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.
Dolorous Jon Lester 39 sec ago (view)
I really like this idea. They've talked of a 3rd catcher as 26th meaning Phegley, who seems a waste of roster space, good spring notwithstanding. Higgins is far more interesting
tim815 3 hours 7 min ago (view)
Is Brailyn Marquez getting any time in big league camp? Having him around the veterans would seem a solid use of resources.
Thanks, as always.
Charlie 3 hours 27 min ago (view)
Hot take: The Cubs should be considering PJ Higgins as the potential 26th man. 3rd catcher / infield sub who can put the bat on the ball.
I think I'm just stealing an AZ Phil projection from a while ago, actually. But it makes sense!
Charlie 4 hours 29 min ago (view)
Zagunis's stock has dropped a lot since his first exposure to MLB pitching. His 2019 at AAA is particularly alarming given the power spike in that league.
Hagsag 10 hours 5 min ago (view)
I see that Dillon Maples hasn't pitched yet. Is he injured or spending time in the lab?
Arizona Phil 17 hours 24 min ago (view)
The Cubs have purchased the contract of 26-year old RHRP Jonathan de Marte from Quebec (Frontier League) and he has been assigned to AZL Cubs Blue.
He is the closer for Team Israel and has no previous experience in affiliated ball.
He was a NDFA out of the U. of Richmond in 2017 and has been playing independent ball for the past three seasons in the Atlantic League and Can-Am League as well as winter ball in Australia this past winter.
Arizona Phil 19 hours 15 min ago (view)
DJL: Nothing from Sunday or Monday.
Arizona Phil 19 hours 16 min ago (view)
W-RAT: Mark Zagunis was sent outright to the minors last September, and because he did not have the right to elect free-agency after being outrighted he remains under club control through the 2020 season, and so he is signed to a minor league contract that expires at 5 PM (Eastern) on the 5th day after the conclusion of the 2020 World Series.
Wrigley Rat 19 hours 46 min ago (view)
Thank you AZ Phil! Does that mean he's been signed to a minor league contract, then? Because he's out of options.
Dolorous Jon Lester 20 hours 41 min ago (view)
I love these scouting reports. Thanks Phil!
You wouldn't happen to have this info for the road games Sun and Mon?
Arizona Phil 20 hours 51 min ago (view)
W-RAT: Mark Zagunis is assigned to AAA Iowa but he did not get an NRI to MLB Spring Training. He is eligible to be a minor league 6YFA post-2020 World Series if he is not added back to an MLB reserve list (40-man roster) in the meantime.
Arizona Phil 21 hours 16 min ago (view)
Most of the pitchers who threw today pitched Saturday night, so not a lot of new pitch/velo info.
NOTES: First Cactus League game outing of 2020 for Lester... looked uncomfortable on the mound and even when he was warming up in the bullpen before the game... stuff and command were not sharp... hopefully Lester has at least one good year left in him...
Wrigley Rat 21 hours 23 min ago (view)
Whatever happened to Mark Zagunis? I thought we still held his rights, but he was just out of options? Haven't heard anything about him in awhile & I think he would make a good platoon partner with Schwarber.
crunch 22 hours 30 min ago (view)
3h 43m game today.
at least i've seen a lot of "i need to hop on baseball reference" cubs minor leaguers and new hires in the past 2 days.
rex brothers looked good again.
crunch 1 day 28 min ago (view)
1h 50min into the game and they're through 4 innings.
yesterday's game was 3h 45m.
crunch 1 day 1 hour ago (view)
lester seems to be leaving off where he was for the last couple months of the season in 2019.
no one should take anything from a february spring training start...NONETHELESS...this outing looked a lot like the ones he spent in the last couple months of the season with batters sitting around waiting to swing at lester fastballs and laying off everything else.