Cubs vs. Pirates: Series Thread (Games 147-149)

The Cubs just managed to tread water in the division and lost ground in the wild card by going 2-2 against the Padres. Four games back of the Cardinals and in a virtual tie with the Brewers, the Cubs have some homework to do. See below for the daily match-ups with the Pirates.


Game 147, Friday, September 13, 3:05pmCDT
CHC: LHP Jon Lester (12-10, 4.51 ERA)
PIT: LHP Steven Brault (4-4, 4.13 ERA)

Lester has spent the second half of the season teetering between efficacy and disaster, working around bases loaded jams in what seems like every other inning when he's not giving up five-plus runs. Last start was one of the latter, as he allowed eight runs in 5.1 at Milwaukee. The team needs to see one of those gutsy veteran performances to open this home series.

Brault has performed fairly well out of the Pirates rotation this season, making 16 starts plus one relief outing of 5.2 innings. He stumbled a bit last time out, allowing six runs, five earned, to the Cardinals. He suffered an undeserved loss to the Cubs on August 17 after seven innings of one-run ball. Cubs hitters have feasted on him in recent years, accruing a .919 OPS collectively in 134 at bats.


Game 148, Saturday, September 14, 1:20pmCDT
CHC: RHP Kyle Hendricks (10-9, 3.33 ERA)
PIT: RHP James Marvel (0-1, 3.60 ERA)

Hendricks opened the previous series with a win, getting big run support and going 5.2 while allowing two runs, one earned. He got a no-decision against the Pirates on August 16 despite delivering seven innings of one-run ball. He's also lost in Pittsburgh, back in July, in his only other start against the Pirates.

Marvel made his MLB debut last weekend against the Cardinals, taking a loss on two earned runs in five innings. Since being selected in the 36th round by Pittsburgh, Marvel has posted reasonable ERAs and unimpressive peripherals. Cubs hitters will start the day with a blank page against him.


Game 149, Sunday, September 15, 1:20pmCDT
CHC: LHP Josè Quintana (13-8, 4.15 ERA)
PIT: RHP Trevor Williams (7-6, 5.21 ERA)

Quintana only got through three innings in his last start before being pulled (and replaced by a very effective Tyler Chatwood). He was able to sneak the ball by only one hitter and allowed seven hits including one homerun. Last time he faced the Pirates, he held them scoreless on five hits and no walks over seven innings for a win. He's 4-0 in four starts against the Pirates this season.

Trevor Williams has muddled through 23 starts in 2019 and found his way somehow to a winning record on a losing team despite the bloated ERA. Last time out he allowed four earned runs in 5.2 innings for a no-decision against the Giants. He went 1-1 in consecutive starts against the Cubs on July 1 and July 14, but he gave up five earned and eight earned in those starts respectively. Russell is 2-14 and Zobrist 3-14 off of him. Bote is 2-3 with a triple and Happ is 6-16 with a double.

Comments

Two batters in. Sure looks like a team in a desperate fight for a playoff spot.

really looking forward to 2020 j.lester and his $20m (with $25m option or $10m buyout 2021)

He’s a number 3 or 4 starter at this point. I can’t be mad about it given what he did in the first 4 years. And he hasn’t been a disaster this year either. That contract has gone about as well as it could have, really.

He delivered what he was paid to come here and do in 2016. At this point if he eats some innings and can be around league average I'm happy.  Without checking the numbers, I guessing the contract has worked out pretty fair with a more analytical review of dollars per WAR.

meh, he had a couple good years and pitched like an upper/middle rotation guy the rest of the time.  he hasn't pitched 200 innings since 2016...slew of early exits in multiple games moreso than injury.

this year is horrible...leading the league in hits given up, too.

i would feel a lot better if he wasn't due $30m for 1 more season (or $45m for 2)

fwiw, he's averaging around 2.5 WAR (BR) and 3.2 WAR (FG) for his cubs career so far.  for some reason FG has this season for him at a 2.3 WAR because evidently there's a bright side to having a 1.47 whip and 4.51 era compared to his peers that i'm not familiar with.

He was the best pitcher on a team that won the World Series. I’d be good if we owed him $100 mil next year.

I do see what you’re saying though. It’s money that could certainly be better allocated next year. The guy I have and continue to have an issue with is Quintana. What a horrible trade. He was good for that first half season and been extremely mediocre since.

The rotation will be interesting next year. For now I figure Graveman steps into Hamels spot but it’s become more and more possible that Darvish walks. Hamels might accept a QO. Both those things are big determinations of the 2020 rotation.

Wind blowing straight out at 20 mph. That seems less than ideal for a struggling Big Jon Lester

okay, this game is straight up hot garbage...neat.

"hold up." - nick castellanos

"yeah, hold up." - willson contreras

"hey guys, wait for me." - nico hoerner

cubs have a 1 run lead.

wtf?  okay, then.

On the bright side, no Bucco went yard in the first inning  <grasps for more straws>

i bet javy would be willing to tape his hand up just to get into this game.

I don’t think they’ve played a game since his injury where that statement isn’t true! Javy loves to play baseball, it’s more apparent with him than most.

this game is a f'n circus.

rizzo grand slam.

That’s some legit two out damage there.

Probably not the best idea to walk Lester to load the bases for Rizzo

KB the only Cub starter not to score so far in this game.

i cannot believe the 3rd inning is still in progress.

this game is nearing the 1h45m mark.

damn...i know we all want lester to get the win by going 5ip, but this is painful.

Contreras is going to have to hit at least two more homers this game to get back the runs he’s given up with his throwing errors.  Nothing comes easy for this crew. 

Do you get the feeling they’re gonna need to tack on a few more?

cast gets his 50th double in this wack ass baseball game.

cubs lead by 40 or something.

Roller coaster crunch.lol

weeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

Our Midwest League Cubs played very entertaining and exciting games the last two nights in South Bend.  Now 6-0 in the post-season, one victory in Clinton, Iowa seals the deal!  If you want to see an imperfect team playing as a unit and getting the most out of what they have, try to find replays of any South Bend Cubs 2019 playoff game so far.  Some Sports Center quality highlights mixed in with stuff you might see at a high school game but about as much heart as you will see on any baseball field.  What the game should be all about.

i keep forgetting descalso is back with the cubs.  he's practically been shelved on the pine.

He gets infrequent pinch hitting appearances - and seemingly K’s in each one. 

I guess Descalso is the back up plan to start at second next season should Hoerner get injured while cliff diving or hit by falling space debris in the off season

I can’t imagine they go into next season like that. He’s been insanely bad.

maddon (whether he's here next season or not) seems to be in no hurry to get him work.  it's actually a bit impressive how we've not heard even a shred of shade about his lack of use from descalso.

...but he did see what the organization did to pretty much end tony barnette's career...so there's that.  i think lastella ruined throwing roster movement and player use tantrums for everyone.

236 homers...franchise record previously set in 2004.

hoerner puts the team over the top.

maples showcasing how he can fall apart from batter to batter...from a sick 3-pitch K to a 2-2 HBP to a 3-1 HBP.

it's all wild, not retalitory...umps in a bad place since warnings were given based on early HBP's by PIT and maples is tossed.  even PIT doesn't think it was intentional and their dugout is calm.

So we keep Maples for intimidation?

the funny thing is, like early-career randy johnson, batters are extremely uneasy in the box when facing him.  part of that helps lead to weak contact and Ks...it also leads to walks and HBPs, though...

Cubs better aim for the first wild card. There’ a very slim chance we beat Washington at home. 

Might as well catch the Cards while they're at it ;)

Last time I can remember the division and the Wild Card race this tight was 2015. Funny how similar and yet how different that situation was!

home or away for WAS...they can throw scherzer, strasburg, or corbin at anyone down the stretch and still have an ace for the 1-game wildcard.

that should play well into their advantage in the last couple weeks as well as the WC playoff.  if the cubs can't luck their way back into 1st it's going to be a hell of a Wild Card if WAS is in no matter who's on top of the WC standings.

South Bend won seven post-season games.  No team they played won any against them.  So the Midwest League Cubs run the table and win the Championship!  A couple recurring offensive stars, solid defense and lots of strong pitching did the trick.

rizzo just f'd his ankle.

sigh.

rolled pretty badly planting his foot going after a ball.  he's rolling around on the ground and not getting up.

...and Q shits the bed in the 3rd as PIT takes the lead without an out being recorded.

Q is so GD mediocre

PIT is playing some embarrasingly horrible baseball.

giving up a run throwing away a ball on an appeal toss to 3rd is new territory for awful.

sprained right ankle for rizzo...xray showed no break...MRI tomorrow

STL up by 1...MIL with 2 outs, bases loaded, top 9th.

r.braun grand slam.  MIL leads by 3.

barring some crazy comebacks, STL's lead should shrink to 2 games.

47 cubs runs in this 3 game series...14 HRs.

bote really needs to overcome his weird habbit of trying to duck under high/inside pitches rather than leaning out of them.

The way MIL is playing makes me... uneasy. Too bad we didn’t bury them. Especially because they won’t play anyone with a winning record from here on out.

That said, much as I LOATHE the team and fans at Wrigley North, I’d still rather see them take the division than the shitbirds.

13 games left for CHC...7 vs STL

13 games left for MIL...all vs teams under .500 (SD, PIT, CIN, COL)

buckle up...it's gonna be a "fun" couple of weeks.

Even worse for StL. 7 vs Cubs, 3 vs Nationals

The fate of Cubs and Cardinals season is going to come down to 7 games against one another. Cubs gotta win 5 if they want to win division I think. Good thing 4 of 7 are at Wrigley.

I’d almost feel better if the Cards took 2 of 3 from the Nats. If the Cubs sweep, they'd be just 1 game back of the Cards and a half game up on the Nats.  

Gotta root against StL. I don’t want a wild card appearance. I don’t like our chances at home vs Scherzer, Strasburg, or Corbin a whole lot more than I do in Washington.

Absolutely agree. Winning the division is both much better for playoff progression chances *and* far more satisfying than coming in second to the Cards. I root for whatever gets them closest to that at this point.

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. 

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.

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  • Hagsag 2 hours 3 min ago (view)

    True!

     

  • Cubster 19 hours 45 min ago (view)

    https://twitter.com/just1deeva/status/1245654487026397184?s=21

    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 21 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.