The Rundown: Imanaga Mortal After All, Brewers Fans Won’t Forgive Counsell, Cubs Have Boring Personality

And the sun will leave the room, will leave you to the night and that’s alright.” – Future Islands, Balance

Shōta Imanaga is mortal after all. Christian Yelich put the Brewers up 2-0 in the 1st inning with a two-run homer, and Milwaukee added five runs in the third off Imanaga, who entered the contest with a 0.84 ERA. He had allowed just five earned runs in his first nine starts. Milwaukee had not scored a single run against Cubs starters in 32.1 innings before Yelich’s blast. Imanaga left Wednesday’s start with a 1.86 ERA.

I wouldn’t get too worried about it, though. Heck, Cy Young lost 315 games and Greg Maddux dropped 227. Imanaga will be just fine if he wins five of every six decisions. Blake Perkins also tagged Imanaga for a two-run blast, and that’s something to keep an eye on. Chicago’s 30-year-old rookie is a flyball pitcher and a few baseballs will become souvenirs if he misses his spots.

“I didn’t throw it where I wanted to,” Imanaga said through an interpreter. “They were making adjustments and I didn’t have the consistency today.”

If you’re looking for a silver lining, it’s that the Cubs pounded out 10 hits and reached base 16 times. Additionally, Dansby Swanson just missed an opposite-field grand slam in the 5th inning with the Cubs trailing 7-4. Swanson has been slumping and a knock there might have helped the streaky hitter reverse course. It also might have kept Imanaga’s perfect record intact. Then again, we couldn’t have expected the Japanese star to keep his era below 1.00 with an unblemished record.

The Cubs can earn a series split with a win this afternoon and they badly need that. They’re 4.5 games behind the Brewers and tied for second place with the red-hot Cardinals entering play today. Jameson Taillon will take the bump today, and he’ll go to battle against Colin Rea. The two righthanders are nearly identical statistically, but give the edge to Chicago’s North Side Baseballers if their bats are still warm.

Cubs News & Notes

Odds & Sods

The tweet below is spot on, and it’s also something Cubs Insider EIC Evan Altman wrote about on Tuesday. The issue I have with that mindset is that Chicago doesn’t seem to have any offensive leaders at this point. Jed Hoyer has assembled a homogenized roster that is led by a manager with a like personality. Leaders rarely distinguish themselves if their peers are similarly wired.

Suffice it to say, I think this team needs the fire it lost when Crow-Armstrong was demoted. Further, Christopher Morel has been shockingly milquetoast while trying to manage his slump.

Central Intelligence

Climbing the Ladder

“The dawn to end all nights…that’s all we hoped it was. A break from the warfare in your house.” – Broken Bells, The High Road

Imanaga had a rough outing but the Cubs could have won yesterday. Chicago was 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position and left nine men on base in the 10-6 loss. Morel has stranded 28 runners on second or third this season, which is 0.5 runs per game. Michael Busch (21) and Nico Hoerner (20) aren’t much better. That’s leaving an awful lot of ducks on the pond.

  • Games Played: 56
  • Record: 28-28 (.500), 2nd place tie in NL Central
  • In One-Run Games: 10-11 (.476)
  • Total Plate Appearances: 2,107
  • Total Strikeouts: 497
  • Strikeout Rate: 23.58%
  • Team Batting Average: .227
  • With Runners in Scoring Position: 101-for-429 (.236)
  • Runs Scored: 240
  • Runs Allowed: 248
  • Pythagorean Record: 27-29
  • Chances of Making the Playoffs: 57.53%, 1.9% chance to win World Series 

How About That!

The White Sox have lost a season-high eight straight games and 12 of 13 overall. With sweeps by Baltimore (four games) and Toronto (three), it was the first winless homestand of at least seven games in franchise history.

Chicago is 15-42 (.263) on the season and on a pace to lose 119 games, but manager Pedro Grifol seems to be in no danger of losing his job.

Alek Manoah of the Blue Jays is the latest starter to go down with an elbow issue. He left last night’s game against the White Sox in the 2nd inning.

The Mets designated Jorge López for assignment after the reliever threw his glove in the stands in anger after being ejected.

López called the Mets “the worst f**king team in the league” after he was tossed.

A’s reliever Mason Miller is on a historic run and leads baseball in every major expected category.

Wednesday’s Three Stars

  1. Nelson Velázquez – The ex-Cub homered twice last night, plating three runners on a 2-for-4 night in the Royals’ 6-1 victory over the Twins. José Cuas earned his first save for Iowa last night, in case you were wondering.
  2. Seth Lugo – The Kansas City starter improved to 9-1 with a league-leading 1.72 ERA in the win.
  3. Paul Skenes – The Pirates’ heralded rookie tossed six innings of three-hit ball with nine strikeouts on Wednesday. Not bad, but not as good as Brown was on Tuesday

Extra Innings

The Cubs are 28-28, offensively challenged, and have a personality void, so why not let PCA get enough MLB reps to be the star this team sorely needs?

Walk-Off Grand Slam

I’ll be at today’s Cubs-Brewers game with dear friends @SonRanto and @InfieldFlyGirl and I am assuming other members of Son Ranto’s Ranters. Milwaukee will never be the same again.

They Said It

  • “[Milwaukee] was making adjustments and I didn’t have the consistency to throw on top of the zone. I talked to my pitching coach about it, so I just want to work on that. There could possibly be games where [opponents] score even more runs. Emotionally, physically, there might be tougher situations, so I just want to reflect and move forward.” – Imanaga
  • “[Crow-Armstrong] is definitely making a case for [a promotion]. The ability to play defense, the ability to go down there, take the option decision really well, get the at-bats in, and just make the most out of the days down there. He really hasn’t missed a beat, so that’s been super encouraging. He’s made a really, really strong case. I think there’s a decent chance that we’re a better team with him up here. That’s a decision we’re going to make sooner rather than later.” – Hawkins
  • “[Brown] is just a really good pitcher. You see anytime you put him in the game, in different situations, he just shines. We talk about young guys coming up all the time. I do think getting them to come into the game out of the bullpen and be available out there in shorter bursts gives them a little bit of a softer landing to feel what the big leagues are like, how important it is to know how good your stuff is and trust it and attack the strike zone. And then you see him kind of take that into starting, and it carries over.” – Hottovy

Thursday Walk-Up Song

I’m meeting Infield Fly Girl for the first time today. She lives in Seattle and is one of Twitter’s best baseball personalities, so I thought I’d throw a little Emerald City Sub-Pop at you in her honor, though I believe Washed Out actually hails from Portland. Pearl Jam would have been a little too obvious.

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