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Kyle Schwarber struck out in eight consecutive plate appearances

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Cubs outfielder Kyle Schwarber has been better since returning from a stint in the minor leagues. Through June 21, he was hitting .171/.295/.378. Since then, he’s hitting .241/.327/.552. Problem is he’s still striking out a bunch. Entering Monday’s action, he had struck out 38 times in 98 plate appearances since being brought back up to the big leagues, and he had struck out in seven consecutive plate appearances.

Schwarber extended the streak to eight when he whiffed in his first at-bat of the night against Reds starter Asher Wojciechowski. Fortunately for him, Schwarber’s streak ended in the third inning when he was hit by a 3-2 Wojciechowski change-up.

Despite Schwarber’s two-week demotion, he still ranks 25th among all hitters (min. 350 PA) in total strikeouts at 114. His 31.6 percent strikeout rate ranks eighth in baseball.

Padres trade Brad Hand, Adam Cimber to the Indians for Francisco Mejia

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Ken Rosenthal reports that the San Diego Padres have traded closer Brad Hand and reliever Adam Cimber to the Cleveland Indians. In return the Padres are getting top catching prospect Francisco Mejia.

Hand, the Padres’ All-Star closer, has a 3.05 ERA and 65/15 K/BB ratio and 24 saves over over 44.1 innings of work this season. In addition to helping an Indians bullpen which has struggled mightily this season, Hand will provide an insurance policy for the next two seasons given that both Andrew Miller and Cody Allen are due to hit free agency this winter. Hand, meanwhile, is under contract for this year and next for a total of $13.5 million, with a $10 million club option for 2021.

Cimber is another fine reliever who, along with Hand, suddenly transforms the Indians’ bullpen. He’s a 27-year-old rookie, but he’s been a very useful one this year, posting a 3.17 ERA in 42 games, with a K/BB ratio of 51/10 in 48.1 innings. He’s pitched even better than that of late and has been particularly hard on righties. He’s under team control through 2023.

In Mejia, the Padres are getting the Indians’ top hitting prospect. A catcher — though not necessarily a great defensive one — Mejia has struggled in brief stints in the big leagues thus far but is a .291/.344/.438 hitter in six minor league seasons and, at times, has shown star potential. He turns 23 in October.

A nice piece for the Padres in the long term and an immediate upgrade to the Indians’ bullpen in the short term. In short: a baseball trade.