The Cubs had a rough road trip until they got to San Francisco, where great pitching brought them two wins... and then blew up bad in the third game.
Who’s hot and not overall for the team? Let’s have a look.
Kyle Hendricks was in full Professor mode against the Giants
Much more on Kyle in the recap to Saturday’s game, but have a look at some of the strikeouts, weak contract grounders and great defensive plays during his start in San Francisco [VIDEO].
If Kyle can continue on a level even close to that, the Cubs have themselves a solid starting pitcher for the rest of this year — and likely next, because the Cubs would certainly exercise their 2024 option on him.
From his teammate:
Hendricks is such a joy to watch. Command off the charts. True artist/pitcher out there in a world full of throwers. What a game! ️ @Cubs— Marcus Stroman (@STR0) June 11, 2023
Marcus Stroman continues dominating
I know, I know, you want to talk about the Stroman extension tweet and its aftermath. I will have a full article on that coming up at 1 p.m. CT today.
In the meantime, just revel in what he’s done over his last five starts: 1.26 ERA, 0.841 WHIP, 26 strikeouts and just one home run in 35⅔ innings.
More words of wisdom (not Patrick!) from Stroman:
Analytics don’t factor in work ethic or confidence. The two main attributes to perform at the highest level over time. Mix that with mental clarity and a loyal, tightknit circle of people around you. Longevity/consistency are a direct result of the work put in or lack thereof! ️— Marcus Stroman (@STR0) June 10, 2023
Smart guy. Get him extended, Jed.
Mike Tauchman flashes some glove
Tauchman didn’t hit much this week — just 4-for-21 (.190), though three walks brought his OBP to a somewhat-better .292.
I’m giving him this slot for this fantastic catch he made Saturday in San Francisco [VIDEO].
That impressed the folks who run our SB Nation Giants site McCovey Chronicles:
Holy crap. He might not be playing for the Giants anymore, but Mike Tauchman just had one of the best OF defensive plays that Oracle Park has ever seen.— McCovey Chronicles (@McCoveyChron) June 11, 2023
Robbed Crawford of multiple bases.
Tauchman played 64 games for the Giants in 2021 and batted .178/.286/.283. He’s been somewhat better for the Cubs, at least so far.
Also, if you look really close at the very beginning of that clip, you can see me. I’m right below the Fox logo.
Dansby for the defense — and not much else
While Dansby Swanson has continued to play great defense, his bat has gone silent. Over the last week he went just 1-for-27 with 11 strikeouts.
True, guys do go through slumps. Hopefully, that’s all this is.
In the meantime, enjoy this nice stab of a line drive he made in San Francisco on Friday:
Trey Mancini doesn’t really seem to have a place on this team
Mancini is basically a DH who starts occasionally at first base. Given that Matt Mervis really should be playing first every day, and Christopher Morel fits best at DH, where does that leave Mancini?
He went 2-for-16 over the last week, though both hits were doubles. Signing him as an insurance policy wasn’t an awful idea... but signing him to a two-year deal probably was.
Brandon Hughes — is he still injured?
Hughes had two bad appearances this week. In Anaheim last Tuesday he faced four batters and retired none of them. Then Sunday in San Francisco he allowed hits to the first three batters he faced — if you’re counting, that’s seven straight batters reaching base off Hughes, before he finally recorded a couple of outs. Five of the baserunners wound up scoring, so Hughes’ ERA jumped from 4.15 to 7.24 in the space of nine batters.
Hughes has had injury issues off and on this year. The Cubs likely should put him back on the IL, though they don’t really have any other lefthanders they can call on in relief, and no, Mark Leiter Jr. really doesn’t count even though he’s done well vs. LHB.
What is the Cubs’ biggest need right now?
This poll is closed
Better relief pitching
Better hitting with RISP
Both of the above
Something else (leave in comments)