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.
JustSayin' 7 hours 25 min ago (view)
Solid % improvement for minor leaguers and nice to see the Cubs among the first organizations to break ranks to the upside. Three comments: 1. Yes, the bonus babies have already BEEN paid but that is the minority of these young men. 2.
crunch 10 hours 5 min ago (view)
more spring news...
i.happ expected to primarily play CF this spring. rizzo expected to primarily hit 2nd going into the season.
Charlie 16 hours 11 min ago (view)
That's fair. And the discussion would be different if Almora were heads and shoulders above Happ defensively, which seems (surprisingly) not to be the case.
bradsbeard 16 hours 23 min ago (view)
I'm not ready to write him off from the right side just yet. One of the things I believe about Happ is that switch hitters in general just take longer to establish themselves as hitters due to having to develop and maintain two separate swings. Given that he sees fewer lefties, you kind of have to give him a little more leeway to develop there I think.
Arizona Phil 16 hours 24 min ago (view)
jdrnym: No word yet on 2020 minor league active roster limits, but I doubt they will do anything new since the minor league 7-day IL with no doctor's note required (sometimes called the "phantom IL") allows clubs to easily rotate guys (especially pitchers) back & forth/on & off the active list.
Charlie 16 hours 31 min ago (view)
I didn't realize until today that the new network will be broadcasting almost every spring training game. Just a heads up for anyone else expecting the usual 4-6 broadcasts.
Charlie 16 hours 41 min ago (view)
I think he's going to strike out over 25% of the time, but he's shown that he can be an above average overall hitter even if he's only batting .230-.250.
I'm also not a big fan of the swing, and I'd be very skeptical of him if the ball is deadened. Stats suggest he'd benefit from a true platoon despite being a switch hitter. Sure would be nice if Almora could hold up the other end competently.
Hagsag 16 hours 42 min ago (view)
Kelly C. to the Braves. Damn it.
First.Pitch.120 18 hours 3 min ago (view)
Let us know if you see Dunderwood shagging flyballs in the OF...
First.Pitch.120 18 hours 7 min ago (view)
Re: 6-8, w/ JHey in the 6 hole there are a lot of interesting things that can happen 7-9. You have the 2B slot, Happ (CF), & P slot. Happ is a Switch hitter (though admittedly better LHH), roster looks to be long on 2B options from both sides (quality issues TBD, but promising IMHO), & a slot you with pinch hit for at least x2/gm. Lots of dbl switch possibilities (w/o jacking up the rest of your lineup)
That creates some brutal match up decisions for the opposing mgr right before recycling back to Bryzzo.
Dolorous Jon Lester 18 hours 51 min ago (view)
I think proving the K rate wasn't a fluke would go a long way toward convincing me.
bradsbeard 1 day 3 hours ago (view)
Hey, if you hate the swing there's probably nothing I can say to change your mind. I personally think it's one of the nicer looking ones on the team.
Dolorous Jon Lester 1 day 5 hours ago (view)
Extended period of good hitting? Not striking out at deeply inopportune times? Some baseball IQ in regard to situational hitting?
I think I also just hate his swing. It's so long and loopy.
Wrigley Rat 1 day 6 hours ago (view)
C/1B Alberto Mineo (25) has re-signed with the Cubs organization according to: https://www.mister-baseball.com/alberto-mineo-mino...
bradsbeard 1 day 8 hours 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 day 8 hours 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.