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!
crunch 7 hours 18 min ago (view)
Alexander Dimm 7 hours 44 min ago (view)
I'm in. What more do we need, really. A beer. A game or two. The 162 game season can wait until next year (I hope). Have fun with a micro-mini season. Let the powers fight over the labor agreements. They can finish by next spring, right?
crunch 7 hours 55 min ago (view)
2020 quickly shaping up to be the best season ever.
Cubster 9 hours 15 min ago (view)
And a few kegs of beer. Hamberders too.
crunch 11 hours 27 min ago (view)
they should just play a quick weekend tourney where no one actually wins and everyone gets a small participation trophy.
declare the fans the MVPs and dedicate the series to everyone who has died in the history of humanity.
...then a free live-streamed Nickleback concert hosted by 2Pac's hologram
Charlie 1 day 16 hours ago (view)
Lol at worrying about a second wave disrupting revenue.
Cubster 1 day 19 hours ago (view)
IN BRIEF (Tribune, from their mini-sports section): In a letter, MLB rejects players’ plan for 114 gamesNews services Major League Baseball rejected the players’ proposal for a 114-game schedule in the pandemic-delayed season with no additional salary cuts, telling the union that teams have no reason to think 82 games is possible and now will discuss even fewer.Players made their proposal Sunday, five days after management’s initial economic plan.
Cubster 1 day 19 hours ago (view)
Pete Ricketts causing some backspin on their serve...Chi Tribune, Thursday AM:
Arizona Phil 2 days 4 hours ago (view)
Here are the last two Cubs minor league releases from this week (for a final total of 30):
Conor Lillis-White, LHP (acquired frrom LAA for Tommy LaStella post-2018 - missed 2019 season with hip flexor injury)
Alberto Mineo, C-1B (has been quarantined in Italy since he re-signed with Cubs in February)
Lillis-White was eligible for selection in the 2020 Rule 5 Draft, and Mineo was eligible to be a minor league 6YFA post-2020
Charlie 2 days 6 hours ago (view)
Great read from players I came of age watching. Really shows how badly MLB needs to empower their players to speak in real time and not just after retiring.
crunch 2 days 6 hours ago (view)
"A conversation: Retired African American MLB players on race, baseball, America"
d.glanville, j.rollins, r.howard, d.willis, t.hunter, l.hawkins
Jackstraw 2 days 8 hours ago (view)
I'm trying to come up with scenarios where saying "The problem I have with you people....." really helps the conversation move forward constructively. None really jump to mind.
crunch 2 days 9 hours ago (view)
i still want proof that tom ricketts and ted cruz aren't the same person
Cubster 2 days 11 hours ago (view)
Tom's older brother is an ass, even with an embarrassing apology.
Here is the twitter video from Pastor Jarrod Parker:
Cubster 2 days 19 hours ago (view)
I agree. Laura is the real deal. I think she was the major influence that showed Tom R. and Crane Kenney how to show a "human side" and deal realistically and in a non-threatening way, with the local Chicago politicians. Kenney was clearly clueless in his initial attempts regarding the neighborhood, the Rooftop owners, and the Wrigley Field rebuild.
Hagsag 2 days 20 hours ago (view)
I am a Laura Ricketts fan. To hell with the rest of them.