“I face the day with my head caved in, looking like something that the cat brought in.” – The Police, Invisible Sun
The Cubs have lost three in a row and they’re playing like a team that believes the current shroud of smoke engulfing the Midwest will never leave. Other than home runs by Dansby Swanson and Jared Young, Chicago once again fell meekly to the brave and mighty Phillies, this time 8-5. It wasn’t that close though. Chicago’s North Side Baseballers squandered several late opportunities to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
Kyle Hendricks takes the bump tonight with a chance to be the stopper the Cubs desperately need. This stretch of games ahead of the All-Star break will determine if Jed Hoyer is buying or peddling in July, and so far, it looks a lot more like the latter.
Cubs News & Notes
- Chicago’s front office has its sights set on “playing beyond 162” as it approaches the trade deadline, but is that realistic?
- That said, the expectations of Hoyer and Carter Hawkins are slightly more tempered than those of Tom Ricketts and Crane Kenney.
- Regardless, the Cubs hope to complete the first half of the season by stringing together a few wins.
- The Cubs and several other teams might wait until the final week of July to decide which deadline path to take.
- In an article for The Athletic, Ken Rosenthal names Swanson and Marcus Stroman as Chicago’s only All-Star players ($).
- Young intends to give his home run ball to his niece. She’s only a month old but was in attendance last night.
- The rookie first baseman was one of the organization’s top hitters at Triple-A Iowa.
- The Air Quality Index before last night’s game was considered very unhealthy.
- Cubs fans are anxiously awaiting a promotion to Triple-A for Pete Crow-Armstrong.
- MLB Pipeline re-ranked its Top Prospects List this week. Crow-Armstrong is now No. 9, Cade Horton jumped to 49th, and Ben Brown entered the Top 100 at No. 79 overall.
- Keith Law dropped his most recent MLB mock draft this morning ($), and he projects the Cubs will select OF Enrique Bradfield Jr. of Vanderbilt.
- Here’s Bradfield’s scouting report.
- The Cubs are the 4th-most popular baseball team in America based on Instagram followers. Yawn.
Odds & Sods
Andrew McCutchen is priceless here, but I wish I knew why the home organist shuffled the deck on him.
Cutch's reaction to the Organ playing instead of his Walkup Music. 😂 pic.twitter.com/wQbfS5CW8p
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) June 29, 2023
- St. Louis: Some Cardinals fans think engaging in a rebuilding effort, as suggested by just about anybody who knows baseball, would be incredibly shortsighted.
- Milwaukee: If the struggling Mets decide to clean house, owner Steve Cohen might have his sights set on Brewers advisor and former president of baseball operations David Stearns.
- Cincinnati: The Reds have been unsuccessful in trading for a starter, so they’ll turn to Alec Mills, at least for now.
- Pittsburgh: McCutchen and ace Mitch Keller could be made available at the deadline if the Pirates can acquire minor league assets in a trade for either.
Climbing the Ladder
“No wise man has the power to reason away what seems to be is always better than nothing at all.” – The Doobie Brothers, What a Fool Believes
The Cubs were 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position, but at least they did it democratically: The eight outs were made by eight different batters. The streaky Christopher Morel is trending in the wrong direction during the losing streak and Ian Happ struck out three times yesterday. Trey Mancini struck out as a pinch hitter with ducks on the pond, which really hurt the Cubs. Perhaps Davis Ross should have let the consistently clutch Mike Tauchman fend for himself. By the way, Tauchman has a .414 OBP vs. LHP.
- Games Played: 78
- Record: 37-41 (.474)
- Total Plate Appearances: 2,981
- Total Strikeouts: 718
- Strikeout Rate: 24.09%
- Team Batting Average: .247
- Runs Scored: 358
- Runs Allowed: 333
- Chances of Making the Playoffs: 51.3%, 1.9% to win the World Series
How About That!
The Mets are “preparing for all contingencies” in case they fail to turn things around. That could mean several trades and a front office overhaul.
Chris “Mad Dog” Russo is fed up with baseball trying to expand its reach globally.
Wednesday’s Three Stars
- Germán – The Yankees hurler tossed baseball’s first perfect game in 10 years. Germán had nine strikeouts in the 11-0 win over the Athletics.
- Seby Zavala – The White Sox catcher was 3-for-5 with two long flies and four RBI in an 11-5 win over the Angels.
- José Ramírez– The Cleveland slugger hit a grand slam and propelled the Guardians into first place in the AL Central.
I have an emissions test scheduled for today. Just doing my part to reduce some of the air toxicity blanketing my city. I’m also leaving Twitter for good this weekend because I’m just getting too old for that kinda stuff.
Homer in the Gloamin’ II, courtesy of Mr. Young. Of course, Gabby Hartnett hit the original in 1928, and it was much more dramatic.
First major league homer for Jared Young! 👏 pic.twitter.com/dV9NuLPi7V
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) June 29, 2023
Thursday Morning Six-Pack
- It’s official: Connor Bedard is the first pick in the NHL Draft and the would-be savior of the Blackhawks franchise.
- Air Quality Alerts were issued in 20 states yesterday, affecting nearly one-third of the U.S. Population. Thank you, Canada! If this continues into next week, some of the 4th of July fireworks shows will seem somewhat ethereal.
- South Korea has decided that babies will no longer be designated as one year old at the time of birth, so everyone in the country just got a year or two younger.
- Costco is clamping down on membership sharing, which means you can no longer use Grandpa’s card to purchase a metric ton of Cheerios. We are obviously entering an age of non-sharing based on the new Netflix subscription rules, too.
- Scientists have found signs of a new kind of gravitational wave, and by the way, it’s massive.
- Eric Clapton is bringing back his Crossroads tour to help people who turned to alcohol and drugs during the pandemic lockdowns.
They Said It
- “I think we’re playing for a goal beyond just playing 162. We wanna play a lot more than that. To know that there’s a good chance that we’re gonna be in contention going into the end of the year, that’s definitely exciting.” – Hawkins
- “That consistency of putting together all three phases of our game. The offense, the defense, and the pitching — and obviously that leads to wins. Wins also lead to improving our playoff odds and [if] we do that more and more, it puts us in a position to buy. But, I think continuing to see that, we’ll be in a really good place.” – Hawkins
Thursday Walk-Up Song
I’m going to see the Dave Matthews Band at Summerfest tonight unless the rancid AQI forces a cancellation.