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 1 hour 33 min ago (view)
Carlos Zambrano. Loved Z but by the end of
his tenure he was absolutely a negative influence.
Dolorous Jon Lester 1 hour 34 min ago (view)
I find it odd that they were basically able to totally re order the rotation and didn't move Hendricks to a home start this weekend against he team he tossed a shutout against.
Cubster 3 hours 6 min ago (view)
Aha, I see a topic. List all time Cub clubhouse cancers.
crunch 14 hours 19 min ago (view)
the indians waited too long to get trevor bauer away from influencing clevenger as a professional and human being...
there's a reason bauer has been sold "below cost" by 2 teams now.
also, do they even care that carlos carrasco is coming back from a boatload of chemo and has decided to participate in this season when he could have just taken his $$ and gone home for a year?
crunch 18 hours 43 sec ago (view)
thursday stl/det double header postponed.
cards have played 5 games and might not play a 6th until the weekend...maybe.
some other teams will be 20+ games played at that point.
Eric S 18 hours 43 min ago (view)
Dietrich ends up with the Rangers on a minor league deal and sent to their alternate training site.
Cubster 19 hours 25 min ago (view)
No new Cardinals tested negative on Sunday. They need two days in a row of neg. testing to get the OK to resume the season. Today's tests are not back.
crunch 20 hours 52 min ago (view)
STL is going to go 1/2 month without playing a game...more at this point are possible.
they've played 5 games. some teams have played 16-17 games.
Childersb3 21 hours 16 min ago (view)
Why isn't Ryan Jensen at South Bend these days?
Regardless of if he gets called up. He should be there if he's healthy and able
crunch 1 day 17 hours ago (view)
"Zach Plesac (CLE) was sent home by the Indians and will be quarantined for 72 hours going out with friends in Chicago on Saturday night."
Eric S 1 day 18 hours ago (view)
Cubs have reset the rotation ahead of the series against the Indians: Lester, Hendricks, Darvish, Chatwood and Mills
Mills and Hendricks no longer back to back which makes sense given their similar styles
Mornington Crescent 1 day 19 hours ago (view)
They actually did a Strat-O-Matic simulation of the 1981 all star game at Municipal Stadium in Cleveland when the game was cancelled due to the strike, complete with scoreboard display. Bob Feller did the ceremonial first dice roll.
Arizona Phil 1 day 20 hours ago (view)
Derek Dietrich getting released and opening up a slot on the Cubs MLB Club Player Pool roster (which was full prior to Dietrich getting released) would allow Mark Zagunis to opt back into the season (if he so chooses) and return to the Club Player Pool, if being on the Restricted List was going to prevent him from being a first-time minor league 6YFA post-2020.
Arizona Phil 1 day 20 hours ago (view)
The path for Dietrich to the Cubs MLB Active List roster was always based on a potential injury to Rizzo, Kipnis, Schwarber, or Heyward, so I can see why Dietrich would request his release - IF - he has a for sure MLB gig with another club waiting for him, but otherwise no.
Eric S 1 day 22 hours ago (view)
Cubs released Derek Dietrich from his minor league contract - at Dietrich's request - so he can pursue other MLB opportunities. Wouldn't be surprised if he hooks on with the Braves as 2B Ozzie Albies was put on the IL last week with a wrist injury that may take considerable time to heal. In any event, the Cubs player pool back to 59 of a possible 60 players.