Most of everything I know about the Titanic came from seeing the movie, so you’ll pardon me if my pained analogy relies heavily on the movie and assumes most of the history stuff is pretty much gospel. If the captain hadn’t have gone down with the ship, you’d have fired him, right? I mean, the annoying corporate guy for the White Star Line pressured him into going too fast, for sure. The buffoons in the watch tower didn’t have their binoculars. Yeah, I get that. The whole thing was exasperated by a poor design with a lack of lifeboats. Oh and as I recall, it was covered less well in the movie, but there were issues with the communication room too.
This is a lot of words to say that it takes a village to screw up a franchise as bad as the Cubs organization is screwed up right now. It is completely and totally unfair to blame just one guy. But seriously, the captain, or in this case the manager can’t escape the blame, right? Joe Maddon will be considered for the Hall of Fame and receive votes. He was fired for his recent lengthy losing streak. The same is probably true of Joe Girardi.
Since I’ve bent the narrative and had the captain saved, let’s continue it forward. But what if the captain had another ship and ran into the iceberg again the next year? So hear me out. Ross is your “captain” of the Cubs. You didn’t fire him for losing 11 in a row, despite a different organization deciding 12 in a row was good enough for firing this year. Wait, David hasn’t lost 11 in a row this year. Nope. He did that last June. We’ve seen this story before, just under one calendar year ago. That team was running in first place.
Will this streak run past nine? Who knows? I do know that the Cubs will be decently favored to lose at home in every game remaining this week. The Padres and Braves have two of the better teams in the league. Does that always hold up? Obviously not. The Cubs could win today. Or they could keep right on losing. It doesn’t really matter at this point for any practical purposes.
People were tired of the Maddon show by the time he left town. I get it. I’d heard similar things from former Rays players. It’s cute until it isn’t. Joe was often criticized for some of his in-game decision making. To my eye, apart from the games, he was as good as they get. He ran an excellent clubhouse. Guys knew what to expect and he kept the team loose and performing at a high level. His lineups and bullpen usage drove some of the stars a little mad, but in turn his bench players tended to love him for the way he kept them fresh and involved. More than a handful of marginal players thrived under him.
I’ve seen little evidence that David Ross is either good at the in game or the out of game stuff. I suspect none of this should be terribly surprising. David was handed the wheel of this ship with no actual experience. Have there been a few instances of guys who succeeded in exactly that way? Absolutely. Does that mean the model of actually paying your dues and learning from the grind going through coaching and then managing is flawed? No. Just because there are exceptions doesn’t mean you throw out the rules.
I’ve lived through the Cubs being bad so frequently that I have for these down seasons the lowest bar imaginable. That bar is set at “at least don’t embarrass yourselves.” The Cubs aren’t meeting that bar. This team is a flat-out joke right now. They have had a ton of injuries, sure. But this team is comically bad. I saw a Tiger quoted recently. They are going through some of the same things and have had a slew of position players pitch. The comment was to the effect that after the first couple of times, it isn’t cute anymore. Frank Schwindel should not have a meaningful number of pitching appearances.
There’s a 700+ word rant on how bad this team is right now. And yet, there were a couple of positives from last night’s game. Let’s look at those before we unwrap the carnage.
- Christopher Morel had two hits, including a homer, and drove in three runs. Baseball, like so much in life, can be fluid. But as of right now, he has Wally Pipp’d the Cubs lineup. Be it in center, where he has played most, or anywhere else on the diamond, his bat needs to be in the lineup.
- Eric Stout. I know life has gotten busy for me when the Cubs continue to call up players I wasn’t even aware were in the organization. With all due respect, I had no idea who this guy was. But striking out the first four batters he faced and retiring all five batters he faced? That’s an impressive Cubs debut.
- Ian Happ. Three singles and a walk. That’s the second time in a week that he’s had a big game when the Cubs got crushed. I don’t read anything into the timing. Ian has had a very good season and his contributions have been significant.
So we’ve put it off enough, let’s get to the Heroes and Goats from last night’s drubbing.
Game 62, June 15: Padres 19 at Cubs 5 (23-39)
Reminder: Heroes and Goats are determined by WPA scores and are in no way subjective.
- Superhero: Christopher Morel (.091). 2-5, HR, 3RBI, R, K
- Hero: Jonathan Villar (.089). 1-4, BB, RBI, R, 2K
- Sidekick: PJ Higgins (.056). 0-3, BB, RBI
- Billy Goat: Caleb Kilian (-.356). 4IP (22 batters), 5H, 5BB, 5R, HBP, WP (L 0-1)
- Goat: Daniel Norris (-.294). 0IP (4 batters), 4H, 4R
- Kid: Frank Schwindel (-.062). 1-5, R, 2K
WPA Play of the Game: Jake Cronenworth batted against Caleb Kilian with runners on first and third with two outs in the fourth inning, the Cubs leading 4-3. He doubled and both runs scored to give the Padres the lead. (.229)
*Cubs Play of the Game: Christopher Morel batted with the bases loaded and one out in the second, the game tied 2-2. He singled and two runs scored. (.122)
Who was the Cubs Player of the Game?
This poll is closed
Eric Stout (1 2⁄3 IP, 5 batters, 4K)
Someone else (leave your suggestion in comments)
Rizzo Award Cumulative Standings: (Top 3/Bottom 3)
The award is named for Anthony Rizzo, who finished first in this category three of the first four years it was in existence and four times overall. He also recorded the highest season total ever at +65.5. The point scale is three points for a Superhero down to negative three points for a Billy Goat.
- Nico Hoerner +12
- Willson Contreras +11.5
- Ian Happ/Christopher Morel +11
- Kyle Hendricks/Daniel Norris -7
- Patrick Wisdom -9.5
- Jason Heyward -10.5
Up Next: The fourth and final game of the series between the Cubs and Padres. It is also the seventh and final game of the season series. The Padres have won all three games in the series and are up 4-2 in the season series. Matt Swarmer (1-1, 4.24) starts for the Cubs. Joe Musgrove (7-0, 1.50) is the opposition. That’s not daunting at all. Trying to avoid a 10 game losing streak against a guy who is making an early Cy Young push?