Cubs @ Tigers: Games 28-30
Having barely dodged a sweep at the hands of the 3rd-place White Sox, the Cubs now take-on the 4th-place Tigers in Detroit. Unlike the hot Sox, the Tigers are 2-8 in their last 10 games. This could be a chance for the Cubs to add to their lead before a stretch of 18 games against NL Central opponents Aug. 28-Sep. 13.
Game 1, Monday, Aug. 24, 6:10 pm central
CHC: RHP Alec Mills (2-2, 4.76 ERA)
DET: RHP Casey Mize (0-0, 6.23 ERA)
Alec Mills took his second loss and had his first really bad start of 2020 last time out. He couldn't get out of the fourth and allowed 6 earned runs. With the Cubs' offense slumping, he'll need a return to form in order to get back on the winning side of the books.
23-year-old Casey Mize made his MLB debut on Aug. 19, exiting after 4.1 with his first 7 MLB strikeouts under his belt. Prior to that start, he had not pitched above AA. He features a mid-90s fastball to go with a good cutter and splitter and the occasional curveball.
Game 2, Tuesday, Aug. 25, 6:10 pm central
CHC: LHP Jose Quintana (probable, 0-0, -.-- ERA)
DET: RHP Spencer Turnbull (2-2, 3.65 ERA)
As of my writing this, the Cubs game 2 starter is still TBD. However, Jose Quintana should be available to make his first 2020 appearance. Quintana went 13-9 with strong peripherals in 2019, yet will mostly be remembered as having a down year due to a 4.68 ERA. His recent hand injury adds the biggest wrinkle to his narrative. Has he recovered well enough to command his pitches? We may find out soon. He will likely be on a strict pitch count and may piggy back with someone like Colin Rea.
Spencer Turnbull made 30 starts for the Tigers in 2019 and put up respectable numbers except for his 3 and 17 record. Taking his performance alone, he certainly didn't deserve 17 losses. He has yet to surrender a homerun in 2020, but there are several Cubs who should be ready to turn that trend around. He has reverse splits in 2020, but in the larger 2019 sample lefties had a significant advantage against him. The difference could be more than just luck--he has thrown his changeup more in 2020.
Game 3, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 6:10 pm central
CHC: LHP Jon Lester (2-1, 5.06 ERA)
DET: LHP Michael Fulmer (0-0, 9.53 ERA)
Lester has gotten roughed up two games in a row, and in the last start he couldn't get out of the second. He surrendered 4 homeruns to the White Sox; weak contact was nowhere to be found. He'll need sharper movement and command to handle the Tigers' lineup. The aggressiveness of their best hitters may play into the veterans' hands if he can hit his spots.
Michael Fulmer is off to a rough start to his fourth season in the Tigers' rotation. He's made four starts and has yet to pitch more than 3.0 innings in a start. In only one of those starts, a scoreless 3 innings on Aug. 10, has he managed to allowed less than one earned run per inning. Fulmer missed all of 2019 following Tommy John surgery and had another surgery on his elbow in March of this year.
crunch 10 hours 16 min ago (view)
* except for playing 1st base
crunch 2 days 6 hours ago (view)
a lot of people were all-in on it being a 2022 thing, but given how MLB has held the DH over the player's heads like it's some kind of extremely valuable chip worth more than the players seem to think it's worth...who knows...
Cubster 2 days 8 hours ago (view)
any estimates on the chances of the DH in the NL anytime soon?
crunch 2 days 8 hours ago (view)
k.schwarber is hella good at post-season baseball.
crunch 2 days 10 hours ago (view)
e.castillo and t.payne off the 40man in 100% totally expected moves.
both are/were catcher organizational depth.
crunch 2 days 11 hours ago (view)
for those keeping track of the heating-up Mets head of baseball operations search, theo has already ruled himself out.
mets want(ed) some heavy hitters (including b.beane and d.stearns), but none of them are on board...well, MIL took stearns off the board before he could chime in because he has a year left on his contract.
Arizona Phil 2 days 15 hours ago (view)
Something to keep in mind about clearing MLB 40-man roster slots for players eligible for selection in this year's Rule 5 Draft is that you can't non-tender players to create 40-man roster space for Rule 5 Draft eligibles. That's because players can only be non-tendered on 12/2, and the pre-Rule 5 Draft roster filing deadline is 11/19 (almost two weeks - PRIOR TO -the contract tender date). NOTE: Normally the roster filing deadline is 11/20, but it's moved up to 11/19 this year because 11/20 falls on a Saturday in 2021
Arizona Phil 2 days 16 hours ago (view)
BRADSBEARD: Just one game, some BP, infield practice, and baserunning drills. So not much to glean from that so far.
crunch 3 days 7 hours ago (view)
minor league baseball has to provide housing for minor leaguers starting 2022 (paid for by MLB parent clubs). this is HUGE news and will make it possible for guys to stick around longer without having to quit the game just to earn a basic living. for minor league players working in expensive housing markets this is a life saver.
activist players from the OAK and LAA minor league teams as well as minor league player labor advocacy organizations were a huge part of making this happen. good work.
bradsbeard 3 days 11 hours ago (view)
Did you have any occasion to observe Pedro Ramirez? Not sure if he got into any games or not (now that I think of it, you wrote up at least one game he played in).
Arizona Phil 3 days 16 hours ago (view)
azbobbop: Certainly LHSPs Drew Gray and Luke Little have emerged as legit significant high-end SP prospects. RHSP Luis Devers has probably displaced Koen Moreno as the top "pitchability" SP prospect in the lower levels of the Cubs system. Tyler Schlaffer (another "pitchability" guy) also had an impressive Instructs, although Devers is a better SP prospect because he has a solid three-pitch mix and knows how to use it, while Schlaffer has just the 92-94 FB & CV (although both are solid offerngs) and isn't as polished as Devers is.
Hagsag 3 days 22 hours ago (view)
This is the first time I have heard about the four month program in November.
azbobbop 4 days 5 hours ago (view)
Phil, now that instructional scare finished, which players impressed you the most and who are disappointments.
tim815 4 days 9 hours ago (view)
Cool. Should help his trade value if the bat plays.
Arizona Phil 4 days 11 hours ago (view)
TIM: Peter Matt looks very comfortable at 3B. He is a classic "four-corner" guy (1B-3B-LF-RF).