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Baseball Report: Cubs' Losing Streak Continues

(CBS Chicago) -- The All-Star Game is seen as the halfway point of the MLB season. But, in reality, every team will have already played more than 81 games by the end of this coming weekend. Still, it's a convenient time to take a breather and see where things stand across the League.

Some teams, like the Chicago Cubs, would prefer the All-Star break start sooner. The Cubs have lost 11 straight games and are sinking fast in the National League Central. The Los Angeles Angels, on the other hand have won six of their last eight, thanks, in large part, to the two-way exploits of Shohei Ohtani. Ohtani has been pitching well and leads the majors in home runs.

This week's Baseball Report looks at the Cubs' losing streak, Ohtani's 31 HRs, and the All-Star Game rosters for next Tuesday's game.

Cubs Lose 11 Straight

Not quite two weeks ago, the Cubs were tied with the Milwaukee Brewers for the NL Central lead. They sat at 42-33 and had just shut out the Los Angeles Dodgers to open a four-game series and an 10-game road-trip. Three games in Milwaukee would follow, followed by three more in Cincinnati against the then-third place Reds. The outcomes would surely affect the division race going into the All-Star Break.

And so they have. The Cubs proceeded to lose their next 11 games. After the Dodgers bounced back to win three straight, the Brewers swept them, dumping 31 runs on them in three games. Cubs pitching was better in the next series, but it wouldn't matter. The Reds then took down the Cubs in three one-run games for another sweep.

Their next loss, the first of the streak at home, saw them give up 13 more runs, this time at home to the Philadelphia Phillies. Cubs manager David Ross was tossed in the sixth inning for the third time this season, this time for arguing a walk to Phillies' Bryce Harper. It wouldn't be enough of a spark to change the outcome. They followed that with another loss to the Phillies, giving up 15 more runs. On the bright side, they put up 10.

The NL Central race looks very different now. Over the course of the losing streak, the Cubs have dropped to 42-44 and fourth place in the division behind the Brewers and Reds. They are now nine games off the pace, and don't seem to have any answers on how to end what's become their longest losing streak since 2012. A possible playoff season has quickly turned into a season that will likely end in September. And with the July 30 trade deadline on the horizon, the Cubs may have just become sellers instead of buyers.

Ohtani Leads MLB In Home Runs

On July 4, Ohtani provided his own fireworks. The Angels designated hitter and pitcher blasted his 31st home run of the season Sunday against the Baltimore Orioles. The huge 457-foot solo shot to straight-away centerfield was his 14th HR in his last 17 games and third against the Orioles in the series. He leads MLB in home runs and tied the record for the most home runs in a season hit by a Japanese-born player. Hideki Matsui set that record in 2004, over a complete season.

The day would get better. Ohtani also became the first Major Leaguer to be selected to the All-Star Game as both a position player and a pitcher. Ohtani has 68 RBI and is slashing .276/.362/.692. From the mound, he's 4-1, with a 87 strikeouts and a 3.49 ERA over 67 innings.

Ohtani will compete in the Home Run Derby on Monday evening. The Angels are okay with him hitting and pitching in the All-Star Game, if that's how it shakes out.

All-Star Game Rosters Announced

Ohtani wasn't the only All-Star announced Sunday. With the starters already picked by the fans, MLB filled in the rest of the rosters for the All-Star Game next Tuesday at Coors Field in Denver. Reserve position players and pitchers were chosen by the players themselves, with a little help from the commissioner. (Every team in the League must have at least one representative.) That amounts to 24 more players in the National League and 23 in the American League, since the fans already chose the designated hitter.

Some notable players did not make the list. Seven-time All-Star and three-time Cy Young winner Max Scherzer of the Washington Nationals isn't among those originally announced. Scherzer has a 2.10 ERA and 127 strikeouts in his 94.1 innings. Chris Bassitt of the Oakland A's was also initially snubbed. Bassitt is 9-2 on the season, with 109 strikeout in 106.2 innings pitched. The rosters will likely be updated before game time.

Here are the announced All-Star rosters:

American League


C - Salvador Perez, Royals
1B - Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Blue Jays
2B - Marcus Semien, Blue Jays
3B - Rafael Devers, Red Sox
SS - Xander Bogaerts, Red Sox
OF - Mike Trout, Angels
OF - Aaron Judge, Yankees
OF - Teoscar Hernández, Blue Jays
DH - Shohei Ohtani, Angels


C - Mike Zunino, Rays
1B - Jared Walsh, Angels
1B - Matt Olson, Athletics
2B - Jose Altuve, Astros
2B - Bo Bichette, Blue Jays
SS - Carlos Correa, Astros
3B - José Ramírez, Cleveland
OF - Michael Brantley, Astros
OF - Joey Gallo, Rangers
OF - Adolis García, Rangers
OF - Cedric Mullins, Orioles
DH - Nelson Cruz, Twins
DH - J.D. Martinez, Red Sox


Shohei Ohtani, Angels
Gerrit Cole, Yankees
Lance Lynn, White Sox
Shane Bieber, Cleveland
Nathan Eovaldi, Red Sox
Kyle Gibson, Rangers
Yusei Kikuchi, Mariners
Carlos Rodón, White Sox
Aroldis Chapman, Yankees
Liam Hendriks, White Sox
Ryan Pressly, Astros
Matt Barnes, Red Sox
Gregory Soto, Tigers

National League


C - Buster Posey, Giants
1B - Freddie Freeman, Braves
2B - Adam Frazier, Pirates
3B - Nolan Arenado, Cardinals
SS - Fernando Tatís Jr., Padres
OF - Ronald Acuña Jr., Braves
OF - Nick Castellanos, Reds
OF - Jesse Winker, Reds


C - J.T. Realmuto, Phillies
1B - Max Muncy, Dodgers
2B - Ozzie Albies, Braves
2B - Jake Cronenworth, Padres
SS - Brandon Crawford, Giants
SS - Trea Turner, Nationals
3B - Kris Bryant, Cubs
3B - Eduardo Escobar, Diamondbacks
OF - Mookie Betts, Dodgers
OF - Bryan Reynolds, Pirates
OF - Kyle Schwarber, Nationals
OF - Juan Soto, Nationals
OF - Chris Taylor, Dodgers


Jacob deGrom, Mets
Yu Darvish, Padres
Brandon Woodruff, Brewers
Corbin Burnes, Brewers
Kevin Gausman, Giants
Germán Márquez, Rockies
Trevor Rogers, Marlins
Zack Wheeler, Phillies
Craig Kimbrel, Cubs
Mark Melancon, Padres
Josh Hader, Brewers
Alex Reyes, Cardinals

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