Cubs vs. Pirates: Series Thread (Games 91-93)

Welcome back from your well-deserved break. Starting Friday, the Cubs get back at the division battle with a three-game set against the Pirates. They'll try to leave behind a bit of a mid-season slump (one in which the entire division had been mired) and put some distance between themselves and their division rivals. See game-by-game matchups below.


Game 91, Friday, July 12, 1:20pmCDT
CHC: RHP Yu Darvish (2-4, 5.01 ERA)
PIT: RHP Chris Archer (3-6, 5.49 ERA)

Darvish has faced the Pirates twice this year and is 0-1 allowing 8 earned runs in 12 innings pitched. The no-decision was his last start, in which he allowed four earned runs on two homers and no walks in 6.1 innings pitched. He's allowed nine homeruns over his last five starts. Darvish nemeses Cervelli and Chisenhall remain unavailable. Dickerson is also out of the starting lineup with a groin injury.

Chris Archer went five innings and struck out eight while also allowing three earned runs on two homers and three walks against the Cubs. Javy is 7-12 with a homerun off of him.


Game 92, Saturday, July 13, 1:20pmCDT
CHC: LHP Jon Lester (5-5, 4.36 ERA)
PIT: RHP Jordan Lyles (8-6, 3.72 ERA)

Jon Lester last held the White Sox to three runs, one earned, over 6.1 innings. His only start against Pittsburgh earlier this year was the two-inning affair that was shortened by his injury. He's held current Pirates to a .687 OPS in 214 at bats.

Last time out, Jordan Lyles was clobbered by the Cubs lineup. He allowed seven earned runs on ten hits, including three homeruns, in four innings pitched. Almora, Bryant, and Contreras hit the homers. Rizzo is 3-16 with four strikeouts against him.


Game 93, Sunday, July 14, 1:20pmCDT
CHC: LHP José Quintana (6-7, 4.19 ERA)
PIT: RHP Trevor Williams (3-2, 4.54 ERA)

Quintana earned a win against the Pirates in his last start. He went seven deep, allowing three earned runs and striking out six. Dickerson is 5-11 off of him and Josh Bell is 2-9 with a homerun.

Trevor Williams allowed five earned runs in 5.2 innings pitched but still earned a win against the Cubs in his last start. That's because Adbert Alzolay allowed seven earned runs in only 2.2 innings pitched. Bryant is 3-11 with five walks off of him. Schwarber is 6-17 with two homeruns.

Comments

Somebody wake Theo up. Evidently, Descalso is STILL on the roster. Amazing 

Also, Cubs bats still on the All Star break 👎

after getting off to a hot start hitting leadoff, schwarb has been sub-.300 ob% quality there for a month or so.

him not being on base for rizzo/bryant/baez slugging isn't the major pressing issue with the lineup, though.

I was surprised to see Schwarber is actually on the higher end of average number of pitches seen per at bat but it’s not enough to offset the low on-base etc. He doesn’t make opposing pitchers uneasy at the plate or on the basepaths. Time travel and get 2016 Dexter back please. 

Last 8 games coming into today Schwarber had a .368 OBP. These things tend to fluctuate over small samples. 

That is encouraging. The discouraging thing is the .311 OBP over 212 PA’s when batting 1st in the order this season. Is slugging .508 at that spot though. Still strikes me as a square peg in a round hole. 

And Schwarber works two walks in the first inning - nice

Ok, I'm convinced.  There has to be some bat at Iowa that can better Decalso's wRC+ of 51.

you gotta be f'n kidding me.

Wish I could say it was shocking. Schwarber hitting into the dp ... knew it would bite them. 

Walking Bryan Reynolds with two outs - ridiculous 

......and, you can close my book on the Pedro Strop era. Recall......or trade for....anyone else.

Same fucking mistake time after time after time.  Caratini scoots to the outside edge to a RH batter, Strop misses outside-er by 6 to 12 inches.  Only guy in the league who swings at those pitches is busy playing SS for the Cubs.  Strop gets behind, fastball gets rocketed somewhere.  Once into the ivy today, the other one estimated at 454 feet.

Watching Caratini/Contreras scoot to outside edge with Strop pitching is like the moment in the horror film when the teenagers grab the candles and matches out of the kitchen drawer and then split up.

alfred hitchcock over here has a point.

Strop's slider always seems better down than it does away.

MLB.tv is free this weekend (including tonight).

local blackout b/s appies.

JHey with the answer!!

hate to push his recent and far-too-long-to-get-here sustained success, but he's starting to look like a whole lot more valid leadoff guy than the current favorite.

I’d keep JHey right where he is - he’s in a sweet zone and I don’t want to mess with it. Trade for a stopgap 2nd baseman (Sogard/Villar) and/or outfielder (Peralta?) who can also hit leadoff - move Schwarber down to 6-8. Leadoff needs to be adressed one way or another 

i dont understand why bote isn't there more often.  he plays 2nd well enough and his shortcomings seems to mostly be not adapting to the fact that contreras and baez could throw to you at any moment for any reason, good or bad, and to be on point when either has the ball.

And Rizzo

Cubs have three offensive black holes on the roster at the moment (Descalso, Almora, and Russell).  Almora should play the most due to his defense and also the number of guys needing to move position when he is out.  I'm OK with Cubs having 2 auto outs at the bottom of the lineup if Almora is going to play near GG caliber CF.  Seems to me Joe plays Almora and Russell together since it's his best defensive lineup and he's hoping both of them will start to hit better.  Bote or Garcia at 2B are both offensive upgrades so I think they should get regular play and take advantage of whomever gets hot.  Pick whomever are the Cubs 2 most groundball pitchers and play Russell with them for his D, Bote and Garcia get the other games til somebody wins out by hitting the best.

Descalso should play every time Chatwood comes into the game.  Only then.  The position player sign of surrender.

I’m sure everyone is hoping Almora and Russell start to hit better. There could be a small sliver of hope for Albert, but I think Addison just is what he is at this point. I know he’s still pretty young but he basically puts up the same line every year. Mediocre BA, below average OBP, some HR power. 

His career arc has certainly had the wrong trajectory since 2016.

cubs win!

Never a doubt!!!🤪

Real shame we weren’t able to sign Chambers or Hendrie.

Ryan Jensen’s first start: .2 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 0 K, 29 pitches (13 strikes)

Definite room for improvement, but three less walks than Alzolay had tonight ...

Posey grand slam in 10th vs Brewers Breaking 6-6 tie after brewers scored on Yelich triple to tie in 9th. Cards lose to DBacks. v fine start to the 2nd half.

Three free outs at the bottom of today’s lineup. They have to be thinking Baddison should be heading back to Des Moines, right? Right? RIGHT?

Thinking the Cubs may have Jordan Lyles number

RIP corey dickerson's face

Alec Mills getting the start on Tuesday. 

*checks AAA stats*

i f'n hate tuesday.

brewers won a hell of a game.

a 1-1 duel into the 7th where leads were traded or tied until a 2-out walkoff double in the bottom of the 9th.

btw, if anyone is bored enough, the HOU/TEX game is going to the 11th and crowd is both nearly 100% still in attendance and extremely hyped up.  great game.

that was neat.

anyway, if anyone is bored enough, the ATL/SD game is in the 10th and the crowd is doing typical SD things like technically existing and occasionally reacting to the play on the field with some noise.

For the sweep: Willson out, Caratini in (Willson with a sore arch in right foot, hopefully just minor issue), KB in right field, Bote at 3rd, Robel at 2nd. 

It looked like Contreras was injured trying to catch Rosario in the top of the 8th. Rosario was missing his spots badly against the last batter or two of the inning and Contreras was jumping/leaping/diving on almost every pitch and then limped off the field after the third out. 

that baez/russell DP was sick

k.bryant in RF...i could go for less k.bryant in RF...

he's not horrible, but he's timid about going full on and his initial break for the ball isn't that great.

Rather have Schwarber in right and KB in left, assuming you’re good with Almora not starting?  KB played some CF too a few years ago IIRC

i think we might be seeing schwarb find a new home and see a bit more LF bryant in 2020...but that is pure speculation.

the pen needed help this season, but it needs a nearly total rebuild going into 2020.

corner OF'rs and 3rd/2nd isn't much a depth issue, thankfully.

Yeah a lot of the pen is scheduled for FA this offseason. Strop Cishek Kintzler, potentially Brach. Even the ghost of Cedeno.

A handful of guys who will be out of options next year who could grab a spot and a handful who are in AAA who could grab one too. Though some of either group might be DFA or non-tendered.

The thing I worry about most with Bryant in the outfield is him running into people.

heyward's 15th HR of the season.

most since 2012 (27).

cubs with a 2 run lead in the 5th.

JHey lengthening the lineup in a big way!

I was thinking the same thing.  Keep JHey hot and find a hitterish 2nd baseman and the lineup starts to look 2016 long.  Cubs did OK that year.

The Cubs went from being one of the best PH clubs in 2018 to near the bottom in 2019, in large part because they essentially exchanged Tommy LaStella (by far - THE - best PH in MLB in 2018 and the best in Cubs history) for Daniel Descalso (who has been unable to provide any production off the bench in 2019).

Why this matters is that one way a club can come back late in a game (which the Cubs have not done much this season) is with a couple of bats on the bench who can provide a productive PA as a PH in a key late-inning situation.

With the Cubs sweeping the Pirates this past weekend the Bucs may be moving into "sell" mode, and if so, Melky Cabrera would be someone the Cubs should pursue. He is a high-contact switch-hitter who can hit cold of the bench (he is hitting 375/524/563 as a PH in 2019 and has yet to strike out in 21 PH PA) and he can play some corner OF (preferably LF) as well.   

Otherwise it's getting to the point where the Cubs will need to seriously consider using Jon Lester as a PH on a routine basis (that is, on days he's not the SP). 

cubs are the first NL Central team to 50 wins, 3rd in the NL to get there (ATL + LAD, who has 61 wins)

MIL is losing by 5 going into the 9th.  they will be 2.5 games back if they lose.

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  • crunch 3 hours 11 min ago (view)

    cole hamels continues to suck.

    3.1, 4.1, 3.1 innings his last 3 starts.  he hasn't been the same since coming back after his july injury rest.

     

  • crunch 4 hours 8 min ago (view)

    so far so good...

    go schwarb

    it's kinda frightening that schwarb in LF is a better option than schwarb playing 1st with rizzo out.  i wonder how bad it really is...

     

  • crunch 6 hours 56 min ago (view)

    zobrist / cast / bryant / schwarb / contreras / caratini (1st) / heyward / hoe / ham

     

  • crunch 6 hours 58 min ago (view)

    rizzo to wear a boot for 5-7 days then they'll see where it goes from there.

     

  • Charlie 7 hours 52 min ago (view)

    It makes sense, for sure. I'm more concerned about the Brewers than the Nats, though. The optimal outcome would be Cubs sweep, Nats sweep, Brewers get swept. Can't pass the Nats that way, but can take the division lead and put the Brewers further back.

    Odds on that (using Fangraphs #s):

    Cubs sweep: 24.6%

    Cubs sweep and Cards get swept: 4.9%

    Cubs sweep, Cards get swept, Brewers get swept: 0.29%

    I can dream.

     

  • bradsbeard 9 hours 44 min ago (view)

    I just want whatever will maximize the odds of the playoffs. The Cubs have the opportunity to take care of the Cards themselves. Ideally there is still a wild card slot for them if they can’t. 

     

  • Charlie 10 hours ago (view)

    Absolutely agree. Winning the division is both much better for playoff progression chances *and* far more satisfying than coming in second to the Cards. I root for whatever gets them closest to that at this point.

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 10 hours 24 min ago (view)

    Gotta root against StL. I don’t want a wild card appearance. I don’t like our chances at home vs Scherzer, Strasburg, or Corbin a whole lot more than I do in Washington.

     

  • bradsbeard 11 hours 11 min ago (view)

    I’d almost feel better if the Cards took 2 of 3 from the Nats. If the Cubs sweep, they'd be just 1 game back of the Cards and a half game up on the Nats.  

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 11 hours 47 min ago (view)

    Even worse for StL. 7 vs Cubs, 3 vs Nationals

    The fate of Cubs and Cardinals season is going to come down to 7 games against one another. Cubs gotta win 5 if they want to win division I think. Good thing 4 of 7 are at Wrigley.

     

  • crunch 15 hours 21 sec ago (view)

    13 games left for CHC...7 vs STL

    13 games left for MIL...all vs teams under .500 (SD, PIT, CIN, COL)

    buckle up...it's gonna be a "fun" couple of weeks.

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 15 hours 23 min ago (view)

    The way MIL is playing makes me... uneasy. Too bad we didn’t bury them. Especially because they won’t play anyone with a winning record from here on out.

    That said, much as I LOATHE the team and fans at Wrigley North, I’d still rather see them take the division than the shitbirds.

     

  • crunch 1 day 6 hours ago (view)

    bote really needs to overcome his weird habbit of trying to duck under high/inside pitches rather than leaning out of them.

     

  • crunch 1 day 7 hours ago (view)

    47 cubs runs in this 3 game series...14 HRs.

     

  • crunch 1 day 7 hours ago (view)

    STL up by 1...MIL with 2 outs, bases loaded, top 9th.

    r.braun grand slam.  MIL leads by 3.

    barring some crazy comebacks, STL's lead should shrink to 2 games.

     

  • crunch 1 day 7 hours ago (view)

    sprained right ankle for rizzo...xray showed no break...MRI tomorrow