Cubs @ Dodgers: Series Thread (Games 68-71)
Just as the Cubs acclimate to the atmosphere at Coors, they skip off to Cally for a four-game set against the dangerous Dodgers. Having pitched a gem in the stopper role on Wednesday, Hamels will take his place in the cheering section for this one, and the rest of the rotation will get a chance to show their stuff. Good news for them is that the first three of the series will be night games, which may help them keep the ball in the yard. Quintana will have to work his way through the Sunday afternoon game. The bad news for everyone is that the Dodgers feature the most productive offense without a DH (ahead of the Cubs, who are now second in the NL in wRC+). On the other side of the ball, the LA squad may have the best defense in all of baseball, and their pitching is near the top in the NL. With the Dodgers (45-23) leading the NL in wins, any match with them will look like a post-season preview, as long as the other team is contending. The Cubs (38-29) come into the series 0.5 behind Milwaukee.
Matchups after the break.
Game 68, Thursday, 9:10pmCDT
CHC: LHP Jon Lester (5-4, 3.56 ERA)
LAD: LHP Clayton Kershaw (5-1, 3.00 ERA)
Lester pitched six innings for a the win against STL last time out, allowing four earned runs including a pair of homers. Most of the younger Dodgers have decent numbers against Lester in limited at bats, while Justin Turner is 0-20 against him.
Clayton Kershaw has been a tick less effective this season compared to the last two (both of which were well below his peak years), although he still maintains some intimidating numbers. His average fastball is all the way down to 90.5 MPH, perhaps unsurprising as the most recent phase of his career has been about working through and around injuries. After increasing his slider usage each of the last three years, Kershaw's apparently decided that throwing it 40% of the time is just the right amount. Last time out he allowed two earned runs in seven innings and was tagged with his first loss. Anthony Rizzo is 6-16 off of him with two homeruns. CarGo has not enjoyed his 47 at bats against the lefty, resulting in an OPS against of .686. Most Cubs have fewer than ten at-bats against him.
Game 69, Friday, 9:10pmCDT
CHC: RHP Kyle Hendricks (7-3, 3.00 ERA)
LAD: LHP Rich Hill (3-1, 2.40 ERA)
Hendricks was excellent against the Cards, going 7 and allowing one earned run. He was a slightly more extreme version of his usual self, collecting only three strikeouts and working around eight hits (and 0 walks). Current Dodgers are 12-41 off of him with four homeruns and four walks. You may remember that he pitched a fairly important game against them back in 2016 and the Cubs ultimately did OK in that one.
After missing most of April, the former Cub, Hill, has been excellent in eight starts. He recently earned a victory against the Giants, going five and allowing two earned runs. As per usual, he's striking out more than a batter per inning and relies on his curveball over 40% of the time (slightly more than in the previous two years). Something to look out for: Hill only threw the ball in the zone 37.2% of the time in his last start, down from his season average at 59.7%. Current Cubs are 3-22 off of him.
Game 70: Saturday, 8:10pmCDT
CHC: RHP Yu Darvish (2-3, 4.98 ERA)
LAD: RHP Walker Buehler (7-1, 3.35 ERA)
Darvish got a no decision Colorado after six innings pitched and four earned runs; it's better than I would have feared when you put the words "Darvish" and "Coors" in the same sentence. He was hurt by two homeruns in the game. Current Dodgers are 5-22 off of him, a collection that excludes some of the better youngsters--most notably Bellinger.
Walker Buehler is dang good. He pitched seven scoreless against the Giants last time out, striking out nine. His fastball usually sits mid-to-high nineties, and he complements it with strong breaking pitches. He's an ace type that gets grounders and strikeouts without walking many. The Cubs are 11-40 off of him. Almora and Baez have homered. CarGo is 3-12 with five strikeouts.
Game 71, Sunday, 6:10pmCDT
CHC: LHP Jose Quintana (4-6, 3.89 ERA)
LAD: LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu (9-1, 1.36 ERA)
Quintana only got through 4.1 innings in Denver, and he allowed four runs (three earned) while taking the loss. He's lost three of his last four, giving up 13 earned runs in 21.1 innings pitched. Current Dodgers are 21-72 off of him, but only David Freese has double digit at bats.
Ryu's missed a bunch of time to injury 2015-2016 and in 2018. It's been easy to forget just how good he's been when healthy. So far, he's stepped his game up in 2019. Still, there's some hope for regression, as his .248 BABIP is almost .050 below his career mark. It's hard to imagine someone suppressing hits this well while also allowing just over half a walk per nine innings. Only three current Cubs have more than three at bats against him. CarGo is 5-15 with a homer and three walks. Rizzo is 3-9 with a homer. Heyward is 3-12.
crunch 32 min 43 sec ago (view)
last thing i wanna hear about a dude who throws 85-88mph is "shoulder issues"
crunch 40 min 43 sec ago (view)
schwarber / bryant / rizzo / baez / heyward(CF) / caratini / cargo(RF) / darvish / russell
Eric S 40 min 44 sec ago (view)
Was that before or after Hendricks going on the 10 day IL with right shoulder inflammation?
crunch 42 min 13 sec ago (view)
k.hendricks to the 10-day IL with "right shoulder inflamation"
rowan wick up because whatever.
Arizona Phil 1 hour 53 min ago (view)
Because they never play more than four days in a row, AZL Cubs #1 and AZL Cubs #2 will only need four SP each.
The pitchers at AZL mini-camp who are (right now) stretched-out to start are Brendon Little (rehab), Carlos Ocampo, Jose Miguel Gonzalez, Chi-Feng Lee, Misael Garcia, Richard Gallardo, and Luis Ramos, and Keegan Thompson may be ready for an AZL SP rehab assignment soon.
Arizona Phil 1 hour 59 min ago (view)
The Cubs are down to five catchers at AZL mini-camp (draft picks Ethan Hearn, Wyatt Hendrie, and Jake Washer have not yet officially signed), so Mesa Rehab Coach (and ex-minor league catcher) Tyler Pearson has been taking on some extra duties, catching bullpen side-sessions and warming up pitchers in the pen. (He caught Craig Kimbrel the other day).
So I would not be surprised if the Cubs sign a NDFA college senior catcher or acquire an experienced catcher from indy ball to help out.
Arizona Phil 2 hours 9 min ago (view)
Not counting 2019 draft picks and rehabbers, the Cubs top prospect in the AZL this season is SS Luis Verdugo (he's one of the Cubs Top 10 position player prospects).
Verdugo was supposed to go to Eugene with 2B Reivaj Garcia this past week, but was left behind at Mesa when SS Dixon Machado was reinstated from the Iowa IL last Tuesday and SS Luis Vazquez (who had been playing SS at Iowa) needed to go somewhere where he could play SS every day. (Vazquez was assigned to Eugene).
Craig A. 2 hours 29 min ago (view)
Bring him up!
Arizona Phil 2 hours 43 min ago (view)
HAGSAG: As far as I know he's still with the Cubs.
Hagsag 2 hours 46 min ago (view)
Phil, has Jim Benedict left the Cubs Organization? Thanks.
Arizona Phil 2 hours 55 min ago (view)
Several of the younger pitchers and position-players who were at Extended Spring Training but who were not in contention for Eugene Opening Day roster slots went home for about ten days between the end of the EXST Cactus League season (6/1) and the start of AZL mini-camp this past Tuesday (6/11).
crunch 2 hours 59 min ago (view)
incredible waste of money, honestly.
you can get almost 2 weeks of chatwood for that kinda loot. CHATWOOD!!!
tim815 3 hours 58 min ago (view)
19 for 1
I like those odds.
Arizona Phil 5 hours 8 sec ago (view)
The Cubs have signed 19 J-2 IFA since acquiring $750K in International Signing Bonus Pool (ISBP) space from the Orioles in the April deal where the Cubs agreed not to re-claim RHRP Pedro Araujo (selected by BAL in the Major League Phase of the December 2017 Rule 5 Draft).
There were no big name prospects among the 19 J-2 IFA who were signed, but the average signing bonus (presuming the entire $750K in ISBP space was used) is about $40,000.
tim815 11 hours 10 min ago (view)
Reivaj Garcia apparently pronounces his name RAY-vuh.
Mike Wellman 11 hours 56 min ago (view)
AA: 6IP; 0BBs; 9Ks...See the USA in your Alzolay; All the way w/ Alzolay; Lay Lazy Lay; My name is Bert and I’m an Alzoholic...