Aiming to avoid a sweep in Colorado and halting a five-game road losing streak, the Cubs were dealt a big blow to the team before they even began the game Wednesday afternoon.
Steve Cishek was carted off the field during pregame warm-ups as he took a ball off the leg while playing catch with teammate Brandon Kintzler.
He had to be helped to a medical cart:
Cishek carted off, hit on shin by baseball pic.twitter.com/lLDPcFAnaq— Mark Gonzales (@MDGonzales) June 12, 2019
The Cubs provided an update shortly after, saying Cishek got hit on the inside of his right knee and they're calling it a bruise:
Cishek got hit in the inside of his right knee. Bad bruise. Not sure if avail in game, per Cubs.— Jesse Rogers (@ESPNChiCubs) June 12, 2019
It's a freak injury and obviously bad news for a Cubs team that has been searching for bullpen consistency all season. But it doesn't appear to be as scary as it initially looked. Cishek told Chicago Tribune's Mark Gonzales after the game that he's only expected to miss a day or two:
Cishek believes he’ll miss only one or two days— Mark Gonzales (@MDGonzales) June 12, 2019
The Cubs just signed Craig Kimbrel last week, but the closer is still expected to need a couple weeks to get up to speed after sitting out spring training and the first two months of the season.
Cishek has been one of the Cubs' only reliable relievers all year, posting a 3.21 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 6 saves and 4 holds. He leads the team in appearances once again this season after pitching in nearly half the Cubs' games (80) a season ago.Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream
The Chicago Cubs tied the Washington Redskins for 14th on Forbes' Most Valuable Sports Teams 2019 list with a $3.1 billion valuation. The Cubs' valuation grew by 7% year over year.
The Cubs are the fourth-most valuable franchise in MLB behind the Yankees ($4.1B), the Dodgers ($3.3B) and the Red Sox ($3.2B). Only seven MLB teams made the Top 50.
Two other Chicago teams, the Bears and the Bulls, are tied for 19th on the list with a value of $2.9 billion. The Bears' value grew just 2% while the Bulls' valuation grew by 12% year over year.
The rise of the pro sports teams valued over $2 billion has been pretty meteoric over the past decade. In 2012, only Manchester United was valued over $2 billion and in 2019 that number has risen to 52.
In 2012, only the Knicks and Lakers made the Top 50 list but in 2019 the Bulls are one of nine teams to earn a spot. The Bulls were the fourth-most valuable NBA franchise in 2019 behind the Knicks ($4B), Lakers ($3.7B) and Warriors ($3.5B).
Forbes credits the NBA's international prospects and worldwide revenue growth for the league's rise in the list.
No NHL teams made the list, the New York Rangers were the most-valued hockey team at $1.55 billion, 72nd highest.
It’s no secret that the Cubs have had their fair share of struggles on the road this season. Entering Monday’s game the Giants – the first of a nine-game road trip -- the Cubs held an 18-27 road record, 21st in all of baseball.
Things took a turn for the worse in that department on Monday night.
Clinging to a 4-2 lead in the eighth inning, the Cubs called upon reliever Pedro Strop to shut down the Giants 3-4-5 hitters. Strop, who entered action with a 4.62 ERA in 29 appearances (5.40 in July), surrendered three runs on four hits – including three doubles. The end result was the Giants taking a 5-4 lead, ultimately the game’s final score.
While Strop’s outing will get the most face time due to it occurring in a high-leverage spot, the truth of the matter is that the Cubs struggled for much of Monday’s game. After taking an early 3-0 lead, they couldn’t pull away from the Giants, watching San Francisco slowly close the gap and cut the deficit to 3-2 in the fifth inning.
The Giants actually came close to tying the game at 3-3 in the seventh inning, though Steve Cishek was able to work out of a first and second, one out jam to keep the Cubs ahead. Plus, before consecutive two out singles in the eighth inning – one being an RBI from Anthony Rizzo to give the Cubs an insurance run, the Cubs offense went through a 1-for-15 drought that began with two outs in the third inning.
At the same time, Strop struggling again is quite concerning. The 34-year-old has been the team's most reliable reliever for the past five seasons, posting sub-3.00 ERAs in each campaign from 2014-18. However, he's in the midst of a forgettable month, allowing seven runs on 11 hits in 7 2/3 innings. Strop also surrendered a game-tying home run in the eighth inning Friday against the Padres, though the Cubs were able to bounce back and win.
Between their road woes and Strop's rough July, Monday's game did nothing to alleviate concerns over two unsettling Cubs trends. If there's one positive to take away from the game, it's that the Cubs were six outs away from picking up their third road win in seven tries this month.
Moral victories count for little when a team is in a heated pennant race, though, especially since the Cardinals took down the Pirates Monday to cut the Cubs' lead in the NL Central to 1.5 games. The Cubs have to find a way to get better on the road, and they have to find a way to get Strop back on track. Fortunately for the Cubs, there's still time to do both, as Strop pointed out postgame.
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Strop:— Gordon Wittenmyer (@GDubCub) July 23, 2019
“There’s a long way to go still. The good part is about to come. Which is the final run of September and then October, and that’s what everybody’s chasing. So I’m going to make sure I’m better for those type of games."