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Three up, three down: A weekly update on the 2022 Cubs, May 31 edition

It was a rough week, but there’s still good to be found from the 2022 Chicago Cubs.

Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images

Since the last “Three up, three down” update on the Cubs’ 2022 season posted eight days ago (I moved this one back a day due to the holiday doubleheader), the team has won three and lost five. That doesn’t sound too bad, but three of the five losses were by one run, and all of those games were winnable. That reduced the Cubs’ record in one-run games to 4-13, so in all other games they’re 15-16.

At this point in the season that’s probably random, but I believe this team is better than its overall record. We’ll see if they can fix that one-run thing.

Three up

Keegan Thompson has solidified a rotation spot

I was in favor of keeping Thompson as a long reliever, or a guy who comes in after an opener throws an inning or two.

Thompson’s performance against the White Sox Saturday — five innings, one mistake pitch to Jake Burger for a home run, one walk, four strikeouts — was outstanding and he’s certainly earned a rotation spot, although he might have to take one regardless due to injuries.

Thompson as reliever: 26 innings, 1.38 ERA, 0.923 WHIP, 25 strikeouts
Thompson as starter: 14 innings, 1.93 ERA, 1.214 WHIP, 10 strikeouts

The numbers are a bit better in relief, but those starter numbers play anywhere. Keep this up and he’ll be heading to Dodger Stadium for the All-Star Game in July.

Willson Contreras is on a hot streak

Willson missed three games with a minor hamstring tweak, but since returning has wielded a hot bat. He’s currently on a five-game hitting streak in which he’s batting .316/.435/.684 (6-for-19) with a double, two home runs, three walks and four runs scored.

I showed you this Willson home run in the doubleheader recap, but it is worth watching again [VIDEO].

As Sara Sanchez wrote here two weeks ago, the Cubs should extend Contreras. The Cubs need to get serious about returning to contention in 2023 and Contreras is the best catcher they could possibly have. If they let him walk they have... a 35-year-old Yan Gomes (under contract for ‘23) and no one else.

Sign him, Jed.

Marcus Stroman looks like the guy the Cubs thought they had signed

Stroman’s outstanding performance Sunday against the White Sox wasn’t quite enough for a win, but he has now posted a 1.80 ERA and 0.833 WHIP over his last five starts, with just five walks in 30 innings.

He’s going to need to keep doing that, because the Cubs are starting to hemorrhage starting pitchers to the injured list. Which brings me to...

Three down

The Cubs injured list is getting really crowded

With Drew Smyly leaving Monday’s nightcap with an oblique issue, the Cubs have lost two starters to the injured list within the last week (also Wade Miley). Not only does that leave them down a couple of starters, that also takes away a couple of possible trade chips.

Here’s where the Cubs stand on pitcher IL placements:

It would appear that at the present time, the Cubs’ rotation consists of Kyle Hendricks, Marcus Stroman, Keegan Thompson, Justin Steele and Matt Swarmer. They’ll need someone else for the doubleheader Saturday. After that they can actually relax for a bit because next week, there are two off days surrounding a two-game series at Baltimore.

Ian Happ is in a slump

Happ’s last seven games: 2-for-27 (.074/.138/.222) with 12 strikeouts. Yikes, that’s bad. Maybe he could use a day off.

Andrelton Simmons cannot hit. At all.

There’s a reason no one but the Cubs was interested in Simmons this past offseason. Yes, he plays good defense, but... that’s not really enough for a guy who is now sporting a .400 OPS (7-for-37). With Nico Hoerner back and healthy again, Simmons’ presence on this team is superfluous. Release him.


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