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.
Dolorous Jon Lester 19 hours 51 min ago (view)
I think, in relation to the higher profile guys like Javy or Contreras, they're trying to put some pressure on to sign extensions.
That said I do think they're listening on everyone with the only name I haven't seen being Rizzo.
crunch 1 day 12 hours ago (view)
i wonder where the cubs will go with things.
there's a lot pointing to the cubs being expected to listen to offers on almost anyone. as it is, on paper, the cubs could roll right into 2020 with no changes whatsoever and still field a very competitive team. the whole "shakeup" thing seems to be a very hot topic from a variety of sources, though.
bryant, contreras, schwarber have all been linked to "cubs may be listening" rumors...probably listening to anything on happ, bote, almora, russell, too...
Hagsag 1 day 12 hours ago (view)
Even the Cubs should be able to out bid the Marlins!
crunch 1 day 12 hours ago (view)
"According to Joe Frisaro of MLB.com, the Marlins are "believed" to have interest in free agent outfielder Nicholas Castellanos."
by interest, i assume they mean they'd like to have some baseball rookie cards or his or maybe a hug from him. i can't imagine they actually want to spend money on someone they could use to make their team better because that makes no sense.
Arizona Phil 2 days 5 hours ago (view)
Prior to joining the Cubs in 2012 Scott Harris was Director of Baseball Operations in the MLB office, which means he received, reviewed, and approved all major league and minor league contracts and transactions, as well as providing MLB clubs with schedules, rules updates, and draft information.
Cubster 2 days 13 hours ago (view)
Giants hire Scott Harris, from Cubs front office, as GM
Charlie 3 days 15 hours ago (view)
For anyone else who immediately wonders but is not invested enough to look it up, this is not Chris (Ryan) Young, former Padres starter and fisticuffs partner of Derrek Lee, but rather the two-years younger Chris Matthew Young.
crunch 4 days 2 hours ago (view)
rev up those off-season rumor fryers...
Jeff Passan @JeffPassan
Multiple teams in search of catching help believe Cubs catcher Willson Contreras will be available this winter. The Cubs will get creative this winter, and with a deep catching free agent market, they could trade Contreras and begin retooling under new manager David Ross.
crunch 4 days 7 hours ago (view)
former padres manager andy green is gonna be ross's bench coach.
green was c.rea's manager in SD, btw.
Arizona Phil 4 days 13 hours ago (view)
Last year the Cubs signed four free-agents to minor league contracts prior to the Rule 5 Draft: LHP Alberto Baldonado, OF Wynton Bernard, RHP Corey Black, and RHP Jose Rosario. All four were members of the Cubs organization in 2018 but declined to sign a 2019 minor league successor contract prior to being declared a free-agent, but then came back to the Cubs after briefly testing the free-agent waters.
crunch 4 days 17 hours ago (view)
chris young to be named new bullpen coach (former phillies pitching coach)
mixed messages on whether lester strode will have a new cubs role or leaving the cubs...
crunch 5 days 11 hours ago (view)
t.clifton straight up falling off a cliff sucked to watch happen last year.
i had a lot of faith in the guy to at least hold his own in AAA, even if he needed another season or 2 after to get ready for prime time.
he ended up giving out homers like candy on halloween while retaining his high walk and injury rate.
that said, his career is far from done. most likely many other teams willing to give him a minor league deal.
Arizona Phil 5 days 15 hours ago (view)
Keep in mind that most free-agents who sign a 2020 minor league contract prior to the Rule 5 Draft are eligible for selection. (The only exception would be a free-agent who is not yet eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft, such as a player whose only previous pro experience was in a foreign major league or in an independent minor league, or a player who was released by another MLB organization but is still not yet eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft).
Arizona Phil 5 days 16 hours ago (view)
If you're wondering if players who sign minor league successor contracts ever get taken in the Rule 5 Draft, the answer is most definitely - YES -.
The Cubs selected RHP Hector Rondon in the 2012 Rule 5 Draft after the Indians signed him to a minor league successor contract, and the Baltimore Orioles selected RHP Pedro Araujo in the 2017 Rule 5 Draft after the Cubs signed him to a minor league successor contract.
Hagsag 5 days 16 hours ago (view)
Got to get Taylor Davis back.
Arizona Phil 5 days 16 hours ago (view)
So the Cubs were ultimately able to retain five of their seven most-valuable post-2019 minor league free-agent eligibles (Rea, Pereda, de la Cruz, Lugo, and Burks), losing only Clifton and Leal (both of whom are probably looking for a fresh start in another organization after maybe feeling stalled in the Cubs system).