Cubs @ Pirates: Series Thread (Games 122-124)
The Cubs may want to flee the state after that performance in Philadelphia, but they only make it as far as the western side of Pennsylvania. There, they find the last place Pirates waiting for them. The Pirates ended an 8-game skid by taking the first two in their last series, against the Angels. The Pittsburgh club is firmly in the role of spoiler following that 8-game losing streak and a 9-game losing streak that lead them into the trade deadline. The Cubs head into the series in a tie with the Cardinals and only 1 game ahead of the Brewers. See below for the matchups.
Game 122, Friday, August 16, 6:05pmCDT
CHC: RHP Kyle Hendricks (8-9, 3.48 ERA)
PIT: RHP Joe Musgrove (8-11, 4.71 ERA)
Hendricks only went 2.2 in Cincinnati for his last start and allowed seven earned runs, including three homeruns. It was easily his worst start of the season so far. He faced the Pirates on July 2 and surrendered two earned runs in three innings of work. Adam Frazier is 4-8 off of him with a homerun. Gregory Polanco and his 10-28 and two homeruns off Hendricks are on the IL.
Musgrove lost to the Cardinals last time out (thanks). He allowed three earned runs on six hits and three walks in 5.1 innings pitched. He's 0-1 in two starts against the Cubs this season having allowed four runs, two earned, on only five hits and two walks in 9.1 innings. Current Cubs are 17-97 off of him with a single homerun and 9 walks. If you're following along that = terrible.
Game 123: Saturday, August 17, 12:35pmCDT
CHC: LHP Jon Lester (9-8, 4.43 ERA)
PIT: LHP Steven Brault (3-1, 4.33 ERA)
Lester allowed three earned runs in five innings in Cincinnati last weekend. He's 1-0 in two Wrigley starts against the Pirates this season, allowing three runs, one earned, in 9.1 innings pitched. Josh Bell is 6-22 with one homerun off of him.
Brault swung back into the rotation at the end of May and has been decent there since, although he finds himself exiting the game around the fifth inning in about half his outings. Last time out he went 4.2 and allowed four earned runs in a no decision to the Cardinals. He pitched three innings in relief against the Cubs on April eighth and allowed four earned runs. The Cubs have hammered him for a .990 OPS in 105 at bats. Bryant is 7-12 with a homerun, three walks, and zero strikeouts off of him. Javy is 5-9 with a homerun, three walks, and zero strikeouts.
Game 124: Sunday, August 18, 6:10pmCDT
CHC: LHP José Quintana (10-7, 4.11 ERA)
PIT: RHP Mitch Keller (1-1, 7.94 ERA)
Quintana set a career high with 14 strikeouts in his last start and has been great in his last two. He's allowed two earned runs on seven hits and one walk vs. 21 strikeouts in his last 13 innings pitched. He's won all three of his starts against the Pirates this season, allowing three earned runs and collecting 21 strikeouts in 20 innings pitched against them. The three Pirates who have had some success against him--Cervelli, Osuna, and Polanco--are all unavailable at the beginning of this series. My superstitious side thinks there are too many ducks lined up here and that Cubbery must be imminent.
Perhaps that cubbery comes in the form of a rookie pitcher the Cubs have never faced. Mitch Keller is 1-1 in his first four MLB starts. He hasn't been especially efficient, striking out more than a batter per inning but also allowing 4.24 walks per nine and posting a low groundball rate. His fastball has averaged 95.7 MPH, and he'll mix a slider, a curve, and the occasional changeup. No Cubs have faced him.
Arizona Phil 51 min 2 sec 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 51 min 22 sec ago (view)
And Max Bain threw (long toss) at Instructs this morning, too.
Arizona Phil 51 min 34 sec 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 51 min 47 sec 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 hour 57 min 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 3 hours 34 min ago (view)
"Chicago Cubs selected the contract of LHP Adam Choplick from Southern Maryland Blue Crabs."
okay. sure. congrats and good luck.
Charlie 6 hours 19 min 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 7 hours 20 min 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 11 hours 41 min 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 21 hours 49 min 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.
George Altman 23 hours 13 min ago (view)
What's pretty obvious is that the Cubs 2020 salary budget is $208m AAV. Whatever Theo/Jed can field with that number (existing players, trades, and/or signings). They could generate $100m from Marquee, concerts, Wrigleyville, etc and it's NOT going to translate into more $$$ for players. Very sad, frustrating, and maddening.
crunch 1 day 3 hours ago (view)
maybe if the cubs can squeeze a 5th in-season concert at wrigley they can sign addison russell.
Charlie 1 day 3 hours ago (view)
Morosi reporting that the Reds are favorites for Castellanos. Seems like a good direction for them if they can deal with his defense in LF. They look to have the best sarting rotation in the division (or close to it) as things stand. If they can squeeze more offense out of the OF and skate by with their bullpen, they could hang reasonably close to the Cards-Brewers-Cubs pack. I'll be curious to see how much money they throw at him if they do sign him. Being younger has to get him more money than Ozuna, right?
Charlie 1 day 6 hours ago (view)
Sure would be nice to rehab a player and then have them stick around and help out the team. Fingers crossed for Souza.
Arizona Phil 1 day 9 hours ago (view)
BRADSBEARD: Unfortunately the video doesn't show how his knee looked the day after the workout, whether he can run and take BP two days in a row, if he needs to take pain meds before or after he does physical activity, and/or if he has to have his knee drained every couple of weeks.