Cubs vs. Cardinals: Series Thread (Games 153-156)
It's here, the Cubs vs. Cards series we've been waiting for. The Cubs feel to three games behind the Cardinals, remained in a tie with the Brewers for the second Wild Card spot, and fell behind the Nationals by 1.5 for the top Wild Card spot. That means, it would take a Cubs sweep of the four-game set to jump over the Cardinals in the division this weekend, right where you would want to be so that you don't have to end the season needing a sweep of the Cards on the road. The Cubs will have to continue to do their most important work without Javy, Rizzo, or even the backup Russell. In the meantime, they will continue to rely on mid-season additions (Castellanos), recent reactivations (Contreras, Zobrist), and 2019 newbies (Hoerner, Kyle Ryan, Rowan Wick, etc.). See below for how this hodge-podge will match up with the Cards.
Game 153, Thursday, September 19, 6:15pmCDT
CHC: RHP Kyle Hendricks (11-9, 3.26 ERA)
STL: RHP Jack Flaherty (10-8, 3.05 ERA)
This may be the biggest match-up. Will we stay invested, or hedge our emotional bets? That could depend on whether the Cubs can win this opening game. The Cubs send their best starting pitcher to face the Card's best. Hendricks has been strong in his last three starts, allowing a single earn run in each and going into the sixth as well. He's 3-0 in three starts against the Cards this year, one at home and two on the road. He has allowed one earned run in 23 innings pitched, with the first game being his 4-hit complete game shutout in St. Louis. Who else would you want starting against Flaherty? Ozuna is 12-29 with two homeruns off of him.
Something seems to have clicked for Flaherty in the second half, and he's been arguably the best pitcher in the league since then. His ERA is only 1.05 since then and he's stuck out 11.52 per nine innings. He took a loss to the Brewers in his last start, allowing three earned runs in six innings despite striking out ten. He's 1-1 in four starts against the Cubs this year, allowing nine earned runs in 21.2 innings. He'll be fortunate to miss Rizzo, who has done the vast majority of the Cubs' damage against him, going 8-15 with two homeruns.
Game 154, Friday, September 20, 1:20pmCDT
CHC: LHP José Quintana (13-8, 4.37 ERA)
STL: RHP Michael Wacha (6-7, 4.76 ERA)
Quintana has been pulled early in each of his last starts, so he should be well rested? It's been a rough three-game stretch in which he has allowed thirteen earned runs in only 10.1 innings. In that time, he's benefitted from some offensive and bullpen rescues, going 1-0. It's time to pay back that favor. Cardinals hitters have, however, very much enjoyed their time against Q; they have a collective OPS of .931 in 152 at-bats. Goldschmidts stands out in particular at 8-13 with three homeruns. If he's not making his pitches, Q may find himself getting the quick hook for a third start in a row.
Michael Wacha has been terrible this year, but he's been a little sharper lately. He held Milwaukee scoreless in five innings last time out, and has allowed only nine earned runs in his last 31.2 innings over seven starts. The Cubs have collectively accrued a 1.011(!) OPS against Wacha over 218 at-bats. Bryant is 11-35 with three homeruns.
Game 155, Saturday, September 21, 1:20pmCDT
CHC: LHP Cole Hamels (7-7, 3.96 ERA)
STL: RHP Dakota Hudson (16-7, 3.35 ERA)
Hamels looked like the Cubs best starter for quite a while, but he's long since come back to earth. He exited his last start in the fourth having allowed only two earned runs but also having walked five batters. Control has very much been the issue, as he's walked fourteen batters over his last seventeen innings. Good news? The strikeouts are still there. The Cards have generally not been able to figure him out, flailing their collective way to a .541 OPS in 179 at-bats. Matt Carpenter and Marcel Ozuna are just barely propping those numbers up, 5-15 and 9-38 (with a homerun) respectively.
After pitching a handful of innings out of the MLB bullpen last year, Dakota Hudson has been treated to 16 wins as a starter in 2019. He relies extensively on ground balls to keep the old ERA down, as he doesn't strike out many and walks over four per nine innings. He's missed the Cubs so far, making this his first exposure to them as a starter. Last time out he defeated the Nationals, allowing two earned runs in seven innings. Lucroy is 2-3 off of him.
Game 156, Sunday, September 22, 1:20pmCDT
CHC: RHP Yu Darvish (6-7, 4.02 ERA)
STL: RHP Miles Mikolas (9-14, 4.29 ERA)
Darvish's last start was extremely weird making it somehow typical for Yu in 2019 as well. He struck out 13, including 8 in a row at one point, but lost the game anyway, allowing four earned runs including a homerun in seven innings. Before that, he struck out 14 and earned a win in San Diego. Keep the Ks coming, but let's forego the dingers. The Cards haven't seen too much of him. Ozuna is 4-10 and Jose Martinez is 3-5 with a homerun.
Mikolas has been consistently OK throughout the year, and that's been his story of late as well. He's 2-1 in his last five starts, allowing 11 earned runs in 28 innings. He's 0-2 against the Cubs in three starts this year, but he's allowed only four earned run in those 16.2 innings. Cubs lefties have mostly fared better against him, including back-ups Caratini and Happ. Schwarber, 1-12 with four strikeouts, is an exception.
Let's go, Cubs!
Arizona Phil 15 min 29 sec ago (view)
The Cubs have re-signed RHRP Jonathan Holder and C-INF P.J. Higgins to 2022 minor league contracts, presumably with an NRI to MLB Spring Training.
They will be Rule 5 Draft-eligible, if and when there is a Rule 5 Draft.
Dolorous Jon Lester 9 hours 7 min ago (view)
Owners' stooge Bobby Manfred coming out swinging at the players with his statement about the owners instituting a lockout.
Arizona Phil 14 hours 31 min ago (view)
The Cubs re-signed OF Michael Hermosillo to a 2022 Major League contract just prior to the midnight Wednesday MLB transaction freeze.
Hermosillo was non-tendered on Tuesday because he was a Rule 5 Draft-Excluded Player, and if he had remained on the 40 the Cubs would not have been able to outright him to the minors any earlier than 20 days prior to MLB opening Day.
crunch 19 hours 22 min ago (view)
we shouldn't, especially with how much payroll room for 2024+ this top-costing-for-fans team with a heavily monitized ballpark in a major media market has.
backloaded contracts aren't exactly groundbreaking new things...neither are cheap-ass owners. i don't expect them to compete every year, but i expect them to try after a punt season where they traded away the core. NYY, NYM, LAD, LAA, BOS, etc. don't seem to have trouble doing this even if it means throwing a bit of money around...
Sonicwind75 19 hours 34 min ago (view)
Stroman, a pleasant surprise. Good to know we aren't completely punting until 2025.
Arizona Phil 20 hours 1 min ago (view)
CRUNCH: Clint Frazier's 2022 base salary is only $1.5M and he has a minor league option available, so I think it's more likely than not that he opens 2022 at AAA.
On the other hand, Harold Ramirez is out of minor league options, and it is unknown at this point what he will get in 2022 as a "super two."
crunch 20 hours 27 min ago (view)
until clint fraizer came on board i wouldn't have counted bryant out.
OF is kinda crowded right now, though there's no stars in the mix. fraizer - happ - ortega - heyward - h.ramirez leading the group... even if he split time between OF/3rd with wisdom that just makes it more crowded, plus the team allegedly wants hoerner to prepare to be used as a super-utility guy.
George Altman 20 hours 47 min ago (view)
Ok, if Cubs are going there....I want Correa and Bryant. Unless this is just about selling tickets.
crunch 20 hours 51 min ago (view)
crunch 21 hours 50 min ago (view)
stroman / hendricks / miley / alzolay - mills - thompson - steele
okay...now do bats.
Wrigley Rat 21 hours 57 min ago (view)
You beat me to it! :)
azbobbop 21 hours 58 min ago (view)
Marcus Stroman to the...wait for it...the CUBS! What a nice surprise!
Arizona Phil 1 day 5 hours ago (view)
With Jason Adam and Michael Hermosillo having been non-tendered, the only 2021 Rule 5 Draft-Excluded Players remaining on the Cubs MLB 40-man roster are Scott Effross, Alfonso Rivas, Ethan Roberts, and Nelson Velazquez. Draft-Excluded players cannot be outrighted to the minors until 20 days prior to MLB Opening Day, so Effross, Rivas, Roberts, and Velazquez are the only players on the 40 with off-season roster-removal restrictions.
Sonicwind75 1 day 6 hours ago (view)
Sad but true. According to my back of the napkin numbers the Cubs have aroumd $100MM in payroll space to match last seasons but they're shopping in the non-tendereds ailse. At the same time they talk of being "competitive". The cognitive dissonance is overwhelming.
Arizona Phil 1 day 17 hours ago (view)
I suspect Jason Adam and Michael Hermosillo will re-sign with the Cubs on minor league deals with NRIs to 2022 MLB Spring Training, possibly as early as tomorrow.
crunch 1 day 19 hours ago (view)
MIN claimed t.megill from CHC and then non-tendered him.
CHC non-tender jason adam and mike hermosillo