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!
Dolorous Jon Lester 4 min 36 sec ago (view)
Even more of a shame when you consider we gave up a decent prospect for him
Jackstraw 43 min 18 sec ago (view)
Wisdom been in short supply in 2020. Glad we got some.
crunch 53 min ago (view)
we all have...for a few weeks...
it kinda sucks. shame he may end his career speed bump with the cubs not even getting a hit. if you're a no-fielding hitter, you kinda need to get the hitting part down, though. speaking of...check out what vogelbomb is doing in MIL after getting cut loose by SEA.
Cubster 59 min 9 sec ago (view)
Dang, was hoping for a Jose Martinez hit.
Cubster 59 min 45 sec ago (view)
THe Chicago Cubs announced that they have selected the contract of infielder Patrick Wisdom and veteran Jose Martinez has been optioned.
Wisdom will be be available tonight and wear No. 59.
The 29-year-old has a .224 average with four homers and 11 RBIs during his MLB career.
The St. Louis Cardinals drafted Wisdom in the first round of the 2012 MLB June Amateur Draft out of Saint Mary's College.
To make room on the roster, Manny Rodriguez has been recalled from Double AA and placed on the 45-day IL.
crunch 1 hour 46 min ago (view)
there's been some heat surrounding b.marquez being added to the playoff pool, if not getting a callup in this last week (not gonna happen at this point, i imagine).
he's gonna shoot up prospect lists this off-season, he should be on top of everyone's Cubs team prospect lists right now.
Cubster 9 hours 34 min ago (view)
Bluejays locked up a playoff spot. Looks like it's the Astros that are out. They are unlikely to get a "Buffalo" home game if they are the last seed.
Tribune Cub Notes (Friday AM):
Revenue drop leads to layoffs
By Mark Gonzales
The Cubs on Thursday laid off about 60 members of their business department because of declining revenue amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a source told the Tribune.
crunch 1 day 40 min ago (view)
the scary part of this team-wide slump, and especially this series, is PIT is basically a AAA level talent team that had 15 wins all season coming into the cubs series.
cubs are limping into the post-season. heyward is pretty much the only consistent hitter. well, technically jose martinez has been consistent, too.
blockhead25 1 day 57 min ago (view)
Hey, anything could happen. They could win 4 2-1 games in a series.
Or lose 8-0, 6-0 in the first round and be done.
Charlie 1 day 1 hour ago (view)
3 days left to get psyched for the post season?
blockhead25 1 day 2 hours ago (view)
This is an impressive level of offensive offense. This week feels like the final week of 2018 when we also had a lousy 4 game series with the Pirates, just without one of the other teams winning the final 8 games to catch us.
QuietMan 1 day 4 hours ago (view)
So whatever happened to the don't pitch Mills the day after Hendricks plan?
crunch 1 day 5 hours ago (view)
rizzo / contreras(DH) / heyward / schwarber / maybin(CF) / kipnis / baez / caratini / bote
Dolorous Jon Lester 1 day 11 hours 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:
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 1 day 23 hours 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 1 day 23 hours ago (view)
hendricks starts the game giving up back to back homers. wtf...