Cubs vs. Phillies: Series Thread (Games 85-88)

The Cubs finished their 10-game road trip by losing nine in a row, including sweeps to two teams that now lead them in the division, the Reds and the Brewers. Despite having the wind thoroughly taken out of their sails, they somehow return to home territory for seven games before the All Star break. They begin with a four-game series against the Phillies, the first time these two teams have matched up in 2021. See below for pitching matchups.

Game 85, Monday, July 5, 7:05 pm central

CHC: RHP Zach Davies (5-5, 4.32 ERA)

PHL: RHP Matt Moore (0-1, 5.79 ERA)

Davies has the honor of being the first of three Zach/ks to start in this series. Davies most recently took a loss to Milwaukee, getting pulled after only four innings pitched and having allowed two earned runs while collecting six strikeouts. In June, Davies held a respectable 3.82 ERA and struck out hitters at a rate closer to his career average, 7.09 per nine innings for the month. As has been true throughout his time with the Cubs, his walk rate remained elevated to a dangerous level.

Matt Moore made only two starts in 2019 before suffering a knee injury and spent 2020 pitching in Japan--where he pitched 85 innings, more than would have been possible in MLB last year. 2021 has not yet proven the bounce back that both Moore and the Phillies must be hoping for. He last pitched five scoreless innings in a no-decision against the Mets. That was on June 25, his return to the MLB rotation after time in the bullpen and on the IL with back spasms.

Game 86, Tuesday, July 6, 7:05 pm central

CHC: RHP Jake Arrieta (5-8, 5.57 ERA)

PHL: RHP Aaron Nola (5-5, 4.44 ERA)

Arrieta had a truly terrible June. He posted an ERA of 8.31 and averaged fewer than four innings across six starts. He suffered especially from walks (5.82 per nine innings) and homeruns (2.91 per nine innings). He'll need to put it all behind him quickly; Trevor Williams appears to be on his way back from the IL and Alec Mills has outpitched both Arrieta and Williams, albeit in a very limited number of innings. Perhaps Arrieta will bring a little bit of chip on his shoulder facing his former team.

Aaron Nola is having a bit of a down 2021 relative to his own past performance. There's little to point to for his heightened ERA except for a diminished groundball rate. In the past he has posted rates near 50% but this year he's down to 40%. Meanwhile, he still strikes out well over a batter per innings and walks about two per game. In his last start, he gave up a season-high seven runs will striking out eleven Marlins

Game 87, Wednesday, July 7, 7:05 pm central

CHC: RHP Alec Mills (3-2, 4.85 ERA)

PHL: RHP Zack Wheeler (6-5, 2.05 ERA)

Mills took an undeserved loss in Cincinnati, allowing two earned runs in 5.2 innings while setting a season high nine strikeouts. If he can keep it up, he might be able to turn this fill-in assignment into something longer.

The Phils have to be happy with aquiring Zack Wheeler. Last year he produced 2.0 fWar in the shortened season and this year he is trailing on Jacob deGrom. He's on pace to set a career high in strikeouts and has maintained a walk rate below two per nine innings. At 31, he's still sitting in the high 90s and he's mixing in his slider more than ever, roughly a quarter of the time.

Game 88, Thursday, July 8, 7:05 pm central

CHC: RHP Adbert Alzolay (4-8, 4.48 ERA)

PHL: RHP Zach Eflin (3-6, 4.13 ERA)

Alzolay put a terrible start behind him but still suffered at the hands of the homerun at Great American Ballpark. He pitched seven innings and took a loss, allowing three earned runs on a pair of homers, one on a pitch out of the zone. There was probably little to learn from it except that things work out better when you're own team scores some runs too.

Zach Eflin has been a model of consistency going back to 2018. He's right on track in 2021 with an ERA in the low fours, a decent strikeout rate and roughly the same mix of his pitches as always. One difference this year is that he's lowered his already low walk rate; Cubs hitters should probably be ready to swing the bats as he's averaged just over one walk per nine innings.


baez has 6 walks in his last 8 games.

e.sogard down and a.alcantara back up...sogard screwed up his left thumb somehow and gets a 10d IL trip

k.stewart to the DL, too (elbow)

t.williams back up a little early.

All those innings pitched finally caught up to Sogard

6 pitches, bases loaded, no outs.

that's f'n impressive arrieta.

good job.

dude isn't even worth an infield rake.

grand slam on the 10th pitch.  1st he's ever given up.

still no outs.

Jake going all in on the Cubs rebuild, Edwin Jackson style. 

i guess I'll keep watching Antiques Roadshow.

Kind solution  -- Arrieta goes on IL with some sort of orthopedic discomfort.

Reality  -- he is DFAd tomorrow. 

Time for the Justin Steele SP era.

t.williams is back up and a.mills still exits.  i dunno how much longer arrieta will be around.  it's getting a bit painful to watch as a cubs fan.  there's a difference between a guy that's not what he once was and a guy getting dominated to the point of it being an ugly spectacle.

I would really hate to see Arrieta's time with this team end in a release. He looked on track to eat a bunch of innings and then get traded for a PTBNL, which has more dignity to it.

Cubs suck.

"We stink" - Z

i miss Z.  i liked Z.

We stinks.

"This one goes to 11"

On the bright side, the Cubs can be on a double-digit losing streak for a long time, and it's still only a double-digit losing streak.

Now I can stop worrying about another Garland style trade. 

t.williams pitched friday night, but i guess he's down for work a bit early.

tonight's boog/jd/sutcliffe broadcast is awkward as hell.

this game is hot garbage and it's going on forever and everything sucks.

also, with sogard out who's gonna pitch the 9th in this blowout crapfest?

I am ready for some hot trade rumors!

j.arrieta for a firm handshake!

kimbrell for 2 guys who graduate from highschool in the dominican in 2024!

z.davies for a few dozen luxury towels for the Hotel Zachary!

bryant/baez/rizzo and cash for yu darvish!

Is it too late to trade Felix Pie to Orioles for Brian Roberts

felix pie is still playing organized ball in mexico, fwiw.

36 years old.

Boog seems nice, but he comes across as trying way too fucking hard.

very.  sometimes it's to the point where he misses a joke lobbed at him while trying to defend himself.

I am hoping this is a first year at the post issue. It definitely does not match JD's energy.

It could be that for sure. He's spent significant time trying to convince everyone of how zany he is. Lot's of "you'll find that out me" and "that's just how my brain works" sorts of comments.

Fangraphs finally posted their list of Cubs prospects, 49 in all. It's not really a go-to for prospect analysis in my opinion, but I thought this was an interesting remark on Brennen Davis: "There’s room for Davis to let it eat a little more often than he does, and if he develops natural feel for that then he’ll be a superstar instead of merely very good."

He comes off like kind of an anti-Javy. He was drafted as a guy likely to have big swing and miss issues but it sounds like he's kept himself so under control that he currently plays in-game like a contact first hitter who hasn't unleashed his power. I kind of prefer that development track for somebody with Davis's long levers.

arrieta to the 10d DL..a'ite then, whatever.  right hamstring tightness... up.

imagine t.williams will cover arrieta's start before the break.

i like pederson's swagger and effort, but after watching LF defensive play get butched by schwarber followed by pederson, i hope whoever is next can actually field a simple running catch without high drama.

still waiting on an update on bryant's stepped-on hand...'s a hamstring injury that took him out, not the hand-stepped-on thing.  a'ite.

r.chirinos has been at/near the top of the dugout steps all night and totally stoked on everything going on.

it's nice he got back to the club that drafted him, but never played him.  he was a legit lower-end prospect.

I noticed Chirinos at the top step too. He was a good addition.

I was not surprised to see RC paired with Alzolay... I also won't be surprised if RC catches him for the rest of the year.  I never realized that RC was the personal catcher for some really good pitchers (Hamels, Verlander) and lots of experience with some other really good ones (Darvish, Cole). I am not a pitching or catching expert, but some people who know what they are doing seem to like him back there. 

Also wish to point out that the recently-cut, 37-year-old back-up catcher has been the highlight of my Cubs baseball experience since about June 1

A few years ago, scouting reports on Chirinos tagged him as a future manager. 

This comment prompted me to go looking for some color stories on RC... seems like a genuinely nice & happy dude who knows how to handle his stuff. I liked this bit from a 2017 Dallas Morning News article: 

Before he ever caught Cole Hamels, Chirinos wanted to study his new pitcher. So he called Carlos Ruiz, Hamels' catcher from Philadelphia who caught 206 of the pitcher's 295 starts before Hamels was traded to Texas in 2015.
"I picked his brain for about 30 minutes," Chirinos said. "I wrote everything down. It was good for me to hear that from [Ruiz]. It helped me understand a lot more." Hamels appreciated Chirinos' extra effort. "You want a guy who is going to go a little bit more, and for him to reach out to [Ruiz] shows the type of character he has and the type of player he wants to be," Hamels said. "That's what instills confidence in each other and creates a bond. It took a while for [Ruiz] and me to get it, but when we clicked, we were inseparable. You think alike. That's that confidence I was talking about. That's where we want to get to." 

phillies sitting cutch and hoskins vs alzolay.

this should be considered evidence of trying to throw games.

bryant and baez both out of the lineup with their injuries.

also, contreras is sitting.

Cubs offense is offensive.

2 weeks ago this team was tied for 1st place.

...currently 9.5 games back.

i want off this ride.

On the plus side, at least there is no longer any uncertainty about what the Cubs should do at the deadline.  Maybe we could do a version of the off season free agent prediction contest but with what Cubs are traded and where?

Assuming they sell anything and everyone they can; the final 2 months of this season will be pretty unwatchable. 

rosenthall and pj mooney are both reporting the cubs are officially sellers and listening to pretty much any offer.

cubs got 3 top-100 picks coming up in the draft.  i don't wanna see a bunch of f'n 17-20 year old kids coming to the cubs in trade unless they happen to be badass top-20 overall MLB tallent.  that darvish trade might pay off eventually, but it hurt this season greatly and no one picked up is expected to be here until 2024+.

Which appears to be the goal.


Slough 2021 and 2022. Be ready for 2023 and beyond.

"ItS nOt A rEbUiLd ThOuGh"

contreras skull go 98mph worth of thud.  you could cut off dude's arm and he'd tell you it's a paper cut.

he's staying in the game, but well...yeah...geez...

In a few weeks our squad is really going to blow. Gotta get these wins in against StL now before then, do what we can to keep those ass clowns on golf courses in October too