Cubs @ Pirates: Series Thread (Games 157-159)
Having suffered a disastrous and heart-rending sweep at the hands of the Cardinals over the week, the Cubs remaining shot at the postseason is frighteningly improbable. Still, if they are to retain any hope at a Wild Card spot, the Cubs will have to take at least two out of three from the Pirates in Pittsburgh. At the same time, Nationals and/or Brewers losses to the Phillies and Reds will also be necessary. On the bright side, the Pirates have been absolutely dismal lately, combining poor baseball outcomes with horrible off-the-field news. See below for the match-ups in Western PA.
Game 157, Tuesday, September 24, 6:05pmCDT
CHC: RHP Kyle Hendricks (11-9, 3.37 ERA)
PIT: RHP Mitch Keller (1-5, 7.74 ERA)
Hendricks was so-so in his last start, getting a no-decision on four earned runs in 5.1 innings pitched. He had six strikeouts but also allowed eight hits. Before that, he defeated the Pittsburgh, allowing one earned run over six innings at Wrigley.
Mitch Keller last earned a victory on August 12, and he's gone 0-4 in six starts since then. He wasn't bad in his last start, a loss to Seattle in which he struck out seven and allowed two earned runs. The Cubs served him a loss at home on August 18, scoring six on seven hits, including a pair of homeruns.
Game 158, Wednesday, September 25, 6:05pmCDT
CHC: LHP Jon Lester (13-10, 4.51 ERA)
PIT: RHP Dario Agrazal (4-5, 5.08 ERA)
Lester last went five innings and allowed one earned run in a no-decision to Cincinnati. Before that he earned a win against the Pirates in a very offense friendly day at Wrigley despite allowing seven runs, four earned, along the way.
Dario Agrazal will be making his first start against the Cubs and 14th overall start in the majors. It's been a bit of a struggle for him so far, as he has neither struck out many batters nor coaxed a high groundball rate. Last time out, the Mariners scored four off of him in five innings and handed him his fifth loss.
Game 159, Thursday, September 26, 6:05pmCDT
CHC: TBD but probably LHP José Quintana (13-8, 4.55 ERA)
PIT: RHP Joe Musgrove (10-12, 4.49 ERA)
Quintana has a string of three no decisions despite allowing 14 earned runs in just 8.1 innings over that stretch. He hasn't gone past the fourth in any of those starts. He had won every start against the Pirates until the most recent, a no-decision in which he went only 2.1 and allowed five earned runs on eight hits.
Musgrove last went five against the Mariners and allowed four runs, two earned, in a no-decision. His strikeout rate has been up a bit lately, including in an August 16th start in which he struck out nine Cubs over 7.1 innings. The Cubs are 0-1 in three of his starts this year, having scored nine runs (only two earned) in his 16.1 innings pitched against them.
The Cubs will have do their work without Bryant now, as he suffered an ankle injury in Sunday's game.
crunch 21 hours 3 min ago (view)
it's not like i think he's something special, but if he had 5mph more on his stuff he'd probably be a top prospect in the system combined with his command/control. he's got highly repeatable junk and he's still young enough there might be a little more velocity to discover.
Arizona Phil 1 day 17 min ago (view)
CRUNCH: As long as Carrera is placed on the AAA Iowa reserve list on 11/20 he should be safe from selection, and I would say he is in fact close to a lock to be placed on the Iowa roster.
Presuming he is on the Iowa reserve list going into the Rule 5 Draft, I doubt very much that he would get selected in the Major League Phase because he hasn't pitched above Lo-A.
crunch 1 day 28 min ago (view)
i'm low-key keeping an eye on faustino carrera if he's not protected...which he may not be protected.
he throws junk, but he throws it well, and with great control.
Arizona Phil 1 day 46 min ago (view)
I've talked to Player Development people over the past many years about the Rule 5 Draft and how an organization goes about deciding whether to protect or not protect a player from selection.
STEP 1: How many of your Rule 5 Draft-eligible players are actually legit candidates to get selected in the Major League Phase?. Usually there a dozen or more who could conceivably/realisticaly get selected. You need to identify them and then carefully evaluate them.
EXAMPLES: See my lists above.
crunch 1 day 3 hours ago (view)
"There are no untouchables," Epstein said.
In truth, the Cubs boss has said the same every year, but it certainly sounds like he means it this time. "We're in the 'information collecting' stages of the process," one general manager put it on Tuesday.
Dolorous Jon Lester 2 days 5 hours ago (view)
I think, in relation to the higher profile guys like Javy or Contreras, they're trying to put some pressure on to sign extensions.
That said I do think they're listening on everyone with the only name I haven't seen being Rizzo.
crunch 2 days 22 hours ago (view)
i wonder where the cubs will go with things.
there's a lot pointing to the cubs being expected to listen to offers on almost anyone. as it is, on paper, the cubs could roll right into 2020 with no changes whatsoever and still field a very competitive team. the whole "shakeup" thing seems to be a very hot topic from a variety of sources, though.
bryant, contreras, schwarber have all been linked to "cubs may be listening" rumors...probably listening to anything on happ, bote, almora, russell, too...
Hagsag 2 days 22 hours ago (view)
Even the Cubs should be able to out bid the Marlins!
crunch 2 days 22 hours ago (view)
"According to Joe Frisaro of MLB.com, the Marlins are "believed" to have interest in free agent outfielder Nicholas Castellanos."
by interest, i assume they mean they'd like to have some baseball rookie cards or his or maybe a hug from him. i can't imagine they actually want to spend money on someone they could use to make their team better because that makes no sense.
Arizona Phil 3 days 15 hours ago (view)
Prior to joining the Cubs in 2012 Scott Harris was Director of Baseball Operations in the MLB office, which means he received, reviewed, and approved all major league and minor league contracts and transactions, as well as providing MLB clubs with schedules, rules updates, and draft information.
Cubster 3 days 23 hours ago (view)
Giants hire Scott Harris, from Cubs front office, as GM
Charlie 5 days 1 hour ago (view)
For anyone else who immediately wonders but is not invested enough to look it up, this is not Chris (Ryan) Young, former Padres starter and fisticuffs partner of Derrek Lee, but rather the two-years younger Chris Matthew Young.
crunch 5 days 12 hours ago (view)
rev up those off-season rumor fryers...
Jeff Passan @JeffPassan
Multiple teams in search of catching help believe Cubs catcher Willson Contreras will be available this winter. The Cubs will get creative this winter, and with a deep catching free agent market, they could trade Contreras and begin retooling under new manager David Ross.
crunch 5 days 17 hours ago (view)
former padres manager andy green is gonna be ross's bench coach.
green was c.rea's manager in SD, btw.
Arizona Phil 5 days 23 hours ago (view)
Last year the Cubs signed four free-agents to minor league contracts prior to the Rule 5 Draft: LHP Alberto Baldonado, OF Wynton Bernard, RHP Corey Black, and RHP Jose Rosario. All four were members of the Cubs organization in 2018 but declined to sign a 2019 minor league successor contract prior to being declared a free-agent, but then came back to the Cubs after briefly testing the free-agent waters.
crunch 6 days 3 hours ago (view)
chris young to be named new bullpen coach (former phillies pitching coach)
mixed messages on whether lester strode will have a new cubs role or leaving the cubs...