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. 

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  • crunch 1 hour 20 min ago (view)

    he -really- needs to cue into this is a cubs broadcast and not a national/neutral broadcast.

    dude...don't get excited about marlins 3-run homers.


  • crunch 2 hours 47 min ago (view)

    lot of people wanted him when len left.  he's got a long game calling history, but not too much for baseball.  he did host "baseball tonight" for ESPN for a quite a while, so the game isn't a mystery to him.

    i find him a bit boring/dry.  some people like that he has that oldschool "announcer voice" thing going on.


  • Dolorous Jon Lester 3 hours 5 min ago (view)

    He's uhhh.. not very good at it. Glad he wasn't the hire for the main role.


  • crunch 3 hours 19 min ago (view)

    wow...chris myers calling the cubs game for some reason (boog out for the MIA series).

    he is a marquee talent, but he's not been used to call a game as far as i know.

    also, zach davies looks like a kid in pajamas in those dark blue "wrigleyville" uniforms.


  • crunch 1 day 1 hour ago (view)

    t.williams threw a 25 pitch pen thursday


  • crunch 1 day 3 hours ago (view)

    tonight's game (thursday) is free game, btw.


  • Arizona Phil 1 day 6 hours ago (view)

    The Cubs have optioned RHP Robert Stock back to AAA Iowa, and recalled LHP Brad Wieck. 


  • Arizona Phil 1 day 6 hours ago (view)

    The Cubs have purchased the contract of RHSP Mike Hauschild (ex-TOR) from Lexington (Atlantic League) and he has been asigned to AAA Iowa. 

    The Cubs are clearly beating the bushes of indepenent league baseball. Hauschild is the sixth player acquired by the Cubs from independent league teams in the last month (Jose Almonte, Tyler Ladendorf, Tim Susnara, Matt Warkentin, and Jarod Wright are the other five). 


  • crunch 1 day 7 hours ago (view)

    (c) hendricks gives up at least 60 homers in the regular season

    seriously, though...wisdom has "slowed down" the past 10 days or so, but he still managed a couple homers.  he's got a damn good shot at 20+ even if bote+duffy come back to steal a little time from him.


  • Charlie 1 day 8 hours ago (view)

    This Mets series is going poorly, so... off-topic question. Which of these outcomes do you currently think is more likely in 2021: (a) Javy hits at least 40 homeruns in the regular season, (b) Patrick Wisdom hits at least 20 homeruns in the regular season.


  • crunch 2 days 3 hours ago (view)

    wow...and he's done for the night.  that's not good...well, for mets fans.

    "right shoulder soreness"


  • crunch 2 days 3 hours ago (view)

    meanwhile...degrom with 8 Ks through 3 perfect innings.  he's also got a RBI single.


  • crunch 2 days 4 hours ago (view)

    and d.smith gets HBP.

    this is high end next level strategy.  you beat degrom by injuring everyone until they have to forfeit the game.  moneyballs.


  • crunch 2 days 4 hours ago (view)

    ow...villar got nailed in the ear and the back of the head by a throw from lobaton on a stolen base.


  • Arizona Phil 2 days 4 hours ago (view)

    CHARLIE: You are absolutely right.

    Granted there are existing rules prohibiting pitchers from using foreign substances, but you don't change enforcement protocols suddenly in the middle of the season. Pitchers should be given an opportunity to make adjustments during the course of Spring Training before any new enforcement policy is implememted.

    This can and should be addressed in the upcoming CBA negotiations. Not now. 


  • Charlie 2 days 5 hours ago (view)

    That was definitely my position prior to this year. But I am starting to buy into the claim that almost all pitchers are using something, even if it is rosin and sunscreen in many cases.