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 1 hour 12 min ago (view)
I strongly believe that there will be some major changes on the Cubs after this season, even if the Cubs somehow win the World Series. There won't be a tear-down/rebuild lke 2012-14, but I can see the Cubs going younger.
Arizona Phil 1 hour 47 min ago (view)
I think Jon Lester wil be treated as a much-respected "franchise legend" next season, getting the honor of starting on Opening Day, but then being considered the #3 or #4 starter after that before getting his well-earned $10M "golden parachute" after the season. He won't be disrepected by the club, but his time as the go-to guy at the top of the rotation will be over. (Actually it's already over).
Arizona Phil 2 hours 8 min ago (view)
Keep in mind that Yu Darvish does have an opt-out after this season, so if he and/or his agent think he can get at least 4/$81M (which is what he presently is owed 2020-23) as a post-2019 FA he could opt-out.
Arizona Phil 2 hours 35 min ago (view)
BRADSBEARD: Colin Rea hasn't pitched in almost two weeks so I doubt that the Cubs will call him up (they probably should have assigned him to the AFL to get him back into SP shape, but they didn't). That said, If the Cubs were to call-up Rea right now (and they would really need to do it ASAP for him to be useful as a SP) they could recall Justin Steele and place him on the 60-day IL to open up a spot on the 40 for Rea, so that part really isn't a problem.
Charlie 2 hours 48 min ago (view)
Regarding last night's 9th: Kyle Ryan unwilling or unable to throw his curveball is a little ugly.
Arizona Phil 2 hours 49 min ago (view)
SS Zack Short (replacing Nico Hoerner) and RHRP Scott Effross have been added to the AFL Mesa Solar Sox roster.
bradsbeard 2 hours 50 min ago (view)
With all of Lester, Hamels, and Q struggling, how likely would you say a Graveman or Rea callup would be at this point in the season to add some long man depth or even take one of those guys’ next turns? Assuming they could call up Steele and place him on the 60 day IL to free up a roster spot. Obviously there’s the matter of Graveman’s bonus but Rea would be relatively cheap for two weeks.
Arizona Phil 2 hours 52 min ago (view)
Maybe Rizzo can wear Bill Buckner high-tops. It's not like Rizz was a fast runner to begin with.
Arizona Phil 2 hours 57 min ago (view)
DJL: I think Cole Hamels has probably pitched his way out of a QO.
Even though it means the Cubs won't get a compensation draft pick were Hamels to sign elsewhere prior to next June's draft, the danger in offering a QO would be that he would either accept the QO and tie-up about $20M in 2020 payroll, or decline the QO and then (like Keuchel and Kimbrel) wait until after the June draft to sign with another club so that the Cubs wouldn't get a draft pick.
Dolorous Jon Lester 5 hours 26 min ago (view)
Yeah him and Q both have been pretty crappy down the stretch. I wonder if Hamels is pitching his way out of a qualifying offer.
crunch 19 hours 44 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 20 hours 41 min ago (view)
so far so good...
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 23 hours 28 min ago (view)
zobrist / cast / bryant / schwarb / contreras / caratini (1st) / heyward / hoe / ham
crunch 23 hours 31 min ago (view)
rizzo to wear a boot for 5-7 days then they'll see where it goes from there.
Charlie 1 day 24 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 1 day 2 hours 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.