Alright, let's find some sunshine through all the shit, eh? Your Bright Spots for today:
- Fairly decent day for the trade bait on the major league club:
- Nate Schierholtz was 1-3, with a home run that briefly gave the Cubs the lead.
- James Russell, after giving up a leadoff double in the eighth, got through Choo, Votto, Phillips, and Bruce without giving up a hit (though Phillips did reach on an IBB).
- Kevin Gregg worked a scoreless ninth, striking out Todd Frazier in the process. He's now thrown 18.2 innings in 19 appearances and has 21 strikeouts against 7 walks. I know Kevin Gregg is Kevin Gregg, and everybody's expecting him to turn into a pumpkin at the drop of a hat, but if he somehow maintains anything close to this form into July….well, teams overpay for relief pitching at the deadline all the time.
- Travis Wood isn't really trade bait, but he continues to be fun to watch, even if the offense shuts down behind him. No hits until the fifth, four hits and two walks in seven innings pitched, only 2 earned runs, and all of this without really impressive stuff at all. He scratched and clawed his way through the Reds' lineup over and over again, trying desperately to hang onto the lead. As the offense (hopefully) improves over the next couple of seasons, his starts are going to get a lot more enjoyable
- With the loss today, the Cubs fall out of an effective tie with Milwaukee for last place in the division, and giving them the third worst record in the Majors thus far. Why is this reason for optimism? We're currently set up for the third pick in a 2014 draft that's supposed to be much deeper than this year's. As long as this team is not in contention for a playoff spot, every top 5 pick we can get is a victory.
Minor League Performance of the Day:
There are a fair amount of options, but being the Baez-centric individual that I am, I'm choosing to focus on Javy's 3-walk day over 14 innings of doubleheader. No hits, but frankly, the walks are more encouraging than anything at this point. No strikeouts either, and a 3 walk day has the added benefit of being unlikely to cause a mass retweeting spree by the precocious lad in all of our twitter feeds, which can only be a good thing.