OSS: The marathon mercifully ends with a win
- Bryzzo combined to go 7-9 with a walk today, and Bryant drove in the go-ahead run in the eighth inning. As bad as this stretch has been for the Cubs, at least these two guys have been producing. As Matt Clapp pointed out on twitter today, Bryant leads the NL in fWAR and HR and is 5th or 6th in OPS, wOBA, and wRC+, while Rizzo leads the NL in those three categories, placing 5th in fWAR and HR.
- Albert Almora homered off Niese in the fourth inning and also hit a double, in what might have been a nice cap to his stint with the Cubs until September. He’ll probably get sent back down when Dex returns, since he should be playing every single day. Still, his stint with the team was much better than I remembered – he had a slash line of .282/.311/.465 good for a wOBA of .330 and wRC+ of 104. And he only managed to nearly wipe out Bryant just once.
- The bullpen has been…not great…recently, and while I think bullpen blame has been a little over-applied during this slide it was nice to see them shut the door today. Strop, Edwards, and Rondon combined for three hitless, scoreless innings. Edwards in particular is nice to see pitching well, with Grimm having taken a giant step back this year.
- Yet another terrible start by a Cubs SP, this time John Leoclos, who has given up five or more runs in three of his last four starts. And yet somehow he’s the starter who I have the second most confidence in behind nominal ‘fifth starter’ Kyle Hendricks at this moment, which pretty much sums up the last two weeks.
- The Cubs WPA loser was Jason Heyward, though at least it was merely for going 0-5 rather than extending the Cubs streak of hitting into roughly 175 double plays per game.
- The Cubs division lead has dropped five games since its peak of 12.5 at the end of the last sweep of the Pirates in mid-June. It feels weird to say Hang On To Your Butts with a lead that big, but here we are.
Next up: The team gets some long-needed rest, aside from the seven all-stars headed to San Diego. When they return, they’ll be at home and facing a Rangers team that’s had just about as awful a stretch as the Cubs, and are a Cole Hamels Prime Minister barfight away from re-enacting the Simpsons softball episode at this point with their rotation.
*Original post had the date as June. I could only wish that were the case.