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 6 hours 33 min ago (view)
a loss is a loss, and there's more than a few of them with various people at fault...but kimbrel giving the cubs 4 losses in 22.2ip when given a lead to work with is some kind of special for a guy getting $16m a year to throw 60-70 innings.
Arizona Phil 7 hours 4 min ago (view)
Criaig Kimbrel has allowed nine HR in 22.2 IP, and Rowan Wick is the only pitcher who has thrown as many as 33 IP in MLB in 2019 who has yet to allow a HR.
crunch 8 hours 35 min ago (view)
14 wins in their last 16 games.
Arizona Phil 9 hours 52 min ago (view)
I think what we saw with Joe Maddon and the Cubs players in 2019 is what happens when an audience has seen a comedian one too many times and the same old jokes that used to be hilarious just aren't funny anymore. Joe needs to find a new audience.
crunch 10 hours 43 min ago (view)
along with that, i'm not sure how maddon will adapt to not being able to use 6-15 pitchers in a 9 inning game once that's history. it seems to be hard-wired into his managing DNA. it's a bit of an exageration to say he wouldn't adapt, but his extremely "hands on" bullpen management seems to be one of his things.
Dolorous Jon Lester 11 hours 3 min ago (view)
Maddon shoulders plenty of blame. I’m not saying blame shouldn’t be anywhere else (cough pitching development) but Maddons style of managing is designed to keep a team loose. This team has been a little too loose since 2017. To say nothing of the puzzling bullpen management, excessive trust game to game and year to year, and other issues. Joe was the perfect guy to get this team the first title. He was never going to get us a second.
Arizona Phil 11 hours 26 min ago (view)
And the MLB clubs that would probably have the highest degree of interest in Maddon for 2020 would be the Mets, Phillies, Angels, Pirates, White Sox, and Rockies (probably in that order).
BobbyD 11 hours 45 min ago (view)
I despised that pterodactyl clown on the ass sox last year. Now that's he's made it his miss to put the Cubs in a death spin... Just drop him off somewhere far away.
Arizona Phil 11 hours 49 min ago (view)
I'm gonna say Mike Borzello will be managing the Cubs in 2020, and Mark Loretta will get the SD job.
Arizona Phil 11 hours 50 min ago (view)
Kimbrel has until October 31st to designate the eight MLB clubs to which he will not accept a trade, and then it will be up to the Cubs to find a taker (and good luck with that).
Charlie 11 hours 52 min ago (view)
Can we go back and swap Kimbrel for Keuchel?
crunch 11 hours 52 min ago (view)
who's gonna manage the cubs next year? =p
barring a miracle over the next week i dunno if he's gonna make it to 2020. replacing the manager is generally the go-to for a team looking to make a "major change" without actually spending much money. i dunno if maddon can survive this collapse even if he doesn't shoulder much blame.
Arizona Phil 11 hours 54 min ago (view)
Updated 2019 Cubs PH numbers (sorted by PA):
crunch 12 hours 11 min ago (view)
baez K's on 3 pitches.
cubs lose their 5th in a row. brews play a night game.
Dolorous Jon Lester 12 hours 12 min ago (view)
The patented Cub Tease Rally
crunch 12 hours 13 min ago (view)
baez pinch hitting. okay, then.