Cubs @ Reds: Series Thread (Games 82-84)
The Cubs mustered a big comeback and debuted their new closer, Kimbrel, to end the first half of the season. Today, they open the second half with a weekend series against the last-place Cincinnati Reds. Although they bring up the rear of the NL Central, the Reds are hardly a bad club in 2019. They are only 6.5 games behind the Cubs and feature a pretty good pitching staff (fourth in the majors by ERA- at 82). There offense has not kept pace with their run prevention. The two teams last faced off in Chicago near the end of May, when the Reds took the series 2-1. Read past the break for day-by-day matchups and a little first-half questionnaire.
Game 82, June 28, 6:05pmCDT
CHC: LHP Cole Hamels (6-2, 2.92 ERA)
CIN: RHP Sonny Gray (3-5, 4.03 ERA)
Hamels got a no-decision against the Mets, going 7 innings and allowing 3 runs, including two solo homeruns. Javy eventually got the Cubs out of that one with the two-strike, three-run homerun in the eighth. Since his Cubs debut on August 1 of last year, Hamels is 10-5 with a 2.67 ERA. Hard to believe the main piece coming from the Cubs was Eddie Butler (with the caveat that it's still possible Alexander Ovalles, the PTBNL, turns out to be the best player the Cubs sent). Jose Peraza is 4-9 off of him with a HR. Votto is 5-23 with one homerun.
Gray signed with the Reds in the offseason and has been so-so. His peripherals give some reason to hope his results might improve, especially his strikeout rate which has risen to just over 10 per nine innings. Although he has mostly avoided the homerun bug that has swept through the majors this year, he did allow two homeruns (and four total earned runs) in 4.1 during his last start. The Cubs are 6-32 off of him. Almora is 2-2 with a homerun and Russell is 2-4 with a homer. Heyward is 0-8 with a strikeout.
Game 83, June 29, 3:10pmCDT
CHC: LHP Jose Quintana (4-7, 4.50 ERA)
CIN: RHP Luis Castillo (7-2, 2.56 ERA)
Quintana got hung out to dry in his last start, allowing eight earned runs including three homeruns against the Mets. Nothing much has stood out about his first half performance--he just hasn't been as effective as fans would hope. Joey Votto is 10-20 off of him and Suarez is 7-21 with a homerun.
Castillo walked five and allowed six runs, four earned, in 3.1 innings in his last start. It was only the second time this season he's gone less than five. Overall, he's taken a step forward in 2019, and his high strikeout and groundball rates have allowed him to work around an elevated walk rate. He beat the Cubs on 5/16, going 5.1 and allowing two earned runs. Contreras is 4-6 with three doubles and Schwarber is 3-9 with two homeruns.
Game 84, June 30, 12:10pmCDT
CHC: LHP Jon Lester (7-5, 3.83 ERA)
CIN: RHP Anthony DeSclafani (4-4, 4.70 ERA)
Lester allowed two runs, zero earned, in six innings to earn a win against Atlanta in his last start. He spent from mid-May to mid-June regressing from some spectacular early season stats. In his last two starts he's gotten more of the soft contact that's allowed him to last as a top-of-the-rotation starter even as he becomes something of a baseball elder statesman. Suarez is 10-34 with three homeruns off of him. Jose Peraza is 12-29.
Following a breakout in 2016, Desclafani missed all of 2017 to an elbow injury and has not been able to repeat that success since. Homeruns have been the big problem for him so far. Last time out, he pitched 4.1 innings and allowed six earned runs to the Brewers. Current Cubs have an .802 OPS against him in 117 at bats. Bryant is 6-17 with a homerun.
I thought about doing some sort of mid-point stat and storyline roundup. Instead, I'd like to request that you discuss the most fun aspects of the first half in the comments. In particular, I'd love to hear about what you think have been the most fun pitcher, position player, batting event, defensive play, and game of the first half. Thanks in advance for sharing!
Eric S 24 min 42 sec ago (view)
Nick Castellanos with HR number 6 tonight against the Indians. He's just killing it to start the season
crunch 2 hours 45 min ago (view)
i haven't heard anything beyond speculation. i don't even know if it was even addressed in the mlbpa/owners agreement, but i imagine it is in some way.
Sonicwind75 2 hours 50 min ago (view)
Has there been any indication on how much effort will be made to make up the games lost to a team Covid shutdown?
crunch 2 hours 55 min ago (view)
cubs gave d.bote a highlight reel tweet from his 3 notable plays last night.
crunch 4 hours 33 min ago (view)
so if the marlins keep covid'ing it up and finish with a 2-1 record do they make the playoffs with their kickass .667% winning percentage?
how does this circus work?
j/k...we're not gonna get to the playoffs.
Cubster 6 hours 31 min ago (view)
No new positives for either Marlins or Cards today. The Marlins are OK'd to play at Baltimore tonight (so far).
Cubster 6 hours 34 min ago (view)
Cardinal Coronavirus positives include: Yadi Molina, Paul DeJong. Relievers Jr Fernandez, Kodi Whitley. Inf Edmundo Sosa and Rangel Ravelo. 6 members of staff not yet disclosed.
Yadi posted on Instagram (in Spanish). DeJong also released a statement. The team is to fly to StL on Wednesday but need two consecutive days of testing negative before they can travel.
crunch 20 hours 32 min ago (view)
pen manages to string 2 good innings together...in a row!
the cubs are 8-2.
the cards are 2-3. the marlins are 2-1.
we're 1/6th of the way into this and who knows how much longer it will last...
crunch 20 hours 48 min ago (view)
"what i wouldn't give to have a man bun and a 99mph fastball" - JD on staumont
crunch 20 hours 53 min ago (view)
Eric S 21 hours 1 min ago (view)
The Adjunct Professor was dealing tonite
crunch 21 hours 18 min ago (view)
a.mills is good for 140+ pitches, right?
*looks at pen* uh...right?
he was shakey through the first 2ip and stellar since.
Cubster 21 hours 18 min ago (view)
The Cardinals have to test negative for the next two days for the Cub-Cardinal series to happen this weekend (per Len Kasper)
crunch 23 hours 39 min ago (view)
game time delayed 30m
crunch 23 hours 48 min ago (view)
m.soroka (ATL) is having to be helped off the field unable to put weight on his right leg.
it looks like he really screwed something in his calf/foot area that's not specifically the ankle.
crunch 1 day 1 hour ago (view)
bryant(LF) / rizzo / baez / contreras / schwarber(DH) / bote(3rd) / heyward / hoerner / happ