The First Hundred
The end of the first half has officially struck. Of course the Cubs have actually played 90 games at this point and the feeling surrounding the club certainly doesn't match its place in the standings. The half game lead doesn't truly describe just how tenuous the Cubs hold is on the NL Central. But more than that it feels like this team has only moved further away from the heights of 2016. The possibility that this team did peak early hangs over this group, and this first half did nothing to re-establish the dynasty talk of just a few years ago.
Two Ships Passing in the Night
The Cubs won the coveted BP Crosstown Cup by virtue of tiebreakers. The Cubs and White Sox have virtually reverse records. The White Sox currently have a 0.4% of making the playoffs while the Cubs have a 57.9% according to Baseball Prospectus. And yet the feelings surrounding these two clubs is flipped with the sky falling on the team having the better season.
Eloy Jimenez hitting a game winning home run in two of the games in the series certainly doesn't help the mood. Though Quintana did pitch well in earning the two Cubs road victories, it is hard not to feel like the White Sox are a team on the rise. If their owner is willing to invest in free agents in the near future this could be a very dangerous team. As is, it is certainly a fun and exciting club.
The Cubs are still a talented team with a young, athletic core the likes of which I have never rooted for prior to. But the expectations on this club are to be so much more than just good enough to maybe make the playoffs. The actual crossing of these two ships is likely a season or two off still, but it is coming eventually. And this weekend felt baton-passy.
Nico Hoerner Started at 2B Last Night
Thoughts on Bullpen Construction
The conversations that you find at Cubs Den are what draws many to the site. I find myself constantly engaged by my fellow staff members and denizens alike in a variety of topics. Michael touched on something yesterday on Twitter that I particularly enjoyed. This is the first tweet in an extended thread that is well worth reading.
I find this conversation Len and Dempster are having about making sure a bullpen has guys with Minor League options available being important, because the Cubs did not do that this past offseason. Brach, Barnette, Cedeno were all added to fill out pen. None had options.
— Michael Ernst (@mj_ernst) July 7, 2019
This last thought though is something in particular that I wanted to address. The Cubs were indeed in a very tricky spot last offseason. The Cubs lacked swing and miss in the bullpen generally, and had a lot of commitments to relievers due to their inability to develop any internal options.
That put the club in the unenviable spot of having really just one bullpen spot to work with in the offseason. The problem with relievers with options is that they fall into two categories. They are either very valuable and therefore you wouldn't want to send them down, e.g. Carl Edwards Jr, or they are a guy that has shown potential but isn't someone truly to be counted on, e.g. Dillon Maples and Dakota Mekkes.
The Cubs problems were compounded by the budget constraints on the team, and so Brad Brach was the best option available. Baseball was always going to give the Cubs an opportunity to test out options, but it would have been nice if the Cubs had the ability to make their bullpen play larger by rotating the last relievers. The Cubs callups instead have largely been triage to handle injury issues.
The Cubs will get a chance to rework their bullpen completely next offseason, but it likely will mean dipping back into free agency that locks spots back up. That is unless some of those internal options finally emerge as legitimate options.
Cubs Common Denominator Lineup
The lineup yesterday was indeed switch hitters in Cubs history, but one twist was not mentioned. These players, by my figuring, are the all time leaders for Cubs home runs by switch hitters. This is the current leaderboard that won't change until Ben Zobrist returns.
Here is your next lineup. Lets see if I can get one past BarleyPop this time.
|4||Hee Seop Choi||1B||0.210||0.337||0.401||10||1|
|9||Dizzy Dean||Pitcher||3.35 ERA||68 K||45 BB||16 Wins||8 Losses|
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