Cubs @ Pirates: Hendricks vs Brault (Game 138)

CHC (75-62): RHP Kyle Hendricks (6-4, 3.32)  
PIT (66-72): LHP Steven Brault (0-0, 5.93) 
First pitch: 6:05pmCST

Hendricks won his second straight game on Thursday against Atlanta (6.2 IP, 1 ER, 5 K, 3 BB) after having not won since May. He’s 2-1 with a 2.31 in 8 starts since his return. 

Kyle is 1-1 with a 2.45 in two starts against the Pirates this season. Overall, they are 39-155 (.252) against him. Polanco is 9-22 with a HR.

Brault is in for Nova and making his first start of the season. The Cubs tagged him for 4 ER in an inning of relief last week at Wrigley. They are 13-33 (.394) against him, for their careers. Bryant is 3-4 with a HR, and Heyward is 3-6.

Quintana (9-11) and Cole (11-9) continue the series tomorrow at 6:05pmCST.

Go Cubs!


"According to Michael Schmidt of the New York Times, the Red Sox have been caught stealing catcher signs from the Yankees and other opponents using an Apple Watch." that part of the world sure does like cheating at sports.

Day off for, naturally, Zobrist and his .700 OPS hit cleanup. Okey-dokey. A complete list of position players with an OPS below Zobrist's: 1. Mike Freeman 2. Nobody else A complete list of position players with a higher OPS than Zobrist: 1. Everybody except Mike Freeman Even better -- Zobrist's OPS as a RH batter: .601. I think Joe's iPad has been hacked.

this can all be fixed by batting the pitcher 8th

I think Joe's iPad has been hacked. ---------------------------------------------- Infamous Russian hacker. Username Zobie18.

unless arrieta had a late appointment for his MRI, it's a bit concerning they're still "waiting" on the results.

Cubs and the 8th inning have a pretty horrible relationship.

I blame WS game 7.

Dammit Joe!!! Every time CJ goes back out after finishing an inning, he struggles. EVERY TIME! Doesn't matter how many pitches he threw. Bring him in from the pen, get some outs, then take him out of the damn game. Put that in your iPad, please.

that was quick. Cubs never seem to follow a big win streak with just a loss...they just start playing bad baseball. 1-8 with RISP, bad relief...gah. The Cardinals, who were left for dead 3 days ago, are going to be right back in the division race.

This is why the Cubs got Justin Wilson. He was supposed to provide the final piece to the bullpen puzzle, the reliable 8th inning guy who can close when Wade Davis isn't available. If there is any one thing that has gone wrong lately that could screw everything up for the Cubs, it's The Strange Case of Justin Wilson.

Agreed -- and, possibly the disappointment of Q. But, you are right -- Wilson was supposed to plug a big hole.

This one's on Maddon. Know your damn players. Edwards can't go back out and get people out. He simply can't. Maybe the leadoff walk was a clue? Most of the out he got were on the bases. Terrible game by Maddon.

Know where we can find stats on that? Edward's in 2nd inning of relief?

Nope. Don't know. I just know every time Joe sends him back out, I always say it's a bad idea, and it always is. But, on a brighter side -- Scooter Gennet with a 3-run shot to put the Reds up 7-1 on the Brewers. And, I'm sure our old friend Travis will shut down the Cards and drive in a few runs for us tonight.

"Jake Arrieta has been diagnosed with a Grade 1 strain of his right hamstring." looks like he'll miss a start, maybe 2. also, contreras is going to play a rehab game with the high-A club thursday. hopefully he'll be back soon (friday/saturday).

A hamstring injury is the "bad penny" of baseball, the gift that keeps on giving. You might notice that the words "aggravated" and "hamstring" are often paired in the same sentence. 

Brewers last 6 series: Beat Rockies, Dodgers and Nationals, split with Cardinals, and lose to Giants and Reds (possibly get swept by Reds). Even by baseball standards, that's pretty goofy. Looks like Travis will need to hit a couple grand slams to help us out. Gave up 5 in 2 IP. EDIT: As I typed the last letter, he hit a 2-run bomb. Baseball!

18 year old OF Nelson Velazquez (Cubs 2017 5th round draft pick - PJ Education School - Carolina, PR) hit another moonshot HR Tuesday night at Scottsdale Stadium in the 9th inning of the first game of the AZL Championship Series between the AZL Cubs and the AZL Giants. (The Cubs scored nine runs over the final three innings to win 10-4 and take a 1-0 lead in the best two-out-of-three series). 

The place was absolutely electric from the first pitch, not because of the "fans" (they stayed quiet like always, and most of the spectators were scouts anyway), but because of the energy from the two benches. The players on the bench were as animated and raucous as any crowd you'd ever see at a baseball game, yelling and even singing and dancing at various points in the game (especially the Cubs players when they scored five times with two outs in the top of the 8th).   

Just to get into the AZL playoffs, the Cubs had to win 13 of their final 15 games, and even then they only made it by one game. And now they have won their first three AZL playoff games, so they have won 16 of the last 18 games. 

And the story behind the story is Nelson Velazquez. In his last 18 AZL games (77 PA) including regular season & post-season, Velazquez has hit 297/416/703 (that's an 1.119 OPS), with 7 HR & 15 RBI, 19 RUNS, 3 2B, and 1 3B, 4 SB (2 CS), 12 BB (16% walk rate), 1 HBP, and 26 K  (34% K-rate). Without Velazquez, the AZL Cubs are NOT in the playoffs. Simple as that. 

To get an idea of the gravitas of what he has been doing lately, if you pro-rate those numbers out over a 144-game minor league "full season" you get 56 HR, 120 RBI, 152 RUNS, 24 doubles, eight triples, 32 SB (16 CS), 96 walks, 8 HBP, and 208 strikeouts.

Velazquez has suddenly turned into a beast. It's like Sammy Sosa circa 1998. 

Velazquez is a five-tool outfielder who is built like a college running back (plus-speed but with a thick lower half), and he actually hits home runs in games (not just in BP), and most of the dingers have been absolute bombs. He strikes out a LOT, and he needs work on his defense in CF (although he probably has enough range and arm to play there once he gets the rough edges smoothed out), but the potential is definitely there 

And (probably not too surpringly) Nelson Velazquez has been named Cubs Minor League Player of the Month for August. 

Cameron Balego picked a rather good time to burst onto the scene in September.

Brailyn Marquez charted the game last night at Scottsdale Stadium so he will likely pitch tonight at Sloan Park, but it's pretty much "all hands on deck" right now for the AZL Cubs.  

TIM: No question Cam Balego is on fire right now.

BTW, I wouldn't be surprised if Balego goes through the catcher conversion program in the neat-future (at Instructs and/or at EXST). He is built like a catcher, he moves pretty well, he has a plus-arm, and he clearly has leadership qualities.  

I also would not be surprised if OF Kwangmin Kwon is converted to a LHP at some point. 

That's crazy about Kwon! Wasn't he a big bonus signing a couple years ago? Guess the hitting just has been a struggle for him.

DJL: Kwon continues to struggle to make contact. He has above-average speed and a plus-arm and while he has HR power in BP (he won the HR Derby at Instructs post-2015), it doesn't show up in games. He is a somewhat passive hitter who seems to get fooled a lot. And he could show a bit more alertness on the bases, too.

For example, he probably could have scored the go-ahead run in the top of the 7th inning last night if he had just hustled from 3rd to home on what was a 3-2 tag-play inning-ending DP. (The Giants 1st baseman fielded a ground ball and stepped on first-base before throwing the ball home).   

Kwon is a laid-back, popular, good-natured kid (he's the type of guy who gets razzed a lot by his teammates because he takes it so well). I just don't know how much longer the Cubs will stick with him as a position-player, but I don't think they would release him before he gets a trial as a LHP. 

Thanks AZ Phil!

Great to see the report on Velazquez. Another great find by McCloud and his scouts.

Red Sox beat Toronto 3-2 in 19 innings, using 12 pitchers to do so. My son is a junior at Boston College, and one of his professors cancelled class this morning because he stayed up to watch all 19 innings. Not a great use of tuition money, but you have to respect the dedication.

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  • Cubster 17 hours 57 min ago (view)


    then said quietly by his elves: although it can take up to 1-2 days (or two tanks of gas) to get through test lines and then 7-14 days to get results.


  • crunch 18 hours 21 min ago (view)

    5 cubs players + d.ross didn't work out with the team today because their tests were dealyed.  4 players + d.ross later came back negative and 1 test will have to be done again because it was compromised during transport and invalidated.

    ...turns out the compromised test was not a player, but a non-player/non-ross Tier 1 employee.  neat.


  • crunch 20 hours 42 min ago (view)

    v.caratini will continue to be darvish's preferred catcher this season.


  • crunch 20 hours 43 min ago (view)

    j.hicks (STL) opts out.  he's a T1 diabetic currently rehabbing from TJ.  he was expected to return in august.


  • JustSayin' 1 day 18 hours ago (view)

    I think what your saying applies to all franchises in all big-time team sports.  The virus is asymptomatic in many carriers.  The national positive test % rate is mid/high single digits.  If your pro sports franchise does 3-4 x better than that, it still means some players and coaches will test positive and things will grind to a partial or complete halt.  At least baseball didn't try to "bubble" in AZ and FL, which are looking like two of the worst (and worst-led) states in which to be located at the currrent stage of the pandemic.


  • crunch 1 day 19 hours ago (view)

    rizzo took BP and did some field work today.  also, almora is good to go...he ran into a wall on friday and got a little banged up.


  • Cubster 2 days 2 hours ago (view)

    Aroldis Chapman is now Covid positive with mild symptoms


  • crunch 2 days 15 hours ago (view)

    the COVID-Division should be fun.

    teams from TX, AZ, CA, WA, and CO exclusively playing each other...  CO is all "wtf, really?"


  • Cubster 2 days 16 hours ago (view)

    ...and so it goes (per Roto): Astros general manager James Click wrote in a statement that a member of the staff "was potentially exposed to a COVID-positive individual outside the organization.” The team is working with MLB and team doctors on testing protocol and cleaning before resuming workouts. 

    Does the visiting team bring a Covid positive bio-weapon to the player's parking lot?


  • Charlie 2 days 23 hours ago (view)

    I've been wondering how this would proceed. Since teams will have to figure out how existing contracts will be paid, I thought there was a *chance* they would proceed with free agency as usual and plan for payment under potential shortened seasons would just be figured out in negotiations with the MLBPA. But that was probably an overly optimistic thought.


  • Dolorous Jon Lester 3 days 2 hours ago (view)

    Meanwhile Theo shoots down any potential of extension talks. I get that it's a crazy time financially in baseball, but it's really gonna suck when all these players leave after 21 and 22.


  • Cubster 3 days 12 hours ago (view)

    WSox Michael Kopech has opted out of 2020. I didn't see a disclosed reason yet but he is recovering from TJ S 


  • crunch 3 days 23 hours ago (view)

    buster posey (SF) opting out of 2020...recently adopted twin daughters who were born premature.


  • Cubster 5 days 3 hours ago (view)

    per Tribune: Kimbrel's OK, just working on his changeup (formerly his fastball).


  • Arizona Phil 5 days 15 hours ago (view)

    The Cubs have released RHRP (and their erstwhile closer) Brandon Morrow. There is no indication that they plan to re-sign him to another (different) 2020 minor league contract without the Article XX-B $100K retention bonus provision (as happened with Jason Kipnis last week).  


  • crunch 5 days 19 hours ago (view)

    rizzo takes another day off (lower back).  ross says the club is "exercising caution."

    klye ryan is expected to join the team tomorrow after some mysterious holdup.