The Rundown: Losing Streak Over, Cubs Still Sellers Despite Win, Kimbrel Could Bring Haul, Rays Throw 7-Inning Faux-No in Cleveland
“Little darling, it seems like years since it’s been here.” – George Harrison, Here Comes the Sun
The streak is over.
I really feel like I shouldn’t write another word because I’m afraid to jinx what could be the beginning of a two-game winning streak, which might send a bunch of crazy Cubs fans back into buy mode with 22 days left until the trade deadline. But high vibes aside — and I feel pretty good about Chicago’s chances today with Adbert Alzolay facing Zach Eflin — the Cubs are still in sell mode and will likely flood the market with a number of good-to-great available players.
Losers of 10 straight, what should the Cubs do?
BK, @Joelsherman1 and @JonHeyman play Concern, Panic, Doom! pic.twitter.com/p54I1gwlME
— MLB Now (@MLBNow) July 6, 2021
Anyone from Jake Marisnick to Craig Kimbrel could and should be available to the league’s playoff contenders. Last night’s win and the preceding 11-game losing streak won’t mean anything a month from now as we start dreaming about the next wave of prospects headed toward Wrigley Field. But let’s relish that win just a little.
“It feels great,” said starter Alec Mills, who likely earned a permanent spot in the rotation. “It’s nice to have some music playing in the locker room after the game. It’s nice to give high-fives, that’s for sure.”
The Cubs jumped on Phillies starter Zack Wheeler with five runs in the first two innings, cruised behind Mills until Philadelphia tagged him with a three-spot in the sixth, and the bullpen slammed the door on the opposition. It was reminiscent of all those May and early June victories. What was once the secret to the team’s success felt a lot more like a surprise visit from an old friend. It was nice, we had a few laughs, talked about old times, but yeah, the gang will soon be going their separate ways. All good things come to an end, just like Seinfeld, The Sopranos, and Breaking Bad.
Kimbrel will probably be the first to go and Jon Heyman believes Jed Hoyer should get a haul in return. Of course, Hoyer got a haul for Yu Darvish, too, at least in quantity. The jury is still (way) out regarding any impact Owen Caissie, Ismael Mena, Reginald Preciado, and Yeison Santana may have on future iterations of the big league team. If there was any justice in the world, Hoyer would be able to flip Zach Davies for a top 100 prospect in a market that has a dearth of quality starting pitching, but that won’t happen. Davies is likely to be traded, he just won’t be exchanged for anybody remotely exciting.
Still, the Cubs won 8-3, the abominable losing streak is over, and nothing’s changed regarding the immediate future of the current roster. Despite the imminent and upcoming goodbyes, at least we can all smile this morning. It’s been nearly two weeks since we’ve been able to take that victory lap. Cheers, Friends.
Cubs News & Notes
- The 11-game losing streak and subsequent plunge from a share of first in the NL Central to nine games out figures to portend seismic results in the next few weeks.
- Mills proved to be the stopper the Cubs so desperately needed.
- The Cubs put starter Jake Arrieta on the IL with a hamstring injury, something that has apparently been bothering the veteran since May.
- Arrieta reiterated that he can still be a successful starter, though his injury probably saved David Ross from having to make a difficult decision regarding Arrieta’s near-term future in the rotation.
- Another mock draft has the Cubs selecting Florida outfielder Jud Fabian.
- For more on Fabian and other potential draft targets, check out this preview and analysis by Cubs Insider contributing writer Greg Zumach
Odds & Sods
During the offseason, more than a few Cubs fans were adamant that there could be no Bryant deal with the Braves unless the Cubs got Cristian Pache in return. That’s probably why we are fans and not baseball executives.
Cristian Pache went 0-for-4 tonight for Triple-A Gwinnett and is now batting .204 with a .612 OPS, 2 HR, 1 stolen base, 33 strikeouts and 8 walks in 95 plate appearances (25 games). That's 25 games in Triple A. Of all the things that have surprised me this season….
— David O'Brien (@DOBrienATL) July 8, 2021
Climbing the Ladder
- Games Played: 87
- Total Plate Appearances: 3,181
- Total Strikeouts: 843
- Strikeout Rate: 26.5%
- Team Batting Average: .226
All of the Cubs’ runs scored last night came with two outs, and none via the home run.
How About That!
Tampa Bay pitchers Collin McHugh, Josh Fleming, Diego Castillo, Matt Wisler, and Pete Fairbanks threw a combined no-hitter against Cleveland yesterday, though it will not count as an official no-no since the game was a 7-inning affair as part of a doubleheader. The Rays’ obligatory losing streak will now commence.
Shohei Ohtani has been the game’s biggest story this year, even bigger than all the faux-and-no-hitters, and he just may be a true-to-life superhero.
The 51-35 White Sox beat the 35-50 Twins 6-1 last night, they’re 10-2 against Minnesota this season, and don’t we all look like doggone fools for saying the Sox still weren’t strong enough to wrest the division title from the defending AL Central champs.
The MLB career of Dodgers’ starter Trevor Bauer is sinking faster than the Twins’ hopes of reaching the playoffs.
Outfielder Adam Eaton was designated for assignment on Wednesday so Chicago could open a roster spot for outfielder Adam Engel.
Miguel Cabrera beating out this infield single was almost as fun as watching Bartolo Colon hit that epic home run against the Padres back in 2016. Miggy ran so hard he needed an extra 90 feet to stop his momentum.
Mississippi State outfielder Tanner Allen became the first collegiate athlete to sell autographed trading cards for personal profit this week.
Wednesday’s Three Stars
- Kevin Kiermaier – Recognition is deserved and given when you plate five runs on a 2-for-3 night. The Rays’ outfielder hit a three-run homer and had a two-RBI double.
- Juan Soto/Starlin Castro/Josh Harrison – The Nationals’ trio was a combined 7-for-12 with 5 runs, one mammoth blast by Soto, and eight RBI, which really helped my fantasy team since I own all three.
- Joey Gallo – The Rangers outfielder had another two-homer night and now has 10 homers in his last 10 games.
Sigh. What could have been.
With Kyle Schwarber watching from the dugout, the rest of the Nationals showed again tonight they can still score a bunch of runs. "That tells you how it's going to be in the second half. It's going to be really fun with this lineup and Schwarber back." https://t.co/Qrw93nzqhh
— Mark Zuckerman (@MarkZuckerman) July 8, 2021
They Said It
- “I think there’s a lot of things that could change if we don’t start winning.” – David Ross
- “Everything that’s going to be written is going to be written, and you guys are going to ask the questions, and we’re probably just going to dodge them and avoid them and say it’s all rumors. But you definitely hear it. Most of us in this clubhouse have been around long enough to know that you’ve just got to keep playing, and whatever happens, happens.” – Anthony Rizzo
Thursday Walk-Up Song
All Those Years Ago by George Harrison – Enjoy these last few weeks, Cubs fans. This team is going to look a heck of a lot different come July 31.