The Cubs won three and lost three on their road trip to New York and Toronto, which isn’t bad, but they are going to have to start doing better on the road in order to keep up with multiple teams they are competing with in both the N.L. Central and wild-card races.
The most frustrating game was Wednesday’s in New York, when they entered the ninth inning trailing by two, got one back on Seiya Suzuki’s home run, then got a pair of runners in scoring position with one out and couldn’t score. We’ve gone over David Ross’ decisions in that inning before; here’s hoping better choices are made going forward.
Cody Bellinger just keeps on hitting
Even with two hitless games on the road trip, Bellinger batted .364/.409/.682 (8-for-21) for the week with a double, two home runs and six RBI. At last, he finds himself a qualified hitter for 2023 and now ranks fourth in the N.L. in BA, sixth in SLG and fifth in OPS.
Seiya Suzuki could be back on track
After getting a couple of days off for a mental break, Suzuki came back and started lacing extra-base hits. He had a double, triple and home run this week and overall batted .375/.412/.750 (6-for-16) on the week.
Javier Assad, keep up the great work
Not only did Assad throw seven outstanding innings Friday in Toronto, but he has a 1.09 ERA and 0.939 WHIP over his last 11 outings dating back to June 27, covering 33 innings. Still a few too many walks over that span (13), but he’s made up for that by not allowing a lot of hits (18).
He’s earned the chance to stay in the rotation.
Jameson Taillon, yikes
Taillon had the worst outing of his Cubs career Sunday, at least by the number of earned runs allowed, eight. After a steady drop of his ERA from 6.93 to 5.17 over an eight-start span, it’s now back up to 5.71. This was somewhat unexpected, as Taillon had previous success vs. the Blue Jays and also in Rogers Centre.
Hopefully, this was a one-off. He’ll likely start again next weekend at Wrigley Field against the Royals.
Is Caleb Kilian a major-league pitcher?
He sure hasn’t shown it at all in outings this year or last, his season ERA is 16.88 and overall ERA, dating back to last year, 12.42, with 24 hits and 14 walks allowed in 16⅔ total innings.
Kilian is 26 and in his fifth year of professional baseball. I don’t think I’d give him any more MLB time this year, if there’s to be anything made of his career, he likely has to go back to the Pitch Lab and reconstruct everything. He’s likely going to be sent back to Triple-A Iowa when Marcus Stroman is activated to start Wednesday’s game.
He has touched 98 miles per hour at times. Perhaps re-working him into a reliever might work.
What to do with Tucker Barnhart?
It seems clear that David Ross is using Yan Gomes as the Cubs’ primary catcher with Miguel Amaya as his backup. Barnhart has pitched in as many games this month (two) as he’s caught in, and one of those games as a catcher was just a ninth-inning substitution.
Since the Cubs have already eaten quite a bit of money by letting Trey Mancini go, it’s worth asking whether they’d be willing to eat the money remaining on Barnhart’s deal, which is somewhere around $4 million (about $800,000 remaining this year, and a $3.25 million player option for next year). That way they could get someone else on the roster who could be more versatile, perhaps recalling Miles Mastrobuoni.
How many games will the Cubs win on the homestand against the White Sox and Royals?
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