Cubs vs. Brewers: Series Thread (Games 134-136)

The Cubs greet the Brewers to Wrigley for a three game set. This series plus the 4-game set next weekend looked at one time like they would be a fight for the division lead, but with the Cubs on the heels of the first-place Cardinals they'll be looking to toss the Brewers clear out of the ring, narrowing the Royal Rumble that was the tight NL Central to a 1-on-1 grapple. The Brewers meanwhile will cling tightly to both their place in the division and their dwindling Wild Card aspirations. Read below to see which competitors will be starting in the series.

Game 134, Friday, August 30, 1:20pmCDT
CHC: LHP José Quintana (11-8, 4.05 ERA)
MIL: RHP Chase Anderson (6-3, 4.34 ERA)

Quintana's last start against the Nats was shortened to only 4 innings in which he allowed five runs, four earned, on three walks and seven hits. He's 1-2 in four starts against Milwaukee this year. Ryan Braun is 11-42 with five homeruns off of him. Moustakas and Cain saw a bunch of him in the AL but haven't put up any remarkable numbers one way or the other.

Following a 10-run, 2.1 inning start against the Nats, Anderson recovered with five scoreless against the D-Backs. He has a win in relief and a no-decision in one start against the Cubs this year. Zobrist is 9-22 with three homeruns off of him--probably not enough to motivate an early roster move? K.B. is 7-26 with three homeruns. Javy is 1-17 with six strikeouts. Rizzo is a mere 2-23.

Game 135, Saturday, August 31, 1:20pmCDT
CHC: LHP Cole Hamels (7-4, 3.73 ERA)
MIL: RHP Zach Davies (8-7, 3.90 ERA)

Hamels was handed a no-decision against the Nats after five innings and two earned runs allowed. He's 1-0 in three starts against the Brewers this year. Hernan Perez is 8-16 off of him.

Davies has dropped five straight, allowing 23 earned runs on nine walks and 27 hits (8 homeruns) in 22 innings. Two of thos were back-to-back losses to our Cubs, making him 1-2 in four starts against Chicago this year. Kyle Schwarber is 5-26 with four homeruns and seven strikeouts off of him.

Game 136, Sunday, September 1,
CHC: RHP Yu Darvish (5-6, 4.25 ERA) Tyler Chatwood
MIL: LHP Gio Gonzalez (2-2, 4.34 ERA)

Darvish followed a frustrating 4 homerun, zero walk, eight strikout outing by holding the Mets to one earned run in eight outings. The key to his game remains keeping opponents in the yard, as he leads the NL with 31 homeruns allowed. Yelich is 3-10 with two homeruns off of him.

Edit: Darvish is a late scratch with a forearm strain (yikes) and Tyler Chatwood starts in his place. Chatwood last started on July 24and provided four innings of one-run ball against the Giants. He's had a few multi-innning relief appearances since then as well. Travis Shaw and Yasmani Grandal have crushed him in 26 at bats, and Yelich is 4-10 with two walks.

Gio Gonzalez lost to the Cards last time out, allowing nine runs, seven earned, on four walks and nine hits in five innings. He's 1-0 in three starts against the Cubs. Jonathan Lucroy is 8-13 off of him. Bryant, Rizzo, and Javy are collectively 7-59 with one homerun and 18 strikeouts off of him.


zobrist to be activated sunday

t.skaggs died by choking, aided by an intense mixture of opioids and alcohol...accidental overdose.

from the mixture (fentanyl/oxycodone/oxymorphone) it sounds like he was yet another victim of "bootleg" street pills...or he was in way deep into an addiction.

cubs breeze to a win.

cast hit 2HR.  schwarb got one, too.

bote went 2 for 2 and walked twice so he's earned at least 3 pinch hit appearances over the next 10 games.

Great win

Especially sweet, as it came against the Brewers. (Who I cant stand as long as Braun is there),

icing on the cake is that a couple starters got time off.

And how nice was it to see Phelps and Strop eat a couple innings without igniting a forest fire?  Strop especially looked extremely shaky, but he eeked it out somehow.  Allowed the remaining arms to get some rest.

Very satisfying!

rizzo took sucessful BP...could return on saturday

Cardinals rained out. Cubs one game behind, same wins but have played two less games. 

Tomorrow night (Saturday night) at midnight is the deadline to add a player to an organization so that the player will be eligible for the MLB post-season, so expect a flurry of last-minute waiver claims tomorrow (waiver claiming deadline is 1 PM Eastern) as contending clubs look to add depth for September and the post-season and as also-rans look to jettision salary. (The claiming club assumes 100% of what remains of a player's salary, which in some cases could be a sizable chunk o' change). So some fairly noteworthy players could get claimed off waivers tomorrow, especially players with substantial salaries on multi-year contracts and players who are eligible to be a free-agent post-2019 where the player's club is not planning to extend a Qualifying Offer to the player. 

I also would expect some veteran free-agents to sign MLB or minor league contracts with contenders prior to the midnight 8/31 deadline as well (a minor league player under club control who is not on an MLB 40-man roster as of midnight 8/31 can be made eligible for the post-season at a later date if the player is added to the MLB 40-man roster and replaces an injured post-season eligible player).

A club can also trade a player who is on minor league reserve list as long as the player is not on a minor league roster as the result of an outright assignment from earlier in the season. (If a minor league player was outrighted to the minors earlier and then was subsequenlly released or elected free-agency and then either re-signed with the same club or signed a minor league contract with another MLB organization, the player is no longer considered to be an outrighted player). 

Saturday night midnight is also the deadline to reinstate Ben Zobrist from the Restricted List so that he will be eligible to play in the post-season. And as long as Zobrist is reinstated from the Restricted List after the game on Saturday, the 25-man active roster will not be impacted because Active List rosters expand from 25 to 40 on Sunday and Zobrist won't have to be added to the Active List until Sunday. However, Zobrist will have to be added back to the Cubs MLB 40-man roster immediately when he is reinstated from the Restricted List (can't wait until Sunday for that move), so there will need to be either a DFA or somebody gets moved to the 60-day IL sometime prior to midnight.

imagine it's safe to assume that zobrist "being activated sunday", "joining the team sunday", etc etc is just media reporting getting to the meat of the matter without the paperwork logistics mixed into the least one would hope so.

maddon seems very eager to have him back and mentioned having him potentially lead off, so he's not going to rejoin the team to ride pine and provide backup support even if he's not an everyday guy.  that said, sunday's matchup is vs g.gonzalez (lefty) and zobrist might start that game on the bench.

all that aside...wonder what his walkup music is gonna be...

Walkup music, ouch, too soon?  How about "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin" by Righteous Brothers.


he's been coming up to "can't stop" by the red hot chili peppers in iowa, fwiw....that might carry over.

Vimael Machin played eight positions for AA Tennessee last night (every position except pitcher). Machin did go through the catcher conversion program at Instructs post-2015 and at Minor League Camp in 2016, so it's not like he has never played the position. 

Other Cubs minor leaguers who went through the catcher conversion program in Mesa but now rarely (or never) catch are Cam Balego (plays 3B-1B for Myrtle Beach and only occasionally works as a catcher), Gioskar Amaya (blew out his right knee in January 2017 and now plays with a heavy brace on his knee), and Danny Zardon (3B signed out of Independent ball in March then converted to catcher at Minor League Camp and Extended Spring Training and now being converted to a RHP). 

can someone check with maddon and see why he hates d.bote?

did he scratch his car in the parking lot and not leave a note?  did he accidently take the last choice doughnut off the post-game spread?  did he mispronounce his wife's name at a public speaking event?  did he refuse to change clothes when they were wearing the same shirt at a charity event?

he's done nothing but hit like an all-star for over a month, but gets chances to do it like he's not worth giving work.

 don’t know, but it could be because he lost two games for them with his shitty infield play - in Philly. And he is not the player he was in 2018. And, honestly he would be the 25th player on any of the real contending teams. Other than that, I don’t have a clue.

me and you are on opposite ends of the bote love scale.

we're gonna have to out in a field and fight.

in all seriousness, i view him as a 400+ PA guy on a team with it's current construction and a guy that could start at 2nd on a lot of teams out there.  i like his play at 2nd.  his play at 3rd was pretty good last year, but really cruddy this year.  i like how he projects.

brewers shut out the cubs...lifeless game with decent pitching...heyward slump extends...

STL won their 1st game today, night game vs CIN coming up.

CIN totally blows it in the 9th without recording an out and STL wins their 2nd of the day.  STL up 2.5 on the cubs.

Cubs hit plenty of hard hit balls including Heyward.

Zagunis gets the DFA to make room for Zobrist. Bote also had to be optioned to clear a spot for him.

I know you must be depressed about Bote, CRUNCH. Fear not, rosters expand shortly.

E-MAN: David Bote will have to spend at least ten days on Optional Assignment before he can be recalled, unless he is recalled to replace a player on the Cubs MLB Active List who is traded, claimed off waivers, or placed on an MLB inactive list (Injured List, Paternity Leave List, Bereavement/Family Medical Emergency List, etc).  

Otherwise Bote can't be recalled until Wednesday 9/11. And James Norwood (who was optioned to Iowa on Friday when Cole Hamels was reinstated from Paternity Leave) can't be recalled until Monday 9/9. But again, that's unless they replace a player on the Cubs Active List roster who is traded, claimed off waivers, or placed on an MLB Inactive List. 

It used to be that a player optioned to the minors could be recalled when his minor league team's season ended even if it was less than ten days after the player was optioned, but that rule was changed in 2017. 

well, to be honest, most playoff contenting teams would like to have a player slashing .435/.594/.565 the past month around...even if he's only been given 32 PA to do it.

.308/.466/.442 since the break over 65 PA.

tony kemp will at least get a chance to improve over his 52 PA with a .167/.192/.229 slash.

This is the first time I have ever seen a situation regarding a player who is on the Restricted List for a lengthy period of time for a reason other than a suspension pursuant to a violation of the joint MLB-MLBPA JDV or JDPTP be reinstated after July 31st but prior to September 1st, both in terms of the 30-day PRE-REINSTATEMENT minor league "conditioning" assignment that Zobrist was allowed to do and the requirement that the player must be placed on the 25-man roster at the same time he is reinstated to the MLB 40-man roster.  

There is an allowance for a club to defer placing a player back on the 40-man roster for up to 30 days or until the player is placed on the club's active list roster (whichever comes first) - AFTER - the player is reinstated from the Restricted List if the club determines that the player is not in physical condition to play in games (not in "game shape"), but there is no provision for a minor league conditioning assignment PRIOR TO the reinstatement.

There is, however, a caveat in the CBA that permits very specific minor league conditioning assignments PRIOR TO REINSTATEMENT for players who are on the Restricted List after being suspended for violation of the joint MLB-MLBPA JDV and JDPTP policies (the number of days depends on how many games the player was suspended), but that agreement does not apply to players on the Restricted List for other reasons (as is the case with Zobrist). 

In other other words, in the case of Zobrist, MLB apparently interpreted the rule that gives a club up to 30 days to add a player back to the club's 40-man roster after the player is reinstated from the Restricted List if the player is not in playing shape (as was the case with Zobrist) as the same thing as the pre-reinstatement minor league conditioning assignments permitted for players on the Restricted List after being suspended for violation of the JDV and JDPTP policies.  

There is definitely a rule that requires a player who is on the Restricted List for any reason other than a suspension pursuant to a violation of the joint MLB-MLBPA JDV or JDPTP or an extended leave (beyond seven days) on the Bereavement/Family Medical Emergency List be reinstated from the Restricted List (and added back to the 40-man roster) prior to midnight on August 31st in order to be eligible to play in the post-season. Everything else related to Zobrist's situation was an ad hoc rules interpretation by MLB, since Zobrist's situation was (as far as I can tell) unique and unprecedented.  

If the Cubs can get Mark Zagunis through waivers (big "IF" of course) he cannot elect free-agency if outrighted and he would not be eligible to be a minor league 6YFA until post-2020.  

The other 2020 "out of options" guys on the 40 who were candidates for the DFA (Underwood, Rosario, and Mills) would all be minor league 6YFA post-2019 if outrighted, so Zagunis is probably the best choice of the four.  

If Willson Contreras was 100% back active Taylor Davis might have gotten the DFA instead of Zagunis, but T. Davis is still the Cubs #3 catcher.  

Any word on Zagunis?

a ton of LA fans traveled to phoenix (and a bit of fans already in the area) tonight to fill up the park.  50K+ people...crazy.

CRUNCH: There are a LOT of Dodgers fans, Cubs fans, and Giants fans living in the Phoenix area.

Dodgers games (with Vin Scully at the mike) were broadcast into Phoenix on one of the big local AM stations for 40 years, the Giants had their AAA team in Phoenix for 40 years, and the Cubs have been the #1 Spring Training team in the Cactus League for 65 years and Phoenix is home to a LOT of Chicago-refugees (Phoenix is the far, far, far, far southwest side of Chicago). Until 1998 (when the D'backs began), Cubs day games were broadcast into Phoenix and Tucson on an AM radio station out of Coolidge, AZ, and of course Harry Caray and the Cubs were on the WGN Superstation for many, many years and that helped the Cubs to solidify their hard-core fan-base in Arizona and it really hasn't dissipated much at all over the past twenty years.   

So when the Dodgers, Giants, and Cubs come to town, the Arizona Diamondbacks are essentially like the Washington Generals are to the Harlem Globetrotters.... they are the "other team," and Dodgers fans, Giants fans, and Cubs fans just take over the place and couldn't care less about the D'backs when the Dodgers, Giants, and Cubs aren't here.   

It's really frustrating for local D'backs fans and the local media and especially D'backs players because they don't know what to do about it. The players say home games feel like road games, and D'backs fans sort of boo, and the local media whines about it, but it's just the reality of what Phoenix is.

The Diamondbacks just don't have a conventional local fan base like you see in other markets. The Diamondbacks depend on ticket sales to opposing fans when the D'backs play home games against the Dodgers, Giants, and Cubs (and a few other teams like the Brewers and Cardinals and when A. L. legends like the Yankees or Red Sox come to town as well), and that's just reality. 

So I'm not surprised that the Diamondbacks have had relocation discussions with Henderson, NV. The D'backs original owner (ex-Chicagoan Jerry Colangelo) expected opposing fans to come to games at first, but it hasn't stopped (it may even have gotten worse). The idea that the children and grandchildren of Dodgers, Giants, and Cubs fans would become Diamondbacks fans just hasn't materialized. 

that was a sea of blue out there tonight all the way to the top of the ballpark.  it was flashbacks to 1998 when the place was packed.

it was a fun game til the end, too.  a.bradley almost gave it up, but ARZ held on.

According to Jesse Rogers Twitter, Chatwood is starting in place of Yu today.

Also Descalso, Almora, Davis, Mills, Underwood, Wieck, and Garcia being called up.

We’re gonna see quite a bit of callups in that case. Contreras and Holland will be back from IL and gotta figure Bote is back in ten days. Maybe Alzolay once Iowa’s postseason run ends.

Also seems like the end of the road for Maples and Rosario.

Welp, don't like that.

The Cubs could place Darvish on the 10-day IL retro to Thursday (a 10-day IL assignment can only be backdated a maximum of three days) and recall Bote to replace Darvish on the MLB Active List. Then Darvish would be eligible to be reinstated next Sunday 9/8 (after today, the Cubs can go with four SP until Monday 9/9 in SD)...

MON: Hendricks (vs SEA)
TUE: Lester (vs SEA)
THU: Quintana (at MIL)
FRI: Hamels (at MIL)
SAT: Hendricks (at MIL)
SUN: Lester or Darvish (at MIL)
MON: Lester or Darvish (at SD) 

crazy slow moving 1-0 game...2 hours to play 5 innings...

2 on, 0 outs...MIL brings in a new pitcher, 2 pitches, 3 outs.

that is some fine cubbery.

i hate craig kimbrel.  :(

19 innings...6HR given up...welcome to the cubs.

cubs lose...STL has 2 games again today, and again won in the 2 in an hour.

cubs 3.5 back...will be 3 or 4 back after tonight.

STL has gone 9-1 in their last 10...12-2 during their current hot streak.

CIN wins game 2...cubs 3 back.

I love Joe, but Caratini, Lucroy, Almora in the 4-5-6 slots makes no sense.

i know it was a "whatever" with 0 on and down by 3 in the 9th with 2 outs, but letting kemp bat for himself vs a tough lefty like hader was a bit of giving up before the final out.

i like how baez leading off got him his 2nd 2-walk game of the season.  he's had 3 games total the past 5 seasons that don't include an IBB as part of his multi-walk-game total.

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  • bradsbeard 1 hour 7 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 20 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 13 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 2 hours 31 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 2 hours 41 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 15 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 21 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 3 hours 57 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 23 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 19 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 19 min ago (view)

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


  • crunch 10 hours 55 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 11 hours 32 min ago (view)

    That would be so devious!


  • tim815 13 hours 36 sec 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 48 min 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 5 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.