Cubs @ Dodgers: Series Thread (Games 68-71)

Just as the Cubs acclimate to the atmosphere at Coors, they skip off to Cally for a four-game set against the dangerous Dodgers. Having pitched a gem in the stopper role on Wednesday, Hamels will take his place in the cheering section for this one, and the rest of the rotation will get a chance to show their stuff. Good news for them is that the first three of the series will be night games, which may help them keep the ball in the yard. Quintana will have to work his way through the Sunday afternoon game. The bad news for everyone is that the Dodgers feature the most productive offense without a DH (ahead of the Cubs, who are now second in the NL in wRC+). On the other side of the ball, the LA squad may have the best defense in all of baseball, and their pitching is near the top in the NL. With the Dodgers (45-23) leading the NL in wins, any match with them will look like a post-season preview, as long as the other team is contending. The Cubs (38-29) come into the series 0.5 behind Milwaukee.

Matchups after the break.


Game 68, Thursday, 9:10pmCDT
CHC: LHP Jon Lester (5-4, 3.56 ERA)
LAD: LHP Clayton Kershaw (5-1, 3.00 ERA)

Lester pitched six innings for a the win against STL last time out, allowing four earned runs including a pair of homers. Most of the younger Dodgers have decent numbers against Lester in limited at bats, while Justin Turner is 0-20 against him.

Clayton Kershaw has been a tick less effective this season compared to the last two (both of which were well below his peak years), although he still maintains some intimidating numbers. His average fastball is all the way down to 90.5 MPH, perhaps unsurprising as the most recent phase of his career has been about working through and around injuries. After increasing his slider usage each of the last three years, Kershaw's apparently decided that throwing it 40% of the time is just the right amount. Last time out he allowed two earned runs in seven innings and was tagged with his first loss. Anthony Rizzo is 6-16 off of him with two homeruns. CarGo has not enjoyed his 47 at bats against the lefty, resulting in an OPS against of .686. Most Cubs have fewer than ten at-bats against him.


Game 69, Friday, 9:10pmCDT
CHC: RHP Kyle Hendricks (7-3, 3.00 ERA)
LAD: LHP Rich Hill (3-1, 2.40 ERA)

Hendricks was excellent against the Cards, going 7 and allowing one earned run. He was a slightly more extreme version of his usual self, collecting only three strikeouts and working around eight hits (and 0 walks). Current Dodgers are 12-41 off of him with four homeruns and four walks. You may remember that he pitched a fairly important game against them back in 2016 and the Cubs ultimately did OK in that one.

After missing most of April, the former Cub, Hill, has been excellent in eight starts. He recently earned a victory against the Giants, going five and allowing two earned runs. As per usual, he's striking out more than a batter per inning and relies on his curveball over 40% of the time (slightly more than in the previous two years). Something to look out for: Hill only threw the ball in the zone 37.2% of the time in his last start, down from his season average at 59.7%. Current Cubs are 3-22 off of him.


Game 70: Saturday, 8:10pmCDT
CHC: RHP Yu Darvish (2-3, 4.98 ERA)
LAD: RHP Walker Buehler (7-1, 3.35 ERA)

Darvish got a no decision Colorado after six innings pitched and four earned runs; it's better than I would have feared when you put the words "Darvish" and "Coors" in the same sentence. He was hurt by two homeruns in the game. Current Dodgers are 5-22 off of him, a collection that excludes some of the better youngsters--most notably Bellinger.

Walker Buehler is dang good. He pitched seven scoreless against the Giants last time out, striking out nine. His fastball usually sits mid-to-high nineties, and he complements it with strong breaking pitches. He's an ace type that gets grounders and strikeouts without walking many. The Cubs are 11-40 off of him. Almora and Baez have homered. CarGo is 3-12 with five strikeouts.


Game 71, Sunday, 6:10pmCDT
CHC: LHP Jose Quintana (4-6, 3.89 ERA)
LAD: LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu (9-1, 1.36 ERA)

Quintana only got through 4.1 innings in Denver, and he allowed four runs (three earned) while taking the loss. He's lost three of his last four, giving up 13 earned runs in 21.1 innings pitched. Current Dodgers are 21-72 off of him, but only David Freese has double digit at bats.

Ryu's missed a bunch of time to injury 2015-2016 and in 2018. It's been easy to forget just how good he's been when healthy. So far, he's stepped his game up in 2019. Still, there's some hope for regression, as his .248 BABIP is almost .050 below his career mark. It's hard to imagine someone suppressing hits this well while also allowing just over half a walk per nine innings. Only three current Cubs have more than three at bats against him. CarGo is 5-15 with a homer and three walks. Rizzo is 3-9 with a homer. Heyward is 3-12.

Comments

late game tonight (thursday)

if anyone is bored before the game starts, the tigers and royals are playing the first MLB game in Nebraska (omaha).

Edwards to IR, back problem. Tim Collins has joined the team.

schwarber / bryant(RF) / rizzo / baez / contreras / almora / russell(2nd) / lester / bote(3rd)

Cubs closer (in waiting) Craig Kimbrel threw in a three-inning "live" BP/sim-game at Sloan Park (in the stadium) Thursday afternoon. 

Wearing #24, Kimbrel threw one inning (24 pitches - 15 strikes), facing five batters and striking out three (all swinging), issued no walks, and two balls were put into play (a hard-contact line drive to the outfield & a soft-contact two-hopper to first-base). There were also four foul balls hit into the 1st & 3rd base grandstands. 

Cubs 2017 1st round draft pick LHSP Brendon Little (three innings - 54 pitches) and LHRP Conor Lillis-White (one inning - 23 pitches) also threw in the game. (Lillis-White was acquired from the Angels as the PTBNL in the Tommy LaStella trade, but he has been on the AA Tennessee IL since Opening Day and has been in the Rehab Throwing Program since the start of Spring Training).  

Little (on South Bend 7-day IL with a lat strain suffered in his first "live" BP of Minor League Camp in March) continues to impress, throwing a high-percentage of strikes (75%), and getting swings & misses with both his CV and CH, while maintaining 92-94 velo on his FB through all three innings of work. He also worked - VERY - fast. 

It was a combo "live" BP/sim game because while there were no fielders or base-runners, balls & strikes were called, and batters rotated after either striking out, drawing a walk, getting hit by a pitch, or putting the ball into play. 

ohtani hits for the cycle!

what an exciting player.  i can't wait until he's pitching again.  he's been on fire lately after a boring, but not bad start.

1st pitch, schwarb HR.

cubs on pace for infinity runs in this game.  great for stats, but the game will never end.

homer, walk, double to start the game vs kershaw...8 pitches.

...cubs "only" get 2 runs out of the inning, but 2 runs on kershaw is a nice 1st inning.

not a good look from lester tonight...

Do you think Lester was injured by the ball off his foot, or did he just loose it?

lester's last 6 starts...

32ip 43h 9bb 30k, 9hr, 7.59era

he gave up 4-7 earned runs in 5 of those starts, 1 earned in another.

schwarber / bryant / rizzo / baez / contreras / almora / heyward / hendricks / russell

MIL also playing a late west coast game.

kimbrel plan allegedly includes a saturday pen sim session vs live batters in ARZ then off to AAA for 5(ish) appearances.

"rich hill gives the dodgers the lead"

i don't like this timeline.

almora out of the game after ringing his skull a bit on a leaping catch at the wall (after montgomery loaded the bases with 3 walks in a row).

he smacked it pretty good based on how he looked afterwards...no idea if he'll be under concussion protocol.

cubs lose...brewers lose...cards win

I’ve been at both games so far in LA and I am starting to think my presence is a jinx. I’m hoping bringing my two year old son will be a counter-jinx because he is way cooler than me. 6pm PST start time tomorrow and 4pm on Sunday means he won’t be up too late.

I shall do my best to turn things around. My first game at Dodger Stadium.

This is turning into "the trip from hell".

Was that before or after Hendricks going on the 10 day IL with right shoulder inflammation?

last thing i wanna hear about a dude who throws 85-88mph is "shoulder issues"

k.hendricks to the 10-day IL with "right shoulder inflamation"

maaaaaaaaaaaaaaan...

rowan wick up because whatever.

Alzolay started yesterday for the Iowa Cubs and would track to take what was supposed to be Hendricks next turn in the rotation - perhaps Adbert gets his first MLB start this upcoming week. That would get my vote. 

it's either that or montgomery/chatwood...i'll take AA

schwarber / bryant / rizzo / baez / heyward(CF) / caratini / cargo(RF) / darvish / russell

darvish pitching the best game of his cubs career after 7ip...and losing 0-1.

7ip 2h 1bb 10k, 1r/er

the cubs need a break.

RIZZO!!!!

2r HR off jansen in the 9th!  cubs lead 2-1!

sweet f'n win.  also, MIL lost.

cubs and brewers tied for 1st.

Yes indeed, feels like the Cubs stole one.  Helluva 9th and another Darvish no decision.  Could really use a few more starts like tonight from Darvish. 

 I was watching the golf waiting for the Cubs to start and of course I fell asleep and then I had the weirdest dream.  The Cubs were getting no hit but Darvish was pitching really well and then Jansen blew a save and then Strop actually closed the game out without a guy getting into scoring position.  It's not like any of that stuff except the no hitter part could happen.

As of today (6/16), Daniel Descalso and Brad Brach no longer have Article XX-B "no trade" rights and so they can be traded without restriction. 

mike trout will be a cub soon enough.  woo!  if they package both together the cubs might be able to snag griffin canning along with him.

If Ben Zobrist were to return to baseball sometime in the next few weeks or next couple of months, keep in mind that he does have a minor league option left, so he (like Craig Kimbrel) could consent to an Optional Assignment to the minors to get into playing shape. 

You may remember that both Addison Russell and Oscar de la Cruz had roster-exempt minor league conditioning assignments prior to being reinstated from the Restricted List earlier this season, but roster-exempt minor league conditioning assignments are only available to players who are on the Restricted List after being suspended by MLB for violation of the MLB-MLBPA JDPTP or JDV policies.

So Zobrist would have to be optioned to the minors before he could play in games at Iowa or Tennessee.

Also, if Zobrist were to return to the Cubs sometime this season prior to September 1st (when Active List rosters expand), a position player would have to be dropped. As of right now that would appear to be either Daniel Descalso or Carlos Gonzalez.

If the Cubs were to release Descalso they would be on the hook for what remains of his multi-year contract (the balance of his $1.5M 2019 salary, plus his $2.5M salary in 2020, and the $1M buy-out for 2021, offset in 2019 and 2020 by the pro-rated MLB minimum salary if he were to sign a major league contract with another MLB club after being released).  

If the Cubs release Gonzalez they are on the hook for what remains of the MLB minimum salary for the 2019 season (the Cubs are only paying Cargo the MLB minimum salary because he was signed by the Cubs after he was released by CLE), offset to zero if another club signs him to a major league contract (with the pro-rated MLB minimum salary) after he is released. 

So if Zobrist returns and a position-player has to go, it would clearly be cheaper to release Gonzalez, but the Cubs might decide that Cargo has more to offer the Cubs in 2019 than what Descalso has to offer in 2019-21. 

phew...last ESPN sunday cubs game until the williamsport little leage classic game Aug 18 vs PIT.

i really like the LLClassic and i'm stoked the cubs will play this year.  i hope it sticks around for a long time.

Pat and Ron, no Aroid for me.

i dont have ESPN anymore since DirecTV Now raised their prices, so I have to rely on...umm...very legal and very cool ways for my ESPN fix.

sitting in the dugout, it looks like kyle schwarber has an unfortunate touch of matt williams style early onset baldness coming on...or he recently got a way-too-close-on-top haircut.

dude just turned 26 a few months ago.

I'm just glad it worked out for the diarrhea girl and her date. I don't know which is worse, Arod or that fucking commercial 8 times a game. 

ESPN...it's all bad, all the time.

hell of a loss.

killer 9th inning drama all going LA's way.  wow.

it says a lot that the packed house in LA was still almost all there through the last pitch of the game.

Recent comments

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  • crunch 23 hours 51 min ago (view)

    MLB is very much swinging their power over minor league teams around.

     

  • tim815 1 day 19 min ago (view)

    Normally, it's because the minor fee they receive is of more value than they think they will be able to acquire later.

     

  • JustSayin' 1 day 1 hour ago (view)

    My, the negotiations for a new comprehensive agreement between MLB and MiLB are sounding nasty all of a sudden!  I'd be interested in other takes on this.  It's easy to see the risks on the MiLB side.  I wonder though, if MLB isn't playing with fire as far as the antitrust exemption goes?  In case Trump isn't president in January, 2021, the MLB owners lose a friend.  We've already heard from Sanders and Warren supporting MiLB on this -- which is pretty amazing, considering how many bigger problems this country has -- and one can guess where mayor Pete stands.

     

  • bradsbeard 1 day 7 hours ago (view)

    I'm also thinking they really didn't anticipate losing two players in the MLB portion of the Rule 5 and wanted to have more flexibility to pick guys, and they maybe figured Carrera had a better shot to go unpicked. It is a little surprising that the talent rich Rays are the ones who grabbed him. 

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 1 day 8 hours ago (view)

    It's just strange because they had space. maybe they thought no one would have wanted him?

     

  • bradsbeard 1 day 17 hours ago (view)

    Best I can think is that maybe he was going to be squeezed out of a starting role next year with 2019 draftees and other lower level pitching pushing up into A ball. Doesn't seem like a great reason, but the pitching in the system is getting more crowded each year.

     

  • crunch 2 days 55 min ago (view)

    i truly wonder why f.carrera wasn't more of a priority.

    he throws straight up junk, but he's got great control and command over his pitchers.  he's young enough that he could find some more velocity, too.

    i mean, this is a management team that decided to trade for dan haren and kyle hendricks.  they don't have an aversion to slow-tossing starters.

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 2 days 1 hour ago (view)

    Has anyone else noticed James Norwood's picture on the Cubs top 30 prospects page is actually Brandon Kintzler?

     

  • Arizona Phil 2 days 3 hours ago (view)

    It's always interesting to see how many players each MLB club protects on its AAA affiliate's 38-man reserve list on 11/20.

    I'm not saying it absolutely and necessarily proves what a club thinks of its own prospects, but there are 38 slots available on a AAA reserve list, and if you leave 15 slots open, I think that does say something, especially when you don't lose anybody in either the MLB Phase or in the AAA Phase. (I'm looking at you, Seattle Mariners!) 

     

  • Arizona Phil 2 days 4 hours ago (view)

    HAGSAG: Instructs starts next month. The pitching lab operates year round, so guys are always coming & going. 

     

  • Hagsag 2 days 6 hours ago (view)

    Phil, when does the Instructional program begin? Are there pitchers in the pitching lab now?

     

  • cubbies.4ever 2 days 17 hours ago (view)

    Just to continue my conspiracy theory that Theo has a requirement you have TJS to pitch for the Cubs Trevor Megill had it in 2013.  The Cubs must have a support group for pitchers who have had TJS.

     

  • Arizona Phil 2 days 19 hours ago (view)

    After losing two players off the Iowa reserve list in the Major League Phase and selecting four players in the AAA Phase, the Iowa reserve list has one slot open, so now would be an excellent time to try and outright C. D. Pelham to AAA.

    Keep in mind that he can't elect free-agency if he's outrighted, and if he is outrighted, he won't be a minor league free-agent until post-2021.

    And if he gets claimed off waivers? No big deal.  

     

  • Arizona Phil 2 days 19 hours ago (view)

    LHSP Faustino Carrera and 2B Carlos Sepulveda were among the first players signed by the Cubs out of Mexico in 2014-15. The Cubs ended up signing more than two dozen more Mexican players over the next three years. 

     

  • Arizona Phil 2 days 19 hours ago (view)

    Vimael Machin can play anywhere in the infield & outfield, but he also went through the catcher conversion program at post-2015 Instructs so he can even catch in a pinch, too. He could be a very useful 26th man.

    Machin is bi-lingual (he is from Puerto Rico and went to college at Old Dominion), and was projected by the Cubs as a future coach or manager. He's a savvy & astute baseball guy. 

     

  • Arizona Phil 2 days 20 hours ago (view)

    BRADSBEARD: Every year the Cubs convert two or three position players to pitcher (it was Galazin, Hughes, and Zardon in 2019), so it's very possible that Suiter will be given a chance to pitch.