Saturday, 15 July:
The Cubs are back in their happy zone.
For the 26th time, the World Champs are dead even; win one, lose one. In other words, while not godawful, it is the epitome of mediocrity. They did go into the All Star break two under, which also tied their low water mark, and now have evened up.
They owe a great deal of thanks to the Baltimore Orioles, though.
Baltimore, who sports the highest ERA of any starting staff in the majors threw more kerosene on that flaming stat with 15 runs allowed over 7 2/3 innings the last two games. They gave up 6 homers, too.
The Cubs scored the first 11 runs of the series on the home run. They finally broke that string with an Albert Almora run scoring single, and Jason Heyward, as happy as anyone to get some BP level pitching, followed with a bases loaded triple.
Jake Arrieta survived a 27 pitch first inning to go 6 6 2/3 of 2 run, 4 hit ball. He isn’t striking people out much anymore; just three this time. But he is learning to pitch to contact; he is re-inventing himself on the fly as he prepares for his free agent quest.
No matter what, it won’t be the money he would have received 16 months ago. But if he can make this change from power to finesse, he could still have a nice second act.
It will be somewhere else. Chicago is still sniffing for players; they will swap position players for controllable pitching, and both Jeimer Candelario and Victor Carantini are both available for the right arm.
Position player wise the Cubs can’t deal from a position of strength; they won’t remake the offense until the post season. They are really counting on Jason Heyward starting to earn his dough.
That, and the maturation of Kyle Schwarber and Addison Russell as hitters. The Cubs are now in a two week crunch period. They have to reel off an 8-2, or 7-3 run, and soon.
If they continue to scuffle at .500 you will see no real changes made. However, if it looks like they can sneak back in the race they will do what it takes. Whatever it takes.
If they see a path to the Dance they’ll deal BIG. But right now, the Dodgers are a runaway freight train, so you don’t want to mortgage the future to get slain by LA in the playoffs.
First order of affairs: Get hot, and that means now…
Jose Quintana makes his Cub debut tomorrow; the Orioles are ripe to get swept. Ubaldo Jimenez the opponent. 12:35 start, WLS, 670 The Score