Cubs vs. Reds: Series Thread (Games 150-152)
The Cubs swept the Pirates at home and will aim to provide just that sort of treatment now to the Reds as they come into town. They'll have to continue to do their work without Javy and now Rizzo too will be unavailable. No word yet, as far as I can tell, about when Russell might become available again--but fans are generally pleased with Hoerner's first MLB stint anyway. The Cubs now trail the Cardinals by only 2.0 games in the division and the Nats by 1.5 in the Wild Card. The Brewers remain hot on their heels, despite the recent loss of Yelich, while the Mets, Phillies, and D-Backs have dropped back to likely also-ran positions. Don't expect the Reds to be a walk in the park, but the Cubs will at least dodge Luis Castillo. Continue below for the match-ups.
Game 150, Monday, Sep. 16, 7:05pmCDT
CHC: LHP Cole Hamels (7-7, 3.89 ERA)
CIN: RHP Kevin Gausman (3-8, 5.83 ERA)
Hamels worked an effective but inefficient 4.1 innings and took a loss to the Padres in his last start. He walked four and struck out six will allowing a solo homerun as the only scoring. He's 0-1 vs. Cincinnati this year, having been limited to four innings in two starts, both away from Wrigley. Perhaps the Friendly Confines will treat him a bit better.
Gausman came over from Atlanta after the trade deadline. The Reds have used him exclusively out of the bullpen, but they haven't used him on consecutive days and they over turn to him for more than one inning of work. He took a loss to the Cubs in his first appearance with the Reds, allowing two earned runs in two innings on August 8th. Castellanos is 4-15 with two homeruns off of him, and Zobrist is 8-13 with four doubles and a homerun.
Game 151, Tuesday, Sep. 17, 7:05pmCDT
CHC: RHP Yu Darvish (6-6, 3.97 ERA)
CIN: RHP Sonny Gray (10-7, 2.80 ERA)
Darvish built on his impressive second half by going collecting fourteen strikeouts (compared to two walks) in six innings for a win in San Diego. He lost in Cincinnati on August 9th, allowing four earned runs in six innings, getting hurt especially by three homeruns.
Gray took a loss in Seattle, providing 6.1 innings and allowing three earned runs. He struck out nine along the way and probably deserved better. He's provided 6+ innings in each of his last five starts. He's 2-1 against the Cubs in four starts this year, allowing seven earned runs in 23.1 innings pitched and striking out 28. Zobrist is 4-7 off of him and Castellanos 3-9, the closest to any thriving Cubs one can find in the match-up stats sheet.
Game 152, Wednesday, Sep. 18, 7:05pmCDT
CHC: LHP Jon Lester (13-10, 4.59 ERA)
CIN: RHP Tyler Mahle (2-11, 5.11 ERA)
Lester labored through unfavorable pitching conditions to earn a win against the Pirates despite allowing seven runs, four earned, in five innings. He's had a ton of traffic of late, allowing 24 walks and 56 hits in 46.2 innings since the beginning of August, for a WHIP slightly over 1.7. He's somehow managed to go 4-4 in those nine starts. The Reds have feasted on him for a .825 OPS in 200 at-bats. Eugenio Suarez has done much of that damage, going 14-39 with five homeruns and generally disrespecting his elder.
Mahle got a no-decision in his last start, in which he allowed four earned runs in 3.1 innings pitched against Seattle. He's been plagued by the long-ball in 2019, allowing 1.7 homeruns per nine innings. His other peripherals should give Reds fans some room for hope, particularly his 9.28 strikeouts to 2.24 walks per nine. Schwarber is 4-10 with a homer off of him, but it's been feast or famine as he's also struck out five times.
Meanwhile, the Cards and Nats face off in St. Louis, so it's on the Cubs to win in order to gain ground on one or the other any given day. The Brewers will be taking on the Padres in Milwaukee.
Wrigley Rat 14 min 2 sec 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 hour 56 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 2 hours 9 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 3 hours 2 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 3 hours 19 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 3 hours 30 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 4 hours 4 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 4 hours 10 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 4 hours 46 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 5 hours 12 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 9 hours 8 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 11 hours 8 min ago (view)
Per Bruce Levine, Kris Bryant will be leading off for the Cubs.
crunch 11 hours 44 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 12 hours 21 min ago (view)
That would be so devious!
tim815 13 hours 49 min 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 1 hour 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...