Living On a What, Now?
After yesterday's heart-ripper-outer of a game, the Cubs have lost seven of
eight for the first time since last June. They still have a four-game division
lead and an 84.5% chance
of winning the division, thanks to the Brewers losing five of their
last seven, so things are not actually as bleak as they may seem.
(And yes, the chances of them missing the playoffs entirely are very, very small. But we're not discussing that. Yet.). Still, with Zambrano and Harden in various levels of gimpitude, the
collective angst here in Chicago is not unfounded. As Rob wrote earlier today, Harden is scheduled
to pitch on Thursday, and Zambrano on Saturday, so we'll know more (and
know just how freaked out to be) in a week or so.
In the meantime, maybe WXRT's Lin Brehmer
is right and the Cubs are suffering under The Curse Of Jon Bon Jovi.
Apparently the Cubs are playing "Living on a Prayer" during pitching
changes. "Living on a Prayer"? Seriously?
It doesn't make a difference if we make it or not. We've got each other and that's a lot for love We'll give it a shot. Whoah, we're half way there Whoah, livin' on a prayer
I don't think "it doesn't make a difference if we make it or not"
adequately captures the true feelings of Cubs fans (not to mention players
and management). The Cubs aren't "living on a prayer," either; they're
living on strong pitching (expect for the 9th inning yesterday), solid defense (ditto), and the best offense in the
Of course, a textual analysis of the problems with "Living On a Prayer" doesn't address just how crappy Bon Jovi is. I mean, seriously, I understand how the desire to appeal to the widest possible audience often manifests itself in a rush to the lowest common denominator, but this is ridiculous.
I wish I had a long list of viable, higher-quality alternatives to offer,
because we're all about solutions here at TCR, but alas the last few weeks have
reduced my brain's capacity for that sort of critical thinking to
almost nil. But for starters, how about "Nothing To Fear (But Fear Itself)" by Oingo Boingo?
I await better suggestions in the comments. In the meantime, I will officially add my voice to Lin Brehmer's: no more Jovi at Wrigley. Not
now, not ever. Life's too short to listen to bad pop metal.
I don't think his issue(s) will have anything to do with it. He hasn't hit since he's been back. Coghlan has the hot hand.
I'm not a denier but definitely a skeptic on Strop and Grimm, who struggle with fastball control. Strop doesn't go near the ninth inning, and note how Grimm couldn't close the deal even with a 5-run lead. So Felix Pena comes in and gets the 3-pitch game-ending strikeout like it was nothing.
And how about Almora missing that very catchable ball? That was unexpected after all the hype about his glove.
When Trea Turner misses balls like that--which he does--I draw conclusions from it. It seems to be the one chink in his armor. But I'll give Almora another chance.
Assuming Soler is good to go, I think it comes down to 3 of the following 4: Coghlan, TLS, Sczcur, Almora. Of the 4, TLS seems to be the hardest to justify, particularly given his behavioral issues.
I'm wondering if both Coghlan and LaStella make it. With Javy being able to play all the infield spots and Joe maybe wanting late-inning D when Soler plays (assuming he plays), hence either Szczur or Almora, I think LaStella might be the odd guy out.
Hendricks needs the win, anyway, plus a couple more.
My hunch is that Hendricks wins the Cy Young . . . for Lester. That is, without Hendricks tipping the scale toward the Cubs, Scherzer tops Lester.
Old Cub fans remember when Ken Hubbs died at 22 in the crash of a small plane he was piloting in a storm in Utah in 1964. But Hubbs was not an elite power pitcher like Score and Fernandez. Score lived a long time after the accident but it was (effectively) career-ending.
HAGSAG: Since I've only seen them throw in one game and in one "live" BP session, all I can do is provide initial first impressions.
Brailyn Marquez is listed at 6'4 but is probably more like 6'5 or 6'6. I would describe him as a younger version of Bryan Hudson, throwing a ton of ground balls but not getting a lot of swings & misses (yet). Because of his size he could eventually grow into more velocity, but right now he's mostly a pitch-to-contact guy. He generally throws strikes.
Phil, do Marquez and Ocampo look like prospects?
It helps when your defense has declared war against the H in WHIP.
Lackey finishes with a 3.35 ERA. Currently good for 13th in the NL. Not bad for a guy signed to be a #3 starter in a 15-team league.
He is also 6th in WHIP. Pretty amazing: Cubs have the #2, #3, #5 and #6 starters in WHIP.
Completely meaningless game, but Pena striking out Sean the Turd to with the bases loaded was very fun.
Other than one bad game in SD, Pena has been very good. Even with that game, 9.0 IP, 13 K, 0.89 WHIP.
101 wins...most since 1910 (104).
neat. ...or sad. pick one. pick both. 'murica.
Just looked up Grimm's stats -- after a great run, he gave up 2 runs vs. MIL then didn't pitch for 10 days. Don't remember why?
Sean Rodriguez's helmet looks like it's taking a dump
Grimm not doing himself any favors lately re: making the playoff squad. Seems to have lost the feel for his curveball.
j.grimm is literally worse than hitler.
felix pena, your turn.