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 3 hours 53 min ago (view)
s.souza 1/1m finalized.
could be up to 3m after performance and non-IL (injury list) incentives.
it seems he'll be giving rest to schwarb/heyward vs lefties at a minimum. it will be interesting to see him play OF this spring to see how much distance he can cover (and on back-to-back days).
crunch 6 hours 8 min ago (view)
cubs signing jeremy "smoke 2 joints" jeffress
Arizona Phil 7 hours 14 min ago (view)
Cubs minor leaguers in Mesa are wearing the new Nike jerseys, which look the same as the previous Majestic unis (blue Cubs jersey with red names and numbers outlined in white), except for the Nike "swoosh" insignia on the upper right front of the shirt.
Arizona Phil 7 hours 40 min ago (view)
The "Under Armour Performamce Center" (UAPC) at the Cubs facility in Mesa in now called the "Chicago Cubs Performance Center" (CCPC). All references to Under Armour have disappeared.
Hagsag 15 hours 30 min ago (view)
It's great to start getting reports from the Instructs. Keep them coming Phil!
bradsbeard 21 hours 25 min ago (view)
Since the deal isn't official, I wonder if the Cubs will wait until camp opens to finalize the deal and then put him on the 60 day IL as soon as it's available (assuming it's a major league deal). That doesn't really make sense in light of their luxury tax maneuvering though. If he's gonna miss a third of the season they'd probably only offer a minor league deal I guess.
Arizona Phil 1 day 28 min ago (view)
Cory Abbott, Ben Hecht, Ryan Lawlor, and Brailyn Marquez were in a separate group on Field #3, so they may be prepping for NRIs to MLB Spring Training.
Arizona Phil 1 day 28 min ago (view)
And Max Bain threw (long toss) at Instructs this morning, too.
Arizona Phil 1 day 28 min ago (view)
I can positively confirm that Jerrick Suiter (1B-OF selected by Cubs from Pirates in Minor League Phase of last month';s Rule 5 Draft) is indeed being converted to a RHP. I saw him throw long-toss this morning at Instructs.
Arizona Phil 1 day 29 min ago (view)
The Cubs have purchased the contract of LHP Adam Choplick from Southern Maryland (Atlantic League) and he has been assigned to AA Tennessee.
Choplick was the 14th round draft pick of the Texas Rangers out of the U. of Oklahoma in 2015, and he was released by the Rangers at the end of Spring Training 2019 (never got higher than AA).
I saw Choplick throw (long-toss) at Instructs this morning and he is one huge dude (6'9 250+).
crunch 1 day 1 hour ago (view)
the entire cubs offseason has been "wow, this guy was good 2-3 years ago, but didn't play or sucked in recent past."
houston finished using their trash can and the cubs are rooting around in it looking for players.
speaking of...it's taken MLB longer to figure out bryant's service time complaint than the entire astros cheating scandal.
crunch 1 day 3 hours ago (view)
"Chicago Cubs selected the contract of LHP Adam Choplick from Southern Maryland Blue Crabs."
okay. sure. congrats and good luck.
Charlie 1 day 5 hours ago (view)
Good for Nick. Good luck to him and the Reds improving his defense. That park should very much play to his offense.
Interest in Gennett is strange. If you are going to pick up a bench infielder at this point, shouldn't it be someone with SS chops?
crunch 1 day 6 hours ago (view)
nick castellanos to the reds, 4/64m...opt out after 1 year.
meanwhile, on the cubs front...
"Bruce Levine of 670 The Score reports that the Cubs continue to have interest in free agent Scooter Gennett. "
Sonicwind75 1 day 11 hours ago (view)
There seemed to be a least an tacit understanding between ownership and fans during the rebuild that we as fans should support the organization when it was intentionally underspending and tanking. When it was time to be competitive, you know when the greatest core of Cubs players in my lifetime are in their prime, ownership would make the most of that window. That doesn't appear to be the case with the team shedding around $40 million in salary.
crunch 1 day 21 hours ago (view)
in all honesty, the team is spending a healthy amount that i only jokingly complain about...but...it was not just fans talking about the extra perks the new revenue streams and tv contract would open. it was ownership and front office at points in the past bringing it up.