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.

Recent comments

Subscribe to Recent comments
The first 600 characters of the last 16 comments, click "View" to see rest of comment.
  • Arizona Phil 3 hours 6 min ago (view)

    The Cubs have released minor league catcher Rafelin Lorenzo. He was selected from the Pittsburgh Pirates in the AAA Phase of the 2018 Rule 5 Draft and spent the 2019 season at South Bend. He was eligible to be a minor league 6YFA post-2020. 

     

  • JustSayin' 1 day 12 hours ago (view)

    The organizations will cut rosters down, as if the full-season teams were breaking camp to start the season, THEN pay the remaining minor leaguers $400/week or whatever.  That's similar to what costs would have normally been but the "one last chance" players who got spring training invitations this year and didn't have an obvious roster spot won't be getting their last chance.

     

  • crunch 1 day 13 hours ago (view)

    "According to Jeff Passan of ESPN, all minor league players will be receiving $400 per week from MLB through at least May 31."

    so that's where that promise landed.  the scary thing is that's still more than some in the low minors make on a weekly basis.

     

  • crunch 4 days 6 hours ago (view)

    "Jeff Passan of ESPN writes that the players and league agreed that the 2020 season won't start until "there are no bans on mass gatherings that limit the ability to play in front of fans, there are no travel restrictions and medical experts determine games will not pose a risk to health of teams and fans." Passan does add that the two sides "will consider the feasibility of playing in empty stadiums" and also at neutral sites.

     

  • crunch 4 days 12 hours ago (view)

    i miss baseball.  it could happen in june...it may happen in late may...it might not happen either way.

    there's so many things getting messed up right now i would get lost making a list.  there's some college guys making a serious "okay, we need to look at that guy" push that's dead.  former cubs draft pick russell smith (2017, LHP highschool) took last season off for injury (TCU college) and returned with a low 90s fastball, impressive control, and a MLB-quality changeup.  his "comeback" was 4 games and done thanks to this current situation...

     

  • JustSayin' 4 days 14 hours ago (view)

    COVID 19 + a short draft + Manfred's obsessive drive to shrink the minor leagues will change baseball forever.  It WAS still America's grass roots sport.  Where I live, from June through August, you could see a quality live game any day of the week, within an hour's drive.  I believe that era is over.  What's going on will have ripple effects, contracting serious college ball, college summer leagues and independent pro ball just as much as the MiLB systems.  With those changes, some of the game's charm will also go.  I've seen a kid from Cape Cod play in the Ca

     

  • crunch 5 days 12 hours ago (view)

    fyi for anyone who bought MLB.tv

    for "some reason" getting a cancel+refund via phone is like pulling teeth, but if you contact them via a webpage contact request many people are getting a cancel+refund confirmation within an hour or 2...

     

  • bradsbeard 5 days 19 hours ago (view)

    I imagine because the new labor agreement freezes rosters as of whenever the agreement is approved by the owners and it might affect what those guys are paid under the agreement. 

     

  • Hagsag 5 days 21 hours ago (view)

    AZ Phil. what was the reason that a whole bunch of teams optioned or assigned players to the minor leagues yesterday on March 26 ? Thanks.

     

  • Arizona Phil 6 days 1 hour ago (view)

    jdrnym: Ordinarily, players on an MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) who are on Optional Assignment to the minors do not accrue MLB Service Time, are paid at the minor league rate rather than at the MLB rate if the player has a "split" contract, and if the player gets hurt or becomes sick after being optioned, he can be placed on a minor league IL instead of on an MLB IL (so that he cannot accrue MLB Service Time or be paid at the MLB rate while he is on the IL). Also, a player who is optioned to the minors for at least 20 days will burn an option year.   

     

  • jdrnym 6 days 14 hours ago (view)

    AZPhil, what are the technical ramifications of optioning/not optioning guys during this period of no baseball? Seems like some teams are more eager than others to trim their roster down.

     

  • crunch 1 week 17 hours ago (view)

    "Major League Baseball has agreed with the MLBPA to grant a full year of service time to players in 2020 regardless of how many games the schedule includes.

    Rosenthal adds, however, that the two sides have agreed to "table discussions" on how much service time the players would receive if the worst-case scenario plays out and the 2020 season has to be canceled entirely due to the coronavirus pandemic."

    ---

     

  • bradsbeard 1 week 2 days ago (view)

    This one has me scratching my head too. Surely they knew Lakins would have a hard time clearing waivers. Hate to just lose Pereda like that. Feels like they gave up more for Lakins than for Sadler, and I'm guessing Sadler might have been slightly more likely to clear waivers since he's out of options. 

     

  • Arizona Phil 1 week 2 days ago (view)

    I think the most puzzling aspect to the Travis Lakins Caper is that the only plausible reason for the Cubs to have struck a pre-emptive trade with the Red Sox instead of waiting and hoping to win a waiver claim is that the Cubs believed that another club with a better waiver claim priority would almost certainly claim him. So to ensure that they would be able to acquire Lakins, the Cubs must have offered the Red Sox something more than the $50,000 waiver price, otherwise there would have been no point in the Red Sox agreeing to the deal. 

     

  • crunch 1 week 2 days ago (view)

    RedSox acquire catcher Jhonny Pereda from the #Cubs, completing the January 21 trade for RHP Travis Lakins

    ...cubs lost lakins on waivers to BAL, btw

     

  • erich081 1 week 3 days ago (view)

    I wore my Rick Wilkins #2 shirsey today and kept thinking real baseball was only a week away. And then I remembered this weird alternate reality we've seemed to have slipped into. Hope everyone stays healthy and safe.