It is hard to stay positive when the Cubs have lost 5 out of 13 and 7 out of their last 8. I understand the frustrations of some fans and agree with positive outlook of others, but sometimes you have to wonder is if what we are seeing is just a dip in production, a regression to the mean, or just poor play. Part of me says it’s all three. On the other hand, there are still 2 and 1/2 months left to go and 75+ games. That’s a lot of baseball left to be played. Consider what Theo said to the Athletic’s Sahadev Sharma yesterday.
Theo when asked if concern over the Cubs recent struggles is fair: pic.twitter.com/Z3RnGnD1fq
— Sahadev Sharma (@sahadevsharma) July 8, 2016
Here are six thoughts for today’s six pack.
1. The bullpen is in shreds. Almost every day it becomes a question of who is going to let down the team today. I think the answers for the bullpen are going to come from within the organization as Aaron Crow, Jack Leathersich, Joe Nathan, and Brian Matusz are all throwing somewhere within the system and should be ready within the next month. I’ll be shocked if the Cubs go out and get a big name for the bullpen, but I won’t be if they just get a live arm not named Miller or Chapman in exchange for a low class A prospect.
2. Preston Morrison is ready to move from the Midwest League to someplace higher in the organization. Since the beginning of June, he has a 0.68 ERA and his start on Wednesday this week saw him go 7 innings with 9 strikeouts. He is currently on a 28+ innings scoreless streak. I’d love to see him stay at South Bend all year to help win a title, but that doesn’t do much for his development. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him moved in the next two weeks.
3. Since Willson Contreras looks to be in the big leagues for a while, I began to reassemble my Top Prospect 21 list and will release it soon after the trade deadline. The name that is going to surprise some people when I put it on the list is Andruw Monasterio. The young 19-year-old shortstop hit .324 at Eugene before his promotion to South Bend. Last night, he hit a triple and drove in the tying and go ahead runs in the game against Fort Wayne. He can hit really well, is exciting on the base paths, but he has some issues throwing. I think describing him as a “live wire” is perfect.
4. While there has been no word on Jorge Soler returning, Dexter Fowler will begin a rehab starting today with the South Bend Cubs. That should be exciting! When Fowler is activated, I can see Albert Almora going back down to Iowa to begin play as soon as Monday. I don’t think the Cubs want to see Albert miss four days of play if they can.
5. Jeimer Candelario seems an on odd man out but he really isn’t. He’s blocked as an everyday position player by Bryant and Baez. On the other hand, switch hitting power hitters on the bench don’t grow on trees. It would not surprise me to see him stick around for his versatile bat off the bench that can turn pitchers around. I am sure some fans might see that as showing him off before a trade, I don’t. I think he can be a switch hitting weapon late in games, something the Cubs don’t have on the bench.
6. I still think the Cubs are going to go out and get another starting pitcher, mainly for the postseason. While having a six man rotation is fine to save arms, they’re going to need more than just the starting pitchers they have now to go deep into the playoffs. I think Arrieta, Lester, and Hendricks are fine for the postseason, but Lackey is questionable and Hamel looks almost to be off the table for discussion. I think the pitcher they will seek will be young and cost controlled, even if that means they are still arbitration eligible.
Enjoy the weekend, enjoy the series in Pittsburgh, and enjoy the break to recover and regroup for the second half.
Bonus: Today would have been a rough day as a teacher. It’s hard to explain to 11-14 year old kids the reasons why people do the things they do. For the kids, it’s an extremely emotional time because they don’t understand their own emotions, let alone an adults.