Cubs vs. Cardinals: Series Thread (Games 153-156)
It's here, the Cubs vs. Cards series we've been waiting for. The Cubs feel to three games behind the Cardinals, remained in a tie with the Brewers for the second Wild Card spot, and fell behind the Nationals by 1.5 for the top Wild Card spot. That means, it would take a Cubs sweep of the four-game set to jump over the Cardinals in the division this weekend, right where you would want to be so that you don't have to end the season needing a sweep of the Cards on the road. The Cubs will have to continue to do their most important work without Javy, Rizzo, or even the backup Russell. In the meantime, they will continue to rely on mid-season additions (Castellanos), recent reactivations (Contreras, Zobrist), and 2019 newbies (Hoerner, Kyle Ryan, Rowan Wick, etc.). See below for how this hodge-podge will match up with the Cards.
Game 153, Thursday, September 19, 6:15pmCDT
CHC: RHP Kyle Hendricks (11-9, 3.26 ERA)
STL: RHP Jack Flaherty (10-8, 3.05 ERA)
This may be the biggest match-up. Will we stay invested, or hedge our emotional bets? That could depend on whether the Cubs can win this opening game. The Cubs send their best starting pitcher to face the Card's best. Hendricks has been strong in his last three starts, allowing a single earn run in each and going into the sixth as well. He's 3-0 in three starts against the Cards this year, one at home and two on the road. He has allowed one earned run in 23 innings pitched, with the first game being his 4-hit complete game shutout in St. Louis. Who else would you want starting against Flaherty? Ozuna is 12-29 with two homeruns off of him.
Something seems to have clicked for Flaherty in the second half, and he's been arguably the best pitcher in the league since then. His ERA is only 1.05 since then and he's stuck out 11.52 per nine innings. He took a loss to the Brewers in his last start, allowing three earned runs in six innings despite striking out ten. He's 1-1 in four starts against the Cubs this year, allowing nine earned runs in 21.2 innings. He'll be fortunate to miss Rizzo, who has done the vast majority of the Cubs' damage against him, going 8-15 with two homeruns.
Game 154, Friday, September 20, 1:20pmCDT
CHC: LHP José Quintana (13-8, 4.37 ERA)
STL: RHP Michael Wacha (6-7, 4.76 ERA)
Quintana has been pulled early in each of his last starts, so he should be well rested? It's been a rough three-game stretch in which he has allowed thirteen earned runs in only 10.1 innings. In that time, he's benefitted from some offensive and bullpen rescues, going 1-0. It's time to pay back that favor. Cardinals hitters have, however, very much enjoyed their time against Q; they have a collective OPS of .931 in 152 at-bats. Goldschmidts stands out in particular at 8-13 with three homeruns. If he's not making his pitches, Q may find himself getting the quick hook for a third start in a row.
Michael Wacha has been terrible this year, but he's been a little sharper lately. He held Milwaukee scoreless in five innings last time out, and has allowed only nine earned runs in his last 31.2 innings over seven starts. The Cubs have collectively accrued a 1.011(!) OPS against Wacha over 218 at-bats. Bryant is 11-35 with three homeruns.
Game 155, Saturday, September 21, 1:20pmCDT
CHC: LHP Cole Hamels (7-7, 3.96 ERA)
STL: RHP Dakota Hudson (16-7, 3.35 ERA)
Hamels looked like the Cubs best starter for quite a while, but he's long since come back to earth. He exited his last start in the fourth having allowed only two earned runs but also having walked five batters. Control has very much been the issue, as he's walked fourteen batters over his last seventeen innings. Good news? The strikeouts are still there. The Cards have generally not been able to figure him out, flailing their collective way to a .541 OPS in 179 at-bats. Matt Carpenter and Marcel Ozuna are just barely propping those numbers up, 5-15 and 9-38 (with a homerun) respectively.
After pitching a handful of innings out of the MLB bullpen last year, Dakota Hudson has been treated to 16 wins as a starter in 2019. He relies extensively on ground balls to keep the old ERA down, as he doesn't strike out many and walks over four per nine innings. He's missed the Cubs so far, making this his first exposure to them as a starter. Last time out he defeated the Nationals, allowing two earned runs in seven innings. Lucroy is 2-3 off of him.
Game 156, Sunday, September 22, 1:20pmCDT
CHC: RHP Yu Darvish (6-7, 4.02 ERA)
STL: RHP Miles Mikolas (9-14, 4.29 ERA)
Darvish's last start was extremely weird making it somehow typical for Yu in 2019 as well. He struck out 13, including 8 in a row at one point, but lost the game anyway, allowing four earned runs including a homerun in seven innings. Before that, he struck out 14 and earned a win in San Diego. Keep the Ks coming, but let's forego the dingers. The Cards haven't seen too much of him. Ozuna is 4-10 and Jose Martinez is 3-5 with a homerun.
Mikolas has been consistently OK throughout the year, and that's been his story of late as well. He's 2-1 in his last five starts, allowing 11 earned runs in 28 innings. He's 0-2 against the Cubs in three starts this year, but he's allowed only four earned run in those 16.2 innings. Cubs lefties have mostly fared better against him, including back-ups Caratini and Happ. Schwarber, 1-12 with four strikeouts, is an exception.
Let's go, Cubs!
crunch 7 hours 17 min ago (view)
kevin rizzo is in camp with the cubs and is in workouts with the team.
very tiny guy, no power, but he can run down a ball in the field and he's almost impossible to pitch to. time to give him a contract and put him in the OF.
crunch 7 hours 57 min ago (view)
Marquee has added a tuesday game, so now the first televised cubs game is March 2nd (3pm EST)
Arizona Phil 17 hours 47 min ago (view)
The DFA of Robert Stock to make room for Kyle Ryan coming off the CoViD-related IL wil need to be followed by removing another player on the 40 to make room for Ryan Tepera.
It's possible somebody (like a pitcher) is injured to the extent that he might be placed on the 60-day IL, or else maybe somebody else will go on the CoViD-related IL (which is 40-man roster exempt) in the coming days to make room for Tepera.
Arizona Phil 18 hours 22 min ago (view)
The Cubs have signed LHSP Ben Holmes (ex-LAD) and RHRP Jose Moreno (ex-NYM) to 2021 minor league contracts. Both were post-2020 minor league 6YFA and neither has been on an MLB 40-man roster.
Holmes pitched collegiately at Oregon State and has some AAA experience, but Moreno hasn't pitched above Lo-A over the course of seven seasons in the Mets organization.
crunch 1 day 3 hours ago (view)
side note...k.wong is on 1st putting on one of those "baserunning mitts" (hand protection for sliding) that's extending past the length of his hand/fingers by at least 2-3 inches.
they're going to have to start regulating this piece of equipment if this keeps up...
crunch 1 day 5 hours ago (view)
Q with LAA in his debut for them...HBP, a wild pitch, and BB through 7 pitches...then 3 pop-outs to follow.
blah blah spring training...
baseball on TV...neat.
First.Pitch.120 1 day 8 hours ago (view)
We just traded for Maddux!!! ......... nope, the other one.
crunch 1 day 21 hours ago (view)
yeah, i'm just saying i did consider piling onto it with a troll-level post about the trade...it's practically asking to be written that way.
jeff passan did it quite well... https://twitter.com/jeffpassan/status/136577746706...
that said, i had no idea zach bryant existed before today, but his early numbers looked oddly good (which means nothing without context that early in his career).
Charlie 1 day 21 hours ago (view)
Oh, I mean the trade. You were quite diligent in posting!
crunch 2 days 1 hour ago (view)
i contemplated writing the post totally trolled out as hell with "zach" coming after a wall of text.
i decided the cubs being cheap was enough pre-season punishment without piling on.
Charlie 2 days 2 hours ago (view)
This is a straight up troll
crunch 2 days 3 hours ago (view)
rsox aquiring ZACH bryant from the cubs.
ptbn from the josh osich deal.
totally useless trade...hopefully not a terrible loss.
Hagsag 3 days 4 hours ago (view)
Chase Strumpf and Andy Weber invited to the ML camp.
Dolorous Jon Lester 3 days 10 hours ago (view)
Ryan Tepera returns. Major League deal
crunch 4 days 8 hours ago (view)
spring training TV is usually fluid...adding and subtracting broadcast games...
first cubs TV (as of now) is March 3 (wednesday) on ESPN at 3pm EST.
radio broadcasts available for almost every game that's not televised. the cubs get going on monday and some other teams will start the day before.
crunch 5 days 4 hours ago (view)
dj snelton's left elbow is screwed up...6 weeks rest then re-evaluate.
looks like he's going to try to avoid having surgery.