Cubs vs. Phillies: Darvish vs. Arrieta (Game 45)
CHC (27-17): RHP Yu Darvish (2-3, 5.14 ERA)
PHL (27-19): RHP Jake Arrieta (4-4, 4.02 ERA)
First pitch 7:05pmCDT
The Cubs return to Wrigley and bring a bit of the NL East with them. Darvish's last start was middling in some respects. He went 5.1 and allowed 2 earned runs on five hits against Cincinnati. But he showed his best command of 2019 and it's hard to care about anything else at this point. It's the first time he's walked fewer than 3 batters since April 10, when also allowed four earned runs and struck out only 4. His zone percentage was 47.1% compared to 40.8% on the season, and when he threw the ball out of the zone he got swings 35.2% of the time compared to 27.5% on the season. Today he'll try to establish some consistency. The current Phillies are 10-29 against him with no homeruns. Bryce Harper has never faced him.
This is the Cubs' first look at the Phillies in 2019. They come into Chicago with a 2.5 game lead on the 2nd place Braves and a record only 1 game worse than the Cubs'. Bryce Harper has been good but not great for them so far, striking out 30% of the time but playing much improved defense compared to his career worst defense in 2018. They've drawn value from a good portion of their roster rather than relying heavily on any one star performer. Andrew McCutchen has shown he's still good for 20 homeruns and a .360 OBP. Rhys Hoskins has settled into being a solid MLB slugger with plenty of patience. And Jake Arrieta fits right into a decent pitching rotation still awaiting a standout.
If you are looking for an easy narrative, then this matchup is a miniature referendum on the 2017-2018 offseason. The Cubs failed to work out an extension with Arrieta after he completed some heroic feats on the north side and launched his career into new territory. Whereas the Cubs signed Darvish to a 6-year deal worth $126 million and Tyler Chatwood for 3/$38M, Arrieta ended up with the Phillies on a 3-year $75M contract. But if you are into that narrative, you probably already think the Cubs should have chosen differently. Arrieta was good enough with the Phillies last year, earning a 3.96 ERA and making 31 starts. This year he has been similarly good enough. It's easier to think of him as a groundball pitcher at this point rather than the over-powering ace he was for a few years in Chicago. After a jump in his slider use last year, he's turning to that pitch at a decreased rate again in the early going. The only current Cubs to face him are Descalso and Heyward. Descalso is 0-10 with five strikeouts; even with Baez perhaps getting a day off to rest his ankle, I wonder if Bote might get a shot at 2nd. Heyward is 6-18 with one double.
May Jake receive a warm greeting from the fans and from the bats.
Cubster 4 hours 34 min ago (view)
Two White Sox test positive for Covid. Not yet disclosed who they are. Reminder that the Cubs are going to be scheduled to play the WSox for 6 games.
Jackstraw 16 hours 26 min ago (view)
Don't let short-term market fluctuations diminsh your enthusiasm for a great long-term investment.
crunch 18 hours 37 min ago (view)
freddy freeman + aaron nola are also positive star players.
the scary thing is freeman tested negative on tuesday. by thursday he was sick and tested positive shortly afterwards. some may question the strength of the MLB test if they were the ones who gave freeman's initial negative...
Cubster 19 hours 30 min ago (view)
COVID positive: LeMahieu NYY; Sano MIN; S Perez KC.
crunch 21 hours 22 min ago (view)
phillies now have 7 down with covid...freddy freeman (ATL) has symptomatic covid with fever/chills/aches for the past 3 days...some players on multiple teams are still awaiting initial test results so they can join spring training 2.0 with their teams...
also, this photo of pablo sandoval (SF) taking grounders at 3rd... https://pbs.twimg.com/media/EcHFTylVcAAE5SI?format...
Cubster 21 hours 50 min ago (view)
Wittenmeyer tweet: Hendricks and Darvish combine for 4 Ks in a pair of scoreless half-innings.
Press box wag: "Cubs hitting sucks this year"
crunch 23 hours 32 min ago (view)
2020 schedule to be announced monday (tentative).
crunch 23 hours 34 min ago (view)
d.price (LAD) to sit out the season.
LAD isn't going to get d.price at all in 2020 and they got m.betts for 60-ish games until he's a FA. ow. that duo cost them jeter downs, alex verdugo, and connor wong.
Dolorous Jon Lester 1 day 6 hours ago (view)
I acquired Trout over the winter in a keeper league. Not feeling too great about that either.
Hagsag 1 day 9 hours ago (view)
Andrew Cashner still hasn't signed with anyone. Could be useful.
crunch 1 day 17 hours ago (view)
the cleveland indians have released a statement that they are open for dialogue about the future of the team's name.
twitter is all over it and seems to be all about going back to "cleveland spiders", an unrelated dead MLB team lineage in cleveland from the 1800s (some guy named cy young played for them).
crunch 1 day 21 hours ago (view)
Q coming back in 4-6 weeks will be like a mid-season trade! sigh...
but yeah, they should be good in-house with expanded rosters unless they get slammed by IL stuff.
crunch 1 day 21 hours ago (view)
MLB has confirmed 38 positives (players/coaches/personel/etc) so far.
Arizona Phil 1 day 22 hours ago (view)
With 17 pitchers likely on the 30-man MLB Active List roster for the first two weeks and then probably 15 pitchers on the 28-man Active List for the next two weeks after that, the Cubs should be able to "bullpen" games quite a bit for the first month. They won't really need five starters.
crunch 1 day 23 hours ago (view)
the cubs were searching car seats for coins to sign the scraps they managed to get this offseason. i imagine doing everything "in house" might be on the table.
the ricketts will need all the money they can spare to dump into GOP elections, too. priorities. btw, yes the family has been dumping 100s of thousand (to the tune of millions combined) over the past few months into state elections in areas they don't live in. wisconsin, nevada, new york, georgia, etc...millions...many millions of dollars all over the country.
Arizona Phil 2 days 5 min ago (view)
jdrnym: Once the MLB regular season starts, the "Practice Squad" will be a sub-group of the Club Player Pool, as will be the MLB Active List roster and the various MLB injured lists.