Cubs @ Pirates: Lester vs Taillon (Game 140)

CHC (76-63): LHP Jon Lester (9-7, 4.46) 
PIT (67-73): RHP Jameson Taillon (7-5, 4.50) 
First pitch: 6:05pmCST

Lester gave up 4 ER in 5 innings but beat the Braves on Saturday. In three starts against the Pirates, he’s 0-2 with a 6.08 this season. Overall, they are 61-222 (.275) against him. Mercer is 6-19, with a HR.

Taillon had a no-decision against the Reds his last time out (6 IP, 0 ER, 4 K, 1 BB). In two starts against the Cubs this season, he’s 1-1 with a 3.00. For their careers, the Cubs are 22-75 (.301). Rizzo is 6-11 with 2 HR, Jay is 2-2, and Baez is 5-7 with a HR.

If you’re in the area, tickets start at $4.

Lackey (11-10) and Nelson (11-6) start the NL Central showdown with the Brewers at Wrigley tomorrow at 7:05pmCST.

Go Cubs!


So now it's Ferrebus for the rest of us, as Alex Avila look-alike Emilio Ferrebus takes the ball tonight at Scottsdale Stadium in the AZL championship game (best two-out-of-three series is tied at 1-1). . 

Tough loss for the AZL Cubs last night at Sloan Park in Mesa.

After going ahead 5-4 on a dramatic one-out bases-clearing three-run triple into the RF corner by Nelson Velazquez (on a 3-1 pitch) in the bottom of the 5th (unfortunately, Velazquez was left-stranded at 3rd), the Cubs gave the lead back in the top of the 6th. The inning started promisingly enough with a pop-up in front of home plate, but somehow it resulted in a messy four-car pile-up in front of the pitcher's mound involving 3rd baseman Cam Balego, 1st baseman Luis Hidalgo, catcher Marcus Mastrobuoni, and pitcher Eury Ramos, as Jacob Gonzalez (son of Luis Gonzalez) hustled into 2nd base (as the ball somehow found an open spot between the quartet) for what had to be scored a double. (The Arizona Highway Patrol was called-in to do the Accident Reconstruction on the wreck but the results will probably not be known for weeks). And "J-Go" (as he is known to his teammates) scored the tying run later in the inning on a two-out bases-loaded walk.  

Then in the top of the 9th, with two outs and a runner at 3rd, Cubs reliever Fauris Guerrero induced the Giants hitter into a two-hop chopper to Cam Balego (now playing 1st base). Balego lost his balance and did a face-first prat fall while fielding the ball and made an errant throw to Guerrero covering 1st, and so the go-ahead run scored on what should have been an easy inning-ending 3-1 putout. 

So then the Cubs came up in the bottom of the 9th trailing 6-5. They got the potential tying and winning runs on base with two outs and Nelson Velazquez coming up to the plate while the Cubs bench was going banshee crazy-nuts on the dugout railing, and in a true Mighty Casey Moment, Velazquez struck out on three pitches (all three swinging, al three sliders, all three pitches out of the strike zone).

So there was a lot of drowning sorrows in warm beer and whiskey in Mesa last night (in other words, not much different than any other night in Mesa)
So it's on to Scottsdale! 

Go Cubs! 

I will be glued to my computer following four playoff games on a night off of work. MB/Eugene/Mesa, and the Geelong Cats in the Aussie football League. I might bother Bill Mitchell for a request of a photo of the line-up cards, so I know which nine relievers will be eligible tonight. I expect to see Marco Estrada as one of the potential relievers.

TIM: FWIW, all of the pitchers on the AZL Cubs active roster were dressed last night, but the only pitchers who were physically in the bullpen during the game were Guerrero, Ramos, Remy, Sweeney, and Stophel. 

It will be truly "all hands on deck" tonight. The only pitchers who probably can't pitch tomight are Colorado, King, Marquez, and Ramos, and Guerrero, Palma, Passantino, and Medina would be iffy (although the latter four seem to have rubber arms and I'm sure they would want to pitch if they're needed).  

But the main six in the pen tonight should be Carrera, Correa, Estrada, Remy, Sweeney, and Stophel, with the others only if they're needed,  

It sucks for the Giants that one of their relievers was injured in the game. (I hate injuries.) I'm not sure if the Giants will back-to-back their closer from last night. That their starter (from Carbondale and SIU-C named Marciano) couldn't get out of the first kind of incinerated their pen for tonight. I'll be a busy boy/nervous wreck tonight. I hear the parent club is playing also, but that will be on another screen. Myrtle Beach and Eugene audio Mesa box for the after-the-inning update. And a possible third year in a row with at least one league champ. After four last year.

I failed to mention this yesterday, but Eugene manager Pedro Feliciano is from the same home town as Nelson Velazquez, and AZL Cubs manager Carmelo Martinez knows more about beisbol in Puerto Rico than probably anybody on earth, so I suspect they may have had some influence or input in the Cubs selecting Velazquez when they did - AND - convincing him to sign. Same goes for SS Luis Vazquez. 

But, I was told baseball was all about numbers. You're the best.

"in other words, not much different than any other night in Mesa)" Hahahahahahahaha

By the way, I love the names of the pitchers coming up. Emilio Ferrebus. Fauris Guerrero. Didier Vargas. So many others.

It looks like the Cubs don't want Lester to start against the Brewers, The Brewers were probably the one team that really took advantage of Lester's throwing-to-bases issue last year. 

Happ (.911 OPS w/RISP) leads off; Zobrist (.597 OPS w/RISP) bats cleanup. Joe, let me see that iPad for a minute.

Willson Contreras catching and batting 2nd for Myrtle Beach, reaches base on HBP 1st time up. 

Contreras pops-out to 2B (P-4) with bases loaded (presumably infield fly rule invoked) and one out in the 2nd inning 

HBP? Willson -- get the hell out of the way!

...and put the cell phone down a while.

The DL must be damn boring. Also, maybe this could be a lesson in the media training that all minor leaguers should receive. Something like, "Learn your cliches. And don't creep on porn stars on twitter."

holy f'n rain. according to len/jd it came on suddenly while lineup cards were being exchanged. they don't even have the tarp on the field yet (working on it). bryant is in the dugout with his batting helmet on, expecting to be in the on-deck circle. right side of the field is a puddle. wow, the grounds crew has a stuck tarp. the right side of the field is going from puddle to pond. almost to the second they finally get the tarp on it stops raining. seriously, though...the right side of the infield is a mess.

Geez, it hurt just watching that pathetic grounds crew trying to get the infield covered with the tarp... Might as well just cancel this one and not risk any injury to the particular team in the pennant race. However, on the flip side, I'd hate for the Cubs to have to play this game after the regular season ends if it matters to the outcome of the pennant/wildcard race.

Gents - I am not making excuses for the town where the Steelers are KING and Penguins are Princes, but they probably pay minimum wage, and the kids are back in school. So, what are you gonna do? I blame TRUMP. And Obama.

I know start time moved tomorrow because of this, but why was this a night game to begin with? I thought getaway days like this were almost always day games.

Excellent question. Same thing with the Cards -- night game in San Diego tonight, home game tomorrow. Maybe because the kids are back in school, MLB doesn't want to schedule day games on weekdays??

To any of our southern Florida TCR friends, GET THE FUCK OUT OF THERE! Thank you.

seconded...and for me it doesn't have anything to do with the hurricane. it's just a good life choice.


Yup. All those Floridians should just move to, let's say, North Carolina. I hear there's lots of empty ground around there.

we have all-you-can-drink coal ash river water, purposely underfunded public schools being legislated into for-profit private schools paid for with public tax money, extremely gerrymandered voting districts, and people with strong opinions about where other people go to the bathroom. join us. bring guns. if you're not grocery shopping with a gun ready to kill some people, you might as well not be shopping.

Man, there is NOBODY at the game.

Rough start for Kershaw: Single. Double. HR by Arenado. 3-0 Rockies, nobody out in the first.

Lenny and Jim pegging at about 1500 folks...

Movie: Ok bitches - for an absolutely, stupid, goofy college "baseball" movie you may want to see, check out Richard Linklater's "Everybody Get Some". Kinda like a college/baseball "Dazed and Confused". But...considering he was Oscar nominated for "Boyhood", he knows what he was doing. I have heard him interviewed and it is somewhat autobiographical.

Yes! Saw it. I think it's "Everybody Wants Some" (?) A lot of fun, and the guys can actually play baseball. I read that after they auditioned, they had to do a "baseball audition", because Linklater wanted it to look real.

The Justin Wilson Experience moves to Pitt! EDIT: AND ONLY ONE RUN GIVEN UP!!! WHOOO! Such a badass!

i want to give a shout out to fans of either side of this contest for sitting through a 6 run cubs lead in the 9th during a miserable downpour...all 100 or so of them left.

Does Pena have a big enough lead?

Dexter K's with the bases loaded and 2 outs in the 9th as the Cards lose 3-0 to the Padres. Cubs now up 5 games! BTW -- I had to turn off the Pats-Chiefs game. The NFL is nothing but injuries and commercials. Just terrible.

Injuries? In football? Much more a fan of Aussie football.

I really can't see how Justin Wilson can make the post season roster? I mean I'd probably prefer Lackey as a reliever...

Lester now has the highest BA of any Cub starting pitcher (.167), and with some pop -- 3 doubles and a HR.

Recent comments

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  • crunch 38 min 2 sec ago (view)

    11 umpires opt out of 2020...


  • Cubster 19 hours 39 sec 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 19 hours 24 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 21 hours 45 min ago (view)

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


  • crunch 21 hours 46 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 19 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 20 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 3 hours ago (view)

    Aroldis Chapman is now Covid positive with mild symptoms


  • crunch 2 days 16 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 17 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 3 days 15 min 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 3 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 13 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 4 days 28 min ago (view)

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


  • Cubster 5 days 4 hours ago (view)

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


  • Arizona Phil 5 days 16 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).