The Chicago Cubs have channeled their inside Tom Petty and are currently in freefall in the NL Central standings. I felt like Chicago was in a rough spot earlier in the week, taking on Freddy Peralta, Brandon Woodruff, and then what was supposed to be Corbin Burnes, but turned out to be Aaron Ashby. They ran over Ashby and then blew themselves up anyway.
Suddenly the Cubs are treading water 42-40, have a minus point differential and are 7.5 games behind in the division. I guess that shouldn’t really surprise anyone. Chicago’s offense has been bad for some time and I expected a good regression from the bullpen. The team has had a LOB% up in the range of 80-81% for a while. As we get ready to play on Saturday, that number stands at 78.3%.
Bet $ 20 Win $ 100 (Win or lose)
Chicago Cubs vs. Cincinnati Reds
So, it was kind of a perfect storm for the Cubs. During the last 14 days, the pen has a LOB% of 57.3%. A lot of relievers have worn it down a bit with the crackdown on substances because I know relievers had to do whatever they could to get competitive advantages in these high leverage situations.
But, it was not only the bullpen. The Cubs offense, which was average in the league or slightly above the group for a time, now ranks 19th in wOBA and only has 93 wRC +. Over the past 30 days, the Cubs have a wOBA of .270. It ranks 10 points lower than any other offense in baseball during this span and we’ve certainly seen some bad ones.
The offense has increased for a lot of teams lately, but not for the Cubs. I am not quite sure why. They are hitting for power, but have no men on base when those home runs are hit. An increase of K% up to 29.9% has been a big culprit recently.
It looks like a good sign for Reds starter Tyler Mahle, who has 105 strikeouts in 84.1 innings of work. The right-hander drastically increased the turnover rate, which has raised a lot of suspicion, especially in light of the recent crackdown. Well, Mahle’s spin rates dropped a bit and its performance weakened a bit as well, but there can be some sample size noise as well.
Mahle has a 4.34 ERA in his last five starts, but his 3.37 FIP looks good and his contact measurements are pretty much what they used to be. He’s actually added strikeouts since MLB started cracking down, so things really don’t seem to be the problem. With a Cubs lineup that plans to hit a lot, he has a good chance of performing well here.
The Cubs starting staff have improved a bit lately with Kyle Hendricks and Zach Davies showing improved numbers, but Adbert Alzolay is heading in the wrong direction. He allowed 13 runs in his last 10.2 innings of work and now has a 4.55 ERA with an FIP of 4.90. He authorized 14 circuits in 13 departures and in fact lives with a BABIP that is a little too low according to his contact quality measurements.
You could argue that his last start came against the Dodgers and that’s why his recent comebacks have been bad, but he’s also faced the Indians and Padres before their bats really started, so that argument seems to carry little weight. . Plus, the Reds are clearly in the top five offensives and are one of the best home offensives in baseball.
I don’t know if the Reds are up to their attacking potential and pushing into NL Central to try and knock down an outperforming Brewers team, but what I do know is that these two teams seem to be going into some trouble. very opposite directions. .
The Cubs have several disgruntled impending free agents. Right now, it seems the only way to the playoffs in the NLC is to win the division. I think a lot of guys want to get out and some will want to get out on the trade deadline. I’m not sure that’s a good situation in Chicago, especially as adversity builds. Now that the luck of the bullpen has changed and the offense has fallen from the face of the earth, I could argue that this is what we will see from the Cubs in the future and that it is not. not pretty.
Hopefully the Reds are good today because we’ll be on them.
Pick: Cincinnati Reds
Other games: Tampa Bay Rays vs. Toronto Blue Jays; Houston Astros vs. Cleveland Indians