Darker Than A Black Steer's Tookus On A Moonless Prairie Night - Reds 8 Cubs 2

Oh well if it's a wholly depressing Cubs game then I obviously have to come clean it up. There's a point in every season where everything goes wrong and the team looks terrible and even the most optimistic (or realistic) wonder if something isn't structurally wrong. It's usually about this time the Cubs do it too. And throw in the strangeness of the GABP, where things can so of the rails so quickly, and you get a weekend we'd all like to chuck.

It felt right, too. Even losing three of four was puke-worthy, but the Cubs offense finally acted like it was playing in Cincinnati and exploded for five runs in the fifth, all with two out. There was a big hit from Jason Heyward, which is becoming a habit. Rizzo added what felt like it should have been the coup de grace with a two-run shot.

The warning shot should have been Michael Lorenzen's pinch-hit homer, because that's not supposed to happen. We should have known it would get weird and awful, no matter the score. Almora seemingly wiped it out with a homer of his own, and Mike Montgomery got his customary six innings with one run allowed.

And then...and then....once again, it all goes wrong in one inning.

Montgomery let the first three on, though only one ball was hit all that hard. Pedro Strop threw one pitch before it was a game again, thanks to Jesse Winker being able to ride whatever jetstream goes out to left in that godforsaken place. I wish one day we could see the Billy Hamilton every other team sees, instead of the Willie Wilson '84 retro act the Cubs get. He singles, and Strop was clearly distracted by him, losing Schebler after having him 0-2. You just knew where it was going from there. And it kept going, thanks to Barnhart, Votto, and a bases loaded walk to Peralta. When it rains the roof caves in.

The Cubs were only going to be able to buttress the place without their two best relievers for so long. Strop has been so good all year, and just picked the worst time for his worst outing of the season. You could understand Maddon trying to extend Montgomery as long as possible, given the state of the pen and what's coming with a spot starter needed tomorrow. It just went sideways. Everything went sideways this weekend.

Sometimes you run into a hot team, whatever their record is. Sometimes you just play your worst at the same time, and you get this nonsense. Too  many people are going to go over the top on this one, but it's just a really bad weekend. It's probably going to be the worst weekend of the season. Sometimes the things you've been dealing with successfully for a while boil over. There have been injuries and and wonky performances, and they combined for these four games.

Onwards...

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  • I love the title.

  • In reply to TexasCubsFan:

    Could have added "...and it smelled the same".

  • The final was 8-6 not 8-2.

  • Duane Underwood is starting for the cubs tomorrow night

  • In reply to bolla:

    Let's hope he does well.

  • and 'Yu Darvish (triceps) is headed out from Cincinnati to make a rehab start with South Bend (Class A) on Monday.'

  • Terrible series!! Glad to hear Underwood will get the start tomorrow. Hopefully this won’t be the start of the bullpen’s demise with even more overuse if he can’t get through at least 5. If we can split the series in LA, I’ll consider that a win for our unlovable losers.

    I know Monty didn’t have his best stuff in that 7th, but I really would’ve liked to see Joe let him battle through that a little longer. After all, he’s usually pretty good at getting some timely double plays.

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    In reply to Cubber Lang:

    Yes especially considering the 1 hard hit ball off Monty in that inning by Duvall was ump aided as umpire missed a ball rt down the middle which would have been strike 3 ( full disclosure, poor frame by Willy)

    He was around 80 pitches and on full rest, I would have given him at least 1 more batter if not 2 mainly for a combo of reasons. Monday starter in doubt ( I am sure internally they knew Underwood was starting ) 2. Pen is tired .3 long road trip w no off days this week, 7 games. 4-5 run lead, I am trying to squeeze as many outs as possible w the condition of the pen.

  • I'm not sure the Cubs bullpen usage is as high as we may think (274 innings). Through today, they are right in the middle of usage in the National league, basically tied with the Braves and Mets. They are about 29 innings less that the Dodgers (leaders in BP usage) and 30 innings more than the Phillies (2nd fewest BP innings at 244). The Nationals are 14 innings less than any other team at 230 innings.

  • I'm glad I missed this entire series. If I'd been home all weekend and playing along it would have made me really cranky.

  • This season is shot. We should trade Arrieta for the haul we can receive before we lose him for nothing. Wade Davis is worth an interesting prospect or two, and I'd think we could get something out of Lackey. We have to face reality and quit thinking we can right the ship on a whim in the second half. We are 5.5 games back before the AS break! There is no way we can make up this deficit. Keep drinking that Cubbie kool-aid.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Nice, did you find someone's old post and submit it?

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I agree that many of the sentiments we're hearing (and I'm feeling) are a replay of last year's 1st half. I'll agree that it's probable that the Cubs will repeat last year's outstanding second half, causing us to wonder why we ever doubted them. All that said, the team was very luck to get past Washington in the NLDS and looked downright silly against LA in the NLCS. I'm not seeing anything that gives me confidence that they'll do any better this year, and that's assuming the Brewers achieve the predicted collapse so the Cubs win the division. In the meantime, the clock is ticking, the core is another year older and the window won't stay open this wide for long. So, will the team start firing on all cylinders, proving that the concerns are unfounded? Or will the FO make a major move to add a piece or two that plays like they want to win?

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    My attempt at humor there was more to appease myself than anything else. I'm not inspired by our play so far this year, but I am positive we have the talent to go on a dominating run. In fact, I expect it.

    You make a very good point about our window. It is wide open, and you can never take an opportunity for granted. The NL is there for the taking this year, and I guarantee we do everything possible to take it. We will make a big, bold move, or maybe two. Our FO has always shown the willingness to recognize an opportunity and the gumption to act on it.

    There is no clear favorite in the NL this season. Theo and Jed see this, and have full faith in the team they have built here. They are even more competitive the we are. They will make these moves before anyone has a whiff of what's happening. That's their MO. We're just going to wake up one day, maybe tomorrow, to the news that Happ and Underwood are going to SD for Brad Hand. I'm not advocating that specific deal, I'm just saying to get ready. The Chicago Cubs are on the clock.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    there's always a chance they can turn it around and have a great 2nd half...but are you seeing anything this year that gives you any confidence that they can easily turn it around (again, like the last 3 years)?

  • In reply to DetroitCubFan:

    I really don't see the need to turn it around, though after that series I get your point. We play winning ball far more often than we don't.

    I see several reasons for optimism. I don't see any players far exceeding their expectations and due for regression. Some will slump but I don't see any suddenly falling of a cliff.

    Heyward seens healthy and comfortable, so I think his continued offensive contributions are sustainable and a huge boost to the lineup. Same with Javy and his progression at the plate. Almora is getting better and better (and yes, is play much more often against tough RHP's and will do so come crunch time). Schwarber is gonna Schwarber and Russell is gonna Russell.

    The pitching hasn't had a chance to be whole. When the starters are on, we run off long winning streaks. But Darvish really hasn't been a factor and I think he will be. Chatwood has never been this bad for this long and I expect him to be much better as the season goes on. The bullpen has been brilliant expect recently when they were very short-handed. Both of these areas are also the most likely to be reinforced before the deadline.

    I think the biggest reason we're not dominating is because Bryzzo have been off. Both have had long stretches of ineffectiveness, and I don't think that will continue. Contreras has also been off offensively, and when those three big boppers get on track we can beat anybody.

    The way the Cubs have built the roster and manage for the marathon of a long season is a proven model, IMO. I see no reason why our patented surges of the past three seasons won't happen again in the second half of 2018.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Why was the team lucky when you say we are in a tough division?

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Thankfully we are in a weak division.

  • In reply to Roe Skidmore:

    Based on what? I keep hearing commentators make that claim, but they never present any numbers to back it up. The Brewers have the best record in the NL. The 1st, 2nd and 3rd place teams all have better records than corresponding teams in the other NL divisions. The NL East has the only sub .400 team in the league. What is "weak" about the NL Central?

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Based on the division. It's actually average this year, but has been weak in past years, as we already know. Craig Councel is an up and coming manager, he's been brilliant. Pittsburgh also has a strong leader, keeping them up. Cardinals system has them hanging in there, but not the talent of previous years. The Cubs still have the most talent by far in the league.

  • In reply to Roe Skidmore:

    Quick calculations show that the divisions overall winning %S are:
    ALW .546
    ALE .516
    NLC .510
    NLW .508
    NLE .504
    ALC .424

    So it looks to me like there is one strong division (ALW), one weak (ALC), and the others are pretty much bunched together.

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    I just saw on Bleacher Nation that Underwood is starting tomorrow in LA. This should be interesting. He has the stuff, now he has to control it.

  • All, I saw that there was a emergency starter over the weekend? Why was that?

  • In reply to Pappy:

    Ah, just saw...chatwood's wife in labor...nm

  • In reply to Pappy:

    Do you think he'll ultimately teach the baby how to walk?

  • In reply to wthomson:

    Nawwww....at the baby shower somebody already got the T-Ball set.

  • In reply to wthomson:

    Funny!

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