The Rundown: Royals Blast Cubs to Complete Sweep, Miggy Gets 500, Topps Blindsided by MLB, Cleveland Takes Little League Classic
“Ain’t nothin’ but a muffin, we’ve got a lot of butter to go.” – Prince, Partyman
On Friday I said the Cubs would sweep the Royals, then Kansas City proceeded to wax our Boys in Blue over the entire three-game set. That sweep leaves the Cubs with the sixth-worst record in all of baseball this morning and, obviously, in possession of the draft choice that comes with it. After yesterday’s 9-1 affair, Chicago has now lost 13 straight games at Wrigley Field and it may be too much to expect for the Cubs to put the brakes on that streak anytime soon even with the Rockies coming to town. It would be nice to pull the plug on the rest of the season, but there are still 36 games to be played.
Jersey edit on Cubs fan at Wrigley today… pic.twitter.com/TEgB09orhW
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) August 22, 2021
The 13 straight losses by the Cubs at the Friendly Confines is a team record, by the way, which means Tom Trebelhorn can sleep easy for the first time since 1994. I don’t suppose David Ross will conduct a firehouse chat on Waveland Avenue, but he’s kinda-sorta going into concession speech mode.
“We’re just trying to come in every day and try to do our best and compete,” Ross said. “This is a great environment here, a great place to play.”
“These guys work their tail off, and they go out there compete as best they can,” the second-year manager continued. “Now, sometimes it doesn’t work out. Sometimes it does. Right now, it’s not working out a lot. But we’ll put our pants on tomorrow and go out and try to take it to the Rockies.”
You have to wonder if Ross is feeling like he was sold a bill of goods when he was hired. Last year he had to deal with a COVID-shortened season, this year his team was completely gutted by Jed Hoyer, and unless he signs an extension this winter, he’ll enter 2022 as the lame-duck manager of a rebuilding ballclub. If the Cubs didn’t have Kyle Hendricks, they might not win another game. Epstein talked for years about a great reckoning, but this season has been nothing short of a bloodletting under Hoyer.
If you’ve watched any of the games recently, I’m sure you noticed more and more empty seats at Wrigley Field. Hopefully, Tom Ricketts has also noticed and will do what he can financially to jumpstart the Cubs toward their next window of contention as quickly as possible. Big-name free agents may not want to sign to play for a rebuilding franchise, however, especially when the chief executive states that he wants to limit contracts to shorter terms ($). There aren’t a lot of selling points at the corner of Clark and Addison these days, and franchise-low losing streaks combined with dwindling attendance isn’t helping.
Cubs News & Notes
- Just asking, but is Wrigley Field the selling point it used to be? All of the renovations have stripped the iconic ballpark of some of its charm, and the Cubs play a lot fewer day games than they used to. I certainly hope they’re not counting on any type of aesthetic boost when they’re pursuing free agents this winter and next.
- The last time the Cubs won at Wrigley Field was July 26, when Javier Báez delivered a walk-off hit and Craig Kimbrel notched the victory.
- Keegan Thompson wasn’t too terrible on Saturday and he certainly earned the chance to remain in the rotation for the final seven weeks of the season.
- The oblique issue that Nico Hoerner is fighting through flared up over the weekend and the second baseman will be reassessed today. I’m shocked he hasn’t been tagged with the injury-prone label Cubs fans were so quick to attach to Kris Bryant.
- Hoerner will be the team’s everyday shortstop once he can return and he’ll pair with second baseman Nick Madrigal next season, so you can probably cross Carlos Correa off your wish lists.
- A lot of the midseason prospects lists have been released and there’s little consistency when it comes to ranking Chicago’s prospects other than Brennen Davis.
- Myrtle Beach left-hander DJ Herz struck out 13 batters on Saturday. In 16 starts this season, the 2019 eighth-round pick is pitching to a 3.58 ERA with 100 strikeouts in 60.1 innings for the Low-A affiliate.
- Fergie Jenkins said that if Sammy Sosa wants to come back and be included in the organization’s new Hall of Fame, all he has to do is ask.
- The Marquee Network has set up a tribute page for each of the 56 individuals who were honored last week.
Odds & Sods
Seems par for the course when it comes to Rob Manfred, right?
Topps Says It Was Blindsided by Fanatics' MLB Deal https://t.co/mvxmni44Kn
— Sooz 🇦🇱 (@yanxchick) August 22, 2021
Climbing the Ladder
“Hey…look me over. Tell me do you like what you see? Hey, I ain’t got no money, but baby I’m rich on personality.” – Prince & The Revolution, Baby, I’m a Star
- Games Played: 126
- Total Plate Appearances: 4,617
- Total Strikeouts: 1,234
- Strikeout Rate: 26.7%
- Team Batting Average: .229
Two-hits-per-day Frank Schwindel had two more hits yesterday. Has his mug become a viral meme yet? It should.
Apropos of Nothing
When Chicago holds the Air & Water Show, the USN Blue Angels make their way all the way up to Milwaukee before turning back. I woke up yesterday morning to my entire building shaking during a fly-by. When I was a kid, the event always meant the end of summer and back-to-school. Sigh.
How About That!
Miguel Cabrera became the 28th major leaguer to hit 500 home runs and the first Venezuelan to accomplish that feat.
Who will be the next major league player to reach that milestone? Nelson Cruz and Mike Trout are probably the likeliest.
The Indians beat the Angels 3-0 in this year’s Little League Classic.
Shohei Ohtani FaceTimed the ESPN kids-cast during yesterday’s game.
Major league players relish the opportunity to play in the Williamsport, PA classic.
The Reds took a one-game lead over the slumping Padres for the second NL Wild Card yesterday.
Because of a brutal upcoming schedule that includes 10 games against the Giants and six against the Dodgers, San Diego is fighting an uphill battle. The Padres are 5-11 against the Rockies and Diamondbacks this season and just lost two of three to the Phillies.
The Orioles have now lost 18 straight games. Chins up, Cubs fans.
Sunday’s Three Stars
- Miguel Cabrera – 500 home runs punched Cabrera’s ticket into baseball’s Hall of Fame, not that there was any doubt previously. Miggy is now just 45 hits shy of 3,000.
- Cal Quantrill – The Cleveland starter two-hit the Angels over seven shutout innings with nine strikeouts in Williamsport last night.
- Rhys Hoskins – Bryce Harper has been mentioned frequently as a potential MVP, but Hoskins may have a better case. After yesterday’s two-homer game, the first baseman is pacing the Phillies with 26 taters and 70 RBI.
Miggy, forever and ever. It seems like a century ago that he led the Marlins past the Cubs in the 2003 NLCS.
Miguel Cabrera’s Monster Milestone https://t.co/O2xmhuNl5u
— FanGraphs Baseball (@fangraphs) August 23, 2021
They Said It
- “Listen, it’s no fun to lose. It’s like nobody is having a good time. But what I do know is we should be really thankful we’re in the major leagues and get a chance to put on this uniform and play baseball for the Chicago Cubs.” – David Ross
- “[Sosa was] a great ballplayer. Unfortunately, he won’t come to terms with saying, ‘Hey, I want to come back.’ And that’s all it takes. One little thing: ‘I want to come back and be a part of the Cub organization.’” – Fergie Jenkins
Monday Walk-Up Song
Prince/The Time Medley by Morris Day & The Time featuring Bruno Mars – One of the better Grammy moments of recent years.