Could This Be Jackson’s Last Stand For The Cubs?

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It’s hard to put a positive spin on the Cubs 8-3 loss to the Giants last night, especially when Edwin Jackson is on the mound. However someone can spin it, Edwin Jackson lost. They had the hits 11 to the Giants 14 but leaving those runners on base killed the Cubs chances. It wasn’t all Jackson’s fault, but if management doesn’t do something now with the struggling pitcher, their integrity will be in question going forward. Remember Jose Veras? The Cubs cut ties with him early and somewhere down the line, they’ll have to do the same with Jackson.

“No one wants to be moved, but if it happens, it happens,” Jackson said about a potential shift to the bullpen. “The only thing you can do if you don’t like it is go out and pitch your way out of jams. Like I said, you just have to relax and have fun and get back to having fun. And tonight was an example of absolutely not doing that.

Yes, but Edwin are you going to pitch your way out of a 52 million dollar jam? Those things stick to the rye bread in the breakfast of franchises and leave a mess long after the jam’s been consumed.

On a happier note, Chris Valaika crushed the leather from the rubber in his first dinger of the season and Luis Valbuena added one in the eighth.

I think it’s time Edwin goes to the bullpen. They can bring up Dan Straily and give him the practice he needs. Hey listen, I was a fan of Edwin Jackson, but it’s a business they’re running and the Cubs are on the verge of something special and don’t need a distraction like Jackson. He’s not a starter.

Believe it

—Mark

 

Straily Struggles For Cubs

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As debuts go, there are great debuts like Guns N Roses, “Appetite For Destruction” with its searing guitars and howling vocals and then there are the kind of debuts which aren’t as well known. Dan Straily’s debut last night after being acquired from Oakland was one he would have liked to get back.

“It felt pretty new until I got going,” Straily said. “Once I started playing catch, it was another day of baseball. All day today, it felt pretty new. The excitement of getting to pitch for a new team and all that good stuff that goes along with it. It’s just not the way I want to finish.”

Ah, but such is life with the Cubs in August. The call ups and debuts. Experiments and mishaps. Now, don’t get me wrong, this is all good. We all know and expect great things from the Cubs soon but last night’s game was tough.

“I’m sure we’ll see him again,” Rick Renteria said. “He gave us a good look.”

Their record, 52-70 resembles my golf score, but thank God this isn’t golf.  The Cubs are continuing with the call ups by bringing Matt Szczur. A guy with a batting average of .292 in July.

Baseball’s a long season, ask my wife about that one, so it makes sense for the Cubs to revaluate the team to see what works and what doesn’t, give some of the guys a rest and when you’re not in a race, there’s no point risking any kind of injury.

The Cubs have some major decisions to make and I wouldn’t want to be in Theo Epstein’s or Jed Hoyer’s shoes at all. Optioning Junior lake to Iowa was definitely the right choice. Being the arm chair manager that I am, Lake was awesome last year and provided a much needed boost but taking a year to figure out what kind of player he is shows that last year’s excitement was just that.

“Any time you have someone who has been with you as long as he’s been with us, and you send him down late, it’s obviously disappointing,” Renteria said, “but I think he understands he’ll get some at-bats and he knows he’ll be back.”

I doubt it.

Speaking of Edwin Jackson…

Believe it.

—Mark

 

Cubs Wood If They Could

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It’s amazing what a couple of days can do to the Cubs. Last night, the Cubs fell to the Mets 3-2. A close game and you have to hand it to Chicago, they.ve been keeping it relatively close all season. However, Travis Wood is having a rough season. Yesterday, I railed on Edwin Jackson, but can you blame me for that? Travis Wood is a far more consistent pitcher, so yesterday’s struggles were more forgiving.

“Walks killed me,” Travis Wood said. “If you take out half the walks, it’d be a pretty solid game. That was the game. I had the two walks to start the fourth and the guy hit the ball out of the park. I gave up four hits, and one of them happened to be a long ball with two walks, and that was the game.”

The great news in the loss is the triple team of Javier Baez, Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro did it again for the team. Castro went 2 for 4 quietly putting together a banner season for the kid.

It’s going to be a rough finish to the season, but an exciting one when the Cubs bring up Dan Straily who was brought over in the Jeff Samardzija deal. This is one Cub fan who is excited about the struggles the team has faced all year. Bringing the young kids up like, Kyle Hendricks, Javier Baez and now Dan Straily is proving the Cubs aren’t throwing in the towel. This is Wrigley’s 100th birthday and even though the team isn’t,” there” just yet; there’s something around the corner that’s exciting. There’s a plan coming to fruition. Whether it’s sending Junior Lake to Triple A. This is a team that wants to succeed.

Last year, it was Starlin Castro who struggled and this year it’s been Lake that’s had to learn how to hit. Sending him down was a good thing, the right thing to do.

“We tried to do everything we could throughout the course of the season, especially early, to put him in a decent place,” Rick Renteria said. “Obviously, it’s very difficult for the young man. Right now he’s a little disappointed, but I think he’ll catch a breath of fresh air, play again, get some at-bats, have some fun again, and we’ll see him here soon.”

I wouldn’t be surprised if the Cubs decide to ship the young outfielder during the off season.

Believe it.

Mark Gauthier

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cubs Get Star Spangled Victory Over Nationals

MLB: Chicago Cubs at Washington Nationals

Not to be outdone by Fourth of July fireworks, the Chicago Cubs set off a few Roman Candles of their own by trading Jeff “The Shark” Samardzija and Jason Hammel to the Oakland Athletics for Addison Russell, Billy McKinney, Dan Straily and a player to be named at a later date.

The trade comes on the heels of a four game winning streak and catapulting the Cubs like those Roman Candles, into 7.5 games back in the Wild Card chase.

So, what does this mean for the now surging Cubs? Well for starters, the Cubs easily disposed of the Washington Nationals yesterday, 7-2. Jason Hammell was yanked from the game after executing 92 pitches. I had a feeling there was something in the works about a week ago when Samardzija was supposed to pitch in today’s matchup but the team called up a pitcher although they made no indication that the deal would be with the Athletics.

“I have no idea why I came out of the game,” said Hammel, who surrendered five hits and struck out seven batters over six-plus innings. “I honestly believe you learn how to pitch when you get to 100 pitches. If you’re not allowed to reach that, I think that’s hurting you more than helping you. So I guess it is what it is right now. But for a guy that’s established and continues to work hard and prepares himself to throw late in games, deep in the games, 100 pitches shouldn’t even come into question.”

It had nothing to do with your pitching, Jason. You were traded. A few years ago, Mike Camalleri who played with the Montreal Canadians, was pulled halfway through the game and sent on a plane to Calgary. It happens.

Is this good news for the Cubs? I’m excited. I like Samardzija but I’m glad he’ll have a shot at a post season and I won’t have to type out that last name as much anymore.

The Cubs of course, are looking towards the future, but they’re also playing great ball of late and perhaps they could earn a spot in the post season.

Yesterday’s brunch proved that the series sweep over the Red Sox wasn’t a fluke. Justin Ruggiano hammered the ball to raise his home run total to four on the season. He’s been playing great ball of late and should only continue.

Baseball’s a funny game isn’t it? I never would have thought the Cubs would be in it this time of the year.

Believe it.

–Mark