Cubs @ Brewers: Hamels vs. Burnes (Game 8)

CHC (1-6): LHP Cole Hamels (0-0)
MIL (7-1): RHP Corbin Burnes (0-0)
First pitch 6:10pmCDT

Hamels and the Cubs will try to end a 6-game skid and take a nibble out of the Brewer's division lead. That will probably require length from the veteran lefty.

Struggling relievers Carl Edwards Jr. and Mike Mongtomery head to , respectively, and Allen Webster and Kyle Ryan come up to fill the gap. Normally, replacing two mainstays with minor league veterans would not be cause for hope. But any change is welcome at this point. ( called the Montgomery injury.)

Burnes is another former reliever with a good fastball. The Cubs appeared to be catching up with Woodruff last night. Hope for a carryover effect.

While just about everything else seems to be going wrong, the Cubs offense has been as advertised. They came up short on last night's comeback effort but scored 10 runs in the process. Contreras looks comfortable at the plate, and Descalso has a modest hot streak in limited time.

Losing their 6th game in a row and , the Cubs are now off to their worst start since 1997. That year they lost 14 games before eking out their first win 4-3 in the second half of a double header on April 20. These Cubs have a ways to go before they plumb those depths.

The last two losses have felt more significant than the previous four. I got curious about that emotional weight, and I spent a little time exploring the Baseball Reference Play Index. Basically, I wanted to know how many teams have gone 1-6 or worse in the Wild Card era and what their results were at season's end. Here's what I learned:

44 teams have started the season 1-6 or worse since 1997. (I left out the strike shortened 1994 and 1995, and no team started out worse than 2-5 in 1996).

Of those 44, only three teams (6.8%) qualified for the playoffs. The 2007 Phillies went on to be Division Champs, and the 2011 Rays and 2015 Twins were each Wild Card teams.

Only six teams (13.6%) went on to winning records. Only three went on to win 90 or more games. Four teams ended up with losing records but 76 wins; these are teams we could argue had a shot at winning records if the bad start had been instead a very good start. Maybe they are buyers at the deadline instead of sellers and even get to 85+ wins, best case.

38 of those teams posted losing records, and nine teams lost 100 more games. Many teams on the list entered their seasons as non-contenders. Several were even in the depths of their rebuilds.

The 1-6 start will be difficult to overcome. The Cubs will have to go at least 13-8 to finish the month at .500. At that point, they'd probably still trail at least the Brewers. This review also shows how rare it is for a good team to open the season with such a bad stretch. Arguably, only 10 good-ish teams have started this badly in the last 22 years.

The last six games have made it hard to remember that this is a good roster. This nightmare start has shown us all the team's weaknesses right up front.

A couple days of drubbing the rival Brewers would do a lot to dispel that nightmare. Just saying.

Comments

cubs haven't lost 7 in a row since 2014, btw...hope to not tie that tonight.

descalso(2nd)/bryant/rizzo/baez/schwarber/almora/heyward/caratini/ham

3 pitches...it only took 3 pitches to start to suck...

3rd catcher's interference on the season...caratini's 1st...

1 hour ag1 hour ago More

: three catchers interference infractions in the last three games.

They hadn't had three in a single season since 1979. 

It's April 6th.

heyWORD!

2 games, 2HR...this one gives the cubs a 1 run lead.

Something good happened! I am concerned.

your concern was warranted.

51 pitches through 2ip for ham...tie game.

in other news...drew smyly has a 7.11era/2.37whip through 2 starts for TEX

Tied 2-2 after the 4th. This has the tension of a playoff game.

caratini gets his 1st HR!  2 run cubs lead.

this game got good.

also, ham got his game together.

welcome to the cubs a.webster and k.ryan.  nice 3er you guys combined to obtain over 1 inning.  you're in mid-season cubs pen form guys.

This just in...

New guys just as bad as old guys. HR off Webster.

2HR game for heyward.

fire.

8 last season...3 in 2 games this year by april 6th.  first 2HR game as a cub.

Wow - JHey!!! 2nd dinger of the night

i always said that if the Cubs were gonna pullout of this nosedive, it was going to have to be on the back of Heyward ...

Hopefully this Kris Bryant fellow will eventually get some confidence like JHey and make a name for himself in the big leagues

the packers vs bears matchup the past 2 nights has been crazy

this pen...help.  send help.

Maybe PHIL can help? 

given what the pen has been doing, most likely.

Starting Sunday (4/7) players on the MLB 40-man roster who were optioned to the minors prior to MLB Opening Day can be recalled without restriction, so I would option Randy Rosario to Iowa right now and recall Rowan Wick (94-96 MPH FB and 77-79 MPH CV combo). If that doesn't work, keep the Chicago - Des Moines Shuttle rollin' and try Maples, Norwood, and Collins, then Mekkes and Carasiti, then Tazawa (who will be getting work at EXST), and maybe even eventually one or two of the young arms who are presently working as SP at AAA and AA (Swarmer, Rucker, Hatch, Clifton, etc).  

Thank you PHIL. Any power arms that can get the ball close to the plate would be a bonus. Was Maples making progress with his control while in AZ?

E-MAN: Maples' command comes & goes, but no question he has the best pure stuff among the bullpen candidates (high-velo FB, power SL, and hammer CV).  

It always seems that Rosario is getting by using mirrors. 

I like HR Heyward much better than his evil twin DP Heyward.

Something different about Heyward beginning with that first home run, which was a laser, like there was power in his hands and forearms. Has he stopped believing that hitting means getting your shoulders through the zone?

My son says, juice does that--but I don't think so, not with this guy. Maybe it's the new Heyward-whisperer, Iapoce.

If it continues, it will do wonders for this team.

Recent comments

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  • QuietMan 1 hour 8 min ago (view)

    Edwards optioned to Iowa per Jesse Rogers,

     

  • George Altman 1 hour 22 min ago (view)

    Yeah.....yeah. I think I'm good too. Put him and Strop in the Shawn Greene deal.

     

  • Mike Wellman 3 hours 31 min ago (view)

    I feel like I've already waited & seen enough of CEJ...

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 3 hours 52 min ago (view)

    Not as much as it makes his stomach tighten!

    i dont think we should trade him. We would get nothing of value back. But I don’t think he should be a bullpen piece on a playoff contender either. He should be in Iowa. Reassess where he’s at for September and next year. If they don’t like what they see, non-tender.

     

  • Charlie 4 hours 24 min ago (view)

    Cheap may not be the right word, but has put up reasonable value per dollar compared to other relievers prior to this ear.

    He accrued 2.9 bWAR 2017-2018. Strop put up 3.2 bWAR during the same period. Edwards is making $1.5M this year. Strop is making $6.25M. He'll get a bump again this offseason even if he doesn't rebound in the second half, of course. I just don't see a need to trade him unless the Cubs are being offered value in return.

    That said, it does make my stomach knot up a bit when I see they are bringing him into a close game.

     

  • Arizona Phil 12 hours 2 min ago (view)

    Carl Edwards Jr will be out of minor league options next season (2020), and he will (once again) be arbitration-eligible post-2019 (he was "Super Two" arb eligible post-2018) and he will be a FA post-2022. 

     

  • crunch 17 hours 44 min ago (view)

    cubs lose, cards win, brews win.

    boo.

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 19 hours 30 min ago (view)

    I think this is his last option year. And he’s not as cheap as you’d think, he’s a super two qualified player this year.

     

  • Charlie 19 hours 40 min ago (view)

    Edwards is frustrating at times. Some of that frustration comes from thinking he could be much better than he currently is. But prior to this year (in which he has pitched very few innings), he's overall been an OK relief pitcher in the majors. I'm happy to wait and see on him for quite a while. Still has an option and is cheap, right?

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 20 hours 39 min ago (view)

    I feel pretty safe in saying that 1. They don’t want him and 2. If they did, things wouldn’t improve for CJ.

    Allowing inherited runners and 1-2 of your own in a close game is what I like to call the “Carl Jr Special.” It was formerly a Justin Grimm special, thankfully Carl stepped up to fill that void.

     

  • crunch 20 hours 46 min ago (view)

    there's always nick castellanos for a chance to rid of edwards...at which point a couple month rental will probably turn edwards into their ace closer or something just as awesome.

     

  • Eric S 20 hours 47 min ago (view)

    The bitter side of me thinks it should have been a two for one trade for Maldonado 

    Anyways, has not been a clean series for the Cubs against the Padres - fortunate to have won the series and a 7-2 home stand is a pretty big dill. Or deal. Or something

     

  • crunch 20 hours 53 min ago (view)

    edwards gonna edwards...blah

     

  • bradsbeard 22 hours 21 min ago (view)

    Thanks for the clarification. Guess we’ll find out what he’s going to do sooner than later. 

     

  • crunch 23 hours 25 min ago (view)

    delay over, game on.

     

  • Arizona Phil 1 day 1 hour ago (view)

    And if Zobrist were to consent to an Optional Assignment to the minors for the purpose of getting into playing shape, it could very well be to AA Tennessee (close to his home in Nashville) rather than to AAA Iowa. He might even just play home games for the Smokies and then work out on his own while they are on the road.