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 51 min ago (view)
I'm trying to come up with scenarios where saying "The problem I have with you people....." really helps the conversation move forward constructively. None really jump to mind.
crunch 2 hours 9 min ago (view)
i still want proof that tom ricketts and ted cruz aren't the same person
Cubster 4 hours 5 min ago (view)
Tom's older brother is an ass, even with an embarrassing apology.
Here is the twitter video from Pastor Jarrod Parker:
Cubster 12 hours 13 min ago (view)
I agree. Laura is the real deal. I think she was the major influence that showed Tom R. and Crane Kenney how to show a "human side" and deal realistically and in a non-threatening way, with the local Chicago politicians. Kenney was clearly clueless in his initial attempts regarding the neighborhood, the Rooftop owners, and the Wrigley Field rebuild.
Hagsag 13 hours 10 min ago (view)
I am a Laura Ricketts fan. To hell with the rest of them.
crunch 21 hours 28 min ago (view)
some higher-end high school kids not expected to go very early in the draft are taking themselves out of the draft...including some top-100 ranked talent.
crunch 1 day 7 hours ago (view)
Dale Murphy @DaleMurphy3
Last night, my son was shot in the eye with a rubber bullet while peacefully protesting for justice for George Floyd. His story is not unique. Countless others have also experienced this use of excessive police force while trying to have their voices heard.
Dale Murphy @DaleMurphy3
BobbyD 1 day 8 hours ago (view)
But he has vicious dogs ready to kill the nig***. Oh wait, thugs. He's a real man.
Cubster 1 day 12 hours ago (view)
"this idea isn't a proposal at all and may actually be a measure that is forced into action by the league if the two sides can't sort out the financial details for a longer season."
MLBPA: Over our dead bodies. Followed by Trump sending in the military to force ballplayers and fans to perform like puppets on strings with fans to yell (and cough and sneezing) at the umpires. Ah, baseball before Jackie Robinson. The Trump Republican Party: Bring back the Cheating/Pandemic 1919 White only - White Sox. Say it ain't so, Joe.
Hagsag 1 day 12 hours ago (view)
Trump waiving a bible in front of the church is a total disgrace.
crunch 1 day 22 hours ago (view)
...but now there's this...
"According to ESPN's Jeff Passan, Major League Baseball views a season of around 50 games as a "last resort" option should there be no agreement with the MLBPA.
crunch 2 days 1 hour ago (view)
Jeff Passan @JeffPassan
Major League Baseball intends to propose a shorter season in which they would pay players a full prorated share of their salaries, sources told ESPN. The league believes the late March agreement allows it to set the schedule, and that this would fulfill players’ pro rata desire.
JustSayin' 2 days 1 hour ago (view)
Minor League Baseball makes the cover of SI! Two years ago, I would have been elated. Today, it's depressing (like the article.)
BobbyD 2 days 4 hours ago (view)
Crunch, thanks. I can be a jerk at times, but you bailed me out. Btw I'm the whitest white boy (who grew up next to Wrigley and also worked at my dad's warehouse next to Cabrini Green). I'm truly ashamed of this president. I don't believe anyone sane wants more of him. Go Cubs!! I miss Bobby Dernier's first home run against the Padres.
Cubster 2 days 9 hours ago (view)
MLBTR has an update on the latest owner's revision proposal.
Cubster 2 days 12 hours ago (view)
'we have a donald trump problem, but he may be a highly advanced and dangerous symptom rather than the actual disease.'
Surely true, dear Crunch. Trump has emboldened the ugly fact that America's cruel underbelly is still racism and police brutality that forwards that original sin.
America NEEDS its HEROES.