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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  • JustSayin' 3 days 12 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 3 days 13 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 4 days 6 hours ago (view)

    christian yelich committed internet homicide on yu darvish...

    https://twitter.com/ChristianYelich/status/1195462...

     

  • Charlie 4 days 10 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 4 days 11 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)

    https://chicago.suntimes.com/cubs/2019/11/15/20966...

     

  • crunch 5 days 7 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.

     

  • crunch 6 days 7 hours ago (view)

    nice.

    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 6 days 10 hours 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 6 days 10 hours ago (view)

    nice info...

    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 6 days 11 hours 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 6 days 13 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.

    https://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/28066390/there...

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 1 week 16 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 1 week 1 day 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 1 week 1 day ago (view)

    Even the Cubs should be able to out bid the Marlins!

     

  • crunch 1 week 1 day 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 1 week 2 days 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.