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.

Comments

schwarber / bryant / rizzo / baez / contreras / heyward(CF) / cargo / chatwood / descalso(2nd)

also, i'd like to toss my unsolicited opinion out there that the "digest" version of these game series is just as nice as the individual game threads.

2 innings, 2 multiple-runners-on-0-outs innings, 1 run.

i remember this chatwood.  also, i think all 39 of his pitches have been 95-97mph fastballs.

hey, let's follow that up by giving up a single and HR to start the 3rd.

chatwood.  yeah.  gimmie more of that, please.

wheels are coming off for the mets in the 3rd...that's the mets i know.

alzolay up in the pen in the 4th...with chatwood still pitching because whatever or something.

contreras takes a high 90s bouncer off the dirt to the groin.  he's in a whole lot of discomfort, but he's staying in the game.

chatwood, the gift that keeps on giving.

adbert time in the 4th!

popup to bryant foul near the dugout for his 1st out.

curveball looks good.  changeup is ordinary, but not awful.  fastball has movement at 93-95mph.  command looks good, repeatable.  control looks spotty.

he's also sporting a juan cruz style blue glove.

Extra points for the Juan Cruz blue glove

Also for striking out the side the next inning

and he Ks the side in his 2nd inning of work.

cubs fans love to fall in love with a new, young pitcher and the fans seem quite smitten at the ballpark tonight.

alzolay getting a standing O...as he comes to at bat.

Much as we like to fall in love with a new young pitcher, it's been difficult the last few years, unless you include Hendricks. I felt no urge to send valentines to Zastryzny, Beeler, Underwood, Jokisch, Tseng.

Alzolay looks great, though. I hope there's a couple more like him.

Not a pitcher, but I think the Cub brass gets kudos for bringing Bote along, too. He would have been overlooked in most organizations.

alzolay fever is in full effect.  he put in 4 stellar innings until he stumbled in the 5th (leadoff homer + a 4 pitch walk following) and got removed.

4ip 1h 2bb 5k, 1r/er

huge ovation walking off.  len even stated "we'll let the croud take you to break," indicating he was going to let the ovation lead us to commercial rather than commentary by the announce crew.

there's no way chatwood is getting a start over alzolay next go around.  it seems montgomery might be getting hendricks's slot while he misses a few starts (hopefully a very few).

if anyone needs more alzolay to tide you over for a few days, here's a nice tommy birch/des moines article from a few weeks ago:

https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/sports/bas...

also, cubs win and brews are about to lose.

I liked the piggyback and keeping Chatwood stretched out a bit. I'd like to see them stick with it, but maybe that's too demanding for the bullpen in the meantime.

i wouldn't object to it...it's not like chatwood is going to be available over the next 3+ games out of the pen anyway.

i just think the fandom is willing alzolay to the starting slot.  they really like him and he put in a performance to match.  maddon's good about player attitude management when it comes to playing roles, though...he'll figure things out.

I like that Juan Cruz glove.

Very promising in my opinion.

Works fast.  Throws strikes.

The opener was a lot of fun! Chatwood's night was understandably overshadowed by Alzolay's debut. Alzolay looked overpowering at times and shows a lot of promise with his pitch mix, pace, and command. Chatwood, however, was solid, and his transformation from the hopeless case of 2018 to being a useful swingman with some control issues in 2019 is really encouraging to me. I personally feel a lot of sympathy for guys like Chatwood and Edwards who go through these bouts of wildness, as if they have somehow forgotten how to do this thing that they've been doing their whole lives--and are then exposed on a massive stage.

Maybe next time they could piggy-back Chatwood and Alzolay in the reverse order. Or maybe they could piggy-back Montgomery and Chatwood in a sixth-man rotation spot.

Also, I was happy to see them face a minor-league pitcher they've barely seen and actually get some hits.

i gotta disagree with chatwood being solid...

2 singles in a row to start the 1st

HBP, chatwood throwing error, and walk to start the 2nd

single and homer to start the 3rd

groundout, single, and single to start the 4th

that said, it was nice to see most of the action vs him being ground balls rather than towering blasts.  he's got that going for him.

Just grateful that Chatwood is not the hot mess (and basically unusable player) he was last season  

Chatwood FB was sitting 97-98 in the 1st inning and it was 94-96 (T-98) in his 4th inning as well, so he definitely has some life on his FB. He still has trouble commanding his CV and SL and he's going to walk guys, but then he gets a lot of ground balls and GIDP. And despite being a disappointment and being placed into a somewhat vague utility pitcher role, he doesn't complain and gives it his best shot. I have no problem with Chatwood (other than being overpaid for what he does, which isn't his fault). 

I'm also taking into account that he hadn't pitched in 10 days and is being called on to do a variety of things this season. I'm encouraged by the number of groundballs he's getting. I think the whole start would have a different hue without his own throwing error.

montgomery working relief today...alright.

also, and this may be a bit of a hot take, i think brad brach might not be very good at doing baseball.

Cubs bullpen update:

Brach 6.35 ERA 1.87 WHIP

Monty 4.42 ERA 1.75 WHIP

bleh.  i'm ready for kimbrel.

If you pitch Brach in a tie game you are going to need to score more than 1 to win.  Joe has to know that by now.

OAK sudden phenom frankie montas earns an 80 game ban for PEDs.

he's accepting the ban.  evidently he tested for ostarine and there's no f'n way you accidently run up on that particular PED.  it's not available anywhere except the underground.

CIN scored 3 runs in the top 1st vs MIL...hopefully that lead holds up

CIN has under-the-radar good pitching.  it's the bats that's the problem for most of the season so far.

pujols returns to STL...it's worth a watch even if you hate STL...

https://t.co/eHFdrNa934

w.buehler K'd 16 and walked 0 for LAD tonight in a complete game...gave up 2 solo HRs and a single.  killer performance even with the 2 HR given up.

From the interwebs, the plan is:

Kimbrel pitches again today for back-to-back day appearances, have Sunday and Monday off, see how he feels and go from there

Alzolay starts Tuesday against the Braves

Chatwood starts Thursday against the Braves

See how it goes, may stay in six man rotation during 17 game stretch to try keep rotation fresh 

i was hoping montgomery would get the slot over chatwood...but that's like choosing whether you'd like to get kicked in the left side of the groin or the right side of the groin...either way you don't have a good option.

schwarber / bryant / baez / contreras / heyward / almora / caratini(1st) / Q / russell(2nd)

looks like Q brought his crap game to the park today...neat.

If Willson could frame worth a shit, leadoff man doesn’t walk and McNeil doesn‘t get a chance to twist the knife yet again, at least that inning 

These two games have been totally annoying

McNeil has stolen the Cubs soul. 

Hahaha - at least McNeil has got some Cubbery in him while in the field! Brutal error

Two strike bunt attempt, Schwarbs?  Right after a dude threw his bat away in disgust only to see the ball carry over the wall? Okay then

yo, this game sucks.

Cubs clearly taking a little break from the whole Try Not to Suck thing.

Today’s game is a trip back in time to honor Strawberry‘s rookie homerun record being broken. Mets are steamrolling the Cubs like Gooden and Strawberry routinely did back in the day

Also, which is more likely, a Cubs hit with RISP or a 1-2-3 inning by Q?

Mets have scored in every inning. Complete. Shit. Show. 

"Q doesn't have it, let's pull him." - like, everyone

"nah.  let's give him lots of innings." - like, maddon

Good time to pull both Javy and KB from the game. 

Down 9-0 in the 7th? [actually 5th - wishful thinking on my part!] This is a perfect time to play Descalso, pitch Brach etc

i rarely bail on a game even when it's awful, but i'm done with this one unless the occasional check of the boxscore says it's worth watching again.

Bye crunch.

3.87era to 4.50era for Q

that's not a good late June look.

What an awful day for Caratini, among others

Well, Caratini redeems his day, a little bit, with a ten pitch, 1-2-3 ninth, surrenduring three less homers than Q. 

at least he threw a scoreless inning...because whatever.

DFA Brach, Caratini to the bullpen

fire maddon, hire charlie

On the bright side, Cubs OWNED the 7th. 

i don't need another world series victory for the rest of my life as long as i have the memory of the 7th inning on 6/21/19 living within me.

MIL wins, STL wins.

cubs in 1st by 0.5 games over MIL...STL in 3rd by 1 game.

so like..."everybody in" or whatever sells tshirts these days.

Righty reliever Tony Barnette activated and Rowan Wick optioned to Iowa. Barnette has been pitching well of late in AAA. 

Busy day for ex-Cub pitchers: Mariners call-up Matt Carasiti (ST NRI released by Cubs earlier this month), A's call-up ex-Cub Brian Schlitter (hasn't pitched in MLB since 2015), and Marlins outright ex-Cub Dan Straily (acquired along with Addison Russell and Billy McKinney from OAK in the Samardzija/Hammel trade in 2014, and then traded to HOU with Luis Valbuena for Dexter Fowler in 2015). 

Who can forget Joe reaching for and pulling an imaginary beard from the mound to signal for Schlitter?  It was all good until a 97 mph sinker was slammed over outfield wall. Good times. 

More former Cub prospect news.  Tayler Scott claimed on waivers by Orioles from the Mariners.  And Trey McNutt is back in affiliated ball this year and currently pitching for AAA Las Vegas in the A's system.

Caratini‘s regression to the mean weekend continues. Sigh

Thankfully Hamels comes through with a two out rbi single

Seems to me the Cubs/Jedstein would lean to acquiring an impact outfield bat vs infielder, all things being equal. A healthy and productive Zobrist would be nice as well. 

Cubs doing a nice job of elevating Alonzo’s player of the week candidacy. Freddie Freeman having a week/month too. 

baez makes career #100 count.  unf.

El Mago with the three run shot to right field!!!

Nice job by Hamels - 7 innning quality start and kept the game close. 

Back to back three hit games by JHey also encouraging 

It’s about time the Mets craptastic bullpen showed up for this series

cubs win, brews win, STL plays tonight.

night game vs ATL tomorrow.  STL+MIL off day.

btw, the next 3 games vs ATL will be wrigley night games.

Nice job by Strop - fastball 94 and slider looking good. 

Any guess who will be leaving when Kimbrel arrives? It’s got to be Brach unless they drop Barnett’s.

HAGSAG: I think it's entirely possible that the Cubs will go to a 14-man pitching staff when Kimbrel is called-up and Edwards is reinstated from the IL. The bench is already crap, so having three guys available off the bench instead of four won't make much difference. 

BTW, I believe the Cubs really do need to shake-up the bench. If it's done internally, maybe Donnie Dewees replaces Cargo, Trent Giambrone or Robel Garcia replaces Descalso, and Dixon Machado replaces Russell. If that doesn't work, then look to make a trade for a bat who can hit off the bench even if he can't play defense. (Is Tommy LaStella available?)  

AZ Phil - Dixon Machado have the defensive chops to play major league caliber defense and not give me indegestion when he’s on the field? At the very least Russell provides that when at short 

Also: Who would be on your radar as far as attainable trade targets that could provide a boost to the offense in either the outfield/infield (aside from 3 AM)?

ERIC S: Dixon Machado is a glove-first SS (can also play 2B-3B) and a high contact hitter who is starting to show some HR pop. As for a veteran bat who might be available in a trade, OF Melky Cabera (PIT) might be a good target (switch-hitter who can play both OF corners).

Thanks Phil. What kind of prospect(s) do you think it would take to pick up Melky?

ERIC S: Probably something like Mark Zagunis and a younger prospect with some upside (maybe somebody like Jared Young or Andy Weber) who is not on the 40.  

Thanks, Phil. I’m hopeful that Theo will look for a bigger fish than Melky, but he’d be an upgrade over Cargo. 

garcia is doing everything right...except K'ing too much.  it's been interesting watching his short recent career unfold.

he's pretty much proven he's ready for a visit to the bigs at some point, though.

I imagine you could start him at second and hope the ball doesn‘t go in his direction too often.

In Milwaukee I believe they call that a “Moustakas”

Barnette that is.

Tim Collins opted to stay in the organization afterall.  Pitched for ICubs today.

Good. He’s been a hell of a lot more productive in relief than some higher salaried guys in the Cubs pen. 

plus, on road trips he's within limitations of carry on luggage size so he doesn't need a ticket.  that adds up over time and that's how you end up signing guys like c.kimbrel.

Recent comments

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  • crunch 3 hours 22 sec ago (view)

    "MLB Network's Jon Heyman reports former player David Ross and Astros bench coach Joe Espada "appear to be the frontrunners" for the Cubs' managerial opening."

    espada's had 2 interviews.  for a guy who's actively at his "other job," having a 2nd interview seems like both sides want to make this work.  SF and PIT are also supposedly interested in espada.

     

  • JustSayin' 4 hours 25 min ago (view)

     That's a fair description of the benefits of the plan but If I have to choose between "better way" and "owners' greed," I pick the latter.  MLB wants better MiLB facilities, on average, without paying a cent.  They want to deal with the social and legal pressure they are getting for not even paying minor league players minimum wage per real hour worked by having less players.  In addition, the draft is to be moved to late August, so every draftee would lose compensation for the stub year in which they are drafted.  For this reason, I'm not sure your point about col

     

  • Hagsag 4 hours 49 min ago (view)

    Thanks Mr. Phil.

     

  • Arizona Phil 5 hours 52 min ago (view)

    HAGSAG: Besides reducing the costs that are associated with operating a minor league club, reducing the number of minor league affiliates would allow MLB organizations to increase the salaries of their remainng minor league players (who would be the organization's most-legit prospects) without having to increase the organization's aggregate minor league payroll. 

     

  • crunch 6 hours 17 min ago (view)

    The discussions on this matter have been quite varried.  There seems to be a lot of pressure connected to this on minor league team owners who haven't upgraded their facilities/park in a while or who lag in quality compared to their competitors.

    It seems like this would not only cause some teams to fold, but some radical redistribution of existing teams/cities into new minor league levels rather than just pruning some teams over others.

     

  • Hagsag 18 hours 30 min ago (view)

    AZ Phil, what are your thoughts on the discussion to eliminate 42 low minor league teams in 2021? What would this do to the Dominican League? Thanks.

     

  • crunch 1 day 34 min ago (view)

    yanks/astros game 6 was a f'n classic.  wow.

    altuve continues to build his astros legend.

     

  • bradsbeard 1 day 14 hours ago (view)

    Thanks for this. I agree they’ll probably take their chances in the Rule 5 if he will resign, though I really wouldn’t mind adding him back to the 40 man. I feel like he has a good chance to be effective out of the bullpen. 

     

  • bradsbeard 1 day 15 hours ago (view)

    I hope Sagara doesn’t end up leaving because of the shakeup. The Athletic did report that his position might be eliminated but that he should be offered another role in the organization somewhere. All I know is Sagara’s name came up frequently in connection with the pitch lab, and he was credited for improvements with Ryan, Wick, and Wieck. Maybe he’ll end up focusing more specifically in that role helping guys tweak things in the lab. 

     

  • JustSayin' 2 days 2 hours ago (view)

    Does anyone have insight into the new management hires and musical chairs the Cubs announced yesterday?  Craig Breslow might be the only guy out there with extensive MLB experience AND the grey matter to challenge any quant not making sense. His role intrigues me but are they going to give him real responsibility to clear out the deadwood (including the existing minor league coordinator who was never good enough to be the pitchers he's coaching?)  Or, is this a superficial change aimed at keeping ownership off Theo's back? 

     

  • Arizona Phil 2 days 3 hours ago (view)

    BRADSBEARD: I think the Cubs want to retain Oscar de la Cruz post-2019, just not on the MLB 40-man roster.

     

  • Charlie 2 days 4 hours ago (view)

    Who are you all rooting for in the World Series? I'm rooting for the Nats to face and defeat Houston, I think, but with very mild interest. Let them get that championship out of the way and then maybe go the way of the post-2016 Cubs.

     

  • bradsbeard 2 days 12 hours ago (view)

    AZ Phil, what do you think the Cubs will do with Oscar de la Cruz if they don’t add him back to the 40 man? Can they try to re-sign him but wait until after the Rule 5 to make it official? Do you think they will try to keep him in the organization in some fashion? 

     

  • bradsbeard 3 days 7 hours ago (view)

    Angels also make sense as a destination for Kris Bryant. 

     

  • azbobbop 4 days 2 min ago (view)

    I wonder if Maddon will take any of the coaches with him.

     

  • Arizona Phil 4 days 2 hours ago (view)

    I doubt that Maddon would have taken the job if the Angels aren't fully prepared to sign one or maybe even two FA TOR SP (like Gerrit Cole and/or Stephen Strasburg if he opts out). 

    When you have the best player in MLB and now the highest-paid manager, not making the playoffs again in 2020 just can't be acceptable.