The day of the week the Cubs play shouldn’t matter, but:
2023 Cubs record on Sundays after today’s 11-4 loss: 5-15
2023 Cubs record on all other days of the week: 56-42
Maybe just put up a fake calendar in the clubhouse on Sundays and make the team think it’s a different day?
It’s pretty weird, all right, but the Cubs had a chance to sweep this series and instead got blown out.
It didn’t start that way. After Nico Hoerner reached on a walk and Ian Happ reached base on a Toronto error, Dansby Swanson doubled in both runners [VIDEO].
It was all pretty much downhill from there. Jameson Taillon had a good first inning, then got hit hard for five in the second, an inning where he threw nearly 40 pitches.
Still, 5-2 isn’t too bad of a deficit after two innings, but it got worse in the fourth. Three more Blue Jays runs scored, all charged to Taillon, even though the last two scored on a double off Hayden Wesneski after Taillon left the game. As a result, after all the progress Taillon had made over the last six weeks, this winds up being the most earned runs he allowed in any start this year (he’d allowed eight, six earned, against the Phillies back on May 20).
The Cubs made some noise about getting back in the game in the seventh. Swanson singled and one out later, Patrick Wisdom smashed his 20th home run of the season [VIDEO].
8-4, two innings left, so maybe?
Nope. In fact, it got worse off Caleb Kilian in the eighth, when three more Blue Jays runs crossed the plate. That made Kilian’s season ERA 16.88 in 5⅓ innings, and his MLB career ERA now stands at 12.42 in six MLB games and 16⅔ innings. Those are still small sample sizes but I have to wonder if Kilian, who is now 26, can actually be a contributing MLB pitcher. He has shown nothing at this level to indicate that he is and his numbers at Triple-A Iowa this year have been just middling. I assume he’ll be sent back to Iowa when Marcus Stroman is activated to start Wednesday’s game against the White Sox.
One bit of good news: Drew Smyly threw a scoreless sixth, inducing a ground-ball double play and another grounder to end the inning after allowing a hit and a walk. Perhaps he can be more useful to the Cubs as a lefty reliever, since they don’t have anyone else lefthanded in the pen.
The good news, I suppose, is that all the other teams the Cubs are competing with for playoff position lost Sunday — except the Brewers, who defeated the White Sox. That puts the Cubs 3½ games out of first place in the N.L. Central, but as of now they still inhabit the third wild-card spot. The Reds, who lost Sunday, still have another game later today, a makeup game for Saturday’s rainout. If the Pirates can beat the Reds again, the Cubs will be a full game ahead of Cincinnati in both the division and wild card races.
So a game like this isn’t the end of the world, considering there are still 44 games remaining and the Cubs schedule gets considerably easier, at least on paper, over the next two weeks. The Cubs’ next 12 games are all against teams with losing records: Two vs. the White Sox, three vs. the Royals, three at the Tigers and four at the Pirates. Meanwhile, the Brewers will have their next 11 against teams over .500, three of whom are clear playoff contenders: Three at the Dodgers, three at the Rangers, two vs. the Twins and three vs. the Padres.
After that stretch, the Cubs and Brewers will meet for a three-game series at Wrigley Field to complete August. It seems possible the Cubs could be closer to first place, or even in first place, by then.
But they’ll have to get better pitching from Taillon than they did today, and also... win a game or two on Sundays.
Lastly, one other thing that shouldn’t matter but has a weird W-L split — uniforms:
Blue alternate: 15-9
Road gray: 13-20
(The Cubs wore white pinstripes for the first road game in London and won that game.)
The Cubs will have Monday off before taking on the White Sox in a two-game series beginning Tuesday evening at Wrigley Field. Kyle Hendricks will start for the Cubs Tuesday and Touki Toussaint is the scheduled starter for the Sox. Game time Tuesday is 7:05 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network (and NBC Sports Chicago with the Sox announcers).