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 16 hours 39 min ago (view)

    don't worry, i'm sure even though he was spared from cuts there's some hardship he's being tortured with that he has to unfairly overcome.  #coreystrong #onthecross #yolo #swag #kony2012

     

  • crunch 16 hours 41 min ago (view)

    there's no way a system like that or something similar to that would work.

    "oh hi." - green bay packers

    *shoves out of way*

    like i said, there's no way that would work.

     

  • Hagsag 19 hours 36 min ago (view)

    Corey Black still has a job.

     

  • Charlie 19 hours 44 min ago (view)

    I am ready for MLB owners to give it a f***ing rest. I don't have any outrage to spare on them.

    If they can't afford this crisis, maybe they can surrender franchise rights to the players, grounds crew, concession employees, etc., and MLB teams can be employee owned.

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 23 hours 58 min ago (view)

    Couldn't have said it better myself, unfortunately.

     

  • JustSayin' 1 day 8 hours ago (view)

    These players weren't cut/released; laid off is more like it. Fifty-two minor leaguers let go before any real games played, in two waves. The draft will be five rounds this year, not forty.  This is industrial downsizing, anticipating no traditional season this year and capitulation to MLB demands for a much smaller minor league system in 2021.  Next year or 2022 could also see a labor stoppage in the big leagues, over what promises to be a very tough CBA negotiation.  The game will not be what it used to be after this.

     

  • crunch 1 day 12 hours ago (view)

    i don't blame the ownership/font office for doing what they did with bryant.  it was just kinda bad timing that bryant was the client that boras was finally "i'm sick of this" over.  the cubs were warned that boras was going to make a stand and it dragged on so long there has to be some kind of toll on the boras/cubs relationship.

     

  • bigsky33 1 day 12 hours ago (view)

    Hi Phil, yes, hoping for an extended AZ Fall League.  Do you think there will be more cuts?  De La Cruz was the only big sureprise to me. I thought he had some upside. 

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 1 day 14 hours ago (view)

    It'll be more over when Kris leaves. Or whenever the same thing happens to another of his clients.

    He isn't wrong though...

     

  • Arizona Phil 1 day 14 hours ago (view)

    Presuming there is no traditional minor league season in 2020, expect an expanded Arizona Fall League (with potentially a new "Florida Fall League" as well) for the best prospects and expanded post-season instructs for other minor leaguers (all TBA). 

     

  • Arizona Phil 1 day 14 hours ago (view)

    My understanding is that the other two Cubs minor leaguers who are to be released are the two post-2019 Article XX-B MLB free-agents who signed 2020 minor league contracts, Brandon Morrow and Jason Kipnis. The Cubs will then supposedly re-sign them to new minor league contracts without the $100K retention bonus and 6/1 opt-out. 

     

  • Arizona Phil 1 day 14 hours ago (view)

    CRUNCH: Agreed. Not counting the "4-A" guys, Oscar de la Cruz is the one legit MLB prospect on the list.  

     

  • crunch 1 day 14 hours ago (view)

    aww...de la cruz had some decent looking spring outings (though late inning spring work isn't exactly challenging).  the years of injuries insanely slowed his progression.  totally wouldn't mind seeing him return in 2021 if the team would still be on his radar after getting cut at a time like this.

     

  • crunch 1 day 16 hours ago (view)

    that whole "kris bryant thing" is over...but it's never going to be over as long as this ownership group and boras is around.

    boras could have focused this on 29 other teams, especially the more vocal ones because the cubs have been mostly silent.  the cubs aren't the only team out there paying off "creatively financed" loans, either.

    he chose the cubs.

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 1 day 21 hours ago (view)

    Not looking forward to seeing that list. Hate to see it when a guy you've invested any sort of energy in is given up on.

     

  • Cubster 1 day 21 hours ago (view)

    Chi Tribune today. Boras picks, and focused on the Ricketts. 

    Headline writer, fun job: Agent won’t let Cubs get away Scott-free Matt York/AP and Paul Sullivan.

    Boras told his players “the game can not be played without you” and asked them to share the concept with teammates and opposing players when “MLB requests further concessions or deferral of salaries” during negotiations.