Cubs vs. Reds: Series Thread (Games 49-51)
The Cubs came up a bit short on their comeback attempt yesterday and had to accept a 2-2 split with the Phillies. They move on to greet the Reds to Wrigley for a 3-game set.
The Cubs matched up with the Reds in mid-May for a tough 1-2 series loss. Every game in that series was decided by 2 runs or fewer. The Cubs will run out an exact repeat of their starters in that series, but Tanner Roark will be the only familiar face on the other side. The Reds are well rested, having played only 5 games and having 3 days off since then. See below for the game-by-game matchups.
CHC: RHP Kyle Hendricks (4-4, 3.21 ERA)
CIN: RHP Anthony DeSclafani (2-2, 4.60 ERA)
First pitch 1:20pmCDT
Hendricks got his fourth win despite allowing four runs in his last start against the Nationals. Three of those runs scored on an Anthony Rendon homerun. The start before that, he beat the Reds in eight innings and allowed only one run while striking out seven. A Joey Votto solo homer accounted for the only damage. Hendricks went 3-4 and drove in two in that game as well. Current Reds have faced Hendricks 191 times, with most of those PAs concentrated among Cincinnati vets. The cumulative OPS against him is only .664. Joey Votto has not been impressed by Hendricks's wily ways, having outdone him to the tune of 11 walks, and 9 hits (3 homeruns) in 21 at bats. As ever, Hendricks can probably aim to handle the rest of the lineup and trust his own batters to collectively outproduce Votto. Dietrich and Suarez always have the potential to sneak up on you and go yard, of course.
Anthony DeSclafani's 2019 has been pretty strongly defined by two of the three true values. He's striking out batters at a much higher rate than he usually does (10 per 9 innings), but he's also allowing 2 homeruns per nine innings. His groundball rate is way down in the early going. The pitch tracking system seems to think he's using his sinker less this year, but that doesn't appear to be working out for him. The Dodgers tagged him for 3 homeruns in 4 innings of work on May 17 and he's had a full week to either forget about it or stew over it. Bryant is 5-15 off of him and Javy is 2-5 with a homerun. Rizzo is 4-24.
CHC: RHP Yu Darvish (2-3, 5.06 ERA)
CIN: RHP Tyler Mahle (1-5, 3.51 ERA)
First pitch 1:20pmCDT
Darvish has shown signs of improvement in his last few starts. After issuing no walks and striking out 11 Reds in a May 15 no-decision, he went 6 innings against the Phillies in his last start. Things were going swimmingly until a shaky 6th that saw him walk two, give up a stolen base, and allow a run-scoring single and triple. Mixed in their was a potential double-play that twas not. Current Reds have seen little of him, but Derek Dietrich (possibly the Reds' best position player so far?) is 3-6 with a homerun.
Tyler Mahle earned his first win in his last start against the Dodgers, going 6 shutout innings. Despite the record, he seems to have figured something out this year, cutting his walk rate by more than half compared to the last two years while missing more bats. Kyle Schwarber is 3-7 and Javy is 4-8, each with a homerun, against the 24-year-old righty. Other current Cubs have only five hits against him in 43 at bats and have 0 walks.
CHC: LHP Jose Quintana (4-3, 3.30 ERA)
CIN: RHP Tanner Roark (3-3, 3.51 ERA)
First pitch 1:20pmCDT
Hooray, hooray, no Sunday night game!
Quintana pitched 6 scoreless innings allowing two hits and three walks for a no-decision in the Phillies series. He had a stretch of five middling starts before that but he has generally been the Cubs' most dependable starter. Leaving out his early relief appearance and his first clunker of a start, he's gone at least 5 in every start since and has gone 6 or more innings in 6 out of 8 of those starts. Votto is unsurprisingly the Red to watch out for, 8-17 against Quintana.
Tanner Roark has succeeded this year in large part due to his very low HR-per-fly-ball rate. That shouldn't be sustainable, as he's not getting ground balls or weak contact, nor is he suppressing walks. Maybe the Cubs can turn his stats around a bit. He allowed 3 earned runs in 5 innings facing the Cubs when the teams last matched up. Tyler Chatwood is 1-1 off of him and Kyle Hendricks is 2-2 with a pair of runs-batted-in. Kris Bryant's 7-14 pales in comparison.
Have fun, Cubs fans! May we be spared ESPN for months to come!
Expect wet and weird conditions Saturday and Sunday with high potential for delays, weird defensive plays, and windblown homers. Flash floods and thunderstorms are in the forecast starting Friday night. Radar suggests the worst of it should be in the evenings. If that forecast holds true, the wind will be blowing out toward the lake and could be gusting at times.
bradsbeard 1 min 25 sec ago (view)
Happ has been an above average hitter every season he's been in the majors, and he killed it in his brief return from the minors last year (with better contact and lower K rates to boot). Aside from an extended period with the lower K rates, what else are you not seeing?
Dolorous Jon Lester 14 min 49 sec ago (view)
Bote, for the moment, is adequate. Very unsold on the 2 LH hitting 2B options.
I have never seen it for Happ. I'd love for him to prove me wrong but I dont see it happening.
crunch 1 hour 7 min ago (view)
someone else may have noticed or written something about a possible issue with lefties last year (aside from the obvious disappointing numbers), but i didn't see anything that made him look lost vs them.
myself, i'm not expecting the hard time vs lefties to keep happening (though i can't point to why 2019 wasn't good for him and i may be missing something). also, how well he handled righties has me a bit pumped about his future.
bradsbeard 1 hour 24 min ago (view)
I think it was likely just a small sample size luxuation against LHP last year. His splits were essentially swapped from 2018 to 2019. For his career he's been a little above average against both sides, or essentially no significant split. I'd expect him to hit LHP better than RHP going forward though.
Eric S 1 hour 35 min ago (view)
I'd like to see Bote not get owned by lefties. Not sure what it is about his stroke that's hurting him - struggles against offspeed in general?
crunch 2 hours 9 min ago (view)
huge bote fan over here, and i think he's one of the best longterm investments the cubs have gambled on. cubs have control over him through 2026 if they exercise both his options (both 7.6m).
i'd like to see him penciled in as the main regular at 2nd, but overall i just wanna see him play more than he was late last year when he was red hot. if bryant flames out with the glove at 3rd (clock is ticking on that) we might see bote at 3rd a bit.
Eric S 2 hours 15 min ago (view)
Hopefully KB has worked on his base sliding technique - believe he jacked his knee up last year because of some rough "landings" on the basepaths. He definitely should shine in the role - and provided KB is not traded - Cubs can only go up from their leadoff hitter ranking from last year.
Charlie 2 hours 51 min ago (view)
Bote was a little better than league average with the bat last year and Happ has never been worse than league average with the bat over a full season in the majors. Not too bad at the end of your lineup (though neither is helping out too much on defense). Heyward could end up the #8 if things break OK for Bote and Happ at the plate.
Dolorous Jon Lester 3 hours 17 min ago (view)
That would be a hell of a 1-5. The problem comes from 6-8 being a combination of Heyward, Bote/ Kipnis/ Descalso, and Happ/ Almora.
crunch 7 hours 13 min ago (view)
that should be good for 175Ks, 30 homers, 30 doubles, 60-70 RBI...
wonder who the #2 they're looking at...hopefully rizzo and not heyward.
bryant/rizzo/baez/schwarber/contreras would be a hell of a 1-5.
Rob Richardson 9 hours 13 min ago (view)
Per Bruce Levine, Kris Bryant will be leading off for the Cubs.
crunch 9 hours 49 min ago (view)
"Kris Bryant expects to remain with the Cubs in 2020 after a sit-down with team president Theo Epstein.
"Everything went great," Bryant told Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times. "It was the best meeting I had with a superior. He just gave me insight as to what kind of happened in the offseason." The star third baseman did later add that Epstein gave him no assurances that he will be kept in the loop if further trade talks were to arise, before stating, "I’m a Chicago Cub.""
Dolorous Jon Lester 10 hours 26 min ago (view)
That would be so devious!
tim815 11 hours 54 min ago (view)
Owners might not want to spend the extra coin. Which would be about like a dime to us.
Nice on the Cubs for upping MiLB pay.
jdrnym 23 hours 42 min ago (view)
AZPHIL, has there been official word as to whether the 26-man roster has been extended down to the minor league levels that previously had 25-man rosters? Can't really think of a reason why that shouldn't be the case...
Arizona Phil 1 day 4 hours ago (view)
Another possibility for a "26th man" in 2020 would be a young pitcher selected in the Rule 5 Draft who has big league upside but who is clearly not yet "big league ready," or a pitcher who is out of minor league options who might not be quite MLB ready.