Cubs vs. Royals: Series Thread (Games 124-126)

The Cubs return home hot on two-game winning streak. They'll take on the AL Central trailers, the KC Royals, to start the homestand. See below for the matchups.

Game 124, Friday, August 20, 1:20 pm central

CHC: RHP Zach Davies (6-9, 5.00 ERA)

KCR: RHP Brad Keller (7-12, 5.62 ERA)

Davies allowed three runs, zero earned, in six innings against Miami.

Keller's been pitching with the MLB club since 2018 but only just turned 26. He's having a down year right when one would hope to see him come into his own. He's never been one to miss many bats, and the BABIP fates have been unkind to him this season.

Game 125, Saturday, August 21, 1:20 pm central


KCR: LHP Kris Bubic (3-6, 5.09 ERA)

Oh, look it's Kris B.! This one was a 40th overall pick in 2018 and is going through his sophomore slump. He got knocked around to the tune of seven runs over 1.1 innings by the Cardinals last time out.

Game 126, Sunday, August 22, 1:20 pm central

CHC: RHP Alec Mills (5-5, 4.19 ERA)

KCR: RHP Carlos Hernández (3-1, 4.33 ERA)

Alec Mills may be the Cubs' most valuable starting pitcher by the time this season is over. He's neck and neck with Kyle Hendricks so far and no one else is really in contention.

Hernández has split time this season between the bullpen and rotation while with the MLB club. He brings a plus fastball and middling other stuff.


z.davies is dildos.

leaked days ago, but MLB made it official...cubs/reds "field of dreams" game for 2022 (reds get home team).

Schwarber is 2 for 2 (so far) in the Red Sox game tonight including a double. He's DH-ing.

schwarber belongs at DH...he doesn't half-ass it in the field, but even at his best it's sub-par.

speaking of lost talent, i doubt we'll see bryant again since SF seems to be absolutely in love with him.  i get the feeling rizzo wouldn't be coming back even before recent post-trade public crosstalk.  i would not be shocked to see baez return unless hoerner has an impressive comeback to finish the season.

Dan Winkler has been released, Johneshwy Fargas has been sent outright to AAA Iowa (and he can - NOT - elect free-agency), Jake Jewell was optioned to Iowa after Friday's game, and Keegan Thompson has been recalled (effective Saturday). 

awesome.  now do trevor megill.

Unload Meisinger too.

Jake Arrieta in SD (mlbtr update): The veteran right-hander made his first start as a Padre on Wednesday at Coors Field. He allowed five runs over 3 1/3 innings against the Rockies before departing due to the hamstring issue that today landed him on the shelf.

--life goes on

Then there's Cole Hamels who has made a combined $19 million from the Braves ($18M) and Dodgers ($1M) the last two seasons, throwing a total of 3.1 MLB innings in the process. So a little over $6 Million earned per out recorded - not too shabby for Mr (and Mrs) Hamels!

wonder if JD sweats boog/sutcliffe working together because their long history lends itself to a more comfortable booth.

it's not a JD issue, it's just that boog is more willing to take crap from sutcliffe without overanalyzing it and just rolling with it.  it's kinda weird cuz sutcliffe is way more combative and confrontational, yet boog has a lot easier time with chemistry between him/sutcliffe vs JD.

I'm not sure about any of that, but didn't Boog and Sutcliffe work games together for ESPN once upon a time? Might explain their rapport if so. 

yeah, they got decent history at ESPN.

it seems boog is more likely to take crap from sutcliffe and let it roll off whereas boog seems to be more defensive (in a non-humor way) with jd for no real reason other than their relationship isn't as established.  it's kinda weird cuz sutcliffe is way more aggro with boog.

bubic (KC) throwing a no hitter through 6ip with rain imminent.

he's pretty much having the best game of his career right now.

bubic gets a chance to return after the rain delay and gives up a couple runs.  tough.

p.wisdom gets HR #20.

Where the hell is J.D.?

He's vacationing on the mighty St Lawrence and will be back in the saddle tomorrow


19 year OF Owen Caissie getting promoted from the ACL to Myrtle Beach.  And Alex Canario has a strong throwing arm:


phew...that throw.  wow.

jesse barfield would probably go "damn."

I've seen a lot of Owen Caissie out here in Mesa, and the best ceiling-comp I can think of is Freddie Freeman.

While Caissie has an above average arm that plays in RF, he otherwise does not look particularly comfortable in the outfield, and he has (at best) just average speed (and he's not going to get any faster as he matures), but he would make a good target at 1B. So the Cubs really need to move him to 1B ASAP and find somebody to teach him the finer points of the position. If he can't handle 1B, he might be just a DH.  

Besides, the Cubs already have a gaggle of legit MLB outfield prospects (B. Davis, Crow-Armstrong, Canario, K. Alcantara, Pinango, Velazquez, Roederer, Nwogu, etc).   

It's probably a little bit early for this and I may not be around to see it, but here is my projected Cubs Opening Day lineup 2026: 

1. Nick Madrigal, 2B 
2. Reggie Preciado, 3B 
3. Brennen Davis, CF 
4. Owen Caissie, 1B 
5. Kevin Alcantara, DH 
6. Alexander Canario, RF
7. Pete Crow-Armstrong, LF 
8. Cristian Hernandez, SS 
9. Miguel Amaya, C 
Adbert Alzolay, SP  

Nico Hoerner will be a FA after the 2025 season, but otherwise the bench could be guys like Pablo Aliendo or Malcom Quintero (catcher), Alfonso Rivas or Jared Young (1B-LF), Kevin Made or Ed Howard IV (INF), Christopher Morel (INF-OF), and/or Nelson Velazquez, Yohendrick Pinango, Cole Roederer, or Jordan Nwogu (OF). And there's even more possibilities than that.  

As for pitchers, Kyle Hendricks will probably be long gone by 2026, but some combination of Justin Steele, Keegan Thompson, D. J. Herz, Jordan Wicks, Brailyn Marquez, Kohl Franklin, Ryan Jensen, Caleb Kilian, Alexander Vizcaino, Jeremiah Estrada, Riley Thompson, Yovanny Cruz, Anderson Espinoza, and/or Benjamijn Rodriguez could fill out the rotation behnd Alzolay, with maybe Manuel Rodriguez, Ben Leeper, Codi Heuer, Ethan Roberts, Danis Correa, Michael McAvene, Chris Clarke, Eury Ramos, and/or Cayne Ueckert (RHRP), and Burl Carraway, Brendon Little, Brandon Hughes, and/or Bailey Horn (LHRP), and/or some of the guys who don't make the rotation in the pen.  

And the Cubs should get a pretty good 1st round draft slot next year, so whoever that is could be ready for MLB by 2026.  

Phil, are you able to see the games in Mesa  these days?

If this was the opening day lineup in 2026, it would mean that the Cubs acquired 2/3 of the players in the deadline massacre and the Darvish trade. That's pretty stunning.

75% of Freeman would be a damn fine player

nico leaves his rehab game mid-AB after a swing.


cubs lose.  13 in a row at home...ties team record.

3-17 in august so far.  2 of those wins were 1 run wins.

If the Cubs keep up that 3-17 pace, they should get 6 more wins this season for a 60-102 season record.
The others, if they maintain their current win percentages:
BALT 50 wins
AZ 54 wins
TEX 57 wins
PITT  57 wins 

MIA 66 wins 

WAS  69 wins

MIN 70 wins 

KC 72 wins
COL 74 wins

So the Cubs are on pace for the 5-6th pick. If you use their current win percentage (.429), they would be on track for 69 wins (15-21), which gets them a pick in the 6-9 range. The teams in this draft choice competition include MIA, WAS, COL, MIN, KC.  Probably locks in the top 4 are BAL, AZ, TEX and PIT.  The series loss to MIA and KC recently (albeit perversely) helped.  It looks tough to get better than that 5th pick because their current 0.176 win percentage, as ugly as it is, will be a  tough ask to get worse...unless they go full Ditka.

ARZ is 7-3 in their last 10.  that's 1/6th of a season's wins for them in mid/late-August.

the cubs have been unwatchable for a bit over a month.  ARZ has been unwatchable nearly all season.

BAL is f'n amazing...18 losses in a row.  23 is the modern record (1961 PHI).  21 is the BAL team record (1988).  they play the extremely underperforming LAA next.

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  • Arizona Phil 6 hours 57 min ago (view)

    You can pretty much figure out from my AZIL game reports who the Cubs will likely target if they trade Kyle Hendricks to the Angels during the off-season (which I believe is a distinct possibility).  


  • crunch 10 hours 17 min ago (view)

    "On Wednesday, and again on Friday, manager Joe Maddon said the Angels needed to land two front-line starters or risk perpetual mediocrity. On Saturday, Mike Trout said the Angels had “a lot of money to spend” and the offseason was “going to be big.”"

    $180.3m payroll and the star player + manager softly demanding more talent.

    wait.  you can do that?

    hey d.ross and...umm...hold you have to have a star player to make this kind of demand?  sigh.


  • tim815 1 day 8 hours ago (view)

    Exactly. Teams realized that under-playing the rest of the season, and assessing what's currently on-hand, works. At least, better than pickung three or four spots lower on the draft board with less spending space.


  • Dolorous Jon Lester 1 day 9 hours ago (view)

    It required a good amount of luck, and the other hard part is like a third of the league are tanking now too. Last time it was basically us and Houston.


  • crunch 1 day 10 hours ago (view)

    this team is very hard to watch.  i can't take this for 1-2 more years.  i hope the 2022 plan is at least hybrid-competitive (team built to compete, but trade-ready if failing mid-season).

    rebuilding on total destruction for a slew of 1st round picks for years is/was lame even if those 1st round picks was pretty much all that worked for the cubs in the theo-era drafts.


  • K Dub 2 days 8 hours ago (view)

    PHIL: Thanks for the update on Devers. Are you able to give us some more context (velocity, pitch mix, etc)? Also, was Drew Gray included in the group you compared Devers to when you said Devers was "by far" the ACL Cubs best pitching prospect? I ask because I know Gray only pitched 4 innings this season. 



  • crunch 2 days 10 hours ago (view)

    cards 15 wins a row...franchise record


  • Hagsag 2 days 21 hours ago (view)

    The Cubs have no starting pitching right now with Carl in a funk.


  • Eric S 3 days 4 hours ago (view)

     Cubs were Nootbaar'ed to the tune of 12-4 in Game 2


  • Cubster 3 days 5 hours ago (view)

    With a Doubleheader loss, the Cubs are back on track for a better draft choice. Right now at 67 wins they pick #7, just ahead of KC and Minnesota who have 68-69 wins. 


  • crunch 3 days 6 hours ago (view)

    the shit sandwich that is zach davies is a 6 foot party sub.


  • Dolorous Jon Lester 3 days 6 hours ago (view)

    I am celebrating the day he signs with another team this offseason. I didn't know I could hate him more than I did when he was in Milwaukee but here we are!


  • crunch 3 days 7 hours ago (view)

    wisdom can hit some bombs when he does

    also davies still sucks.


  • tim815 3 days 7 hours ago (view)

    McAvene is struggling against hitters in Instructs. He's not ready for the AZ Fall League. I'd expect to see Juan Gamez otr Aneuris Rosario first. Vazquez, I agree with, entirely.


  • bradsbeard 3 days 9 hours ago (view)

    On the position player side, Amaya if he's healthy. Chase Strumpf makes a lot of sense (missed some time early and late, missed all of last year). Nelson Velazquez maybe as a Rule 5 guy if they're on the fence. Cam Balego and Andy Weber are two other candidates if healthy. Luis Vazquez could also use more upper level PAs and would make sense.

    Lots of potential pitchers. Ideally Marquez but not sure they'll let him pitch this year. McAvene is probably another one. Would be awesome if Kohl Franklin could participate. 


  • First.Pitch.120 3 days 10 hours ago (view)