The Rundown: Cubs Start New Losing Streak, Miller Makes Like Schmidt, Hoyer Shifts to Sell Mode, Bauer Leave Extended

“I sailed an ocean, unsettled ocean, through restful waters and deep commotion…” – The Beach Boys, Sail On Sailor

Instant Replay

There’s no better way to halt a one-game winning streak than to publicly declare you’re accepting bids on your premium players just before sitting three of them to wrap up a series against the Phillies. Kris Bryant, Javier Báez, and Willson Contreras were riding the pine during yesterday’s uninspired 8-0 loss as Philadelphia infielder Brad Miller played the second coming of Mike Schmidt to a gaggle or two of disinterested denizens during the unseasonably cool evening tilt.

The Cubs lost for the 12th time in 13 games and dropped to 43-45 as they struggled at the plate without their injured stars. Hug watch is officially on for Chicago’s North Side baseballers. Thank you, Jed Hoyer, for picking a perfectly chilly July evening to fire up the midseason hot stove.

The only questions that remain for many Cubs players, particularly those that will be unbound from their privilege to receive a Ricketts-endorsed paycheck after this season, are when and where. In fact, the team as a whole looked like they spent the afternoon perusing the premium short-term rental listings in some of baseball’s soon-to-be hotspot destinations: Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Boston, Atlanta, New York, and Houston.

As the president of baseball operations said yesterday, though he never properly attributed Ferris Bueller: “Life comes at you fast.”

Perhaps some are hoping Hoyer can work a deal with the crosstown rival White Sox so they can keep their cushy pads in Chicago for a few more months. I’d say being traded and not having to move even a single item would score as a win in this godawful season. The White Sox need a second baseman, an outfielder, and relief pitching. Rick Hahn would probably like to add a starter, too, so maybe Yu Darvish Zach Davies will pique his interest.

The rest of us can now start a deep dive into the farm systems of the 16 or so postseason contenders. We’ll all want the premium pitchers and stud bangers — they won’t be available — and when trades are eventually consummated we’ll piss, moan, die a little internally, reflect, barter, and finally reconstruct our emotions. That’s the basic playbook for processing grief.

The Cubs had five singles against a Phillies pitching staff that had no business bullying the North Siders the way they did for most of the four-game set. I think it’s safe to assume summer will end frighteningly early for the team’s fan base and August and September will feel uncomfortably long. Get those bonfires and s’mores ready and start prepping for an influx of young, unproven farmhands.

Cubs News & Notes

Odds & Sods

It’s so Rickettses-y to sell the ballpark and community just before the guy running the team declares trading season has officially begun.

Climbing the Ladder

“Nobody said it was easy. It’s such a shame for us to part. No one said it would be easy. No one ever said it would be this hard.” – Coldplay, The Scientist

  • Games Played: 88
  • Total Plate Appearances: 3,214
  • Total Strikeouts: 852
  • Strikeout Rate: 26.5%
  • Team Batting Average: .226

Expect these numbers to tank if the Cubs start selling their premium bats and I’ll leave you with this: imagine an infield of Patrick Wisdom, Sergio Alcantara, Nico Hoerner, and Eric Sogard, and an outfield of Matt Duffy, Ian Happ, and Jason Heyward for the final two months of the season. That probably won’t happen, but it could.

How About That!

Padres announcer Mark Grant will be making a long walk for charity thanks to an epic comeback by the Padres in yesterday’s 9-8 win over the Nationals.

Miller was a somewhat controversial matchup play by Phillies manager Joe Girardi, and his hunch played out better than anyone might have imagined.

Major League Baseball extended the administrative leave of Dodgers starter Trevor Bauer past its original seven-day term as MLB and police continue their investigations into an assault accusation.

Infielders Carlos Correa and José Altuve of the Astros are going to skip this year’s All-Star Game.

Since moving from shortstop to third base, infielder Luis Urías has led the Brewers offensively and is a big reason that Milwaukee charged to a commanding lead in the NL Central.

Thursday’s Three Stars

  1. Brad Miller – If you don’t know why, you’ve officially given up on the Cubs this season. For the uninformed, Miller was 3-for-5 with three homers and five RBI.
  2. Fernando Tatís, Jr. – A home run, a stolen base, and two RBI. With 28 big flies and 20 thefts, his 40/40 watch is officially on. The Padres shortstop would be commanding this year’s headlines if it wasn’t for Shohei Ohtani.
  3. Trea Turner – The Nationals shortstop had a big night in a 9-8 loss to San Diego: two jacks and three RBI plus a stolen base.

Extra Innings

Maybe the Cubs have a diamond in the rough with Steele.

They Said It

  • “Look, we’ve believed in these guys since 2015. They’ve had a ton of success, and I wouldn’t count these guys out. But 11 days ago we were certainly on the buy-side of this transaction and everyone was calling about that. When you’re in this moment and your playoff odds get into single digits at this time of year, you have to keep one eye on the future and think about what moves you can potentially make that can build the next great Cubs team. You have to think through those things. You’d be irresponsible not to take those phone calls and think through them.” – Jed Hoyer
  • “I’m the chief baseball decision-maker, and every move I make should be through the lens of what’s the best thing for this franchise. I can’t concern myself with what makes people mad or those perceptions. The important thing for me, and to do my job well for the franchise and the Ricketts family, is to make decisions that are pure. ‘What is the single best thing for the organization?’ That’s how I view my job.” – Hoyer

Friday Walk-Up Song

All the Stars by Kendrick Lamar with SZA – Time to start getting a little more familiar with minor league players Brennen Davis, Brailyn Márquez, Cristian Hernandez, Ed Howard, Owen Cassie, Reginald Preciado, Miguel Amaya, Burl Carraway, and Jordan Nwogu.

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