What You Need To Know: Huge news today for the Cubs: Kyle Hendricks gave up runs in the first, then was absolutely great. The Cubs hit a solo homer, and that’s it. The Cubs can’t hit with runners in scoring position. Like, at all. Ever. Zero for their last 20.
I swear to God, I’m writing this on August 21st, this is not a re-post. This is new. I’d take a picture with a newspaper to prove it if anyone got newspapers anymore, but, alas, here we are.
The good stuff was post-first inning Hendricks, some great defense, turning line drives into double plays. Kyle Schwarber trying to hustle his way into a run, beating out a double play and stealing second before (shock) being stranded. The absolute best thing was Anthony Rizzo falling down on his own homer.
The bad stuff was… well, you know. The Cubs offense made Jordan Zimmermann look like he was destined to become the last Hall of Famer, alphabetically (as of now, it’s Yount). They left a runner on base literally every inning, and they still managed to hit a solo homer.
Oh, and Almora walked once.
Hendricks giving up runs in the first, and the offense might have been the only thing that *wasn’t* news today for the Cubs. The big news today wasn’t on the field. It was off the field, where the Cubs set the modern record by adding a sixth second basemen to a roster that already had Báez, Zobrist, Bote, LaStella, and Happ. Shifts truly have gotten out of control.
There was other news too: Yu Darvish is officially out for the year, Kris Bryant took BP, Addison Russell was scratched for shoulder inflammation (a different problem than his finger/hand, which seems to have sapped all of his offensive ability). I still say it’s unfair that the Cubs are the only team in the league who is not allowed to use the 10-day DL until guys have already been injured for two full months, but, rules are rules!
Oh yeah, and the Cubs got a terrible defensive 33-year-old second baseman with a .784 OPS*, because it was just too good a deal to turn down, regardless of the baggage.
*Yes, he is on fire since the break, .340/.370/.534. But none of those at-bats have come in the most difficult hitting position in the league: with Cubs baserunners on second and/or third.
Top WPA Play: Anthony Rizzo homered, and fell to the ground, feeling the weight of this entire offense on his shoulders. Homering his way onto the DL would be a real #tbt to “That’s Cub” right now, but thank Ernie & Santo, he’s fine. Oh yeah, it was a solo homer, but you already knew that (+.118).
Bottom WPA Play: Willson Contreras grounding into a double play with David Bote on in the fourt inning. Sure (-.132).
Up Next: I’ve heard great things about the “law of averages,” though it’s possible that law hasn’t actually been passed yet? (Friggin’ congress, man.) But maybe that law will lead to the Cubs hitting against Francisco Liriano in Detroit tomorrow. He’s 0-3 in his last 3 starts with an ERA near seven, so, fingers crossed. Lester takes the hill for the Cubs.
Lead photo courtesy Rick Osentoski—USA Today Sports