Cubs @ Reds: Series Thread (Games 82-84)

The Cubs mustered a big comeback and debuted their new closer, Kimbrel, to end the first half of the season. Today, they open the second half with a weekend series against the last-place Cincinnati Reds. Although they bring up the rear of the NL Central, the Reds are hardly a bad club in 2019. They are only 6.5 games behind the Cubs and feature a pretty good pitching staff (fourth in the majors by ERA- at 82). There offense has not kept pace with their run prevention. The two teams last faced off in Chicago near the end of May, when the Reds took the series 2-1. Read past the break for day-by-day matchups and a little first-half questionnaire.


Game 82, June 28, 6:05pmCDT
CHC: LHP Cole Hamels (6-2, 2.92 ERA)
CIN: RHP Sonny Gray (3-5, 4.03 ERA)

Hamels got a no-decision against the Mets, going 7 innings and allowing 3 runs, including two solo homeruns. Javy eventually got the Cubs out of that one with the two-strike, three-run homerun in the eighth. Since his Cubs debut on August 1 of last year, Hamels is 10-5 with a 2.67 ERA. Hard to believe the main piece coming from the Cubs was Eddie Butler (with the caveat that it's still possible Alexander Ovalles, the PTBNL, turns out to be the best player the Cubs sent). Jose Peraza is 4-9 off of him with a HR. Votto is 5-23 with one homerun.

Gray signed with the Reds in the offseason and has been so-so. His peripherals give some reason to hope his results might improve, especially his strikeout rate which has risen to just over 10 per nine innings. Although he has mostly avoided the homerun bug that has swept through the majors this year, he did allow two homeruns (and four total earned runs) in 4.1 during his last start. The Cubs are 6-32 off of him. Almora is 2-2 with a homerun and Russell is 2-4 with a homer. Heyward is 0-8 with a strikeout.


Game 83, June 29, 3:10pmCDT
CHC: LHP Jose Quintana (4-7, 4.50 ERA)
CIN: RHP Luis Castillo (7-2, 2.56 ERA)

Quintana got hung out to dry in his last start, allowing eight earned runs including three homeruns against the Mets. Nothing much has stood out about his first half performance--he just hasn't been as effective as fans would hope. Joey Votto is 10-20 off of him and Suarez is 7-21 with a homerun.

Castillo walked five and allowed six runs, four earned, in 3.1 innings in his last start. It was only the second time this season he's gone less than five. Overall, he's taken a step forward in 2019, and his high strikeout and groundball rates have allowed him to work around an elevated walk rate. He beat the Cubs on 5/16, going 5.1 and allowing two earned runs. Contreras is 4-6 with three doubles and Schwarber is 3-9 with two homeruns.


Game 84, June 30, 12:10pmCDT
CHC: LHP Jon Lester (7-5, 3.83 ERA)
CIN: RHP Anthony DeSclafani (4-4, 4.70 ERA)

Lester allowed two runs, zero earned, in six innings to earn a win against Atlanta in his last start. He spent from mid-May to mid-June regressing from some spectacular early season stats. In his last two starts he's gotten more of the soft contact that's allowed him to last as a top-of-the-rotation starter even as he becomes something of a baseball elder statesman. Suarez is 10-34 with three homeruns off of him. Jose Peraza is 12-29.

Following a breakout in 2016, Desclafani missed all of 2017 to an elbow injury and has not been able to repeat that success since. Homeruns have been the big problem for him so far. Last time out, he pitched 4.1 innings and allowed six earned runs to the Brewers. Current Cubs have an .802 OPS against him in 117 at bats. Bryant is 6-17 with a homerun.


I thought about doing some sort of mid-point stat and storyline roundup. Instead, I'd like to request that you discuss the most fun aspects of the first half in the comments. In particular, I'd love to hear about what you think have been the most fun pitcher, position player, batting event, defensive play, and game of the first half. Thanks in advance for sharing!

Comments

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

hey guys...ham is injured.

neat, huh?

montgomery in.

1st pitch by montgomery goes over the LF fence.

cool beans.

So after tonight ... Monty now sports a 6.08 ERA and 1.90 WHIP. He’s making Chatwood look like the more viable starting option while both Hendricks and Hamels are on the mend - which hain’t good my friends!!

And another credible outing by Brach tonight. 

hopefully ham will be fine.  no idea how bad he's hurt, but he walked off the mound while warming for the 2nd and into the dugout...not like he crumpled to the ground or gingerly walked off.

if he does have to sit out a start at least the all-star break is almost here and he'll get a few extra days on top of it.

I’m worried about a possible lat injury - better than blowing out a ligament but seem to take a long time to recover from 

ham with "left side soreness"

this game is dildos.

Most fun pitcher: tie between the Professor (for the Maddux game) and Alzolay (for being a living, breathing and, so far, a tantalizingly talented starting pitching prospect signed and developed during the Jedstein era - who would a thunk it possible??

Doesn‘t Javy have “most fun position player” tattooed on the back of his neck?  Who am I to disagree with that. 

Need to mull over possible batting events and defensive plays, but I’ll vote for game 81 (yesterday) — Early Despair, Comeback, Cookie Monster and Kimbrel‘s first entrance and ensuing drama - everything you could ask for. 

most fun pitcher...sweaty les walrond

honestly, though...i loved Z.  his misplaced hyped up passion...his humor.  toward the end he was just straight up wearing out his welcome, but he was still fun in a drunk uncle at xmas kind of way.

RIP gatorade machine

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zlepYUrJ2mk (in case anyone wants to relive this epic meltdown, including Z tossing the ump out of the game)

btw, he's currently on yet another half-assed comeback with a very low-end indie leage "American Association" pitching out of the pen for the Chicago Dogs (yes, seriously)

16.2ip 19h 2bb 9k, 3.78era (13 games)

Javy seems like he'll be a popular choice, for sure. A few years ago I figured Javy must have one of the highest fun:value ratios, but now he's really good too.

I've been thinking that the Maddux might be my favorite game of the first half. But Hamels has been the pitcher I've enjoyed watching the most so far. (All my digits are crossed for this injury to not be serious.)

Hamels to IL with left oblique strain.  Monty/Chatwood DFA’d, Cookie Monster called up

damn.

hendricks, get well soon...like, tomorrow or something.

that said, looks like alzolay is going to get a very extended look in the rotation.

After Alzolay starts next Monday and Chatwood or Montgomery starts on Wednesday, the Cubs won't need 4th & 5th starters again until Monday 7/15 & Tuesday 7/16. The Cubs can even option Alzolay to AAA on Tuesday (after his start on Monday) and he could pitch in the Futures Game a week from Sunday, before being recalled on 7/15 or 7/16 (presuming Hendricks isn't back by then).

Meanwhile, the Cubs could add an extra bullpen arm on Tuesday and carry that extra reliever all the way through 7/14 or 7/15 if they wish. Best guess is Barnette gets recalled on Saturday (replacing Hamels on the 25) and Edwards or Cedeno gets reinstated from the IL on Tuesday (replacing Alzolay on the 25 until 7/14 or 7/15). 

cubs lose, brews lose.

Cards lose too. Unfortunately, in the process the Pirates and Reds won. 

Sounds like Cargo was saying his good byes and getting hugs after the game. I believe they will be adding two bullpen arms on Saturday.

He’s been put on waivers and is off the 40 man roster. If not claimed, he can go to Iowa if he so chooses. 

Cubs place Hamels on 10-day IL, DFA CarGo, and recall Maples and Wick.  

Danny Hultzen put on IL by Iowa for groin soreness. Better than shoulder/arm soreness I guess.  Didn‘t see any radar gun readings but his limited outings in Iowa were effective. 

ERIC S: Danny Hultzen's FB velo pre-IL at Iowa was reported at 92-95, which was down a bit from what it was at EXST (93-96 T-97) when he was throwing one inning once or twice a week.

Appreciate it, AZ Phil - hope he can bounce back to Arizona form again. 

AZ Phil: The Athletic reported that Cubs first round pick Ryan Jensen was scheduled to throw his first live batting practice today; did you see it and have any initial impressions of the talent? Thanks!

This London game on track for nine + hours, London fans used to all day cricket matches should be comfortable with this. 

Test cricket matches can last up to five days.  And they take a lunch break and a break for tea in the afternoon.  After 2 years in Australia following the game a little bit I was comforted to know that once baseball starts to go to fast for me I'll still have cricket to fall back on.

14-6 Yankees after four and a half innings. Both teams could probably use a Tea Break about now. 

they pulled it off awesomely.

the white seats were looking to be a real oversight, possibly effecting the batters seeing the ball well, but the 20 runs so far says that's not an issue.

the fans and curious sure as hell showed up.

NY Jets got up early, but Patriots quickly tied it up.  Sam Darnold and Le’Veon looking strong; Father Time catching up to Brady, who’s having a real off-day. 17-6 Jets, mid third quarter. 

Jets turnover, Pats capitalize with a field goal. 17-10 Jets, early fourth quarter. 

What happened to Xavier Cedeno? He hasn't pitched in Iowa since 6/20. Haven't seen any report of a setback.

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

Q has six prior day starts going into today: 0-4 record with a 6.29 ERA

Also has a lifetime record of 74 wins, 75 losses

until lester's last decent game he had 6 out 7 games giving up 3+ runs with 11 homers.

Q, lester, and darvish need to get good, quick.

i like 2019 heyward.

I’m a fan of JHey in the month of June

Last June: 327/364/510, 873 OPS with 3 homers (his best OPS month, by far, of his Cubs career going into this season)

This June, going into today: 326/362/539, 901 OPS with 4 homers (now 5 so far today)

As great as it’s going in June, he was even better in March/April with a 932 OPS (5 homers)

Had a poor May (618 OPS, 3 homers) but this has been a banner year so far. 

There was a time when KB had a five hit game, with 3 home runs and 2 doubles, in this park. Today is not that day. 

If the Cubs go on to lose this game ... such a disappointing half inning. I no longer get very disappointed when a Cub bounces into a double play which actually scores a run — seen too many bases loaded, no out situations which come up nil. 

That’s it for Q after 101 pitches: 6 IP, 0 Runs, 4 Hits, 0 BB, 4 Ks.  Hell of a start and badly needed after all the bullpen work yesterday. 

schwarber looks exhausted and not 100% checked into the game out there...bit slumpy with his body.

heyward does not.

Slumpy also apt description for Cubs offense

grand slam baez.

unf.

Unlike Carl Jr, Javy digs the 8th inning

I was really hoping Javy would go to right field - and boy did he ever! Grand slam!!!

puig has strong opinions about a 3-0 pitch that hit him.

was it on purpose?  probably.  he earned it, though.

Strop got lost word in on that final K

I‘m impressed Reds shortstop Jose Iglesias. Didn‘t realize he is 29 - thought he was a younger prospect. 

im a bit in shock stephenson isn't plunking almora after a passed ball put russell at 2nd.

Poor Almora. Figured that was going to be at least an extra base hit if not a home run. 

now that's maples-as-hell

dude HBP's peraza and the ump doesn't consider it intentional even after warnings were given...cuz, you know, he's maples.

Same scenario played out in Colorado.  Brach hit somebody in the 9th after benches had been warned.  Rox broadcast team lip-read ump to say "I didn't see it as intentional".

cubs win, brews win...the constant state of closeness continues with the cubs ahead by a game.

cards are currently losing by 6 in the 3rd to SD.

also, BAL beats CLE 13-0, two games in a row.

Couple of free outs at the bottom of today’s lineup. 

Russell, Descalso, and Lester will go 5-8 just to spite you ;p

Alzolay, PROFESSOR, Darvish and Q will start in Pittsburgh 

Carl Jr to start rehab assignment with Iowa on Monday

RHRP Tony Barnette has been placed on the Restricted List, apparently for leaving the Iowa Cubs (they were in San Antonio) after he was not recalled to replace Hamels on the 25-man roster. 

BTW, if Zobrist and/or Barnette are not reinstated from the Restricted List by midnight on 8/31, they will not be eligible to play in the MLB post-season (presuming the Cubs get there). 

honestly, he's got every reason to be pissed.  dunno if this is the proper way to express it, but i get his angst.

he signed on as a MLB injury reclaimation, not "i'm a AAAA player."  he's also in his mid-30s, so he's running out of time to establish himself as a guy worthy of a nice paycheck.

he's healthy, his few weeks in AAA showed he's done with it, and he's not getting work.

The outing he had for the Cubs was far from inspiring but I agree he deserved more than one chance at it.

yeah, and he's not even 100% the pitcher he was...velocity a tick down from his norms.

mostly, i understand his urgency and he most likely signed (750K + 3m team option 2020) to play, not to do extended minor league work.

DFA lester.

1h, 1bb, 3 runs in.

cubbery.

schwarber hurt the team in the OF, but he's had a hell of a day with the bat.

turns out strop has a rather strong opinion about puig...

“It’s not a secret he’s stupid. He’s stupid as f---. I have nothing against him, but he’s stupid. There’s no doubt about it.”

Remember when we had a deep lineup? Now we’re stuck with Russell, Almora, Descalso, etc in big spots. Not how you win.

Warm up the Iowa shuttle bus for Maples.

What is this thing the Reds keep on doing - this hitting with runners in scoring position thingamjiig thingy?  That’s certainly not in “The Cubs Way” manual.

I tell ya, JHey luvs him some June. 

Well then lets just call tomorrow June 31st and keep going from there.  World Series ends June 158th.

Did the Cubs win a series in June? brutal

On the other hand, at worst, Cubs will be tied for the division lead heading into July. So there is that ...

cubs and brews seem dead set to blow any opportunity to be more than a game away from each other.

cubs lose, brews win.

all tied up in the central.

2016 was cool. So was 1908. 

He pitched TWO shoutouts in one day in September 1908. That's a thing. Thanks Crunch. 

Shutouts. Jeez. 

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  • Dolorous Jon Lester 4 hours 56 min ago (view)

    I agree with all of this. I think KB is traded for a SP. I guess here is my guess at the pitchers:

    Darvish

    Hendricks

    Trade Acquisition 

    Cheap FA

    Mills/ Alzolay 

    Bullpen: Mills/ Alzolay, Underwood, Adam, Tepera, Wick, Kimbrel, Ryan, Wieck (Alzolay if he loses the 5th spot battle with Mills is still starter number 6, and likely being groomed to join the rotation either later in the year or 2022)

     

  • Charlie 16 hours 36 min ago (view)

    Frazier beat him on an inside corner two-seamer (albeit belt high), but the Hayes homer came on an 0-2 meatball. Not very professorial.

     

  • crunch 16 hours 43 min ago (view)

    hendricks starts the game giving up back to back homers.  wtf...

     

  • crunch 19 hours 11 min ago (view)

    happ / rizzo / contreras / schwarber(DH) / maybin(LF) / heyward / baez / kipnis / bote

     

  • George Altman 20 hours 28 min ago (view)

    Let's hope so. It would be great next year to NOT have to 'piece together a bullpen'.

     

  • Arizona Phil 20 hours 49 min ago (view)

    DJL: I think that if Lester, Chatwood, Quintana, Jeffress, and Chafin leave via free-agency and do not return or are not replaced by at least one veteran MLB FA SP, the default Cubs 2021 Opening Day pitching staff will be Darvish, Hendricks, Mills (out of options), Alzolay (could be out of options - TBD), and either Rea, T. Miller, Steele, Abbott, Marquez, or D.

     

  • Arizona Phil 21 hours 42 min ago (view)

    I understand that any team can win a three-game series, but if I'm a division winner I'd want to be the #3 seed rather than the #2 seed in both the A. L. and the N. L., because I would rather face the worst second place team (Houston in the A. L. and probably Miami or Philadelphia in N. L.) than the best wild card team (Cleveland in the A. L. and probably Cincinnati or Milwaukee in the N.L.).  

     

  • Hagsag 1 day 5 hours ago (view)

    Maybe, if he makes the roster!

     

  • Charlie 1 day 11 hours ago (view)

    Jose Martinez is going to hit some big post season homerun, isn't he?

     

  • Cubster 1 day 14 hours ago (view)

    Is the Chafin experiment over yet?

     

  • crunch 1 day 14 hours ago (view)

    well that sucked.

    even with the loss the cubs officially clinched a playoff slot tonight, though.

     

  • crunch 1 day 14 hours ago (view)

    oh, it's totally the hitters unless the coach is forcing guys into trying ill advised changes...which is doubtful to the point of obsurdity for this many slumping hitters.

    it's just that a near team-wide hitting outage with no one getting "fixed" isn't a good look for a hitting coach.

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 1 day 14 hours ago (view)

    How many hitting coaches would that be over the past five years?

    At a certain point maybe it's just the hitters? I love the current group but we've been burning through hitting coaches recently

     

  • crunch 1 day 15 hours ago (view)

    anthony iapoce might want to start updating his resume...

    i'm not saying it's his fault, but it doesn't seem like much is going right with the bats and it's getting worse over time.

     

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

    I look at the 8 man pen for next year and would assume 6 RHP 2 LHP. The LHP would currently be two of Ryan, Wieck, and Steele (and I guess Osich but I suspect he's non-tendered).

    The 6 RHP would be from Kimbrel, Wick, Tepera, Adam, Underwood, Alzolay, Winkler, Rea (and potentially others). I feel like they're only keeping one of Tepera/ Winkler for final arb year. Tough to say which is better value at this point.

     

  • crunch 1 day 16 hours ago (view)

    im impressed tepera has "only" given up 2hr in 19.2ip, but i wouldn't hold out on that holding up.  also, his control is sketchy as ever...

    he's got promising stuff, but at age 33 (few weeks from now) what more does he have to learn/show?

    it would probably cost the cubs 1.5m or so to keep him around (900K this year).  they liked something about him to pick him up, but who knows where that's at now...