Since last week’s “Three up, three down” article, the Cubs posted a 5-3 record and generally, played quite well. That included some fine individual performances; without further ado, let’s get to them!
Justin Steele is pitching at ace level
In two starts since the last update, Steele threw 12 innings and allowed seven hits, three walks and one unearned run. He struck out 14, and he had a pre-game conversation Sunday with former Cubs lefthander Jon Lester:
Lester made an impression on Steele, who introduced himself before the game.
“Told him I appreciated him reaching out to [manager David] Ross earlier in the season,” Steele said. “He didn’t have to do that, so it was appreciated.”
Here are some of the nasty pitches Steele threw for strikeouts on Sunday:
Justin Steele, 5th, 6th and 7th Ks. pic.twitter.com/XR24f6h1CH— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) August 21, 2022
Franmil Reyes keeps hitting
In seven games since the last update here, Reyes hit .321/.333/.643 (9-for-28) with two doubles, two triples and a home run.
Before those two triples, Reyes had two career triples in 1,837 plate appearances.
He has two home runs in 45 at-bats as a Cub, but neither homer was in Wrigley Field, so he’ll still have a chance at his first Wrigley homer as a Cub this week. His only career homer in Wrigley Field was hit August 5, 2018 — off Jon Lester.
Marcus Stroman continues to dominate
Stroman’s outing Saturday was one of his best of the season, and in eight starts since his return from the injured list in early July, he has posted a 2.23 ERA and 1.060 WHIP and held opponents to a .210 BA.
And he absolutely loves being here:
There’s no better environment to play baseball in than Wrigley. No debate. Shout to the best fans in the league for bringing that positive energy each and every day. We can’t thank you enough! @Cubs pic.twitter.com/UZbdWnof6A— Marcus Stroman (@STR0) August 20, 2022
What has happened to Rowan Wick?
Wick had 11 straight scoreless appearances between July 10 and August 11, but over his last four outings: 10.80 ERA, 2.400 WHIP, three home runs, a couple of wild pitches Sunday and two blown saves.
Wick has had every chance to nail down the closer role, but he’ll have to be better than this to keep it.
The Kervin Castro experiment might be reaching an end
Castro was claimed on waivers from the Giants; he had 10 good outings for them last year but got hit hard in brief appearances for them this year.
That “hit hard” has continued in Chicago, as he’s allowed multiple runs in three of his five appearances in a Cubs uniform. I suppose in a season like this it’s worth giving him more chances, but... if this doesn’t improve, a DFA could be in his future.
The Zach McKinstry experiment might be reaching an end
McKinstry has been given chances to play both second base and third base to see if he could be a useful part of the 2023 Cubs.
His defense has been a bit shaky and he has not hit — just .182/.217/.227 (8-for-44) in 14 games, with 15 strikeouts. And five of those eight hits have come in two multi-hit games; he’s been hitless in eight of the 14 games.
Again, this will have to start improving soon or a DFA could come shortly.
Give the Cubs a grade for the 2022 season to date.
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