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!
Jackstraw 1 hour 41 min ago (view)
Scrubs? I prefer Witness Protection Plan All Stars. Though it doesn't really roll off the tongue.
Craig A. 11 hours 39 min ago (view)
Cubs scrubs win!
bradsbeard 12 hours 59 min ago (view)
Pretty solid outing after all. He's been really good since returning to the rotation.
crunch 14 hours 32 min ago (view)
missed lester's 1st start as a cardinal yesterday...
5ip 9h 2bb 4k, 6r/er
crunch 14 hours 56 min ago (view)
alec mills in colorado sucks.
cubbies.4ever 14 hours 58 min ago (view)
AZ PHIL - are any of these INTFA, other than the obvious Christian Hernandez, show an immeadiate signs of being a good prospect? Given a lot of these are really raw young kids. You saw the talent in Eloy, Torres, Amaya, Soler, Alzolay, Marquez, etc, but there have also been the can't miss busts, Eddy Julio Martinez, Ademan, Tseng, Moreno, Sierra, etc or are a lot of these just a lot of bodies who are wild cards?
crunch 15 hours 46 sec ago (view)
delay of game...home plate ump seems to have tweaked his back or something...neet.
a pointless delay of a pointless game.
Hagsag 18 hours 44 min ago (view)
Sonicwind75 19 hours 25 min ago (view)
Off all the awards and accolades Rizzo earned during his time in Chicago; perhaps the most important is being named the Roberto Clemente Award winner in 2017.
crunch 19 hours 39 min ago (view)
technically correct is the best kind of correct.
also, rizzo's charity work (himself and the time he gives, not just his money) is top notch stuff.
tim815 22 hours 43 min ago (view)
Anything to be noted about Temblador, Venezuela's Pedro Ramirez, who is shredding as the pipelines youngest player?
bradsbeard 1 day 22 min ago (view)
Arizona Phil, some folks (mostly me!) were wondering if you had any thoughts/info on Luis Devers, who seems to be having a nice ACL season despite being a bit old for the level. Got touched for a HR last night but hadn't given up multiple runs in a start before then and has struck out a healthy number of batters while limiting walks. Many thanks in advance!
Hagsag 1 day 5 hours ago (view)
Rizzo wasn't a cancer, he HAD cancer!
Arizona Phil 1 day 8 hours ago (view)
The Cubs have released AAA Iowa C-INF Tony Wolters so that he can sign a minor league deal with a contending club (if the opportunity presents itself).
Because he was outrighted earlier this season he was not eligible to be traded after 7/30, even though he was on a minor league reserve list and (generally speaking) a player on a minor league reserve list can be traded up until one week prior to the scheduled conclusion of the MLB regular season.
Arizona Phil 1 day 9 hours ago (view)
So #11 (Ziehl), #12 (Banks), and #19 (Avitia) were the only three 2021 Cubs draft picks who did not sign.
crunch 1 day 13 hours ago (view)
similar story, similar quotes, different site/author