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 5 hours 27 min ago (view)
Eric S 22 hours 41 min ago (view)
Woo Hoo!!! Cubs win a crazy one! KB with another late inning, game winning homer - good stuff!
crunch 22 hours 44 min ago (view)
schwarb set the cubs team record for fastest to 100 by a cub a bit less than a week ago. bryant would have won a couple MVP awards in a row the past couple years.
Eric S 22 hours 46 min ago (view)
That was a good send by the butterman - great throw by Yaz Jr
Try as he might, Eddie Vedder can’t find da butterman
Thanks. I’ll show myself out now
Eric S 22 hours 50 min ago (view)
200th home run of the season by KB probably would have set some kind of record too
crunch 22 hours 53 min ago (view)
the inital graphic was KB #200, but i was like...hold on...
it was technically true in the loosest sense of the phrase.
Eric S 22 hours 59 min ago (view)
That would have been pretty cool if it had been KB’s 200th home run in less than five full seasons!
crunch 23 hours 1 min ago (view)
this game, though...wow...this game.
200th team homer of the season.
Eric S 23 hours 2 min ago (view)
Yes. Just like that
Eric S 23 hours 27 min ago (view)
Funny (ha ha) to remember that at one point in this game Yu had retired 12 straight Giants
crunch 23 hours 28 min ago (view)
"i am required to say it's a see-saw battle." - len
"it's going to come down to the kicking game." - jd
Eric S 23 hours 29 min ago (view)
Oof. The lead off walk - horrible. That second hit allowed (which tied the game) on the ankle high fastball - tuff luck.
crunch 23 hours 35 min ago (view)
oh yeah...so cubs win 21-22 on a walk off bote grand slam...gotcha.
Eric S 23 hours 44 min ago (view)
Sounds about right. Howevuh ... Home Game!
crunch 23 hours 48 min ago (view)
d.holland still sucks.
cubs tied this one out of sheer suck going on both sides of this game. i'm waiting for the cubs to lose this one 18-17 in a few hours.
Eric S 23 hours 57 min ago (view)
Cubs need their three-hole hitter to start stepping up at the plate and do something crazy like driving in the two-hole hitter