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.
crunch 24 min 10 sec ago (view)
ex-cub-for-a-minute derek holland (PIT) had a bad 1st inning today...homer, single, homer, homer, homer in his first 11 pitches.
crunch 49 min 3 sec ago (view)
i played for decades in various formats. i got crazy busy 3 years ago, took a year off, and never got back into it.
it's a great way to stay engaged with all the players and introduce yourself to emerging talent other people see that may not be on your radar.
Dolorous Jon Lester 8 hours 15 min ago (view)
It feels like you have no time to let players you know are good figure out how to get out of slumps. It's not ideal, and feels very much like it's not baseball.
crunch 17 hours 58 min ago (view)
at least this HOU/OAK game has been great since the DET/PIT game has ended. sigh.
crunch 18 hours 36 min ago (view)
at least this DET/PIT game has been great. no cubs til tuesday at the earliest...boo.
Arizona Phil 19 hours 10 min ago (view)
jdrnym: A player being on the Restricted List for a full season makes that season not a qualified season toward minor league free-agency, so will Mark Zagunis (who otherwise would be eligible to be a minor league 6YFA for the first time post-2020) being on the Restricted List as the result of opting-out of the 2020 season (he was assigned to the Cubs MLB Club Player Pool in July) keep him from being a minor league 6YFA post-2020? If not, then Zagunis needs to opt back in even if he is no longer assigned to the Cubs MLB Club Player Pool.
jdrnym 20 hours 30 min ago (view)
Baseball America confirms that 2020 will be considered a "qualified season" for the purposes of determining minor league free agency.
crunch 20 hours 30 min ago (view)
"Cardinals' president of baseball operations John Mozeliak announced Friday that Ryan Helsley and Austin Dean are the two players that tested positive for COVID-19."
Cubster 21 hours 31 min ago (view)
I presume they come back to Chicago for the weekend and travel to Cleveland on Tuesday.
Saved from an August weekend in Stl. Plus, it might eliminate any road games vs Stl. They might do makeups during the 3 game series at Wrigley Mon 8-17 to Wed 8-19 (Thursday 8-20 is a scheduled off day for the Cubs but StL plays the Reds in StL at night) or the 4 game series against the Cardinals at Wrigley Friday 9-4 through Mon 9-7.
crunch 22 hours 8 min ago (view)
i can't even imagine what it's like playing fantasy baseball this season.
Arizona Phil 23 hours 23 min ago (view)
So the Cubs are off until Tuesday.
Hagsag 1 day ago (view)
Make the Deadbirds forfeit all three games.
crunch 1 day 2 hours ago (view)
Arizona Phil 1 day 3 hours ago (view)
Based upon the way MLB handled the Marlins positive tests and the Phillies only potential exposure, I wouldn't be surprised if all three of the Cubs-Cards games this weekend will ultimately be canceled.
Arizona Phil 1 day 3 hours ago (view)
Tonight's Cubs-Cardinals game postponed due to an additional Cards positive CoViD-19 test.
The additional STL player who tested positive had apparently been out in public with the others who tested positive earlier this week when they were infected, so while the new positive test is not a surprise, the lag/delay in the player testing positive is probably a bit concerning/disappointing.
crunch 1 day 9 hours ago (view)
...only because ESPN no longer shows australian rules football.