Swing of Emotions--Cubs 5 Cardinals 4

It was a pretty miserable day at the ballpark for 12 innings. The Cubs offense remained in the deep freeze with the club managing just 3 hits through those first 12 innings. The road Cubs at Wrigley looked like they were facing Carlos Marmol as the team played two true outcomes baseball. The Cubs either reached base via a walk and were able to take an early 1-0 lead without a hit, but they also struck out frequently as has been the pattern for a long time now. After the Cardinals were able to build a lead, it felt like the game was over.

And then David Bote flipped the game with a well-timed longball in a four run inning. The bullpen managed to hold onto to the slimmest of leads and the losing streak is finally over.

WPA CHART


Source: FanGraphs

Alex Reyes struck out Kris Bryant to start the game. Anthony Rizzo drew a walk before Javier Baez was also a victim of the K. Kyle Schwarber and Willson Contreras each drew walks to load the bases with two outs. A passed ball allowed Anthony Rizzo to score but Kyle Schwarber attempted to score as the ball was playing pinball wizard behind the plate. Unfortunately Schwarber was not fast enough hulk to score on the play and the inning was over with the Cubs up 1-0 without a base hit.

Tyson Miller got a nifty play from Anthony Rizzo for his out in the big leagues. Miller worked around a two out walk to Paul Goldschmidt to put up a zero on the board. However, Miller walked Matt Carpenter to start the second inning. Brad Miller then hit a homer to put the Cardinals up 2-1. After Miller failed to retire Miller, Tyson settled in to complete his second big league inning.

The Cubs put runners on against Ricardo Sanchez but failed to record a base hit or more importantly a run in two innings. Ryan Tepera pitched a clean third inning for the Cubs. Rob Kaminsky matched Tepera with a clean top of the fourth inning for the Cardinals as the collective bullpen game wore on.

The Cardinals were able to extend their lead in the bottom of the fourth inning against Kyle Ryan. Brad Miller hit his second homer of the game with one out and Max Schrock hit his first big league home run in the next at bat to double the Cardinals run total. Ryan gave up back to back singles with two outs to give the Cardinals a chance to put the game away. Duane Underwood Jr. struck out Dylan Carlson to keep the Cubs in it at 4-1.

It certainly didn't feel like the Cubs were still in it as the offense continued to sleep walk through the fifth inning. Underwood pitched a clean bottom of the inning. And then it was the sixth inning.

Genesis Cabrera was starting his second inning of work when he plunked Baez to start the frame. Kyle Schwarber attempted to bunt against the shift but struck out as it rolled foul. Tyler Webb was summoned to face Willson Contreras. The Cubs catcher ripped a double for the Cubs first base hit and the score was now 4-2 Cardinals. Ian Happ bunted Contreras to third. Jason Heyward drew a walk to extend the inning. David Bote was called on to pinch hit for Victor Caratini, and he provided the Cubs second hit of the night with a drive into dead centerfield to make it a 5-4 Cubs lead.

Dan Winkler walked less than bad Brad Miller to start the bottom of the sixth. A pop up to the catcher and a double play prevented the Cardinals from getting anything going. Rizzo added a third Cubs hit in the top of the seventh, but the Cubs couldn't tack on any insurance runs. It wasn't needed as Jeremy Jeffress breezed through the bottom of the inning for his second save.

Random Reference

And with that aforementioned swing the Cubs did end the losing streak. And thankfully that means:

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  • Thank you David Bote! A big step in trying to regain the success of the early season. Hoping this will create a momentum that will lead to a strong finish to the series!

  • Good morning Cub fans! I slept like a log, thanks to David Bote. And Winkler/Jeffress..

  • Not gonna win many games with 3 hits and 10 Ks. Bote saved their butts.

  • In reply to Ronson54:

    All teams go through those hitting slumps, Cubs seem to do it more so. So you are right, it was a big hit. We needed one.

  • Early observations on the season. David Bote is Cubs third baseman this year and next. Kris Bryant will not resign with the Cubs. Theo knows that the league has caught up with him being unable to hit a high strike. He also is brittle and cannot play with dings like Rizzo and Contreros and Baez.
    Javy Baez is a charismatic player but not a long term keeper. The league understands his weakness as a complete guess hitter who is reluctant or unable to make adjustments at the plate. Almost always getting two strikes makes him terribly vulnerable. Let us hope Ed Howard develops quickly.
    Why are the Cubs at 14-7 such a downer to watch?

  • In reply to Swarf:

    I assume you were a fan pre 2015. If this team is a downer to watch how did you handle most years of watching them?

  • In reply to Swarf:

    I'm not convinced that Javy is just a guess hitter. He has a two strike opposite field approach in his arsenal. He, nor the coaches, want Baez to abandon his drive the ball part of his approach. We have seen lots of improvement. I think that Javy will reach a point where more consistent at bats happen.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Baez is a lazy hitter, mentally. The talent is ridiculous. But he gets in these swing modes and doesnt have the discipline (maybe he cant pickup the spin) to let pitches go. He will adjust which will force pitchers to throw strikes then he will crush for awhile. Reminds me so much of Sammy Sosa.

    Bryant looks lost and injured. Once he gets healthy the confidence will come back, he figure it out.

    I would put him on the 10 day retro give him some time to heal. He will hit.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    Can you explain more about Bryant's injury.? I have not heard or seen anything.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    There is no retro. He played yesterday. He would need to be gone for the next 10.

  • In reply to Swarf:

    I wonder what they do with Baez. My guess is that they make a push to sign him. One: he's a shortstop with power. Two: he's wildly popular. However, I've given up in the idea that Baez is going to "figure it out." He seems to have no interest. And I am concerned that he is the type of player who when his athletic ability dips even a little he will lack the fundamentals (at least at the plate) to make up for it.

    Saw that Tatis Jr. hit another two HRs last night. Leads the league. That kids is a phenom. It is going to be tough to pass Trout as the best player in the league, but I see Tatis doing it within a couple of years. He reminds of Michael Jordan.

  • In reply to Cubs09:

    Tatis Jr, looks like a future top of the top star!!!!

    I really think the Cubs waited to long to make real changes to the core. Starting to think Baez also will lose a little gusto once he has a long term big dollar contract.

    When you trade core players, you have to trade them early, and not late in modern baseball.

    Orioles for half of season of Machado Dodgers traded
    Valera 2b, Diaz RF, Pop rhp, Kremer Rhp, & Bannon 3b.

    Castellanos only cost the Cubs Richan and Lange.

    These are the kind of returns Cubs will likely get when they finally start dealing some of the core away.

    Being a large market team Cubs should not be afraid to deal some core players away. Extend the players who maybe sign the most team friendly contract?

  • In reply to Naujack:

    The Cubs are banking on Happ, Morel, Howard, Davis and Hoerner to pan out. I know they all wont but they are the next wave. This will ease the loss of Contreras and Bryant (hopefully trade them for something substantial next year). I think Schwarber, Baez and Rizzo will sign, just my guess.

  • Congrats to Duane Underwood on his first career win. Happy for him and glad to see him come in and be effective. May have been his last chance.

    Kyle Ryan seems to be Ross' favorite in the bullpen but he just doesn't have it right now. Really need another LHRP to beef up the pen that has turned things around since week 1.

    Very worried about KB.

  • Nice clutch hit by Bote last night, but man this offense is really scaring me lately.

    It's great to have baseball back, but a lot of the fun has dissipated for me watching this team struggle on offense. The swing and miss from your supposed top five players (except Rizzo) is worrisome. KB looks lost at the plate and can't catch up with fastballs down the middle.
    Javy has lost all plate discipline and seems to be resorting back to his early career approach to hitting. Schwarber is baffling right now. Gets fooled on too many times on breaking pitches in the dirt. Willy looks lost too.

    The only guys I trust with the bat right now are Happ/Rizzo/Kipnis.
    The rest give me little confidence in a key situation.

    Definitely still a flawed offense (lack of capable lead-off hitter, too much swing-and-miss, no ability to steal bases and basically horrible execution on small-ball). Plus, when you have only one regular batting over .250, that is a not a recipe for success.

  • In reply to DetroitCubFan:

    This lineup is what it is. Fans will have to live with some swing and miss and offensive dry spells, but at their best we also know these guys can win it all.

  • In reply to DetroitCubFan:

    Detroit, I couldn't agree more with your post. Happ, Kipnis, Rizzo and Heyward (!) have been carrying the team, but most of our big guns have been in horrible slumps the last couple of weeks. As we now approach 100 PA, the "small sample size" excuse is disappearing. Bryant is slugging a paltry .323 and has an OPS+ of 62. Baez has a horrible on-base of .244 and an OPS of 63. To illustrate how bad these stats are, in 2019 Almora had an OPS of 67, better than both Bryant and Baez so far this year. Also interesting that Heyward's OPS+ of 110 is better than Bryant, Baez, Contreras, and Schwarber. Who saw that coming?

  • In reply to jeffalson:

    Fully agree with you and Detroit. I was gonna add Heyward to the list, but you did it for me. Also, I know there’s really nowhere to send Hoerner to get him safer development experience, so he’s gonna stay, but if there’s no COVID and minor league baseball was a thing this year, he really should be sent down. Yes he’s making the best out of it, but there’s more development that needs to happen for his game, and I hope this doesn’t start to effect the mental side of his game. I do believe he’s mentally strong enough to handle this 2-3 month rollercoaster, but I keep thinking how both Schwarber and Happ could’ve benefitted from not being rushed tot he big leagues. Hell, even Javy was rushed! Look at him. Still the same problems as 4-5 years ago. Flashes of greatness, but those are still few and far in between his prolonged periods of failure in the batters box. I also think they need to move him back closer to the plate. Now strikes on the outside corner, or even balls below the strike zone on the outside corner just translate to weak contact.

  • In reply to DetroitCubFan:

    I don't know if this is cliche or not, but there is nothing that makes a team look deader than a lifeless offense. The one positive to this year's version compared to others is that it really hasn't been RISP issues. The issue has been generating baserunners the past few days. I can't remember a team scoring more runs than hits in two of three games to be honest. And while others may disagree, I feel a lot better about the name guys struggling right now with guys like Kipnis and Happ performing well. To me either Bryant is truly hurt and then none of this matters really. Or he will figure it out and be the very productive hitter even if it is slightly lower than the Hall of Fame pace many of us have come to expect.

  • My old retired butt just watched Bote' s HR for the seventh time. He got a 'cookie', but ' The Boat' sure did know what to do with it. Another thing I saw was the bench didn't celebrate to much. The team knew that they still had work to do. Boy, I want that trophy even if it is a truncated season. Haters gonna hate, virus' gonna virus, and baseball gonna baseball. The country needs it more than ever. Go Cubs!!

  • I love baseball so much. I get so much joy from sharing the Cubs games with my daughter and son in law in the Bay Area who woke me up last night thrilled about Bote’s homer and wanting so much to share it.
    As much as I love the Cubs I chose not to watch the second game because I was so upset about the shabby first game after another brilliantly pitched game by Kyle Hendricks.
    What I have delighted in this season has been the artistry of Kyle, Yu Darvish, John Lester, Mills and Chatwood plus Rizzo, Happ and Kipnis’ enthusiasm and timely hitting. Above all Kris Bryant has been the disappointment. Mentally, he seems miserable and fearful of the slightest tweak physically. He always behind in the count and unable to deal with the high fastball which also leaves him vulnerable to sliders late in the count.
    And the League obviously knows it. Batting him leadoff only exacerbates the anguish for him and the fans watching. Maybe trading him would help him but I think he is now Almoraesque as a hitter. Hopefully some team would trade a prospect for him, otherwise they will end up cutting him.

  • In reply to Swarf:

    Cubs was a tradition in my family, my grandfather past away at 94 about 10 years to early to experience 2016. So his life was bookended by Cubs World Series championships. As a little kid we sat on his porch and listened to wgn in eastern indiana, we hardly ever missed a game. Great memories.

    On a more current note, why would you trade Kris Bryant when he is hitting .180? He needs a 10 (7) day stint to get healthy. But no way would I trade him right now.

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    One of these days we're going to have to discuss "What went wrong with the Cubs?" Yes, they won in 2016, but in 2015 I said that in the next 5 years or so they should win at least 1 and probably more than 1 Championship. Don't get me wrong--I loved that. I will be 70 in October and all I really ever wanted was for the Cubs to get to 81 wins so the wouldn't have a losing record. Even now I want them to get to at least 30 so they will get in the playoffs.
    I think one reason is that they had so many young, talented players that the FO thought they all would progress and get better and better. On most teams it's a mix of veterans and young ones so there's a natural trade scenario for trading the veterans and getting young talent in return. We already had young talent.
    Anyway, I'm focused on winning today and then look at tomorrow.
    Go Cubs!!

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    It really will feel like a disappointment if this team won in 2016 and that was it with this core. There is something to the idea that if they had lost the '16 series and then won this year that we would feel differently than what has happened.

    As far as what went wrong, there are a lot of things to point to. The front office failed to develop a pipeline of arms that caused them having to overspend financial resources on the pitching staff. Ownership required the front office to stay under the luxury tax threshold in several years that required the front office to expend prospect capital to make up for the inability to buy players to plug obvious holes. Guys didn't develop the way we and the front office thought they might. Who to blame more for those developments is a matter of personal philosophy and preference.

  • In reply to Mike Banghart:

    It’s tough to win a World Series. Seems as if the current dodger team is what everyone expected the cubs to be . Dodgers have won 7 straight division titles being developed the way you suggest the cubs should have been and the dodgers haven’t won the W/S since 1988. Would you rather be the dodgers without W/S or the cubs with 2016.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I wonder if the myth about the Cubs rebuild doesn’t really match reality. Myth: the Cubs won by building a strong core of drafted prospects. Reality: the real core of the team was accumulated through trades and free agency. The defense in ‘16 was amazing. But the rotation was the bedrock, and not a single starter was drafted.

  • In reply to Cubs09:

    Perfect points 09 yes!

    It is really showing now that any high dollar contracts for the future with the core will be an overpay. Who would be stupid enough to hand Bryant over 200 mil now? The Phillies will rue the day with Harper.....they are good....but NOT great. I would sign Rizzo for another 5 years max for decent coin only because he gave them a helluva deal to begin with. Lester’s has been the ONLY big money deal that has paid off for the Cubs. We know what Heyward’s is but he is an 86 million player, not 186. At least we get something out of Heyward, he hasn’t gone all Carl Crawford on us. These long term big money deals just don’t work.....the Yankees try to buy a World Series every year but......somebody play the old Janet Jackson “What Have Ya Done For Me Lately”.....

  • In reply to Wickdipper:

    So the real window for that team was three years: ‘16, ‘17, ‘18. Arrieta left after ‘18 and Lester got older. Lackey was done by ‘17, essentially. Hammel too. There has been no wave and wave of prospects. Soler, Bryant, Schwarber, Happ, Eloy, and Torres are the prospects this management team has drafted who are every day players. It is a strong group.

  • In reply to Cubs09:

    Very true. I won’t trade the 2016 Championship for anything, but it’s funny to think that had they not turned the corner so quickly, that maybe we’d have Gleyber Torres and Javy as our middle infielders. And if there wasn’t as much pressure to get the team looking like 2016’s team during the 2017 season, maybe we’d have Eloy Jimenez roaming LF. So many what ifs, but like I said, not gonna trade the 2016 season for anything. But the way this has all played out is just so pre-2015 Cub.

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    In reply to Cubber Lang:

    Cubber, I don't know. Have you seen him in LF? Schwarber was bad but he's made himself a decent fielder and maybe Eloy will, but now he's getting injured several times a year. He really is a DH. I'd love him my DH.

  • In reply to Wickdipper:

    Ha, at least Heyward didn't go all Crawford on us. This whole putting together a dynesty thing rarely materializes. A World Championship in 2016 and a subjugated one in 2020 with the same core would be more than noteworthy.

  • KB received a cortisone shot in left wrist. Out until Friday.

  • Signing Heyward. Plenty of articles at the time of signing, Cubs believed they could help Heyward grow/develop as a power hitter. Six years in the league, and this front office thought they could find a way to develop his power.

    I guess, I expected after the Cubs World Series Win. A second wave of support talent was already developing in the minors. Not stars, but from all of the later draft picks, and non-big name international free agent signings. A wave of players like David Bote level production for the bullpen, platoon/bench type of production, & more secondary trade chips.

    What disappointed me the most was articles this past off season about Cubs dealing from the core. Front office never pulled the trigger. Why talk about it, and do nothing? I don't know if I will put much effort into watching the Loveable loser if they become that again. Even as a little kid I always thought as the mid-west large market team, the WGN/Tribune Cubs should have always been much better!!!

    From an outsider, it does look like the Cubs are spending money on front office, scouting, player development, & tech. I hope it starts to pay off with some prospects, and some non-established players who come out of nowhere and play well.

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    In reply to Naujack:

    The Core was young enough that no one could have come up to replace any of them. Javy, KB, Schwarber, Russell, Willson--all were early or mid-20's. What we didn't have were young pitchers coming up and replacing Hammel or Lackey. If that had happened we might have won more. The puzzling thing to me is what happened to their superior defense and running the bases. Those are qualities that generally don't fade away.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    We all know the Cubs developed almost nothing outside of the first pick in the draft, and a few early big name IFA signings, when they were allowed to go over the cap for a penalty.

    It is amazing the Cubs acquired in one way or another--- Rizzo, , Bryant, Baez, Russell, Castro, Russell, Jimenez, Almora, Torres, Soler, Contreras, Hoerner, Happ, Schwarber, Bote, & Caratini.

    Secondary players reached the majors
    Marco Hernandez, Jeimer Candelario, and even Vogelbach hit 30HR last season for the Mariners with a low average.

    Dodgers, right now just do a better job at acquiring talent then other large market teams. Yankees are pretty good at it too. I'm talking about all the ways you can acquire talent.

  • Good catch on cortisone for Bryant, but maybe that is the point. Bryant is brittle, Rizzo is not. It is both physical and mental. His problems hitting, getting behind in the count, not adjusting with 2 strikes, inability to handle the high fastball have plagued him for years as the pitchers and catchers have abused him game after game.

    He seems like a pleasant guy, good teammate but appears not to have the toughness at 27 to prosper when his skills should be peaking.

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    In reply to Swarf:

    What mystifies me is that Rizzo doesn't wear any protective elbow pads or anywhere else because he gets hit so many times, and he doesn't seem to get hurt. He is tough and a good win for the Cubs.

  • This is a great example of what happens when Javy is on base (The defense is on their heels particularly the pitcher). Javy needs to understand that he does not have to swing out of his shoes for a home run.

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