Cubs @ Mets: Hendricks vs. Syndergaard (Game 132)

CHC (70-61): RHP Kyle Hendricks (9-9, 3.20 ERA)
NYM (67-64): RHP Noah Syndergaard (9-6, 3.71 ERA)
First pitch 6:10pmCDT

The Cubs started the road series with a win over Marcus Stroman and continue with another tough match-up today. Hendricks takes the mound, fresh off a very good performance against the Giants that yielded him a win. He pitched seven scoreless, collecting seven strikeouts and allowing three hits along the way. The Mets most dangerous hitters have seen little of Mr. Tenure Track, but Todd Frazier is 3-12 with two doubles and two walks. The bullpen should be extremely well rested following an off day and an 8-inning start from Yu.

Noah Syndergaard has missed slightly fewer bats this year and has a higher ERA than usual, but most of his peripherals suggest he's been pretty near as dominant as in his past. He's still averaging 98 MPH on his fastball and getting groundballs in almost half of all balls in play. Current Cubs have been shockingly fine against him. Javy, who broke out of a slump in a big way last night, is 4-7 with two strikeouts off the fireballer. Bryant is 3-8, Heyward is 4-11, and Russell (also with a HR yesterday) is an adequate 2-6. No current Cubs has homered off the righty. Rizzo, 2-10 with four strikeouts off of Syndergaard, may just get another day to rest his back.

Comments

With the season over for both AZL Cubs #1 and AZL Cubs #2, the Cubs have supposedly assigned several of their AZL pitchers to throw "live" BP to Ben Zobrist. It doesn't appear to be happening in Mesa, however. 

Ben Zobrist must be reinstated from the Restricted List (and added back to the MLB 40-man roster) prior to midnight on 8/31 in order to be eligible to play in the post-season.  

For formality sake, they could do it after their game on the 31st and option somebody from the Iowa to Chicago shuttle. However would that person still be required to be "sent down" for 10 days even without a minor league season to hypothetically participate in?

ERICH081: As long as the Cubs wait until after the game on 8/31 (it's a day game) to reinstate Zobrist from the Restricted List, there does not need to be a corresponding move on the Cubs MLB Active List (25-man roster) because rosters expand from 25 to 40 on 9/1. But he must be reinstated prior to midnight on 8/31 in order to be eligible to play in the post-season, so he will very likely be reinstated from the Restricted List sometime after the game on 8/31 but prior to midnight and then he will be placed on the Cubs Active List prior to the game on 9/1.  

There is still the issue of who Ben Zobrist replaces on the Cubs MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) when he is reinstated (presumably after the game on Saturday). 

1. I have mentioned Justin Steele before and why the Cubs probably would prefer not to recall him from his Optional Assignment and place him on the MLB 60-day IL to make room for Zobrist on the 40. They can do it, but not only would it cost the Cubs an extra $80,000+ in salary (the difference between Steele's minor league split salary and the MLB minimum salary he would make while on the MLB 60-day IL plus the additional CBT tax and CBT surchage the Cubs would have to pay on the salary because they are over the CBT threshold), but Steele would also accrue 29 days of MLB Service Time while on the 60- day IL, and he could not be outrighted to the minors during the off-season or Spring Training if he were to sustain a major injury (which he could be if he does not accrue any MLB Service Time in 2019).      

2. Daniel Descalso could be transferred to the 60-day IL. Because time spent on the 10-day IL counts toward the 60 days a player must spend on the 60-day IL before he can be reinstated, Descalso would be eligible to be reinstated on 9/22 and would be eligible to play in the post-season. He also could continue his Minor League Rehab Assignment with AAA Iowa while the I-Cubs are playing in the PCL playoffs after Labor Day (although it might seem hard to believe, there is no restriction on an MLB player doing an Article XIX-C Minor League Rehab Assignment with a minor league team participating in a league playoff). If this happens, the Cubs would just be delaying their 40-man roster decision unitl 9/22, but by then there will be only seven days left in the MLB regular season and it wouldn't cost as much in terms of salary and MLB Service Time to recall Justin Steele from his Optional Assignment and place him on the MLB 60-day IL (Steele is shut-down with a strained oblique). Or maybe somebody else will get hurt in the meantime and will be placed onto or transferred to the 60-day IL by 9/22. 

3. Somebody could get Designated for Assignment. That could be Descalso, too. The Cubs could offer to either transfer him to the 60-day IL, give him his release, or outright him to the minors. It would be his choice. If he takes his release, the Cubs would be on the hook for what remains of his contract (offset by the pro-rated MLB minimum salary if he signs a major league contract with another club after being released). If he accepts the Outright Assignment, he gets an NRI to Spring Training and has a chance to make the Cubs Opening Day roster next season or else play at AAA Iowa. If he goes on the 60-day IL, he remains inactive possibly beyond 9/22, but he would remain with the club and be eligible to play in the 2019 post-season if activated from the IL. 

There are several other candidates on the 40 besides Descalso who could get a DFA, including a post-2019 free-agent like Derek Holland. Also a minor leaguer presently on the 40 who will be out of minor league options in 2020 (Alec Mills, Randy Rosario, Duane Underwood Jr, and Mark Zagunis) and thus will have no value as a "Des Moines - Chicago shuttle" guy in 2020 could get dropped to make room on the 40 for Zobrist on 8/31.

Something to keep in mind about Cole Hamels being on the Paternity Leave List is that he must be reinstated after three days (max), so Hamels must be reinstated on Friday even though he isn't scheduled to start until Saturday, and then somebody who is presently on the 25-man roster will have to be placed on the Injured List or optioned to the minors or DFA'd when Hamels is reinstated, and if a player presently on the 25 is optioned to the minors, he must remain on Optional Assignment to the minors for at least ten days unless he is recalled to replace a player who is placed on an MLB inactive list (IL, Paternity, Bereavement, etc).  

It used to be that a player could be recalled after spending less than ten days on Optional Assignment if his minor league team's season had ended (so for example James Norwood could be optioned to AA Tennessee -- which unlike Iowa will not be in the playoffs -- on Friday and then recalled on Tuesday after Tennessee's last game on Monday), but that is no longer the case. If Norwood (for example) is optioned back to the minors when Hamels is renistated from the Paternity Leave List on Friday, he cannot be recalled for at least ten days (until Monday 9/9) unless he is recalled to replace a player who is placed on an MLB inactive list. That's why you will sometimes see a player placed on the Injured List in September. 

heyward / cast / bryant / baez / schwarb / russell / happ(1st) / caratini / hendricks

rizzo expected to miss tomorrow's game, too.

tarp on the field at gametime, delayed start...supposedly it's going to be a very short delay.

cast takes a HBP to the hand.

NEAT.  COOL.  AWESOME.

he's staying in the game, but ow.

this game is good.  the rain can stop now, plz...need to finish this one.

hendricks comes to the plate before throwing a pitch...thor's thrown 29 for 6 runs and 1 out.

My supersticiousness must be flaring up, becaus an early lead like this against a starter like Syndergaard in an important game is giving me the willies.

2nd inning good, too.

schwarb with career high homer #31.

the rain is obviously playing a role in this bad pitching, but this is a stomping by cubs bats.

3rd inning good, too.

cast with a HR...think his hand might be fine.

thor is still pitching for some reason.

hendricks pulled with 2 on and 4 in with 2 outs in the 5th.

he had a 9 run lead not too long ago.  cubs up by 5.  phelps in to clean up the last out.

harsh no-decision for hendricks.

...and phelps gives up a run.  neat.  4 run lead.

2019 Cubs: nothing comes easy. Except road losses. Those come easy and quite frequently 

Game similar to the Q start about a month ago where he got pulled in the fifth inning before a big lead was completely squandered. He’s pitched pretty well since then. 

of course b.brach comes in and pitches 1ip 0h 0bb 2k vs the cubs in quick order.

kimbrel game #19 and i'm very much over his drama innings.  damn, yo.

bit of fun...the story behind the keith comstock "baseball to the crotch" baseball card...

https://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/27425987/guy-b...

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  • bradsbeard 1 hour 38 min ago (view)

    Happ has been an above average hitter every season he's been in the majors, and he killed it in his brief return from the minors last year (with better contact and lower K rates to boot). Aside from an extended period with the lower K rates, what else are you not seeing?

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 1 hour 51 min ago (view)

    Bote, for the moment, is adequate. Very unsold on the 2 LH hitting 2B options.

    I have never seen it for Happ. I'd love for him to prove me wrong but I dont see it happening.

     

  • crunch 2 hours 44 min ago (view)

    someone else may have noticed or written something about a possible issue with lefties last year (aside from the obvious disappointing numbers), but i didn't see anything that made him look lost vs them.

    myself, i'm not expecting the hard time vs lefties to keep happening (though i can't point to why 2019 wasn't good for him and i may be missing something).  also, how well he handled righties has me a bit pumped about his future.

     

  • bradsbeard 3 hours 1 min ago (view)

    I think it was likely just a small sample size luxuation against LHP last year. His splits were essentially swapped from 2018 to 2019. For his career he's been a little above average against both sides, or essentially no significant split. I'd expect him to hit LHP better than RHP going forward though. 

     

  • Eric S 3 hours 12 min ago (view)

    I'd like to see Bote not get owned by lefties. Not sure what it is about his stroke that's hurting him - struggles against offspeed in general?

     

  • crunch 3 hours 45 min ago (view)

    huge bote fan over here, and i think he's one of the best longterm investments the cubs have gambled on.  cubs have control over him through 2026 if they exercise both his options (both 7.6m).

    i'd like to see him penciled in as the main regular at 2nd, but overall i just wanna see him play more than he was late last year when he was red hot.  if bryant flames out with the glove at 3rd (clock is ticking on that) we might see bote at 3rd a bit.

     

  • Eric S 3 hours 52 min ago (view)

    Hopefully KB has worked on his base sliding technique - believe he jacked his knee up last year because of some rough "landings" on the basepaths. He definitely should shine in the role - and provided KB is not traded - Cubs can only go up from their leadoff hitter ranking from last year. 

     

  • Charlie 4 hours 28 min ago (view)

    Bote was a little better than league average with the bat last year and Happ has never been worse than league average with the bat over a full season in the majors. Not too bad at the end of your lineup (though neither is helping out too much on defense). Heyward could end up the #8 if things break OK for Bote and Happ at the plate.

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 4 hours 54 min ago (view)

    That would be a hell of a 1-5. The problem comes from 6-8 being a combination of Heyward, Bote/ Kipnis/ Descalso, and Happ/ Almora.

     

  • crunch 8 hours 50 min ago (view)

    that should be good for 175Ks, 30 homers, 30 doubles, 60-70 RBI...

    wonder who the #2 they're looking at...hopefully rizzo and not heyward.

    bryant/rizzo/baez/schwarber/contreras would be a hell of a 1-5.

     

  • Rob Richardson 10 hours 50 min ago (view)

    Per Bruce Levine, Kris Bryant will be leading off for the Cubs.

     

  • crunch 11 hours 26 min ago (view)

    "Kris Bryant expects to remain with the Cubs in 2020 after a sit-down with team president Theo Epstein.

    "Everything went great," Bryant told Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times. "It was the best meeting I had with a superior. He just gave me insight as to what kind of happened in the offseason." The star third baseman did later add that Epstein gave him no assurances that he will be kept in the loop if further trade talks were to arise, before stating, "I’m a Chicago Cub.""

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 12 hours 2 min ago (view)

    That would be so devious!

     

  • tim815 13 hours 31 min ago (view)

    Owners might not want to spend the extra coin. Which would be about like a dime to us.

    Nice on the Cubs for upping MiLB pay.

     

  • jdrnym 1 day 1 hour ago (view)

    AZPHIL, has there been official word as to whether the 26-man roster has been extended down to the minor league levels that previously had 25-man rosters? Can't really think of a reason why that shouldn't be the case...

     

  • Arizona Phil 1 day 6 hours ago (view)

    Another possibility for a "26th man" in 2020 would be a young pitcher selected in the Rule 5 Draft who has big league upside but who is clearly not yet "big league ready," or a pitcher who is out of minor league options who might not be quite MLB ready.