A familiar face returned to The Friendly Confines Monday as the Cubs opened up a three-game set with the Marlins.
Todd Hollandsworth, the former Cubs Pregame and Postgame Live analyst on CSN, now calls games for The Fish, but he dropped by SportsTalk Live to try and make sense of the slow start on the North Side.
He attributed most of their struggles to starting pitching, which, as a staff, currently holds a 4.64 ERA and 1.39 WHIP over 300 innings.
"When you look at the numbers, the one thing that stands out is that they've given up more runs," Hollandsworth said. "The starting pitching, the difference is 100 runs. I actually looked to the day, today, they gave up 100 less runs to this point in the season last year. I mean, that's pretty plain and simple."
Although many fans' visceral reaction has been to doubt the club after a 28-27 start, Hollandsworth doesn't see any reason to panic.
"The one thing that really is encouraging for Cubs fans is this: They're playing the best baseball in their division and they're going to get a heavy dose of their division," he said. "They dominate. They're I think six or seven games over. I mean, you're only a game back of the Milwaukee Brewers, and when you're six or seven games over against your own division who you play half your schedule against, how is this going to turn out? The Cubs are going to win this division hands down."
Watch Hollandsworth's full interview with SportsTalk Live and his former partner, David Kaplan, in the video above.
On Thursday morning. MLB reporter and The Athletic senior writer Ken Rosenthal reported that the Milwaukee Brewers traded a competitive-balance pick for LHP Alex Claudio.
Claudio has been in the league since 2014. Last season he posted a 4-2 record with a 4.48 ERA and 1.52 WHIP over 68.1 innings pitched. Last season was actually a bit of a down year for Claudio, who had a sub-3.00 ERA in every season before last year.
The move is a solid one for Milwaukee to bolster their bullpen, adding another lefty to the mix.
Claudio's contract gives the Brewers three additional years of team control and the option to send him down to the minors, a measure of flexibility that surely helped them feel confident in making this deal.
The Rangers boost their rebuilding efforts through this trade, which nets them the Brewers' competitive-balance pick, which many expect to be a pretty good draft slot.
Because of the value of that competitive-balance pick, only time will tell if the Brewers got the best out of this deal.
Every move made within the NL Central is a big one these days, with the division already shaping up to be stronger than last year, when the Cubs—at 95 wins—finished second.
Trevor Bauer is at it again.
The Cleveland Indians pitcher is one of Major League Baseball's best trolls and this time Cubdom was the subject of his latest exploits.
First the joke (and a dynamite drop-in by @Cubs), then the backstory:
The thread began when Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard Tweeted a Ron Burgandy GIF of him watching MLB Network as his name popped up in trade rumors this week during Winter Meetings. National reporter Jon Heyman Tweeted Syndergaard might have the best player account out there, to which fans responded with their thoughts that Bauer should be included in that short list:
When @daphnesmomshell commented that she hoped Bauer would come pitch for the Cubs, the pitcher was quick on the draw with a comeback implying that his drone accident altered the course of Cubs history as we know it.
Bauer cut the finger of his pitching hand on a drone blade in October 2016, limiting him to just 5.1 innings of work in the ALDS and ALCS that year.
He was able to return for the World Series, pitching in 3 games (2 starts), but struggled badly. Bauer went 0-2 (losing Games 2 and 5) with a 5.40 ERA and 1.68 WHIP and is clearly intimating the Cubs would not have won the World Series had he been 100 percent.
It's all in good fun, which is pretty much the only thing Bauer does online.