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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  • crunch 35 min 37 sec ago (view)

    HOU/NYY postponed.

     

  • crunch 4 hours 12 min ago (view)

    as expected, joe maddon to be the new manager of the angels.

    btw, it is unlikely tonight's HOU @ NYY (10/16) will happen because of rain that's going to start 3-4 hours before game time and carry well into the night.

     

  • crunch 16 hours 11 min ago (view)

    world series will be played in DC for the first time since 1933.  neat.

     

  • crunch 18 hours 49 min ago (view)

    and it's only getting worse...i mean, better.

    7 runs to pad out the 1st.

     

  • Craig A. 18 hours 50 min ago (view)

    Oof. Hudson leaves the game after giving up five runs on singles and doubles and only getting one out. 

     

  • Arizona Phil 22 hours 19 min ago (view)

    The thing about Kris Bryant is that he would probably be traded only to a club that feels that it under-achieved in 2019 and where the owner is exerting pressure from the top and who therefore will over-pay for two years of Kris Bryant. 

     

  • Charlie 1 day 3 hours ago (view)

    Yeah, it seems like I lean more toward overvaluing Bryant than most commenters here. Also, I completely stopped following prospect lists once the Cubs were good again, so I'm out of the loop on Pache especially. I had imagined that the Cubs would be looking more for immediate major league value rather than a projectable prospect, but I guess if you really like Pache you don't mind waiting a couple years.

     

  • K Dub 1 day 10 hours ago (view)

    PHIL: Excellent breakdown, Phil. Thanks. 

    I'm sure you heard. QO value was set at $17.8 million the day after you made your post.

     

  • K Dub 1 day 10 hours ago (view)

    Pache, Wright, Muller and Riley feels light to you, Charlie? I respect your opinion, but I would jump at it. I highly doubt the Braves would do it, though. Were talking 2 years of Bryant at what could be 18 million and 28-30 million in his last year of arbitration. 

    The Cubs would be hurting their chances next year and building for 2021 in a deal like that, but that's rebuilding/retooling in one fell swoop. 

     

  • Arizona Phil 3 days 14 hours ago (view)

    CHARLIE: Austin Riley is actually a third-baseman but he had to play LF for the Braves in 2019 because he was blocked by Josh Donaldson, and Cristian Pache is considered to be the best defensive centerfielder in the minors and his bat has improved enough over the past year or two to where he is now rated in or just outside the top ten overall prospects in MLB.

    So a package that includes Riley and Pache and one of the Braves young MLB or MLB-ready SP would probably be more than enough to get the Cubs to bite.

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 3 days 17 hours ago (view)

    Max Fried or Bryse Wilson

     

  • crunch 3 days 18 hours ago (view)

    https://www.espn.com/espn/otl/story/_/id/27828247/...

    t.skaggs story keeps getting deeper.

    allegations the team knew about skagg's drug abuse (also his family).  teams are required to report this to MLB.

     

  • Charlie 3 days 20 hours ago (view)

    Except for the headline, the linked post reads more like a trade hypothetical than a trade rumor. I like the idea of looking at this package as a discussion point for expected return for Bryant. I would say it feels a little light to me. It's deep, with two decent outfield prospects with upside and two OK pitching prospects. But Riley doesn't help the team solve the CF problem right now, so he's either redundant to Bote or sort of a Schwarber replacement. Muller's inflated BB% at AA this year worries me a bit too.

     

  • Cubster 4 days 3 hours ago (view)

    I might have missed something and it's been talked about regarding a KB trade rumor from about 10-9-19. 

    https://apple.news/AJUMyEWodQ2GX1cj1gE4ENQ 

    Braves receive: 3B Kris Bryant 

     

  • crunch 5 days 16 hours ago (view)

    they get 3 guys and the cubs get 1 guy.  sounds like a slam dunk for the angels.  pencil trout in the cubs lineup.  he's got upside.

     

  • Jackstraw 5 days 18 hours ago (view)

    I'd hate to part with both Kemp and Chatwood, but if it will bring that Trout guy back, we could even throw in Almora.