Cubs vs. Brewers: Series Thread (Games 36-38)

The Brewers (23-16) come into town hot off a pair of series sweeps and looking to knock the Cubs(22-13) off the NL Central hill. Meanwhile, the Cubs will aim to handle business as well as they did last weekend against the Cards. See below for the matchups in each game.

Game 36
CHC: LHP José Quintana (4-1, 3.40 ERA)
MIL: LHP Gio Gonzalez (0-0, 2.69 ERA)
First pitch 1:20pmCDT

José Quintana has cooled just the slightest in his last couple starts. He's continued to control overall offense but stopped striking out the world like he had in many of his earlier outings. As long as he keeps the ball in the park, that lower strikeout rate might not be so bad. The bullpen has been weakened further by the loss of Strop, and the newly returned Montgomery pitched 5 (awesome) innings in relief of Darvish yesterday. So, the Cubs could use some efficiency from today's starter. The current Brewers have seen a ton of Quintana (295 ABs), with many ABs coming from former AL Central-ers Moustakas and Cain. The good news is, the total ABs are the only thing special about their numbers against him. Christian Yelich's Bondsian transformation (minus the bulk) has continued into May. He's been so good that the key to handling him might just be to handle the rest of the Brewers' lineup.

Gio Gonzalez returned to the Brewers on April 26 after opting out of his contract with the Yankees, for whom he'd been making AAA starts. His two starts so far have both been solid, and he struck out 7 Mets in 5.1 innings last time out. Jason Heyward is 8-37 against him, and Anthony Rizzo is 2-22.

Game 37
CHC: LHP Cole Hamels (3-0, 3.38 ERA)
MIL: RHP Zach Davies (4-0, 1.56 ERA)
First pitch 1:20pmCDT

Hamels got a no-decision on the 6th against the Marlins, when he pitched 6 and allowed 3 earned runs. He hasn't earned a win since April 17, but he also has yet to be tagged with a loss in 2019. His command has come and gone at times over his last three starts, but the strikeouts have been there to bail him out most of the time. Lorenzo Cain is 5-16 against him and utility man Hernan Perez is 7-14.

Zach Davies has yet to allow more than 2 runs in a start this year. He went 7.2 and allowed 2 earned runs against the Mets last time out. I can't see anything in his numbers to explain that 1.56 ERA (not even BABIP), and I also don't see any reason why the Cubs shouldn't be the first team to break his 2019 luck. Kris Bryant is 14-38 with 2 HRs against him, and the newly reinstated Addison Russell is 8-22. Javy has yet to collect an extra base hit against the soft throwing Davies, but he's got a .379 OBP against him.

Game 38
CHC: LHP Jon Lester (2-1, 1.43 ERA)
MIL: RHP Jhoulys Chacin (3-3, 5.03 ERA)
First pitch 6:05pmCDT

Jon Lester hasn't missed a beat since returning from the IL. He's allowed 3 runs, 1 earned, over those 3 starts (18 innings pitched). During that time he's also walked exactly 1 while striking out 19. The ever aggravating Ryan Braun is 8-20 against him and Cain is 8-22.

Jhoulys Chacin has not been good in 2019. His strikeouts and ground ball percentage are both down, while his walks are up. Anthony Rizzo is 7-22 with 3 HRs against him. Heyward is 3-19.

The rainy weather looks to have cleared for this series even if the cold has remained. Enjoy the trio of day games! Edit: I just remembered we get the Sunday night game on ESPN again. Sorry, all.


The ever aggravating Ryan Braun career numbers against the Cubs in 743 PAs (174 games): 317/393/563, 120 runs, 132 rbi, 37 HRs. Can’t retire soon enough 



A moot point by the time it's Yu's turn again? How long must VC rehab?

no set timetable, but a return early/mid next week wouldn't be shocking.

Saw today that VC said he needs 15 more ABs.

Has Javy ever been called out on the bases and not signalled Joe for a review?

73 pitches through 6 innings with 6Ks for Q...unfortunately, he's also losing 1-0.

sharp outing reguardless.  hopefully he can go 8+ innings.

nevermind.  DFA Q.

Hopefully he gets a few of them in Des Moines this weekend...

The switch from La Stella to Descalso has not been so hot. Descalso now 0-10 as a pinch hitter

So far in 2019 ...

Descalso 86 AB, .244 BA, 2 HR, 0.0 WAR

La Stella 90 AB, .256 BA, 9 HR, 0.9 WAR

that game was turrible.  fire everyone.

RHRP Allen Webster to 10-day IL (nerve inflammation in right arm) and LHRP Xavier Cedeno has been reinstated from 10-day IL. 

the cubs are probably not going to be "high end" active in the trade market given the tepid off-season moves they made (still a top spending team, however)...and they're probably not looking another lefty starter...nonetheless...

"Bumgarner’s contract allows him to block trades to eight teams, and sources told Rosenthal that his list includes the Braves, Red Sox, Cubs, Astros, Brewers, Yankees, Phillies and Cardinals."

so basically, he's already got enough world series rings and doesn't want another one.  seriously, that's an odd "no trade" list starring some of the best teams around.  it's like he doesn't want to be traded...or he wants to hold any interested team on the list hostage for conditions of a trade (like an extension).

That's a leverage no-trade list more than an I-don't-want-to-go-there no-trade list.

agreed...surprised we don't see more of it, honestly.  that list is packed with a who's-who.

4 innings down in 55 minutes.  pitching clinic in progress...

e.jackson traded to the bjays from the As.

if he gets called up, that will be his 14th team (mlb record).

one major positive about the "replay era" is we no longer have the "ball beat you, you're out, period" proximity plays.

it's ushered in the era of the creative slide plays and that's kinda fun.

this drama is killing me...hell of a game.

multiple innings of chatwood in a tied extra innings's like they want to give fans heart attacks.

great job with a little 2-walk drama in the 2nd inning of work.

x.cedeno's debut lasts 5 pitches...a leadoff walk.

Which was your favorite of his 5 pitches?

they were all great in their own special way, except 4 of them.

cubs strand 7 on base in the last 3 the 14...

Hell of a game. Would sure suck to lose it. 

4ip 0h 3bb 7k, 0r/er, 68 pitches for chatwood going to the middle of the 15th...crazy

41 strikes too!

Cubs will probably need to call-up a pitcher for Sunday night's game. somebody who can throw multiple innings if needed, so that would probably be Alec Mills (stretched-out as a SP and hasn't pitched since last Tuesday).

So option Mark Zagunis to Iowa and recall Mills would be my guess. 

Then the Cubs can option Mills back to Iowa after Sunday night's game and maybe recall Ian Happ in time for the start of the Cincinnati series on Tuesday (Happ hits like Rogers Horsnsby in Great American Ballpark), unless Ben Zobrist suddenly reappears.  

the alley in RF in CIN loves pull/power hitters.  there's a nice "wind tunnel effect" because of how the park is built that rewards lefty hitting pull/power hitters when conditions are right.



Nobody kicks more azz in the 15th inning than the Cubbies! Chatwood Game Part Deux

No question Tyler Chatwood is the best 13th-14th-15th inning specialist in MLB. 

Carl Edwards with a 1-2-3 8th inning with the game tied.

He does that a couple hundred more times and I might become a believer.

rizzo starts his yearly "back tightness" thing...sitting out tonight...


byrant at 1st with lester pitching...that's a bit of extra work for even a seasoned 1st baseman.  if contreras needs to control a runner he'll be throwing to a glove closer to the line than the runner.  he's played some 1st before, at least...won't be foreign territory.

things bote needs to learn:

1- at 2nd, unless the ball is dead, if javy touches ready for a throw no matter how odd/strange/uncalledfor...

2- at 3rd, with lester on the mound, if it's hit to lester...that's your play unless it's quickly hit right to lester.

bryant's power stroke has fully returned.

cubs win!

STL lost today, too...putting them even further back in 3rd place.

4th by percentage points.


A diesel locomotive has 8 throttle positions,  Run 1 thru Run 8....going to Cincinnati 10 over .500.......lots of season left, but they're moving this Express to Run 6.

Hey, don't sleep on the Reds. The unlucky record is hiding a good baseball team.

Bryant's defense at firstbase is not a problem.

If Ben Zobrist were to retire (and I'm not saying he will, but if he does), the Cubs would save about $9M in 2019 payroll that could be used to sign Craig Kimbrel (probably a $18M salary pro-rated to about $12M for 2/3 of the season) immediately after the draft (June 3-4-5).

The Red Sox extended a Qualifying Offer to Kimbrel post-2018 so that if he signs with another MLB club prior to the June draft the Red Sox get a 2019 compensation draft pick and the club that signs Kimbrel loses a 2019 draft pick, which is partly why Kimbrel and Keuchel are still unsigned.   

If this were to happen, Kimbrel could report to Mesa as early as June 6th and spend ten days getting ready to pitch in games, and then perhaps spend another ten days or so at Iowa or Tennessee maybe throwing an inning in a game every-other day. (Kimbrel has two minor league options left, so it would just be a matter of him agreeing to a minor league assignment that would essentially be "Spring Training" games for him). 

A 2020 mutual option could be included that would provide Kimbrel a $21M salary in 2020 or a $3M buy-out if the club option part of the mutual option is declined, making the deal (in effect) $15M for 2/3 of a season ($12M pro-rated salary in 2019 plus the $3M buy-out for 2020) with a two-year AAV hit against the Cubs payroll of only $7.5M per season 2019-20, or $33M for 1-2/3 seasons ($16.5M AAV hit in both 2019 and 2020) if the 2020 mutual option were to be exercised from both sides (which would probably be unlikely).

I don't like gossip, but is there any informed speculation as to what might be happening?  Divorce, separation, illness?

it's still all in the dark.  no reliable leaks/info.  no word on what's going on or when he might come back.

his wife shut down her twitter recently (before ben left the cubs) and there's some that claims that she deleted some ben pics from her instagram, but some of her regular followers claim that didn't happen and her insta never had many ben pics to begin with.

No sabe.

Thanks,  Crunch.

Recent comments

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  • Charlie 1 hour 34 min ago (view)

    What's that, crunch? Kris Bryant for Robinson Canoe? Bold call!


  • George Altman 3 hours 57 min ago (view)

    Phil, you used to put out a Top 10 or 20 Prospect list around the end of the AFL. Sometimes you would update mid year if trades or draft warranted. This is not false praise...your lists were more impactful than BA, MLB, BP to me, let alone the Cubs fan board lists. Today, the only thing I give any credence to are your evaluations and Fan Graphs Top 40. If the evaluator has only watched video then, hell, I can watch video.


  • crunch 7 hours 35 min ago (view)

    there is no way the 2-3 guys that created most of those cubs reports have seen much more than youtube video footage as far as "live" scouting.

    they seem very dedicated and eager, but there are some questionable things in their scouting reports.


  • Wrigley Rat 8 hours 20 min ago (view)

    I'd REALLY enjoy reading Phil's list with scouting reports!!! I'd definitely trust his ratings more than most!

    Here is what the website says about seeing the players: "Our evaluation team has spent countless hours filling these boards with highly in-depth scouting reports from live looks and film study."

    Either way, in my opinion, it's good to read other people's evaluations, even when they vary from our own. It gets us thinking about how confident we are in our valuations and how much we're willing to modify them based on other people's reports!


  • Hagsag 10 hours 3 sec ago (view)

    Phil, I am sure you could put together a more realistic list.


  • Arizona Phil 10 hours 11 min ago (view)

    No offense intended, but did anybody at this site actually see these guys play? 

    Chase Strumpf has only "40" power?!! Andy Weber even has more power than Strumpf? Seriously? Strumpf actually has plus-power. In fact, HR power is his #1 attribute. His power tool is probably at least "60" (maybe "65").   

    Both Ronnier Quintero and Aramis Ademan are "45" run? Really? Ademan has average speed ("50"), and Quintero is Miguel Montero 2.0. His run tool is probably "30" (on a good day). Quintero's plus raw tools are arm and power.  


  • Hagsag 15 hours 9 min ago (view)

    Thanks for the info.


  • Wrigley Rat 1 day 1 hour ago (view)

    I just discovered this site: (Sorry if you all know about it already!). 52 Cubs prospects listed with scouting reports! Really enjoying this one! :)


  • crunch 1 day 2 hours ago (view)

    we all knew trades were coming...getting rid of 1-2 of the core, but at this point i wonder how much (if any) of that free'd up loot is going back into the team.


  • Charlie 1 day 4 hours ago (view)

    He clearly did not want to be remembered for selling off the core and then walking away from the team a year later. Can't blame him.


  • crunch 1 day 5 hours ago (view)

    every other contender is full of rumor news for who they'll sign...and the hot cubs rumor is kris bryant won't be traded before the wednesday arb offer deadline.  wee.


  • Arizona Phil 1 day 8 hours ago (view)

    jdrnym: The MLB contracts that are tendered on 12/2 via Central Tender Letter are are non-guaranteed contacts.

    And a player signed to a non-guaranteed contract who is released prior to MLB Opening Day receives 30 days salary (paid at the minor league rate for players with split contracts) if the player is released more than 15 days prior to Opening Day, or 45 days salary (paid at the MLB rate for players signed to split contracts) if the player is released 15 or fewer days prior to Opening Day as termination pay. 


  • jdrnym 1 day 10 hours ago (view)

    If a player signs one of those deals that allows a split salary or incentives to be included, does that get treated like an arbitration salary in that it's only partially guaranteed until Opening Day?


  • bradsbeard 4 days 21 hours ago (view)

    Great info. Thanks! 


  • Arizona Phil 4 days 21 hours ago (view)

    BRADSBEARD: What happens on 12/2 is each club submits what's called a "Central Tender Letter" to the MLB LRD listing which unsigned players on the club's MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) are being tendered a contract and which unsigned players are not being tendered a contract. 

    The CTL is sufficient as far as providing proof of contract tender.  

    For players being tendered contracts, the CTL must list the club's MLB salary offer, a minor league split salary offer (if the club so chooses), and performance bonuses (if any) the club is offering to the player.


  • crunch 5 days 5 hours ago (view)

    theo walked away from a big payday for an executive in his last season as a cub without having another job scoped out...and according to him he's not even looking one.

    something tells me this isn't going to be a fun off-season for cubs fans.

    the state of the cubs household aside, i wouldn't exactly be shocked to see theo with the mets, though he's supposedly not on their radar at the moment.