It’s always a bummer when Jon Lester pitches a great game, and Willson Contreras hits baseballs to the moon and back, and yet the Chicago Cubs just can’t win the game in the end. Alas, that is the game we have come to love and curse at the same time, because the momentum, and our emotions, can turn on a dime. It’s a rough go, and it’s fortunate that the Cubs (58-52) still have 52 games to go, and the division lead, AND a few games in hand on their closest rival, the Milwaukee Brewers (59-54). If the Cubs take care of their own business, they should be fine.
Of course, they do have to figure out their otherwise very good relief pitcher, Carl Edwards Jr. Carl hasn’t had a good month-plus of baseball, with major command issues that lead to comparisons with former Cubs closer Carlos Marmol. The idea manager Joe Maddon has behind continuing to use him in high-leverage situations is to show Carl that the team still has confidence in him, but perhaps the patience is wearing thin. What to do now, when Carl has blown a couple leads that could have turned this home stand into a 4-2 record rather than 2-4? Let’s put aside the part where the Nationals and Diamondbacks are better than people think, and consider some options.
1. Keep throwing Carl into high leverage situations and hope he figures it out.
Now before you throw your mouse through your monitor, we have to consider this as the default option because that’s what they’ve been doing thus far. It obviously isn’t working, but if the Cubs believe it’s just a mechanical issue or a slump, then maybe they can try to experiment, especially since the Cubs are facing the lowly Giants next.
2. Put Carl into lower leverage situations and let him work it out before he gets high leverage work again.
That’s what they did with Hector Rondon, and in recent memory, Hector has been pretty darned good. Considering that Carl has better stuff than Hector, you can see a bounce back.
3. Option Carl to Iowa and call someone else up.
I considered this, but given that the Cubs only optioned Justin Grimm on July 31, and Rob Zastryzny just went back down, there aren’t much better options than Carl for the last spot in the bullpen. So this probably won’t happen. Let’s, for now, go with option number two until the Cubs announce another roster move. By my count, Carl has until the end of the Giants series before an option is even possible. That should be enough time for him to figure some stuff out, and for the Cubs to re-evaluate their options.
As we discussed on the Dreamcast, the Cubs should have an easier schedule through the end of the season, while the Brewers will have a few extra hurdles to jump through, plus the head-to-head matchups that have favored the Cubs to this point. Wash away the losses and keep on moving forward. And for reals, keep having fun. Weird stuff always happens in baseball, and remember that the Cubs did just win the World Series with pretty much this same roster. We keep saying that, but sometimes it seems like people forget about it, so there’s your gentle reminder.
Here I am, on the road again. pic.twitter.com/4LVTcczSJO
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) August 6, 2017
And if you’re going to San Francisco, be sure to know who’ll be pitching there…
Wednesday, August 9
2:45 PM Central
Kyle Hendricks vs. Madison Bumgarner
TV = MLB Network, CSN Chicago
I have to do a bunch of professional development over the next couple days so we’ll see you again on the off day.