Another One Bites the Dust -- Reds 6, Cubs 5

Bryzzo showed off some flair for the Chicago Cubs during the series opener versus the Cincinnati Reds

Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks worked a 1-2-3 first. He struck out both Nick Senzel and Joey Votto and got a groundout from Eugenio Suárez.

Kyle Schwarber led off the bottom of the first with a solo home run, his eighth of the season. The Cubs didn't add any further runs, but took the lead early at 1-0.

The fireworks came in the third inning, starting with a walk to Schwarber. Kris Bryant hit his 12th homer of the season, and during the next at bat Anthony Rizzo hit his 14th. The Cubs would end the inning ahead 4-0.

The Reds got on the board in the fourth inning. Votto doubled and scored on a single from Yasiel Puig, changing the score to 4-1.

Wandy Peralta took over for DeSclafani after he walked Hendricks in the bottom of the fourth. He faced Schwarber, who grounded out to end the inning.

The Reds added some insurance and pulled within one run in the sixth. Jesse Winker singled and Puig hit a home run. The Cubs now led by only 4-3.

Reds reliever Matt Bowman faced Victor Caratini, Daniel Descalso, and Albert Almora Jr in the sixth and induced groundouts from all three.

Brad Brach relieved Hendricks in the seventh, and Addison Russell entered the game at second base (replacing Descalso). Hendricks went six innings with six hits, three runs (all earned), one walk, and nine strikeouts. Brach worked a groundout from José Peraza to lead off the inning, followed by a strikeout from Senzel and a single from Votto. Suárez got a hit on a fly ball to right that Jason Heyward and Russell both advanced on but neither caught. Luckily, Heyward had the heads-up to go low and get the ball back to the infield without allowing the Reds to score.

Still in the seventh, the Reds tied the game after a double from Winker, scoring Votto. The inning may have ended on the play, but Russell cut off a throw that could have ended the inning. Regardless, Puig struck out swinging to end the inning at 4-4.

Amir Garrett took the mound for the Reds in the bottom of the seventh after Russell led off the inning with a strikeout. Garrett got a strikeout Schwarber and the final out of the inning with a groundout from Bryant.After a pop out from Derek Dietrich and a strikeout from Kyle Farmer in the Reds half of the eighth, Tucker Barnhart singled on a soft grounder to Bryant at third. He advanced to second on a throwing error from Bryant. Mike Montgomery took over for Brach after he walked José Peraza. Brach faced Senzel, who grounded out for the final out.The Cubs regained the lead in the eighth with an RBI single from Willson Contreras, who was pinch hitting in place of Montgomery, and Caratini advanced to second after a walk during his at bat. Mark Zagunis came in as a pinch runner for Caratini, but the Cubs would have to settle for a 5-4 lead after Almora flew out to right to end the inning.The lead would be short lived, as the Reds took over 6-5 on a home run from Suárez off of Steve Cishek. Votto scored as well, on base from a walk. Winker was then hit by a pitch and Cishek was pulled. James Norwood was the new pitcher for the Cubs. He walked pinch hitter Curt Casali and struck out Dietrich. Farmer and Barnhart flew out to end the inning.Raisel Iglesias pitched for the Reds in the bottom of the ninth. Russell struck out looking, Schwarber flew out to left, and Bryant popped up behind home for the final out.

 

WPA CHART


Source: FanGraphs

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  • That one made me angry. Strop is really our only hope to stay atop this division in June and that’s a lot to
    lay on a rehabbing pitcher. I seriously doubt Toronto will jump the market and trade Giles before July and the price will be steep even then. Kimbrel is an option next week after the draft but word is he either signs a multi year deal or sits out the year, plus he’s a huge risk who will need a month to get ready. This is very difficult situation

  • In reply to TC154:

    I like Will Smith. He’s perfect in save opportunities.

  • In reply to Cubs09:

    He’s certainly an option. Tough to see a trade fit though

  • In reply to TC154:

    It is frustrating, but believe me, it is temporary. Strop will be back as early as next week. We just have to ride this out. It's one of those things that happens during a season.

    I doubt we're in on Kimbrel. Giles is awesome but has some clubhouse issues we may not want to deal with. But we've learned that everyone is fair game when we're good. A reminder, #wearegood.

    Everyone is focused on that July 31st deadline, which is now a hard cap. Don't be surprised if the Cubs jump the gun. I won't be.

    Thanks, TC, because I usually do a brief recap of my own after every game. You totally redirected me, but back to my original idea.

    We don't want this bullpen to linger. It won't. I promise.

    To the unnamed inspiration, keep doing what you do. We all love it. And enjoy your Cranberries dessert. But I expect my daily breakfast:

    "But I'm in so deep.
    You know I'm such a fool for you..."

  • Did they really think by doing nothing in off season would be good enough?

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Didn’t they add some second tier relievers in the off season (Brach and others) I think they expected Morrow to heal and be pitching by now. They didn’t plan on Strop going down.

    They signed Morrow after 2018, what makes you believe whoever they may have signed would be effective or not injured. Relievers are generally not a consistent year to year.

    BP is not as good as they need/want but a heathy Morrow and Strop would probably be a step in the right direction.

  • In reply to stix:

    Not sure you Brach was a upgrade over??
    Morrow has not completed a full season of baseball due to being hurt all the time.
    I understand relievers are a gamble but to not make it a priority is mind blowing

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Not sure what you wanted them to do. Brach closed for the Orioles when Britton was injured and had 15 saves for that part of the yr. Did you want a closer? Obviously Morrow is injury prone but he still has pitched every yr. I think he’s a bust but thought the same about Chatwood last year.

    I’m not privy to what’s going on but you’d think a front office that won 3 WS is capable of running the team .

    Who was available at a reasonable price?

    I’m as frustrated as most but they don’t seem capable of buying adequate pitching. Why spend more on things they don’t do well.?

  • In reply to stix:

    Morrow may have pitched every year but never a full year. And also never closed?

    Everyone is available. Is that why they didn’t do anything this off season? Cause they over paid for Chapman, Q, Yu, and Chattwood. I would have like Iglesias from reds.

  • This is blown save #10. It is simply unacceptable to continue in this fashion. I would rather Chatwood close if no changes are coming.

    Again, late HR usually end up with L’s. And our pen is pretty proficient at giving up long balls lately.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    The pen and the team need to just keep battling. The hitters can't thInk about sitting on an early lead and must stay focused on defense. Let's get the next two.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    I’d move Chatwood to fifth starter and Darvish to closer right now. If Chatwood falters you could try Monty or Alzolay at 5. Is it desperate? Sure, but unless you think they can continue like this until July it may be necessary.

  • In reply to TC154:

    How do we know darvish thrives in a relief role? I think chatwood is fine where he is he’s perfectly suited to a long relief role. He’s still erratic with his command for a starter, but the command plays fine in long relief. I think darvish is progressing no reason to mess with his rhythm or routine. I think the pen should stabilize to some degree with strip returning soon. Agree with you though that it’ll be interesting to see how they match up in trade discussions. Not the most inspiring relief market when will smith a reliever who I don’t trust against high end offenses is a go to trade target. Not saying I wouldn’t take him because I would in a second but I don’t see him as a stud reliever despite his 0 blown saves

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    *Strop returning

  • In reply to TC154:

    I'm totally on board with that move, even making Montgomery the 5th starter and Darvish the closer would be a viable option; if the thought is that Chatwood is excelling in the bullpen, so maybe leave him there.......

  • In reply to Treebeard:

    Spend 20M on a closer? seems expensive and I don’t think there’s any evidence that delicate Yu could handle the stress of closing.

  • In reply to stix:

    He is what he is, like Heyward, because of his contract; and he has been much better of late.
    I'd just like to see an extra bullpen arm that doesn't cost us a prime prospect, or someone like Happ............

  • In reply to Treebeard:

    Agree but I don’t think Yu has the mental makeup to close. He’s never done it before and as best as I can determine he would need significant time to acclimate to closing. He at least has the arm to close but i’m Not comfortable that he could learn on the fly, Could be wrong.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    Do you know how many of the blown saves led to losses? I can’t find any stats but they don’t always lead to losses as a blown save can occur in the seventh and be overcome with scoring in subsequent innings. The blown saves in the ninth are the ones that are remembered. How many of those do the cubs have? Again , I can’t find the stats.

    Any ideas how many games they lost due to the inability to drive in a runner from third with less than two outs? I’m guessing those losses are fairly even to those with blown saves but have no idea how to find those stats.

  • In reply to stix:

    Not sure about driving in runs from 3rd with less than 2 outs, but they have a good obp... ;o)

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    Changes are coming. Dang.

    You can't just pull up back-end closer's whenever one goes down. What team is able to do that?

    We have to run with what we brung, minus what we've lost. If you asked me what would happen if Morrow and Strop were both out simultaneously, I would say that's going to cost us some high-profile games. That's what happened.

    This is not the pen we're taking into the postseason, I promise. I mentioned a moment ago the new, hard deadline is July 31st. I've nailed a few predictions so far with the .500 thing and 1sr place. Here's another one: we get an elite back-end arm, through trade, well before that.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    My thing is I don’t know if we can hang on top of the division for six weeks before deals are made and by then Milwaukee and St. Louis will have made their moves. I think this is a great team minus the one glaring weakness. That’s frustrating

  • In reply to TC154:

    Which is why I said don't be surprised if we pull a deal way before the deadline.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I didn't explain myself well enough. The Cubs FO sees this as clearly as we do. Every article you read says "what will teams do at the deadline?". Those are a bunch of idiots, save a few. The Cubs FO sees what we do, a potential WS- winning team.

    We've also dealt with the harsh reality of the " one game" scenario last season. Once bitten, twice shy. I expect us to make a trade for a back-end reliever, well before the deadline. In fact, I would put out that watch starting tomorrow.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Couldn't agree more. Morrow is a pipe dream and Strop's continual hamstring issue will not just go away. A legit closer would've got them 2 wins this week and has to be what the FO is focused on most (not counting the draft).

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    BP, I agree they're looking right now but why would teams even consider moving a guy until the market sets? Right now the market for backend relievers isn't huge with only the Cubs, Braves and Boston with true closer needs, and there look to be a lot of guys available. If you were sitting on a guy like Giles wouldn't you wait as long as you could to see if another contender has an injury or something? By my count the guys who will be available are Giles, Colome, Will Smith, Greg Holland and maybe Sean Doolittle. Maybe the Giants would jump the gun and move Smith, but the others are more likely to wait.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    If the 10 blown saves were, for example, only 3 we wouldn’t have the concerns. We’d be 8 games up at 36-13 and everything would be great with all prognosticators saying the Cubs are the best team in baseball.

    But we aren’t so we need some reinforcements. A true lockdown pen and this team could still win 100 games. Gimme Giles and Smith and let the Brew Crew eat our dust. It is the only real weakness in this club.

  • fb_avatar

    After the draft more trades will happen and more FA signings because there won't be any compensation involved I think. Also, I would trade Happ for Giles even up but would Toronto, so what if we added CJ too? He's still relatively young, has the stuff, but just can't control it. Kinda sounds like Jake Arrieta, doesn't it?
    As for Yu as a closer, I just don't see it. Many have questioned his mental strength to deal with his defeats last year (I thought other things were going on) but switching to closer, one of the hardest positions in baseball, with no experience is just not smart. Look at how many set up men switch to closers and can't do it. If anything, with the experience of relief pitching, I think Chatwood has a much better chance of succeeding as a closer. A lot determines when Strop comes back and how effective he is.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I think Giles will cost Amaya plus. They’re probably two years away and Amaya fits that timeline. Unless they think they can spend their way into contention which would be foolish.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Throw Russell and Happ at ‘em but....that would be a big overpay, I don’t see Giles as an answer though anyway......
    Mekkes, Norwood or Maples.......it’s time one of these guys stepped up.

  • In reply to Wickdipper:

    Big time wick we need a closer/stretch run reliever desperately but trading good young players for Giles or smith scares the heck out of me. My good friends a Houston fan and he could just be bitter, but he doesn’t think Giles can handle pitching on a big stage mentally. I don’t see how anyone can really analyze something like that, but it’s interesting that he’s pitched well for the rebuilding Phillies and now Toronto. He wasn’t so great in Houston with a 4+ ERA in 2/3 seasons. Even in his one good year with Houston he imploded in the postseason losing the closing role. The stuff impresses me but he’s no guaranteed savior even if we get him

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    Agree 100% kk

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    I’m sorry, that “big stage” stuff is silly to me. He was a young pitcher who had growing pains. Even when his ERA was high in Houston his FIP was much lower, the Ks were always there and he had minimal control issues. Now he’s in his age 28 season and had seemingly figured it out. It’s s fairly natural progression for a young back end reliever. All players come with risk but given what I know about pitching I think the risk is is minimal. My only issue is that he’s going to be expensive

  • In reply to Wickdipper:

    Have you seen Giles’ numbers? Nearly 13.94 K/9, 2.13 BB9 1.31 ERA, 1.35 FIP. He’s the best closer in baseball right now. He’s going to cost a top draft pick. Just look at past years and what closers with numbers even close to those fetched in trade. Plus he has 2 1/2 years of control. I don’t think even Amaya alone gets it done

  • In reply to TC154:

    Yea I see that TC.....I have no data to back it up but to me he just seems like this years shiny penny which seems to show up from somewhere every year.
    Morrow was 6-0 for the Dodgers and got the good deal from the Cubs...
    Motte went 8-1 for the Cubs and parlayed that into an extra end of career contract....

  • In reply to Wickdipper:

    Morrow was excellent for the Cubs until the injury, though so it wasn't like he didn't have talent. He simply got hurt. If you look at Giles numbers throughout his career his peripherals have always been excellent and often better than his outcomes. His FIP, even when his ERA was high with Houston, was always better than his ERA. People forget that until mid last year the Astros had been a horrible defensive club. This year Giles has put it all together again as he did two years ago. He sure doesn't appear, by any metric I can see, to be a flash in the pan. That said I think he might be too expensive for the Cubs. I'm certain he would cost Amaya and probably one of the better pitchers and I'm not sure the Cubs want to give that much up, although the FO also sees what we do that this has the look of a special club outside of the backend of the pen so you never know.

  • fb_avatar

    I know he gave up a big bomb last night, but the guy I been hoping for for a couple weeks is Shane Greene. I don't think he should cost nearly as much as Giles or Will Smith. He is less proven then Ken Giles, but if he's going to be a FT closer, we could do a lot worse.

    We will prob need to add at least 2 more arms to this bullpen. ( w/o promoting anyone from the farm/IL )

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Another save tonight. The bomb happened after an error and should never had the opportunity to occur, but errors do happen.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to stix:

    Mets are no juggernaut but they have been playing better and hitting the ball w regularity so a 1-2-3 ho hum 9th from Shane Greene tonight was nice. I think we could do a lot worse, and I think his price is only going to go up which is why ( like BP) have been hoping we jumped the market and get at least 1 RP soon, very soon.

    Ideally ( especially) if they don't really believe in anyone in the minors, then they prob should have tried to take a flier on someone after Strop went on the DL.

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    I don't like Greene's K to walk ratio as compared to some of the others available, but there is no question he could help.

  • Just throwing this out there, but so much attention is being given to the draft. That QO only is attached to Kimbrel and Keuchel. I don't think we have interest in either one.

    Many sites say an organization wants to focus on one or the other as far as the draft/improving your team goes. I think the Cubs can do both.

    Strop should be back in a week. I love that dude to death. He's not a closer on a Championship team. Morrow may have suffered another setback today. I don't know. Which makes me 100% sure we are shopping, NOW. You never waste an opportunity to win. 2019 is an opportunity.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    My money is on two moves. One big, one smaller. It is an obvious need on a good team.

    I don't know which happens first. We got Chavez last year. That smaller signing will play big dividends due to our scouting.

    The big one will hurt. We will not give up Nico, IMO, but you do not waste an opportunity to win. We have an opportunity to win in 2019. But the roster leash just got shorter by the new deadline rules.

    I think we learned a lesson about one game last year. I expect moves soon.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Morrow had a setback? Shoot why isn’t it being reported anywhere?

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    I mentioned this earlier this morning. Ron Coomer was on 670 the Score. I saw a tweet that Ron said Morrow suffered a setback yesterday. I don't know anything else. I asked if anyone else had heard anything. I said that's all I knew.

    I even said Morrow "may" have suffered a setback. If you've followed me I have stated all the moves I am proposing are in spite of Morrow. We do them regardless. Morrow coming back would be a cherry on top.

    I can get into the dirty details of Morrow's elbow injury and surgical procedure, recovery time and therapy regime, and expected performance compared to similar players and situations in the past five years, off the top of my head, if you're up to it. I'll listen to your opinion of the merits of Synvisc-1 injections into the elbow as opposed to other medicinal options.

    I just hope he's back to help us during a stretch run.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I'm here for a while, kk. Would you like to talk and clear the air? I have no hard feelings. It seems like you may. Let's talk. I respect you, and this stuff happens over the course of several years and thousands of comments. Talk to me, or not.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Are you a doctor? Have you seen the MRI's? Just wondering.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    If I had to bet, I would say no, but he does play a very good intrawebs phunkdokta on Cubs den.

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    I don't know what that means. If you could clarify, I would appreciate it. I don't know if you are calling me out.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I'm here, Jim.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to BarleyPop:

    Looks like an attempt at millennial humor to me. Not calling you out.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    I'm not, and I haven't. But I do extensive research in the medical field, largely due to abusing my body through decades of competitive sports, sanctioned fights, and disputes on bar stools at hole-in-the-wall bars. That stuff takes a toll on your body.

    And I did stay at a Holiday Express Inn last night.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Oh ok the Holiday Express Inn makes things much clearer. Thank for explaining that.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    You still don't get my humor? I'm not normal. I don't know what that is.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    And barley sorry for the slow reply I’m out of town for the long weekend. I wish I got to chime in here seeing some of the other disrespectful replies to you here. I trust your sources I remember you told me some stories on Addison Russell, and I’d actually heard some similar stories on him

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Thanks for the reply barley and honestly man no reason to clear the air. And I didn’t have and doubts about your credibility FYI. I just searched morrow and didn’t see any recent updates on his condition. You’re good though my friend I’ve already addressed any issues I had that game post, and now I’ve moved on. I respect that when discussing more complex baseball conversations that were all inevitably going to disagree at one point or another. But I have no reason to take anything personally from you. We’ve always had good respectful discussions and overall I think you make this site a better place to talk Cubs baseball. I’m an easy going guy my friend I’ve always had the belief that you can’t take every disagreement personally. We talk about cubs baseball on an almost daily basis, and I can honestly say I generally agree with most of what you say.

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    More to your point, yes I heard. No you didn't. Get it?

  • Getting sports news from the score is like getting news from cnn or msnbc. Both are fake and unreliable.

  • In reply to Oldno7:

    From Ron Coomer, on the Score?

  • In reply to Oldno7:

    Yeah, those Cub announcers getting their info from the Cubs is just so unreliable... Who do we believe anymore...?

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    is he an official mouthpiece of the Chicago cubs, milksnout? last I checked official cubs info comes from the president of baseball operations not some dope from score radio operations.

  • In reply to Oldno7:

    I think you’ve proven who the dope is here. ;o)

  • In reply to Oldno7:

    OMG!

  • Whole bunch of hate here, and a dude calling me out. I'm right here. Jim, you there?

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I'm taking your calls.

  • I can't do this all night. This is silly.

    Anybody who just "said something". (I call it something else when they don't back it up)?

    Morrow had a setback a couple weeks ago. He had pain in his surgically-repaired elbow and received a Synvisc-1 injection. He recently started soft-tossing off flat ground. Ron Coomer said on the Score this morning Morrow suffered a setback.

    If you want to hate on me, I'm here all the time. I'm not hard to find. If you want to debate, let's debate. I won't even suggest to keep it civil. "Throw it all at me, I just shrug it off."

    Go Cubs!

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Barley, I get your humor even though at times I don’t respond back. I know my attempts at it go unnoticed as well. Just gotta shrug it off. I’ve also had people read into my posts things that I didn’t even say or imply... it happens. At the end of the day... We’re all anonymous keyboard pounders just pounding away.

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    Dude, I shrug it off. Even the personal attacks. Although that one from Jim, I still don't know what that means. I don't know whether to lose respect for him or hold more.

    I remember being on summer vacation in Houston when I was 15. A guy didn't speak English and called me a gringo. I had to go back to my Spanish-speaking co-workers to see if I should go kick the dude's ass. I shook his hand, because he called me his friend, or so they told me.

    Written words are sometimes even worse.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    We’re just not playing good ball right now.....it happens......alot of people are getting testy in here......let’s chill a bit.....we are not going to win 8 out of 10 all season like we have the last month.
    Look at the Cardinals, St Louis wants to install safety nets under the Arch......I’m lovin’ it :)
    Cubs àre in first place on Memorial Day!

    I was going to write something about May 25th, 1979 because I will never forget that day and all the people that were Cub fans that never got the chance to see what we see. It was a Friday and I was there all that week Mon thru Thurs but we were rained out of work on the Edens on Thursday night so we didn’t go in Friday.......That plane went down 500 feet away from where we would have been.......God rest their souls......but to make my larger point........

    How many never came back serving us? Thank you all who have served .......thank you all who died or where maimed doing so.
    Memorial Day.

  • Here is the thing with our 2019 Cubs. We are losing games late and we need a stud at the back of the pen. Morrow is damaged goods, who knows if Strop will ever be Strop again anytime timee soon. I'm not convinced that we can stay in the mix waiting until July.

    I find myself agreeing with TC that Darvish or Chatwood could be handed the closer job. Both have had problems with walking hitters so that could be a game breaker, but management needs to act sooner than later. We have 5th starter options so it might be worth a try. Cishek has the stones, but is better suited for emergency middle innings. The time to do something is now, because going outside the org is difficult and costly. Doing nothing is not an option.

  • Ahhh, how I've missed the nurturing, respectful, dare I say it - loving gathering of educated fans that is Cubs Den. I probably didn't pick a good day to visit, given the abundant angst resulting from yesterday's defeat at the hands of the mighty Reds. Perhaps some sleep and the decreasing influence of alcoholic substances will brighten things up a bit. A couple of thoughts come to my mind.
    1. Pitching, of course. Nobody with any sense at all is counting on Morrow, but Strop? A strained hammy to end 2018? ANOTHER strained hammy when 2019 is just getting started? Is there a pattern here? Is anyone doing anything about it - training regimen, change of diet, different shoes, change of lovemaking positions - anything? Or, is it all coincidence, unlikely to happen again during, say, a close division race?
    2. The Cubs need an INFIELDER. Russell is an automatic out and his glove doesn't nearly make up for it. Descalso? Never mind? How about Bote? Don't be surprised if Zobrist is done. He's already a millionaire near retirement and won't put a half-year of remaining Cubdom ahead of his kids. Nico is still incubating, when he isn't injured. Wouldn't surprise me to see a deal for a Murphy type to hold down 2B, since nobody else seems interested in stepping up.
    The Cubs are a very mortal 5-5 in the last 10 - and that's with BRYZZO on a hot streak. I hope Theo and Jed are working the phones.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    I think Zo will be back and he is money. Scoring runs hasn't been a problem so I don't see an infielder as a priority, unless it falls in our lap. It is the pen, period. Good to hear from you again Cliff

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Thanks! I hope you're right about Zobrist. Maddon thinks Descalso will start hitting, too.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Cliff, I think if Descalso doesn't have to play as much as he is now he's a real asset. Much like the pen the infield is stretched thin. Russell doesn't look like much more than a defensive replacement, and Bote and DD should be playing less to be effective. With the way Schwarber has responded at leadoff and the fact that with Baez, Bryant and Contreras they have 3 of the top 10 offensive players in the NL, and oh yeah Rizzo is in the top 20, all they'll need is one guy to be hot among the 6, 7 and 8 spots at a time. I'm really not worried about the offense at all and the rotation will be good more often than not. The only issue is getting the right guys in the right spots in the pen. If you could have a guy like Giles or Doolittle at closer, Strop in the 8th, and then a mix of Chatwood, Monty, Cishek, Kintzler and whatever other lefty ends up making it long term then you have one heck of a pen for the stretch and the playoffs. If Morrow comes back it's even stronger. The bullpen isn't bad, it's just that guys are in the wrong slots.

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