Well kids, school’s about to start up again for me here in Chicago, and Ivy’s been busy with school of her own, so it may be a bit longer before you get regular series recaps from us. Which is fine and stuff, because a bajillion other Cubs blogs do them anyway. We’ll try something different here.
As you know by now, the Chicago Cubs swept the Milwaukee Brewers, a team that’s been decimated by trades after their deadline sell-off and going up against a Cubs team that actually has a purpose this year. Sure, the Cubs lost the previous two series, but now they lead the season series. The latest game was a solid quality start from Clayton Richard, who is going to travel with the team to Pittsburgh before they figure out what to do with him. Richard was backed up by some timely offense.
Given that the current Cubs roster has 14 (!!) pitchers on it, I’d say Richard is likely to be dumped, though guys like Jason Motte and Rafael Soriano have been struggling lately and any number of those guys could be DFA’d/traded/whatever.
Kris Bryant took a shot to the head and was taken out as a precaution:
Maddon on Bryant: "He’s a little bit dizzy at the moment. We believe he’s fine. We took him out (as a precaution)." #Cubs
— Patrick Mooney (@CSNMooney) August 2, 2015
He’ll fly out with the team and be re-evaluated, but depending on who you talk to, Bryant’s probably okay, but there’s already speculation as to who will fill his spot if he has to go to the disabled list for any reason. Options include Matt Szczur, who is already on the 40-man roster, as well as defensive guru Christian Villanueva and the mysterious Mike Olt (he’s hitting well in Iowa after being activated from the DL). As for Javier Baez?
— Cubs Talk (@CSNCubs) August 2, 2015
The hope is that Bryant is okay and can continue to work on his game and his post-All-Star Break slump. The Cubs are currently 10 games over .500, tied with the Giants for the second wild card, and both teams are currently four games back of Pittsburgh for the first wild card. There is also a mathematical possibility that the Cubs could still win the Central, but the St. Louis Cardinals still have a 9.5 game lead. That could shrink to just nine games if the Cubs can win their opener against PIT with STL idle on Monday.
Let’s take a look-see at the next two series, which will likely put the victor in position for wild card supremacy…
Chicago Cubs @ Pittsburgh Pirates, PNC Park
A.J. Burnett is on the disabled list with a potential career-threatening injury (boo) but the Cubs will benefit from not having to face him nor Gerrit Cole this time around. Again, the Cubs may jettison at least one pitcher, maybe two, given their short bench, so we’ll see whether guys like Olt or Szczur get another cup of coffee. At least Kyle Schwarber can catch, right?
More and more pitchers going out their way to praise Schwarber behind the plate. Richard today
— Jesse Rogers (@ESPNChiCubs) August 2, 2015
I’ll be at a retreat but likely watching the game on Monday anyway.
The Cubs leave Pittsburgh and come home Thursday for another series, and there is good news on the horizon as Miguel Montero and Tommy La Stella are rehabbing in Tennessee and look good. La Stella was slowed by another sore oblique issue but is also hitting.
— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) August 2, 2015
A look at both Tommy La Stella & Miguel Montero in their Smokies unis today. We lead 5-0 through 4. pic.twitter.com/qifma7gxPd
— Tennessee Smokies (@smokiesbaseball) August 2, 2015
Even with a relatively quiet trade deadline, the Cubs stand to gain some offensive support from in-system and face some interesting decisions to accommodate them all. Keep in mind that the Cubs can still make trades up until August 31st, and you can read about the August waiver period procedure here via The Cub Reporter and Arizona Phil. Keep in mind also that on September 1st, rosters expand and anyone on the 40-man roster can be called up to help out. Let’s look at the San Francisco series now, with the caveat that they could change up the pitching matchups at any time. If we stay on schedule, however…
Thursday, August 6
Chris Heston vs. Jason Hammel
7:05 PM Central
TV = CSN
UPDATE 8/6 5:56 PM: I guess Leake got scratched, which is good for the Cubs, as Ryan Vogelsong will start instead:
Mike Leake scratched for tomorrow. MRI showed mild left hamstring strain. Vogelsong will start. #SFGiants
— San Francisco Giants (@SFGiants) August 6, 2015