This feature took a week off due to my trip to London, from which I am flying back to Chicago at the time it’s posting. With Monday’s off day, it seems a good time to look at who’s hot and who’s not for the Cubs as they also return stateside. The Cubs did win four of five on the road trip, which is a good result.
Ian Happ is heating up
The Pittsburgh-area native had some fun crushing his hometown team and overall batted .316/.435/.842 (6-for-19, 1.277 OPS) with two doubles, a triple, two home runs, four runs scored and four walks. Happ, though not as streaky a hitter as our old friend Anthony Rizzo, does have a tendency to go on hitting tears from time to time. Let’s hope this is one of them.
Kyle Hendricks threw another impressive game
The Professor allowed the Pirates just two hits and one run through six innings, then ran out of gas in the seventh. Two unearned runs scored after he left the game, but Hendricks’ outing was further evidence that he’s returned to at least his 2018-20 level of performance. After a bit of a rough outing in his first start back from his shoulder injury, over his last five: 2.08 ERA, 0.857 WHIP. His K rate is down this year (just 4.7 per nine innings), but he’s allowed just one home run in 34⅔ innings, a vast improvement over the previous two seasons.
Justin Steele shows no ill effects from his IL stint
When Steele left the May 31 game against the Rays with what was described as “forearm stiffness” after three perfect innings, everyone worried about potential Tommy John surgery, as forearm problems like that can be a TJS precursor.
The team downplayed it and Steele was simply given a couple weeks’ rest. He returned with a solid outing against the Orioles at home and then threw six outstanding innings against the Cardinals Saturday in London, matching a season high with eight strikeouts.
The Cubs need to think about cutting ties with Trey Mancini
We talked about his Sunday error at length in the game recap, so I don’t need to belabor that.
What I do want to reiterate is that Mancini provides zero value to this team. He’s a bad defensive outfielder and bad defensive first baseman. As I noted in that recap, you might be able to live with that on the roster if he were hitting... but he’s not, despite his two-run double in the first inning Sunday. Overall a .681 OPS isn’t going to cut it.
The Cubs need to consider exploring a trade, if possible, by eating the entire contract. If that’s not possible, maybe they need to just eat it anyway and move on.
Seiya Suzuki could probably use a breather
In the five games on the road trip, Suzuki hit .190/.208/.238 (5-for-21) and looked particularly lost at the plate Sunday in London, where he went 0-for-5.
Going back even farther, it’s been 25 games since he homered; that last dinger came May 24 against the Mets at Wrigley, more than a month ago.
There have been multiple off days recently but it seems like Suzuki might need another one.
When do the Cubs get the Jameson Taillon they thought they had signed?
There’s nothing wrong with his pitch velocity or selection:
Taillon’s last outing, June 18 vs. the Orioles, wasn’t good: eight hits, two walks and four runs in 5⅓ innings. He’s gone six innings exactly once in 12 starts.
I still think there’s talent better than his 6.71 ERA in Taillon. It would be nice if he’d start showing it soon. The Cubs could skip his next turn if they so choose. As always, we await developments.
How many games will the Cubs win on the upcoming homestand against the Phillies and Guardians?
This poll is closed