“And she screams, ‘Why, oh why?’ I said, ‘I don’t know.’ The catastrophic hymns from yesterday.” – Green Day, Misery
…And then, depression set in.
The Cubs’ offense gave Kyle Hendricks no support at all and the Cardinals snapped Chicago’s winning streak at eight with a 3-0 win. The North Siders did take the series, however, and St. Louis started dismantling its roster during the game. We also found out that Christopher Morel is better served as DH and that Trey Mancini is never going to stick the way the front office hoped he would. It might be time to recall Matt Mervis and Nelson Velázquez. I must also mention that after an early error, Morel made two sparking defensive plays later.
The Cubs are a notoriously streaky team, and though it’s impossible to win every game, here’s hoping yesterday’s loss doesn’t become a trend. There’s not much left to say beyond that. All eyes will be on Hoyer today and tomorrow to see what types of reinforcements will be coming to the Windy City.
Cubs News & Notes
- Despite yesterday’s loss, the Cubs are returning home with a new sense of optimism on the strength of a 5-1 road trip.
- Hendricks believes the Cubs can win the NL Central.
- The front office is telling all potential suitors that Cody Bellinger will not be made available.
- Bellinger successfully sealed his fate by leading the surging Cubs over the last 50 games.
- The center fielder was, in fact, the league’s best outfielder for July.
- According to Patrick Mooney of The Athletic, Hoyer is looking at possible ways to strengthen the bullpen and add another hitter ($) before Tuesday’s trade deadline, a course of action that seemed unthinkable when the team was 10 games under .500 in early June, but still doubtful only a few days ago.
- One way the Cubs could strengthen the bullpen is by adding Josh Hader or one of a few other left-handed relief options.
- The Cubs and Padres are equally hot, which could temper expectations of a potentially torrid trade market. That means Bellinger, Stroman, Hader, and Blake Snell are all likely to stay out.
- The mood in the clubhouse is very upbeat with the deadline approaching.
- Playing meaningful games in August and September is also the type of short- and long-term goal the franchise needed to experience this year.
- Cubs-White Sox trade speculation is always fun to read. At first glance, you’re likely to say “No way,” but the three proposals make some sense once you unpack them.
- The Cubs outrighted Edwin Ríos yesterday, opening a spot for an addition to the 40-man roster. The Cubs signed Rios to a $1 million major league deal this offseason but he never established himself, batting .071/.235/.214/.450 in 34 plate appearances.
- David Ross said Sunday that Hayden Wesneski will be in the bullpen and his role will be defined as the team moves forward.
- The NL Central has been one of this summer’s most back-and-forth division races, and the four-game set between the Reds and Cubs at Wrigley Field could once again turn the tides in the division. Wrigley Field should be electric all week.
- The Cubs are a top-10 team in the latest power rankings by FOX Sports.
- A jazz number dubbed “Come Out to Wrigley Field” that has been tucked away for six decades will be featured in a pre-game performance outside the Friendly Confines on Wednesday evening.
Odds & Sods
At least we’re not White Sox fans. That “competitive window” may have been the most disappointing in the history of baseball.
Just to put it on the record 2023 MLB Trade Deadline Edition
– The White Sox should trade Dylan Cease now
– If there is a serious buyer, the White Sox should trade Tim Anderson and Eloy Jimenez
– If can't find a deal by Tuesday, DFA Grandal and Andrus.
— Josh Nelson (@soxmachine_josh) July 30, 2023
- Cincinnati (58-49): The Reds beat the Dodgers 9-0 yesterday on the strength of home runs by Joey Votto, Matt McLain, and Elly De La Cruz. Cincinnati took two of three from Los Angeles to retake first place in the NL Central. The Reds may attack the trade market aggressively, so keep an eye on Salvador Perez, Mike Clevinger, Tim Anderson, Jake Burger, and Eloy Jiménez.
- Milwaukee (57-49): Jiménez continues to be linked to the Brewers, however. Readers here at Cubs Insider are secretly hoping Milwaukee will start the ex-Cubs farmhand in left field.
- Pittsburgh (47-58): The Dodgers are kicking the tires on Pirates ace Mitch Keller, along with just about every starter available.
- St. Louis (47-60): The Cardinals and Rangers completed a trade during yesterday’s game. Texas received pitchers Jordan Montgomery and Chris Stratton in exchange for LHP John King, infield prospect Thomas Saggese and right-handed pitching prospect Tekoah Roby.
Climbing the Ladder
“You have to sleep late when you can and all your bad days will end.” – Flaming Lips, Bad Days
The Cubs excelled at futility against Steven Matz and relievers Giovanny Gallegos and JoJo Romero. Though they only struck out six times, Chicago’s North Side Baseballers could do no better at the plate than four singles and a double. Yan Gomes had two of Chicago’s five hits. Ross opted for another disappointing Sunday lineup in yesterday’s contest.
Don’t look now, but Michael Fulmer is in a bit of a groove. He’s only allowed four runs since June 3, pitching to a 1.44 ERA with 20 strikeouts in 25 innings of work.
- Games Played: 105
- Record: 53-52 (.505)
- Total Plate Appearances: 4,041
- Total Strikeouts: 947
- Strikeout Rate: 23.43%
- Team Batting Average: .254
- Runs Scored: 514
- Runs Allowed: 457
- Chances of Making the Playoffs: 46.6%, 3.7% to win the World Series
How About That!
I think it’s safe to say that Steve Cohen has been a colossal failure since taking over the Mets.
Verlander holds a no-trade clause and could force a trade to Houston ($), per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.
The Braves have also checked in on Verlander.
The Yankees are targeting upgrades at catcher, third base, and in the outfield, but do they have any chance of winning the AL East?
The Phillies are targeting right-handed hitters but could be competing with the Yankees for the same players.
The Braves want to add a starting pitcher.
The Rays are expected to go big in the relief pitcher market.
Some MLB owners are upset with the preferential treatment the A’s are getting for their expected move to Las Vegas.
Sunday’s Three Stars
- Matt Olson – Atlanta’s first baseman bashed two home runs and plated five runners, helping the Braves sweep the Brewers. Atlanta outscored Milwaukee 29-18 in the three-game set.
- José Ramírez – Two-tater Ramírez had another multi-homer game, going 2-for-4 with two big flies and three RBI in the Guardians’ 5-0 win over the White Sox.
- Verlander – In what was likely his final start with the Mets, Verlander earned his 250th career win by beating the Nationals 5-2.
I’d love to see the Cubs acquire Jeimer Candelario, but I wish there was a linked source to this tweet.
— Mike Rodriguez (@mikedeportes) July 30, 2023
Monday Morning Six-Pack
- The Bears go to full pads today, and I’ll be ramping up coverage over at Bears Insider all week.
- Today is National Avocado Day, and as always, celebrate accordingly.
- Barbie is closing in on $1 billion at the box office. If the movie hits that mark, Greta Gerwig would become the first solo female director to exceed that threshold.
- The USWNT play their final FIFA World Cup group stage match against Portugal at 3 AM ET on Tuesday. Following a disappointing 1–1 draw against the Netherlands, the team can still advance to the knockout stage with a win or a tie.
- American swimmer Katie Ledecky broke Michael Phelps’s record with her 16th individual gold medal at the world championships.
- Sizzling temperatures in the US Southwest are set to ease this week with the arrival of monsoon rains.
They Said It
- “We’ve got to get better in some areas, but I think the fight and the belief that you’re seeing at this moment is a collective group that’s playing together. We’re not playing perfect baseball, but there’s no wavering in how [we] compete. That’s a really powerful thing.” – Ross
- “We’ve got the guys in this room that can get the job done. Whatever we [add to] this clubhouse, we’re just going to keep it rolling and keep attacking these other teams.” – Hendricks
- “We have the boys in a really good position right now. We’re playing really, really good baseball. We’re finally finding that identity as a team. The chemistry is there. Everyone is coming together. The pieces are falling into place now.” – Adbert Alzolay
Monday Walk-Up Song
Let’s stop that losing streak at one game, please, and thank you.