Cubs @ Nationals: Hammel vs Strasberg (Game 64)

Pretty, pretty, pretty good.

CHC (44-19): RHP Jason Hammel (7-2, 2.36)
WAS (40-25): RHP Stephen Strasberg (10-0, 3.03)
First pitch: 3:05pmCST

Hammel lost in Atlanta on Friday (5.2 IP, 3 ER, 4 K, 0 BB). The Nats are 39-143 (.273) against him. Ramos is 3-9 with 2 HR.

Strasberg got beat up a bit but won against the Phillies his last time out (7 IP, 4 ER, 10 K, 1 BB). We missed him during the four-game set at Wrigley--but not really. The Cubs are 24-86 (.279) against him. Heyward is 14-34 with a HR.

It’s an off day tomorrow, then the Pirates come to town, when we’ll see TBA versus Arrieta (10-1, 1.86) at 1:20pmCST on Friday.

Go Cubs!


I hope Almora Jr gets the start. He earned it. I still remember the play the other day where he slid in left field and did an Addison Russell, pushing his leg out as he slid and using to brace his slide into the wall and pop up in an instant. Amazing for a guy who hasn't played that outfield. It's Almora Jr because, I suspect, Phat Albert wants to be called that in honor of his father. So for me, it's always gonna be Almora Jr.

If that's his preference (and your point makes a lot of sense), I'm all for it. But, if it's another media botch, I will fight! Almora gets the start. Sitting Dex with a day off tomorrow - Joe must think he needs some rest. 5-for-his-last 31 with no BB and 10K. By the way -- anybody seen Matt Szczur lately? 3AB in the last week. Gotta be tough for him

fowler don't get a lot of days off, but this is another instance of zobrist leading off in his absence. it looks like we may be seeing zo leading off next season if the lineup remains as-expected.

Crunch -- I am now with you. The Federowicz thing is just getting silly. He's got to go when one of the DL guys (LaStella/Soler) comes back. The question is -- who goes when the second DL guy (presumably Soler) comes back? Is it better for Almora to play every day at Iowa or be part-time for the Cubs? Given that Joe uses a lot of guys (sorry Szczur) and will replace Soler late in most games, and that Almora is the assumed CF next year, it may make sense to keep him up.

it's not a very popular theory (an extremely unpopular theory), but i still think he's around for 2017/lester. i do think it's really weird he's not seeing late-inning replacement work at the very least, though. in the past 35 days he's has 2 innings of work with the glove and 5 plate appearances...crazy.

I think they are holding Federowicz for two reasons -- to give Contrearas more time to get ready and to put themselves in position to get some return when he is moved. Even if the Cubs go with Montero and Ross, if one is injured, Contrearas is a phone call away. Another 4-6 weeks of catching won't hurt his development. And ML teams are always looking for catchers. Not like the Cubs will get a windfall foe Fed but I suspect he is probably worth a lottery ticket from somewhere.

leadoff HR's are neat...especially off ace pitchers. is following it with a double.

Caught stealing third bad

turrible... ...also, runs scoring on a 2 out, 0-2 count wild pitch sucks. tie game.

Hammel pitches like a #2 /Junior high humor

I don't like today's getaway day theme /Salute to Ronny Cedeno on the base paths

k.bryant with a nice OF assist getting the out on werthless at 2nd...sweet.

Stephen Drew ?Really?


Dusty gonna Dusty.

Tony Four Sacks #14

dammit bryant/rondon/obama.

Rondon kd Harper twice /ump sucks

This game would give me a stroke...if the Cubs weren't insanely good and didn't have a 45 game lead in the division. However...this game also reminds me how little the regular season means this year and how much I would be dying if this was game 3 of a 5 game playoff series.

cahill is pumping some 94-95mph fastballs up there.

Just getting home... what did I miss?

Just getting home... what did I miss?

Come again ?

Winning, tied, losing, winning, tied, winning. Montero can't catch. Rizzo is clutch.

Thanks.  Pretty sure I didn't intentionally double-post; trying to delete it, but without much cooperation...    Sounds like a wild game..

My guy Addy

Who's wife did Espinosa bang?

disapprove of walks and HBP with 1-run leads in save situations.

Two blown saves with 2 different pitchers. They don't deserve this one... Help THEO with another bullpen arm!

just to be clear, you aren't claiming that Rondon and Cahill aren't up to the task, are you?

Nah. Cahill not a closer, however. Another power lefty arm, as opposed to Richard, would be a big +1.


With each appearance, I am liking Adam Warren less, and less.

In six of Adam's last nine appearances, he's either given up a run or allowed an inherited runner to score - 9.00 era over that period. Hopefully the April version shows up again soon.

Warren looked horrible from pitch #1.  That was a bummer loss. Might only be be up 8.5 games after tonight. #perspective

Cubs just need to trade for Chapman and Miller and be done with it.

If it took Schwarber I would do that in a heartbeat for a lock down bullpen past the 6th inning. Theo seems in love with him though so not sure that would happen. /edit and looking like Cardinals and Pirates both losing tonight so overall we came out of this series still looking pretty darn good

I think likelihood would be Chapman if anything as a rental. Miller cost gonna be Schwarbs +

vogelbomb has made himself into quite the trade piece for an AL team...also mark teixeira is a FA at the end of the season...and they have their "1st baseman of the future" coming off a serious injury for 2017. 23 in AAA hitting .313/.434/.545...11 homers...242 PA.

E-MAN: If the Yankees want back an approximate equivalent to what they gave up to get Chapman, the return from the Cubs would probably be something like Adam Warren, Ian Happ, Carl Edwards Jr, and Dan Vogelbach. The Cubs would then be able to recoup a compensation draft pick if they extend a Qualifying Offer to Chapman post-2016 (presuming he doesn't accept it, but if he does, the Cubs get him for 2017). 

For Miller, it would probably be something like Schwarber+Happ+Edwards 

Sean Doolittle (OAK) and Arodys Vizcaino (ATL) have more years of club control than Miller (Vizcaino through 2019 and Doolittle through 2018 with 2019-20 club options) and wouldn't cost the Cubs Schwarber, although Happ & Edwards would probably be the starting point for both plus one or two additional pieces (like Vogelbach and Zagunis to OAK or Clifton, Underwood, or P. Johnson to ATL).  

I realize all is well and all, but....the nagging problem is the inability to beat good teams in close games on the road. The STL walk-off loss, and this one, with both Strop and Rondon giving up runs...I realize they can't be perfect, but it would have been a huge win. Instead, it validates the Nats and gives them confidence. Crap.

Oh, and teams running at will on Miggy. That's not a good thing.

He is really struggling to make a throw - for sure.

It's like game 64, what does confidence have to do with anything> The Cubs swept the Mets in the regular season last year, a lot good that did. Shit like that doesn't matter one bit. It was a close game, you're gonna lose them about 50% of the time even if you're good. No team has ever beaten those odds on a long term basis. They beat the same good team yesterday 4-3.  Beat St. Louis 9-8 and 2-1 on the road earlier. Much ado about nothing...other than Warren looks like a chump lately and Grimm and Richard need to be gone sooner rather than later.

I think winning home field advantage will be important for this team. Rondon 7/7 in home save opportunities, 4/6 on the road.

The "can't beat good teams on the road in close games" thing is a little emotional "you" talking now. Weren't you saying how good the same thing was last night? Maybe someone else... I am more concerned with Adam Warren who now has a +4.00 ERA and Maddon really does not want to use him much at all. Maybe the Grand Slam he gave up with the team leading by 5 didn't endear him to Joe. To give up Castro for this? Really? That, plus, a lock-down lefty reliever would be killer. The team is still awesome and is gonna make the Playoffs.

Yeah -- that was clearly some emotion there. Blowing a game twice against one of the top teams in the league will do, the Dusty thing. It would really suck if he beat the Cubs in the playoffs. I mean, like, really really suck. But, the Cardinals give up 2 in the 8th and 2 in the 9th to lose 4-1. Rosenthal's ERA now over 4. Let's go win the next 6 and basically clinch the division.

A Cubs loss would not be a Cubs loss without a little billybuck hand wringing! :-)

What's the point of obsessively following every regular season game if I can't overreact to the occasional tough loss?

it would be nice certaintly, but homefield advantage hasn't been much of an advantage since the Wild Card was instituted.

Definitely some positives to take from the game: Hammel very sharp, Rizzo with a HR off a lefty in a big spot, the two 22 year olds playing their asses off. They started their 10-0 #2 guy against our #4 and were fortunate to get the W

june 15th, cubs lose game #20...last of the teams to lose 20. may 28th was the last time team(s) got to 20 losses.

What's the season record against the Nats this year? Oh, yeah. Note to Theo - it's hard to make throws from home plate to second and third when your back is messed up. Please investigate. Thanks.

Contreras called up He heard you, corresponding move not known yet

Great news.

This will be very interesting. I can't see bringing him up to sit a lot so you almost have to think something is happening with Montero who has been overall terrible. He still knows how to handle the pitching staff though and Contreras would have to learn very quickly if he becomes the primary receiver. The additional bat in the lineup will be wonderful though and he certainly can't be worse defensively than Montero who also seemed to have a lot of trouble getting the ball out of his glove on throws. Like Montero Contreras also takes walks so no downgrade there.

Speculation is that Montero is not going on the DL and Tim "Only Around Because Lester Can't Throw to Bases and is Sure to Be Around in 2017 Because of This" Federowicz will be the corresponding move.

35 days, 5 PA, 2 innings of D...what a waste.

When we look back on this failure of a Cubs season, this will certainly be pointed to as a main cause.

triggered much?

Hey, I'm just expressing my opinion on a message board. It's not a big deal. Maybe you should have a Snickers or something?

confirmed for triggered.


*triggering intensifies* also, meme...i don't think you know how that word works. i meant to bring that up last time you got a crush on me. we'll have another opportunity to discuss it sometime later. *hugs*

Well, you certainly like bringing up things over and over again, so feel free in this case as well.

bruh, will you go to the prom with me?

Keep going, man. This is gold.

you see, you shouldn't enjoy this. this isn't gold. that's one of the points i'm trying to convey. the amount of joy derived from this isn't a good mental trap to allow yourself to get into. but yeah, we going to the prom or what?

Cone on, bruh. It's hilarious. I mean, the crush stuff? You can't beat that. The prom stuff? I, Jerry. Gold.

The MLB Trade Rumors report indicates the Cubs plan to continue going with three catchres. Ross is untouchable (as funny as it is to write that, it's true) so it's either Montero or Federline...

If Fed was leaving the 25 man, I can't believe they'd add a 3rd catcher. But Twitter says no DL for Miggy. Either Montero is traded or Ross is retiring early.

Yeah with two older catchers and Montero with back issues I get why they wanted to keep someone like Fed. You didn't need to worry about playing time and he was there just in case. Contreras is someone you have to play though and more than just a spot here and there. Maybe they'll keep three catchers for a bit as Ross mentors Contreras and he gets to know the pitching staff but eventually he needs to be the primary receiver.

I agree, but I think that'll happen next year. For now it would seem like he'd just be a spare part, unless Montero just can't play.

That may be true. However, if Contreras is to be a spare part...why not just occasionally play Federowicz, and let Contreras get regular playing time at AAA?

Who knows. My guess is that they think Contreras is better. Maybe they'll play him mostly every day and tell Montero "too bad." I don't think anyone would mind that if he shows he's ready (except for Montero).

This ^ If you recall Castro letting a routine grounder go through his legs in Milwaukee last year late In game, Russell was ss next day for there on out. Miggy had his Castro moment yesterday

Carrie Muskat is saying they definitely want to have Montero and Ross mentor Contreras in the majors. I can understand that and I know Contreras needs works on some aspects of his defense, including pitch framing which Montero is very good at. He's also going to need to be taught how to handle a personality like Lackey and not give ground which I'm sure takes some time. I just really hope he's catching at least a couple times a week because I really want to see that bat this year.

Maybe part of it, too, is he'd be a more dangerous bat late in games, unlike the Fed.

Willson Contreras was a catcher as a 16-year old amateur in Venezuela, but the Cubs moved him to 3B as soon as they signed him in 2009, and he played only 3B for a couple of years before being morphed into a "four-corner" (3B-1B-LF-RF) guy. Then after three poor seasons as a hitter, he was almost like "might as well" moved (back) to catcher in 2012. 

So Contreras does have experience playing the so-called four corners, and while he is below-average defensively at all four positions, he can play those positions in a pinch. That should give Maddon more versatility than he had with Federowicz as the #3 catcher, at least the type of versatility he had when Kyle Schwarber was the #3 catcher.

No question Contreras is MLB-ready as a hitter (he's in the midst of a 20-game hitting streak at AAA), and now he can be eased into the catcher job gradually at the MLB level, with "big brother" Miguel Montero available to mentor him along the way.   

Contreras just needs to find a way to control his emotions on the field, because "pitch framing" is really just a matter of influencing the home plate umpire to give you the close calls, whether it be by mechanical means or by schmoozing the umpire and staying on his good side (like Ross and Montero do) so at least you get a fair shot to get the close calls.

There are certain MLB umpires where if you piss them off by showing them up when you get called out on strikes (as Contreras has done repeatedly in the minors), they will hold it against you going forward. So young catchers have to be especially aware of not doing that. 

I will work with Contreras on controlling emotions. As long as he doesn't go by "Contreras, Jr."

This is certainly true but we'll just have to see what sitting does to his very hot bat. People like Soler dont seem to be cut out to be pinch hitters and need regular playing time to get hot. Just hope this doesn't stunt Contreras' bat.

Seems like he needs learn is how to call a game and frame pitches in the majors, which is harder to do in the minors.

muskat says he's up to be a 3rd catcher and familiarize himself with the staff. that could change like the wind depending on how he does and if montero is packaged/traded (he's got 2017 left on his contract).

Or not

Crunch's long nightmare is over Fed now Fed ex...cub

not my nightmare...but the dude keeps the warmest bench in the game.

I keed Guessing after Miggy pb/wp and steals yesterday sealed his fate Conty will be starter in about a week

Beginning today (6/16), automatic Article XX-B "no trade" restrictions have been removed from Trevor Cahill, Jason Heyward, Joe Nathan, John Lackey, and Ben Zobrist, although Heyward and Zobrist have contractual "no trade" rights that extend through the 2018 season (and Jon Lester has contractual "no trade" rights that extend through the length of his contract).

The 2015-16 International Signing Period (ISP) concluded yesterday (6/15), and after a 16-day "quiet period" when international free-agents subject to International Signing Bonus Pool (ISBP) restrictions cannot be signed, the 2016-17 ISP begins on July 2nd. 

Because the Cubs exceeded their 2015-16 ISBP by more than 15%, they will be restricted to signing international free-agents subject to ISBP restrictions to contracts with a maximum $300K signing bonus for the next two ISP (2016-17 and 2017-18), meaning until 7-2-2018 (preuming the ISBP rules are not changed in the next CBA).


There is a maximum limit on the aggregate amount of money each MLB club can pay as signing bonuses to international first-year players before penalties begin to accrue.

Each MLB club is assigned an International Signing Bonus Pool (ISBP) for each International Signing Period (ISP). A club’s ISBP is based upon the club’s winning percentage from the previous season. (Clubs that finish with lower winning percentages will receive a larger ISBP than clubs with higher winning percentages, with the ISBP increasing inverse to the previous season’s standings). In the case of two clubs finishing with the same winning percentage the previous season, league standings from two seasons back will be used to break the tie. If the clubs are still tied, league standings from three seasons back, four seasons back, etc, will be used to break the tie.

The Cubs ISBP for the 2016-17 ISP is $2,063,100 (it was $3,230,700 in the 2015-16 ISP), and because the Cubs exceeded their 2015-16 ISBP by more than 15%, they will not be allowed to sign any international free-agent subject to ISBP signing bonus limits to a contract with a signing bonus in excess of $300K in both the 2016-17 and 2017-18 ISP.    

A club's ISBP consists of four separate "Signing Bonus Values" (SBV) plus an additional $700,000. Each SBV corresponds to a particular "slot," and each slot is assigned a specific cash value (TBA prior to the start of the ISP).  

A Signing Bonus Value (SBV) can be traded, but with some restrictions:

1. An SBV can only be traded during the International Signing Period (ISP) to which the SBV was assigned (July 2nd through June 15th of the following year);

2. An SBV cannot be sold for cash. However, cash can be exchanged if it is used to offset the salary or salaries of a player or players acquired in return for the SBV;

3. An SBV cannot be substituted for a "Player to Be Named Later" (PTBNL);

4. The entire SBV must be assigned to the other club when it is traded;

5. A club may not acquire an SBV in a trade if the club has already paid signing bonuses equal to or in excess of its ISBP;

6. Once acquired, an SBV can be traded ("flipped") to a third club, as long as the third club has not already paid signing bonuses equal to or in excess of its ISBP;

7. A club's originally assigned ISBP can be increased by a maximum of 50%. If a club acquires an SBV in a trade that causes the club's ISBP to increase to an amount that is more than 50% above the club's originally-assigned ISBP, the portion of the SBV that caused the club's ISBP to increase to an amount that is more than 50% above the club's originally-assigned ISBP is subtracted from the SBV. 

A signing bonus paid to a first-year international player age 23 or older who has spent all or part of at least five seasons playing in an MLB-recognized foreign professional or "major" league does not count against the club’s ISBP. (A signing bonus paid to a first-year Cuban international player age 23 or older who has spent all or part of at least three seasons playing in Serie Nacional does not count against the club’s 2013-14 ISBP, then beginning with the 2014-15 ISP, a signing bonus paid to a first-year Cuban international player age 23 or older who has spent all or part of at least five seasons playing in Serie Nacional does not count against the club’s ISBP).

Also, a club’s six highest signing bonuses of $50,000 or less and ALL signing bonuses of $7,500 or less that are paid to first-year international players do not count against the club’s ISBP. (Beginning in July 2014, only signing bonuses of $10,000 or less that are paid to first-year international players will not count against a club’s ISBP).

The penalty for a club paying signing bonuses in excess of its ISBP is a tax (no draft picks are forfeited) and a restriction on bonuses that can be paid to international players during the next ISP: 

1. A club that pays signing bonuses that exceed its ISBP by 5% or less must pay a 75% tax on the ISBP overage, but there are no restrictions on bonuses in the next ISP.

2. A club that pays signing bonuses that exceed its ISBP by 5-10% must pay a 75% tax on the ISBP overage, and is permitted to sign only one international first-year player to a bonus of $500K or more in the next ISP. 

3. A club that pays signing bonuses that exceed its 2013-14 ISBP by 10-15% must pay a 100% tax on the overage, and is prohibited from paying a bonus in excess of $500K to any international first-year player in the 2014-15 ISP; then beginning with the 2014-15 ISBP, a club that pays signing bonuses that exceed its ISBP by 10-15% must pay a 100% tax on the ISBP overage, and no player may be signed to a bonus of $300K or more in the next ISP. 

4. A club that pays signing bonuses that exceed its 2013-14 ISBP by 15%+ must pay a 100% tax on the overage, and is prohibited from paying a bonus in excess of $250K to any international first-year player in the 2014-15 ISP; then beginning with the 2014-15 ISBP, a club that pays signing bonuses that exceed its ISBP by 15%+ must pay a 100% tax on the ISBP overage, and no player may be signed to a bonus of $300K or more in the next two ISPs. 

Money collected from the tax on clubs that exceed their ISBP will be used to further the development of international baseball.  

A player subject to ISBP restrictions cannot be signed to a Major League contract. 

I'm getting an issue coming to the site where it'll sometimes say it's offline and if I click on the "retry for a live version" it'll usually work though it sometimes takes a couple tries. This happens both on by laptop using firefox and iPhone using Dolphin. I cleared cookies on laptop and still happening.

Same here, FWIW. Been happening about a week.

Just happened here as well, though it self-corrects quickly.

Yeah, I don't know what's going on there. The site has a mind of its own.

Me too

AZ Phil, you are amazing!

"The promotion is designed to get [Contreras] acclimated to the majors in the same manner the team did last June with Kyle Schwarber before sending him back to Triple-A Iowa briefly, according to a source."

Please keep him out of left field.

Love the "Fed-Ex". Nicely played.

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  • Dolorous Jon Lester 3 hours 40 min ago (view)

    I understand why it feels unsettling. I remember the series well (though I, unlike Theo, actually was in high school). Anyway, I view it as a chance to right previous wrongs in the same way we stomped StL out of the playoffs in 2015, or the way the Nationals got to burn through two teams last year that had dumped them out of October in previous seasons.

    But if we lose, of course that was 17 years ago so it's two extremely different organizations.


  • Arizona Phil 7 hours 41 min ago (view)

    DJL: All players on Optional Assignment to the minors must be recalled on the day after the conclusion of the MLB regular season, even if the player has not spent at least ten days on Optional Assignment. Players cannot be optioned to the minors again until Spring Training. 


  • Arizona Phil 8 hours 2 min ago (view)

    CHAMP: No option year is spent just by calling up a player to MLB. An option year is spent only if a player on an MLB 40-man roster is optioned to the minors for at least 20 days in a given season. 

    Also, Brailyn Marquez is (was) eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft in December, so the Cubs were going to add him to the 40 on 11/20 anyway. They just did it a couple of months early.  


  • bradsbeard 11 hours 11 min ago (view)

    Not sure if serious, but Theo became the Red Sox GM in 2002. It's true though, there probably aren't many people in the organization besides Ricketts and Crane Kenney who have any strong feelings about that series. 


  • Craig A. 12 hours 10 min ago (view)

    I wonder if anyone on the Cubs cares or even remembers the odd events when the Marlins played the Cubs in 2003. I think Theo was in high school. To this old fart it will be more than a little unsettling to watch this post-season match-up. At least we can be fairly certain there will no fans grabbing for foul balls. 


  • bradsbeard 15 hours 38 min ago (view)

    Which is kind of annoying. Nobody really picked the Cubs to win this division pre-season. I guess Mattingly gets some credit for guiding the Marlins through their positives but even just letting them play that one game with half the team sick should knock him out of consideration. Meanwhile Ross kept a tight ship and the Cubs has no positives all year. I'd say Ross or Tingler should get it over Mattingly. 


  • crunch 16 hours 55 min ago (view)

    cubs finish 34-26 (1st, division)...they play MIA on wednesday.

    good start for d.ross, but the manager of the year is most likely going to d.mattingley (MIA) or j.tingler(SD).


  • crunch 17 hours 31 min ago (view)

    ...or he won't make it out of the 8th

    0.2ip 2h 3bb 1k, 5r/er...2 wild pitches

    there's some great stuff in that arm.  mid/high-80s slider, "changeup" around 90mph, fastball 97-99mph...all effortless.  21 years old and never pitched above A-ball.


  • crunch 17 hours 37 min ago (view)



  • crunch 17 hours 41 min ago (view)

    rough debut...doubt we're going to see him in the 9th.


  • Charlie 17 hours 48 min ago (view)

    Reminds me a little of Jeff Samardzija's debut. Adrenaline throwing straight gas but all over the place. Samardzija threw a fastball all the way to the backstop in his debut (2008).


  • crunch 17 hours 51 min ago (view)

    back to back 3-2 count 6-pitch walks.

    he's not in the zone.  he's throwing almost totally fastballs, too.


  • crunch 17 hours 52 min ago (view)

    alzolay's gotta be locked in for a start given what he's done lately.

    i wonder what role j.lester will be given.  if he's starting, hopefully he's the 3rd/4th starter, if at all.  someone will probably give him a 2021 contract if he doesn't retire...hope it's not the cubs giving that contract, though.


  • crunch 17 hours 55 min ago (view)

    dude's thrown a 97mph and 98mph fastball to start and both looked like he was barely expending effort.

    unfortunately, neither were near the plate.


  • Charlie 17 hours 57 min ago (view)

    So, Alzolay gets at least one October start, right? He'd be a weapon out of the pen if the Cubs had more than two believable starters ready.


  • crunch 17 hours 58 min ago (view)

    Q goes 2 effective (2ip 2h 1bb 2k, 0r/er) and here comes b.marquez...