Cubs vs. Mets: Series Thread (Games 74-77)
Willson Contreras resuscitated the Cubs offense last night. They'll try to keep the juices flowing in a 4-game series against the Mets. Said Metropolitans enter town at a disappointing 35-39 mark and 2-5 over their last two series. Their offense is just a tick above average by wRC+ (barely behind the Cubs at the moment) and the pitching staff is 4th worst in the majors by ERA-. First baseman Pete Alonso has been the season's pleasant surprise, mashing 24 homeruns before the midpoint in his debut season. Jacob deGrom and Syndergaard remain good but look far more mortal than past iterations. They lost Yoenis Cespedes to an ankle injury that will prevent him from appearing at all this year. Meanwhile, the Cubs have called up Adbert Alzolay to help out of the bullpen while Hendricks and the training staff navigate his shoulder impingement. See below for daily matchups.
6/20, game 74, 7:05pmCDT
CHC: RHP Tyler Chatwood (3-1, 3.60 ERA)
NYM: RHP Walker Lockett (0-0, -.-- ERA)
Chatwood was good in his only 2019 start, when he filled in for Jon Lester. He has appeared at times to have mostly harnessed his control out of the bullpen. Alzolay is on track with his turn in the rotation and may be ready to piggy-back if Chatwood looks shaky. Current Mets have gone 15-47 off of him with a .900 OPS. Michael Conforto is 2-9 with 4 walks, but no one else has seen Chatwood more than 6 times (Cano).
Lockett went 0-3 with a 9.60 ERA in four 2018 starts. He's only made five minor league starts in 2019 and the results haven't been especially great. Methinks this one is filler. Schwarber, Rizzo, and Heyward are collectively 6-9 with two homeruns off of him.
6/21, game 75, 1:20pmCDT
CHC: RHP Yu Darvish (2-3, 4.65 ERA)
NYM: LHP Jason Vargas (3-3, 3.74 ERA)
Darvish got served a no-decision despite 7 innings of one-run and ten-K ball against the Dodgers. Since May 15, his ERA has been 4.01, and in June it's 3.44. I encourage your cautious optimism. Cano is 9-25 against him, but the injured Cespedes and Lowrie account for most of the rest of the Mets' ABs against Darvish.
Vargas went four innings allowing three runs, two earned, against the Cards on June 16. He shut out the Giants on the fifth? Don't ask me how. Current Cubs are 3-23 off of him, but Rizzo and Gonzalez (2-15) account for the bulk of that.
6/22, game 76, 1:20pmCDT
CHC: LHP Jose Quintana (4-6, 3.87 ERA)
NYM: RHP Zack Wheeler (5-5, 4.94 ERA)
Quintana has a 4.34 ERA going back to May 16. He's looked hittable but not terrible over that time, with his K/9 down all the way to 6.27. He earned a no-decision against the Doddgers last time out, going five and allowing two earned runs. Current Mets are 19-66 off of him, and Cano is 7-19 with a homer.
Wheeler is better than his ERA suggests. That said, his last few starts have been rough; he's allowed 12 earned runs in 17.2 innings this month while seeing a drop in his groundball percentage. Heyward is 8-24 with two homeruns off of him.
6/23, game 77, 1:20pmCDT
CHC: LHP Cole Hamels (6-2, 2.85 ERA)
NYM: RHP Jacob deGrom (4-6, 3.26 ERA)
Hamels' scoreless streak ended in his last start and he got only a no-decision despite twirling seven innings of one-run ball against the White Sox; Eloy happened. If you're keeping track, that's one earned run in 29 innings pitched this month. Juan Lagares is 11-28 off of him and Adeiny Hecheveria is 12-33. Hamels has held Cano to 9-41.
Jacob deGrom has been almost the same pitcher as he was in 2018 except for a rise in both his HR/9 and his ERA. He went 8.1 against ATL for a win in his last start, allowing two earned runs and striking out 10. CarGo is 4-13 with a homerun off of him, Rizzo is 9-20 with a homerun, and Bryant is 4-11 with two homers. Javy is 1-8 with five strikeouts.
crunch 1 day 1 hour ago (view)
MLB is very much swinging their power over minor league teams around.
tim815 1 day 1 hour 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 2 hours 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 9 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 10 hours ago (view)
It's just strange because they had space. maybe they thought no one would have wanted him?
bradsbeard 1 day 18 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 2 hours 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 3 hours 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 5 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 6 hours ago (view)
HAGSAG: Instructs starts next month. The pitching lab operates year round, so guys are always coming & going.
Hagsag 2 days 8 hours ago (view)
Phil, when does the Instructional program begin? Are there pitchers in the pitching lab now?
cubbies.4ever 2 days 19 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 20 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 21 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 21 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 21 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.