Cubs vs. Braves: Darvish vs. Keuchel (Game 80)

CHC (43-36): RHP Yu Darvish (2-3, 4.75 ERA)
ATL (47-33): LHP Dallas Keuchel (0-1, 5.40 ERA)
First pitch 7:05pmCDT

Darvish heads to the hill in order to untie the series. Yu's last start was a no-decision marred by a pair of Mets homeruns, accounting for three of the four runs he allowed. Darvish has yet to put together a consistent good stretch, but going back about a month to May 25th he seems to have gotten a handle on the walk problem that hurt him in the first two months of the season. His ERA during that time has been 4.34 anyway largely because he's allowed almost two homeruns per nine innings. A little good luck going his way would probably do wonders for fans' confidence in him. Darvish did not pitch in the Atlanta series during the first week. Former AL MVP Josh Donaldson is 4-20 off of him with nine strikeouts. Albies and Enciarte are each 3-7, and Enciarte has the lone dinger.

Dallas Keuchel has made one start since signing with Atlanta. He allowed four runs, three earned, on eight hits in five innings to the Nationals.  The 2015 Cy Young award winner saw a decline in his strikeouts last year but as always boasted a very high groundball rate and achieved the now rare feat of pitching over 200 innings. Anthony Rizzo is 2-5 with a homerun off of him. Descalso is the only other current Cub to have faced him, and he's 0-2. The Cubs have posted a 93 wRC+ against lefties this year. Contreras, Bryant, and Baez have mashed southpaws. Albert Almora has somehow been horrendous in what should be his offensive niche, posting a .558 OPS with a 21% strikeout rate and a 59.3% groundball rate. Rizzo uncharacteristically poor performance against lefites is probably due mostly to a high groundball rate and a low BABIP. Bote's not having the batted ball luck or hitting for the power he did against lefties in 2018.


I suspect Adbert Alzolay gets optioned back to AAA when Kimbrel is recalled, and then the Cubs go with a nine-man bullpen (and 14 pitchers) when Edwards is reinstated from the IL, with Cargo or Descalso getting the DFA. 

AZ Phil - Do you think it more likely than not one of either Montgomery or Chatwood is traded by the end of the July deadline?

Also, Robel Garcia is the current hot name for a potential callup to help out at second base. Do you think Vimael Machin would also be considered?  Machin has only 3 homers (compared to Garcia’s 20) but has 18 doubles and appears to not have a significant swing and miss aspect to his game that Garcia has — could be the Cubs could use Machin’s on-base skill moreso than Garcia’s power. 

No six man rotation?

ERIC S: While I think the Cubs would probably like to trade both Mike Montgomery and Tyler Chatwood, the most-likely of the two to get traded this year is Montgomery, just because Chatwood's contract makes him virtually untradeable right now, and Montgomery could be a SP on a team that needs one (like OAK, LAA, or AZ). 

Vimael Machin is having a fine season at AA but I don't think he would be a call-up candidate in 2019 until he gets moved-up to AAA and then stays there for a while.  

The problem with Robel Garcia is that while he clearly has plus-HR power he also strikes out a lot, and although he is an infielder by trade he is below-average defensively no matter where he plays. I have talked to scouts about Robel Garcia and they see him strictly as a DH (or a PH in the N. L.). 

Thanks, Phil!  Also think calling Garcia up could cause Happ to go nuts - they seem to have similar profiles (power hitting switch hitters who K frequently), though Happ can at least be adequate in the outfield defensively.  Read an article in the Athletic this week about Cubs efforts to instill both A (launch angle) and B (flatter) swings in Happ depending on situation — still a long way to go apparently. 

Garcia starting in LF tonight for ICubs.  Seeing if that's an option I guess.

Interesting. They also dropped Happ to fifth in the lineup yesterday (Garcia was sixth) - Happ had been batting mostly third in the order. 

It's been such a bummer to see that Happ continues to struggle at AAA. What happened to his power between 2017 and 2018?

(CNN) The 2-year-old girl struck by a foul ball last month during a Chicago Cubs' game against the Astros in Houston sustained a fracture skull, subdural bleeding, brain contusions and a brain edema, the family's attorney said Wednesday.

Attorney Steve Polotko said Wednesday that the girl had a seizure at the hospital and has to take medicine to prevent more seizures. She is still recovering at home from her injuries, he said.


...we are gonna have so much net over so many parks next season.

it's going to be weird seeing stuff bouncing off nets into deep foul ground.

I've been waiting for closure on this story. Was hoping the family just didn't want to be in the news, but that she suffered serious injuries seemed the more likely scenario. I hope the Cubs organization is at least helping with any medical costs not fully covered by insurance.

yeah.  i thought she made it out only a little banged up because of the lack of updates.

hopefully the kid gets back to a normal life before too long.

kimbrel is on-route to chicago.  he'll most likely be activated tomorrow.

almora / bryant(LF) / rizzo / baez / contreras / heyward / russell / bote(2nd) / darvish

Didn’t take long for Cubbery to show up early in this matchup

I wouldn’t have minded starting Willson in left field and let Caratini catch Yu - they seem to be more on the same page. 

game back, btw...darvish just finished up his part of the 4th.

Maybe that absolute bomb to left will help ignite KB’s bat again. 

contreras with a HR and a triple (he had 5 last year, 1st this year)

he is really gonna cost some $$ the next couple seasons if he keeps up this bat+glove high end combo.

Robel Garcia goes yard again for Iowa tonight - 21 home runs on the year now. 

cubs lose, brews lose, cards lose (again)

if it wasn't for PIT winning this would be 2 days in a row of no NL Central win.

At least there’s Chatwood for the Ace/Stopper role tomorrow!!!

I think I just threw up in my mouth a little bit. 

Per internets, Tony Barnette will be optioned to make room for Kimbrel, so Alzolay may get some more run before Hendricks/Edwards return. 

Recent comments

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  • Arizona Phil 12 hours 13 min ago (view)

    In addition to 40 players signed to 2020 MLB contracts, after releasing 22 minor leaguers this week the Cubs now have 279 players signed to 2020 minor league contracts (plus one minor leaguer on the Restricted List), for a total of 320 players in the organization (181 pitchers, 30 catchers, 60 infielders, and 49 outfielders).   


  • JustSayin' 21 hours 27 min ago (view)

    Years of over-drafting pitching shown here.


  • Dolorous Jon Lester 23 hours 16 min ago (view)

    Some of the players cut I am not too surprised by. Some of them I think are definitely victims of the minor league pay thing and being squeezed out.

    That said, I am very surprised they gave up already on Riley McCauley and Niels Stone.


  • Hagsag 1 day 56 min ago (view)

    Baseball America is showing a big group of players that have been released.


  • Arizona Phil 1 day 14 hours ago (view)

    The Cubs have released minor league catcher Rafelin Lorenzo. He was selected from the Pittsburgh Pirates in the AAA Phase of the 2018 Rule 5 Draft and spent the 2019 season at South Bend. He was eligible to be a minor league 6YFA post-2020. 


  • JustSayin' 2 days 23 hours ago (view)

    The organizations will cut rosters down, as if the full-season teams were breaking camp to start the season, THEN pay the remaining minor leaguers $400/week or whatever.  That's similar to what costs would have normally been but the "one last chance" players who got spring training invitations this year and didn't have an obvious roster spot won't be getting their last chance.


  • crunch 3 days 1 hour ago (view)

    "According to Jeff Passan of ESPN, all minor league players will be receiving $400 per week from MLB through at least May 31."

    so that's where that promise landed.  the scary thing is that's still more than some in the low minors make on a weekly basis.


  • crunch 5 days 17 hours ago (view)

    "Jeff Passan of ESPN writes that the players and league agreed that the 2020 season won't start until "there are no bans on mass gatherings that limit the ability to play in front of fans, there are no travel restrictions and medical experts determine games will not pose a risk to health of teams and fans." Passan does add that the two sides "will consider the feasibility of playing in empty stadiums" and also at neutral sites.


  • crunch 5 days 23 hours ago (view)

    i miss baseball.  it could happen in may happen in late might not happen either way.

    there's so many things getting messed up right now i would get lost making a list.  there's some college guys making a serious "okay, we need to look at that guy" push that's dead.  former cubs draft pick russell smith (2017, LHP highschool) took last season off for injury (TCU college) and returned with a low 90s fastball, impressive control, and a MLB-quality changeup.  his "comeback" was 4 games and done thanks to this current situation...


  • JustSayin' 6 days 1 hour ago (view)

    COVID 19 + a short draft + Manfred's obsessive drive to shrink the minor leagues will change baseball forever.  It WAS still America's grass roots sport.  Where I live, from June through August, you could see a quality live game any day of the week, within an hour's drive.  I believe that era is over.  What's going on will have ripple effects, contracting serious college ball, college summer leagues and independent pro ball just as much as the MiLB systems.  With those changes, some of the game's charm will also go.  I've seen a kid from Cape Cod play in the Ca


  • crunch 6 days 23 hours ago (view)

    fyi for anyone who bought

    for "some reason" getting a cancel+refund via phone is like pulling teeth, but if you contact them via a webpage contact request many people are getting a cancel+refund confirmation within an hour or 2...


  • bradsbeard 1 week 7 hours ago (view)

    I imagine because the new labor agreement freezes rosters as of whenever the agreement is approved by the owners and it might affect what those guys are paid under the agreement. 


  • Hagsag 1 week 9 hours ago (view)

    AZ Phil. what was the reason that a whole bunch of teams optioned or assigned players to the minor leagues yesterday on March 26 ? Thanks.


  • Arizona Phil 1 week 12 hours ago (view)

    jdrnym: Ordinarily, players on an MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) who are on Optional Assignment to the minors do not accrue MLB Service Time, are paid at the minor league rate rather than at the MLB rate if the player has a "split" contract, and if the player gets hurt or becomes sick after being optioned, he can be placed on a minor league IL instead of on an MLB IL (so that he cannot accrue MLB Service Time or be paid at the MLB rate while he is on the IL). Also, a player who is optioned to the minors for at least 20 days will burn an option year.   


  • jdrnym 1 week 1 day ago (view)

    AZPhil, what are the technical ramifications of optioning/not optioning guys during this period of no baseball? Seems like some teams are more eager than others to trim their roster down.


  • crunch 1 week 2 days ago (view)

    "Major League Baseball has agreed with the MLBPA to grant a full year of service time to players in 2020 regardless of how many games the schedule includes.

    Rosenthal adds, however, that the two sides have agreed to "table discussions" on how much service time the players would receive if the worst-case scenario plays out and the 2020 season has to be canceled entirely due to the coronavirus pandemic."