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.
Hagsag 2 hours 7 min ago (view)
Cubster 19 hours 49 min ago (view)
speaking of Trump's trained rats...
Hagsag 1 day 2 hours ago (view)
Cubster, your comments about President Bone Spurs could not be more accurate. Thanks for posting!
BobbyD 1 day 13 hours ago (view)
Cubster: I agree with your comments, save one. That the president is "leading" America. He couldn't lead a pack of rats to a NYC dumpster on an August afternoon. The "man" is a f'ing disgrace.
crunch 1 day 15 hours ago (view)
though the team cheaped out on this offseason (still an overall top-tier payroll), i was at least looking forward to seeing the beginning of the david ross era...and who was going to win the 2nd base job...
nothing about 2020 baseball feels legit anymore. just hearing the players talk about it, you'd think they were organizing a casual pickup game for charity at an inconvient time and place...doesn't seem like they're really stoked about it.
Cubster 1 day 16 hours ago (view)
June 1st is a week from tomorrow. Given 5 weeks of spring training before starting (July 4th?), the season is on the brink of going bye-bye. It's bad enough in 2020 to be losing prime career years for Javy Baez and Kris Bryant, let alone Anthony Rizzo, Kyle Schwarber, Kyle Hendricks, and Willson Contreras. If one of them gets coronavirus, loses lung capacity, and alters their career arc, Cub fans will for a long time have a bitter taste in their mouths. All for, at best, a bizarre half-season without fans watching in the ballparks.
Alexander Dimm 1 day 22 hours ago (view)
HAGSAG: I've been following this all spring and I fully agree. Let's not risk the health of these ballplayers. Let's plan for 2021 an be done with 2020. I know that whole game will be changed next year but it's already morphing now. Just start with a clean slate. I don't want scientists watching baseball when they should be working on a vaccine.
Hagsag 2 days 2 hours ago (view)
I love baseball as much as anyone, but I cant see this working. Put the 2020 season on the shelf and plan for 2021.
crunch 2 days 16 hours ago (view)
i still don't understand how any of this retains momentum if a team has an outbreak...
it seems like that would put a pause on things not only effecting the team with the outbreak, but the schedule and future opponents...and past opponents who recently played the team with an outbreak...
if it gets started, hopefully it can roll to end without going off the rails. it all seems so fragile with a lot of moving pieces.
CubbyBlue 2 days 16 hours ago (view)
I wish I felt better about the possibility of baseball this year. All those details - it just seems like something's not going to work. And to me the worst thing that could happen is they get started and 2 weeks later have to shut it down, then try to start it up again.
Baseball's role this summer is meant to uplift, and that scenario feels soul-crushing.
crunch 3 days 13 hours ago (view)
add the bjays to the list...
whatever works to get people paid.
crunch 3 days 15 hours ago (view)
"Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Brewers will keep their baseball operations staff intact for all of 2020.
There will be no furloughs and only top executives in the organization will take pay cuts."
2020 has officially crossed the line now...making me like the brewers...
seriously though, it's about time some of these 100s-millionaire to billionaire owners acted like this.
brewers, wsox, cards, and twins have all promised full pay for employees through june+ (and maybe longer when revisited)
crunch 5 days 13 hours ago (view)
the "slow opening" seems to be starting up this weekend and into next week for a variety of clubs...whether it's the ballpark or training facitlies. most all of the player access seems to be limited to those on the 40-man and nothing mandatory.
nothing for the cubs yet (that i've heard about). chicago is still a bit "hot" but AZ is open for sports...
crunch 1 week 1 day ago (view)
i can't speak for this or all of the US, but my state govt level safety committee reports kinda shape up like this...and this aggregated view stated below is my own...
we're still technically short for how all pieces of the testing scheme interact with each other on whole, but it's catching up and should be rolling smoothly for a task like this (seems to be a dedicated lab for all MLB) by the time the season is proposed to start.
Hagsag 1 week 2 days ago (view)
They plan on testing 10.000 per week? I thought we were short of tests.
crunch 1 week 2 days ago (view)
i would be surprised to see this go start-to-finish without some kind of stupid drama. it's not that covid is gonna kill a gazillion people while they bleed from their eyes or something...it's that it's so easy to pass it others. if you find one guy positive, chances are pretty high he's taking down a handful of others with him even if they're all good to go in a couple weeks and feel fine during that downtime.