Cubs 3 Up, 3 Down: Reeling On The Road

The Cubs are 18-28 away from Wrigley Field this season.

Chris Emma
July 23, 2019 - 11:12 am
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(670 The Score) The Cubs saw their second-half hot streak come to an end with back-to-back losses Sunday and Monday.

With their next eight games looming on the road, this is a key stretch for the Cubs.

Here are the latest trends surrounding the Cubs:

THREE UP

1.) Maldy arrives

Manager Joe Maddon summed it up simply: If your team can add Martin Maldonado, you have to do it. That's what the Cubs did in a one-for-one-trade that sent reliever Mike Montgomery back to the Royals last week.

In Maldonado, the Cubs added a player who ranks fifth among all catchers in cumulative defensive value, third in defensive runs saved and has been a plus pitch framer this season.

2.) Rizzo on a run

The consistency of first baseman Anthony Rizzo is something often lost in the shuffle of a Cubs season. In 2019, he's quietly performing at a career-best pace.

Rizzo has a slash line of .293/.400/.538, which would all mark personal-highs. He has 20 home runs and 69 RBIs, which has him within reach of topping his career-highs of 32 homers and 109 RBIs.    

3.) Grounded by Ryan

With the Cubs in a jam during the fifth inning of an eventual loss to the Giants on Monday night, Maddon turned to left-hander Kyle Ryan with runners at the corners and one out.

Ryan induced an inning-ending double play from Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval, which at the time preserved the Cubs' lead. Maddon trusted Ryan's groundball rate -- which is currently at 58.3 percent, the 12th-best among all qualifying relievers -- and he was rewarded.

THREE DOWN

1.) Road woes

The Cubs saw a 4-2 lead fall apart in the eighth inning Monday, with reliever Pedro Strop surrendering three earned runs en route to a 5-4 loss. The Cubs dropped to 18-28 on the road with the loss.

What now awaits is a pivotal stretch that runs in conjunction with active trade talks leading up to the trade deadline on July 31. After two more games at the Giants, the Cubs play three apiece on the road against fellow National League Central contenders in the Brewers and Cardinals.

2.) Almora at level

The struggles of Albert Almora Jr. have lasted throughout this entire season and aren't getting any better. Almora is currently a 0.0 WAR player on FanGraphs, which is an indictment of his poor offense considering the excellent defense produced in center field.

Almora is slashing .239/.275/.382 with a .276 weighted on-base percentage and 67 weighted-runs-created plus, all of which would rank near the bottom of the league if he was eligible.

3.) Strop scuffles again

The nightmarish season for Strop continued Monday as he was rocked for three runs and four hits in the Giants' come-from-behind eighth inning. 

Strop is now 2-4 with a 5.47 ERA this season.

Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for 670TheScore.com. Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670.