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NO PLACE LIKE HOME: Cubs Take 2 of 3 From Bucs

Winning 5 of 6 got me like…

The Cubs did one thing that hadn’t done all year – won two consecutive series. There was one other thing they couldn’t pull off, but had been done once – go two games over .500. They did manage that feat when they went 3-1 to start the season. Yes, Game 4 is the high point for the 2021 Cubs.

Anyway, they followed up sweeping the Dodgers by taking two of three from the Pittsburgh Pirates, who Pat Hughes can now accurately describe as “lowly”. Let’s get to this:

THE GOOD:

Joc Pederson. He went 6-for-12 for the series, albeit all singles. But at least he’s above the Mendoza Line (.200 batting average) while still being below the Sogard Line (0.0 WAR). He still doesn’t have an extra base hit since he tripled April 18 against the Braves (granted, he was in the Injured List since then, but we’re still talking 6 games.

Keegan Thompson followed up his solid effort in his first big league start against the Dodgers with three shutout innings after Trevor Williams was underwhelming, and picked up his first win in the bigs.

Know what? Since nobody’s reading this anyway, I’m gonna throw Dillon from Nazareth in here. Maples has been…good? Yeah, he’s been good since April 23, walking two, striking out 13, allowing 2 runs (1 earned) in 7 2/3 innings over 7 games. I’m not ready to be calm when he’s in a high leverage situation yet, but maybe…maybe? his Nuke Laloosh cosplay has come to an end.

Two more scoreless/hitless innings for Justin Steele. The man is the goddamn truth.

Zach Davies was able to look at the flags pointing toward home plate, and the opponents’ uniforms with “PITTSBURGH” printed on them, and decide that pitching to contact would work out for him. 7 innings later, he had allowed 5 hits, no runs, and saw his ERA drop almost two runs.

THE BAD:

Trevor Williams wasn’t terrible Saturday, but throwing an average of 20 pitches an inning against a pretty putrid Pirates posse* is no way to make a living.

Kyle Hendricks really didn’t need bad luck to come his way, but it did. He allowed 6 runs, 5 earned on Sunday while allowing a grand total of 3 hits with an exit velocity over 95 MPH. It wasn’t just Hendricks with bad luck. As a fairly routine fly ball with 2 outs in the first was headed toward Jake Marisnick, Jake’s hamstring went kablooey, causing him to faceplant in the outfield. So instead of it being 1-0 after half an inning, it wound up being 4-0 after an error, and you’re down another player. Which brings us to…

THE UGLY:

With Marisnick seemingly headed to the injured list, the Cubs have to figure out what to do. They already brought Nick Martini up to the big club (while designating Kyle Ryan for assignment), They currently have Martini, Jason Heyward (who hasn’t looked like his usual self in the outfield), and after that guys like Kris Bryant and David Bote – the Cubs position player with the lowest WAR – plugging in. On top of that, they’ve got their next 5 games in American League parks where they can use the DH. So what’s their play? There are a grand total of two position players currently on the Cubs’ 40 man who are not either hurt or with the big club – Christopher Morel and Miguel Amaya. Do they really want to bring one of them up? There’s Cameron Maybin, Ian Miller and Patrick Wisdom in Iowa with MLB experience, but to put any of them onto the 40 man roster means either cutting a guy loose or moving someone to the 60 day IL. So they either have to bring up someone who’s still wet behind the ears, cut someone loose or make a trade.

Well, Jed…you knew the job was dangerous when you took it.**

Next up for the Cubs is two in Cleveland. Which means we get to see/hear all about how good the Cubs were 5 years ago.

*ALLITERATION!

**Yes, that’s a quote from Super Chicken.

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