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 Iowa and the Injured List, 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. (DJL 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 dropping to 1-6, 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.
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.
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.