Cubs fan when we suck. No expectations.

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    In reply to BarleyPop:

    Agreed.

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    Theo...pleeeeeeeease get us a left-handed hitter. This team needed a good lefty bat more than it needed a lefty reliever. jmho.

  • In reply to Greg Simmons:

    One good LH bat is sitting too often, when he is swinging it good. LaStella goes 3-3, then Joe sits him next day. I'd put TLS second for awhile, during this lull of offense and let it ride against RH'ers until Solar gets back.
    Oh, and why do some people here assume Heyward is playing hurt? Where is the memo? Sit him down much more often if not producing.

  • In reply to cubbustible:

    They assume he's playing hurt because some can't accept the fact that there are players in the majors who simply cannot perform well under the bright lights of Chicago. He knows he was grossly overpaid and is feeling the pressure. I expect he will hit, but unfortunately it will not be until next year.....when it's too late.

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    In reply to cubbustible:

    Couldn't agree more on both LaStella and Heyward. Play those that produce, regardless of pay.

  • Yeah man, do I agree!, somebody has got to put the ball in play when it actually counts, getting past the ego stage, if you're in a prolonged slump and can't turn it around then grab some pine, work on it before/after game time...take one for the team and let those that can make decent contact have a crack. C'mon guys, seems like the "game plan" has changed?

  • I hope the cubs can get josh reddick he has a .373 ob% they need another lefty bat who can get on base besides rizzo.Kaplan said reddick is the cubs top target if they add a bat.

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    I thought that the 24 games in 24 days was the reason for the lackluster play. I still think that's true. They started the after AS break by winning 3 series in a row, but they look like blah. The only excitement I see is with Willson C. He's like a puppy with his enthusiasm, but other than that not much. They are doing exactly opposite of what they did the first 30 games. In those I knew they could come back in every game. This team, if they're not behind by the end of the first inning, if they get up by one or two, then the next inning they give it right back. There's no ooph here or promise of being winners.
    Maybe put Heyward on the DL and get him healed, but others aren't taking walks or pitching late in ball games or not making base running gaffs. They really need to wake up. Now I'm sure that they are saying the same things in STL or Pittsburg too, but we're watching the Cubs and we see all the little things they aren't doing now that they did then.

  • Kyle pitched his butt off and gave his team a chance to win, that is definitely something to hang your hat on! But to say he was great????? He pitched 5 innings and gave up 3 runs, against a weak offensive club. Perhaps compared to the rest of the SP's recent results this is considered great.

  • In reply to INSaluki:

    Again.....Is it his fault that Wood walked 3 straight batters with 2 outs?

  • In reply to INSaluki:

    While a pitcher isn't supposed to groove one down the middle, it was obvious that both Hendricks and Shields wanted nothing to do with getting anywhere near the plate.Both had real elevated pitch counts.

    Myles is correct that Shields was no good. Thus, I couldn't see Maddon's, Stone's, or any other commentator's remarks last night that both pitchers threw masterful games using the off speed pitch. I don't think either did, but both pitchers were saved by the fielding (more Shields than Hendricks).

  • In reply to jack:

    I have to disagree. Shields ball was moving all over and he owned the entire lineup. He is better than anyone the Cubs have over the past month +.

  • Last night didn't bother me because Shields was on his game. We were never in it. Monday night the win could have been ours and stung a little more. It is always frustrating when one's team is struggling, but all teams go through it. Anything can happen, but I like the Cubs chances. Rarely does a player excel from start to finish in a straight line. It's just baseball. Enjoy the trip.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Right on 44 slug!
    Some of these comments are hilarious. Tear the team down and sell off parts...from the team with the best record in Baseball? LOL!
    Man, I'd hate to have some of you in my foxhole when really serious stuff starts to happen.
    More than almost any other sport...Baseball is a long grind with ups and downs.

    Win the Division.
    Make the playoffs.
    Get hot in October.

    And I'll add a new one...build a team that will compete on an annual basis to do the three things above...and that is exactly what the management team has accomplished.

  • In reply to Gingerbread Man:

    If you shoot like Heyward bats, you'll be alone in that foxhole...

  • The last quality win was when we won that game with Wood and Strop playing LF. Since then all nothing inspiring.

    The starting pitching this month has been atrocious.

  • I didn't know it was possible to have a SLG below one's OBP, but Monterro is very close (Heyward is too). With the starter's not performing, his alleged value (framing), is costing our offense costly at-bats.

    Watching him throw is like watching a little league game. At least Heyward plays D.

  • The Cubs won their first three series following the All Star break for the first time in 80. So the idea that they have been terrible is just not accurate. In fact, they have been historically good. It was/is inevitable that they would lose a series. Guess what: they'll lose more. In baseball, if a team wins 6 and loses 4 that is very, very good. All the handwringing is a bit much. Since the All Star break, the Giants have won only 2 games. The Nationals have struggled. All that matters is October.

  • This team is too talented to not get back on track. A solid outing by Hammel and a couple dingers today at Wrigley will set the tone nicely for this homestand. I haven't lost faith in this group (although Heyward is testing me). Good things are still to come!

  • Everyone chill out and remember to raise a glass in John's honor today. It's National Scotch Day!

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    In reply to BarleyPop:

    What I am getting more entertained by is the reaction to every win/loss. If we win today there will be a couple of people who point out things that could have gone better but, in general, the tone will likely be, "See, I told you X would come around. Did you see that catch/hit/throw? AWESOME."

    The game is a game of inches. Last night there were several instances where just a couple inches could have made a HUGE difference. I think it was Baez almost hit a screeching 2B down the LF line. It was barely foul. In another inning the SS was able to make a running catch in foul ground by the stands. If that ball had been hit a little less high it lands foul and the batter gets another chance. Zobrist scorched the ball but the White Sox had him positioned beautifully. Rizzo almost made an outstanding catch for the third out in the inning where the White Sox got their last run. Yes, all those plays count and they should. Kudos for the White Sox for making the plays. But there was a certain amount of good fortune in those plays. Obviously they were executed but I believe there is a certain amount of luck involved. To compensate for the luck inherent in the game MLB plays a lot of games. I do believe that many of those things will even out.

    I choose to look at games more in a group to give me a better idea of what is going on than what happens in an individual PA, inning, or even game. I said it yesterday, I think this series means more to the White Sox and their fans than it does to the Cubs and their fans. I'm not going to fret over the loss of a series, much less a game. Those wins in April/May are coming in handy now. I do believe this team will pull out of this funk. Give them a chance.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    Exactly. The only thing that matters now is finding the mix for October.

  • In reply to TC154:

    (Said in my best Debbie Downer impersonation): "But we have to get there, first".

  • Joe Maddon likes to play the hot hand. When the Cubs got off to a hot start, it was pretty much a set lineup every night. When the losing started and injuries cropped up, so did lineup roulette, to the point where we now see Russell batting fifth. To me, it doesn't seem like Joe has the answers, it seems more like he is searching for them, or waiting for them. So, the team seems to lack cohesiveness, more disparate parts than a fine-tuned machine. Instead of playing the hand he was dealt to start the season, he now keeps shuffling (Contreras catching) and re-shuffling (Montego catching) the cards. At some point, he's going to have to make the "Castro decisions" that put the best team on the field for the pennant race. Here's hoping he figures that out before Labor Day.

  • In reply to Cleme:

    I agree with this 100%. Maddon is a great personality for managing egos and keeping the clubhouse relaxed, but his strategy has me scratching my head at times. I'm not a Maddon hater or saying they should get rid of him in the near future, but it's baffling.

    Zobrist is not a 4 hitter. Whenever he bats 4th I cringe and realize it will probably be a tough offensive night. Bat him 2nd or 5th. In LF I’d like to see a natural OF instead of a catcher or a 3rd baseman for the rest of this series since they have the DH. I want Contreras behind the plate because that is where his future is and based on his offensive output the future starts now. Based on the splits, I’d go with the BO and line-up below for the remainder of the series.
    -Fowler, CF
    -Szczur, LF
    -Rizzo, 1B
    -Bryant, 3B
    -Zobrist, 2B
    -Contreras, C
    -Heyward, RF
    -Russell, SS
    -Baez, DH

    After this series I'd put Baez in left and bat him 5th. Zobrist stays at 2nd and bats 2nd.

  • In reply to CoconutMeat:

    In my opinion Zobrist needs to hit behind Rizzo and Bryant at all times. Bryzzo get on base at a high rate and we need someone who can make contact to drive them in. If we have someone like Baez who is not a good situational hitter behind them it would just be a disaster. You can say the same about Russell or a young Contrereas. Zobrist is great protection behind our 2 middle of the order hitters and changes the look of the whole line up.

  • In reply to CoconutMeat:

    DH is done only works at AL park.

  • In reply to Cleme:

    I love the "Castro decisions" comment. DFA'ing or 60 day-DL'ing Montero with the hope he rebounds in offseason works for me.

  • Talking to baseball a bud in StL last winter re. Heyward. " He can't hit for s**t"

  • In reply to over 100 years:

    Well, that was a really silly thing for him to say considering Heyward's 2015 in St Louis was the 2nd best offensive season of his career.

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    You are assuming a frame of reference. The comparison should be vs. other players of his position on the field or in the batting order. Sort of like saying "Adam Dunn had his best year in 2012 compared to 2010, 11, and 13."

  • In reply to jack:

    Well, yes that's correct. Jason Heyward in 2015 (his buddy's frame of reference) was arguably not as good at hitting as one might expect from their RF.
    He still had an OPS+ of 117, and was actually 10th among MLB RF in wOBA at .346.
    So in the winter of 2015, to say he can't hit was still a really silly thing to say.

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    I should have said 2011, 13, 14.

  • In reply to over 100 years:

    But it is a Blue Moon on ABC7.

  • I've never seen this many ridicules comments on Cubs Den before. People need to take a deep breath...

  • In reply to Peter Chicago:

    Amen Peter.
    I have been a Cubs fan for 65+ years. that is not my age it is how long I have been watching them in person or on TV. So, that is my perspective on the season. Posters need to take a breath and chill.
    Here are some facts:
    1- They have the best record in MLB thru the first 60% of the season. And they have more than 9 weeks left to re-set the overall performance in all aspects of their game....Offense, defense, starting and relief pitching.
    2- Their manager is one of the best in baseball, perhaps he just MAY know more about the task at hand than any poster on this great site. Just sayin'!
    3- It is all about October, as we should remember from last year , when they dominated the Mets during the regular season and struggled to beat them once in the postseason.
    4- As for individual performances, while any fan of the Cubs has to be disappointed in Heyward's offense, suggestions like taking him out of the lineup for an extended period of time is simply shortsighted. For and additional frame of reference regarding his struggles, would anyone suggest a similar remedy for last year's league MVP, Bryce Harper,who has a BA of .237, some 9 points higher than Heyward.
    5)There is no other team that I can think of which is less imperfect than the Cubs, and I doubt that any other contending team is as young with as much upside as this group.
    So, chill Denizens, root like hell, and enjoy the excitement of a team in contention to be the World Champions in 2016.

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    In reply to captjack:

    I wonder if you some of you guys defending Jason Heyward,will still be defending him after the cubs have to trade another bunch of our top prospects for another lefty bat because Heyward hasn't done squat for us. Think about that....Jason Heyward's shitty play is probably going to cost us a few more of our best prospects. If that happens, i really hope that the fans at wrigley boo Jason Heyward unmercifully.

  • I simply have no abilities to be Nostradamus and peer into the future and suggest that the fans unmercifully boo any professional who can do many things I can only dream of doing.
    One question..... Your look into your future fantasy includes a high $ free agent not rebounding to his previous career levels....the FO making a trade as a result and then thousands of fans booing him and that will do what, beside make you feel happy? Really! How is that approach working for you?
    I prefer to trust the professionals to do their best and root for them to do. Go Cubs

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    Geesh I wish he would rebound to his pre-mediocre .260 ba..that would look really good right now. So fans are suppose to cheer for a guy making $20 plus million a year who is hitting .220? What alternative universe do u live in.

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