Baseball

Series Wrap – Cubs Split With Braves: In A Microcosm

Game 1 Box Score: Cubs 8, Braves 3

Game 2 Box Score: Braves 3, Cubs 2

Game 3 Box Score: Braves 5, Cubs 3

Game 4 Box Score: Cubs 9, Braves 7

So we’ll do a half-season reflection thing tomorrow before they kick it off with the Reds, but this homestand and this series is kind of just what the Cubs are in 10 games, or four games, or whatever. They can bash Lucas Giolito one night, but that only comes after looking decidedly Patches and Poor Violet against Ivan Nova. They’ll split with the Mets, and then split with the NL’s hottest team in the Braves. They’ll look loose as shit one game, and then show a fair amount of determination and heart the next to salvage it all. They waver from great offense to mystifying one, a great start to a few terrible ones and back. So hovering right above .500 seems about right.

Oh, and they might actually have a bullpen now?

To the bullets:

The Two Obs

-I was like most Cubs fans in about to get really upset when they were down 6-1. I wasn’t sure why they needed a six-man rotation and I wasn’t sure why they needed to give Chatwood a full week. And just like on Sunday, when I was about to really go over the edge on this team they come up with seven straight runs, take much better ABs, and get a win that will feel important down the road.

-Kintzler-Strop-Kimbrel. Has a ring to it.

-I’m gonna feel a little bad for Chatwood, because he just hasn’t been used enough. There are reasons for that obviously, because you can’t say he’s earned automatic use. Still, he started the month with that iffy insertion after a rain delay in St. Louis. He threw one inning a full week later, and then 2.2 innings three days later in Colorado. Nine days before his first start, and then a full week before this one. That’s 14 innings over 27 days. For someone who should be throwing multiple innings every time, unless it’s total disaster.

-Speaking of total disaster, I present Mike Montgomery. His sinker and fastball are getting crushed this year, which doesn’t really give him the platform to use his change. That’s how Tuesday’s game got away.

-Speaking of which, the Cubs were loose in that one and loose last night, and that keeps happening. I don’t want to pin it all on Willson Contreras, who nearly brought the Cubs back last night by himself, but he had three key mistakes that either led to critical runs or cost the Cubs a big chance at one of their own.

I feel like some of Contreras’s devotion to making things happen is that his greatest skill on defense has been taken away from him. Teams know about the arm now, so there’s few chances of backpicks and caught stealings. When he does get a chance to throw to the bases, he seems overjoyed by the fact and it feels like he’s missing the target way more than he used to. He’s already got 10 errors, when he had 11 all last year. It puts more focus on his framing and blocking, which are both still below average. Last night’s first run was all on him and had Yu immediately on the defensive.

-Oh, Yu. I wish I could explain it away as easily as Chatwood, but he’s still pitching as if he’s terrified of contact or only strikeouts will do. You can’t go 3-2 on every hitter, you can’t throw every pitch in every AB. He’s also still searching. He threw cutters last night, which he didn’t all in the start before, but the start before that they were almost half of his offerings. The last two starts have seen him try his splitter again, even though he had basically abandoned it until that point. It’s a hard watch.

-Bryant, despite his homer last night, hasn’t shown much pop since crashing into the granite that is Jason Heyward. No way he was or is concussed, I’m sure.

-I can’t stress this enough. Until a move is made, or Zobrist comes back, it’s time to just give David Bote a run in the lineup and only have one spot that Russell or Almora or CarGo can fuck up.

Onwards…

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