Cubs vs. Cardinals Series Thread (Games 29-31)
It's rivalry time, folks! The redbirds come into town with a 20-11 record and the first spot in the division. This is the first time the two teams will face off in 2019. Despite the gap in their records, the two teams should be matched pretty evenly. The Cards come into the series second in the NL in runs scored, but the Cubs are only 4 runs behind them and trail only the Dodgers in WRC+ and actually lead the NL in WOBA. Both teams also bring tremendous production from the SS position, where Paul DeJong and Javier Baez have each contributed to the offensive resurgence of shortstops across the maors. The Cards have had a slightly better bullpen, but the Cubs have had the edge from starting pitchers. See the pitching matchups below.
CHC: RHP Kyle Hendricks (1-4, 5.33 ERA)
STL: RHP Jack Fleherty (3-1, 4.06 ERA)
First pitch 1:20pmCDT
Hendricks got knocked around for 7 earned runs in his start against the D-Backs. 2019 has not yet seen the sharp command that had allowed him to succeed in previous years. Marcell Ozuna had Hendricks's number in the past (1.157 OPS against) and has been showing off his power in the early going this year.
Jack Flaherty has lowered his walk rates and kept his strikeout rate over 10 per nine innings, but he's allowed 7 homeruns already. He faced the Cubs 3 times in 2018 and went 1-1 with 5 earned runs in 12.2 innings.
CHC: RHP Yu Darvish (2-3, 5.02 ERA)
STL: RHP Michael Wacha (2-0, 4.78 ERA)
First pitch 3:05pmCDT
Darvish had his best start of the season last time out. He went 6 innings and allowed only 1 earned run for a win against the D-Backs. He also still gave up 4 walks and another homerun (7 on the season). Most Cardinals will be facing him for the first time.
Wacha missed much of 2018 with one of those pesky oblique injuries. In 2019, it's the base on balls that's nagging at him. Last time out he pitched 5 innings and was good enough to get a win against the Nats (3 earned runs). There are a bunch of Cubs' hitters with gaudy numbers against him. As a group, they have a .997 OPS against him in 163 at bats.
CHC: LHP José Quintana (3-1, 3.48 ERA)
STL: RHP Adam Wainwright (3-2, 3.73 ERA)
First pitch 6:05pmCDT
Quintana has been extremely sharp in most of his starts so far. Last time, he was good enough to get through 5.2 allowing only 5 baserunners, but two of those baserunners got to trot their way around. As a group, the current Cardinals have mashed against him (.979 OPS against).
Adam Wainwright is now in his 15th season as a Cardinal and is recovering from an injury-shortened 2018. His velocity is down a bit, as you might expect of a pitcher in his late 30s. He's been effective against current Cubs, and Javy has a particularly bad 3-17 against him with 5 strikeouts.
Arizona Phil 14 min 30 sec ago (view)
CUBSTER: Manuel Rodriguez was one of about two dozen players signed by the Cubs out of Mexico 2015-17 and he was one of the most-advanced (he spent three seasons in the Mexican League before signing with the Cubs).
Arizona Phil 53 min 52 sec ago (view)
KKvG: The Cubs are doing their Strength & Conditioning Camp October-Thanksgiving and will have Winter Instructs in January.
KingKongvsGodzilla 1 hour 13 min ago (view)
Cool post, thanks. To go completely off topic - are Fall instructs happening this year? Did they already happen?
Cubster 1 hour 24 min ago (view)
Grandal leaves Brewers for WSox, 4/73 for a 31 yr old switch hitting catcher that hit .246 with decent on base and power.
crunch 2 hours 17 min ago (view)
mekkes plays out like d.maples, but mekkes doesn't throw as hard, mostly just throws his fastball, and it has great deception. both of them have no predictable command and control.
given that mekkes is only expected to be a pen arm at best anyway, someone might very well snag him even if they end up sending him back before the season.
if we still were in an era where you could have "specialist" relievers rather than this new era of innings-guys, he would probably be on the cubs roster given that righties are generally lost against him.
cubbies.4ever 23 hours 44 min ago (view)
Why no Dakota Meekes? Somebody is gonna take him.
Cubster 1 day 14 min ago (view)
Per S Sharma: "Cubs have added C Miguel Amaya, RHP Tyson Miller, RHP Manuel Rodriguez and INF Zack Short to the 40-man roster, which now stands at 36."
...Manny Rodriguez must be a bit of a surprise.
erich081 1 day 7 hours ago (view)
Interesting, thanks AZ Phil.
Arizona Phil 1 day 7 hours ago (view)
First.Pitch.120: Without citing the source, I can say that other than Miguel Amaya, no Cub eligible for selection in the 2019 Rule 5 Draft is more-likely to be selected (if left unprotected) than P. J. Higgins, and if Higgins is selected, the Cubs will almost certainly not get him back.
First.Pitch.120 1 day 10 hours ago (view)
AZ PHIL: can you tell us a bit more about the "likely" ranking for PJ Higgins? I haven't had a chance to see him IRL. His stat sheet looks ok but not necessarily above some others. Is it a case of the "useful AAA catcher who can also do other things while not destroying you with the bat"?
JustSayin' 5 days 8 hours ago (view)
I hear you but welcome to the world of Theo. The team is always a step or two away from the World Series in his mind, whether that is true or not. Therefore, the thing to do on the margin is to trade top prospects or younger guys on the roster for that missing puzzle piece, not build for the future. I had a front-row seat for this as a Red Sox fan. If Pedro Martinez doesn't insist the Red Sox sign David Ortiz for table scraps and Chris Bryant isn't the no-brainer second pick in the draft, we'd all be wondering what happened to that Theo guy who was in the Red S
Cubster 5 days 9 hours ago (view)
Shogo Akiyama is a lefty bat, career BA at.301 w/ Seibu Lions. Recent OBPs: .419, .385, .398, .403 and .392. HR 20-15 in last 3 seasons Stolen bases, 12 in 2019, 18 in best season (2016). Defense supposedly plus-plus, 7-10 assists (10 in 2016). Clearly a leadoff hitter.
crunch 6 days 2 hours ago (view)
christian yelich committed internet homicide on yu darvish...
Charlie 6 days 6 hours ago (view)
Little in the offseason could make me happier than the Cubs finding ways to retain the good MLB players who came up with them while remaining competitive. This Javy extension talk makes me much happier as a fan than the Bryant and Contreras trade talk.
crunch 6 days 6 hours ago (view)
"Javy Baez. The two-time All-Star shortstop and 2018 MVP runner-up already has begun negotiations on a potential long-term extension with the Cubs, according to sources."
also, some talk of being linked to shogo akiyama (CF, Japan, 32yo in April)
crunch 1 week 2 hours ago (view)
j.odorizzi accepted his qualifying offer (17.8m) from MIN...so did j.abreu (CWS)....everyone else is gonna play the FA market.
w.smith (SF) immediately signed with the braves for 3/39 (13m team option/1m buyout on the backend). braves lose a 2nd round pick...which they'll probably get back when someone signs j.donaldson.