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 52 min 9 sec ago (view)
Cubs minor leaguers in Mesa are wearing the new Nike jerseys, which look the same as the previous Majestic unis (blue Cubs jersey with red names and numbers outlined in white), except for the Nike "swoosh" insignia on the upper right front of the shirt.
Arizona Phil 1 hour 17 min ago (view)
The "Under Armour Performamce Center" (UAPC) at the Cubs facility in Mesa in now called the "Chicago Cubs Performance Center" (CCPC). All references to Under Armour have disappeared.
Hagsag 9 hours 8 min ago (view)
It's great to start getting reports from the Instructs. Keep them coming Phil!
bradsbeard 15 hours 2 min ago (view)
Since the deal isn't official, I wonder if the Cubs will wait until camp opens to finalize the deal and then put him on the 60 day IL as soon as it's available (assuming it's a major league deal). That doesn't really make sense in light of their luxury tax maneuvering though. If he's gonna miss a third of the season they'd probably only offer a minor league deal I guess.
Arizona Phil 18 hours 5 min ago (view)
Cory Abbott, Ben Hecht, Ryan Lawlor, and Brailyn Marquez were in a separate group on Field #3, so they may be prepping for NRIs to MLB Spring Training.
Arizona Phil 18 hours 6 min ago (view)
And Max Bain threw (long toss) at Instructs this morning, too.
Arizona Phil 18 hours 6 min ago (view)
I can positively confirm that Jerrick Suiter (1B-OF selected by Cubs from Pirates in Minor League Phase of last month';s Rule 5 Draft) is indeed being converted to a RHP. I saw him throw long-toss this morning at Instructs.
Arizona Phil 18 hours 6 min ago (view)
The Cubs have purchased the contract of LHP Adam Choplick from Southern Maryland (Atlantic League) and he has been assigned to AA Tennessee.
Choplick was the 14th round draft pick of the Texas Rangers out of the U. of Oklahoma in 2015, and he was released by the Rangers at the end of Spring Training 2019 (never got higher than AA).
I saw Choplick throw (long-toss) at Instructs this morning and he is one huge dude (6'9 250+).
crunch 19 hours 12 min ago (view)
the entire cubs offseason has been "wow, this guy was good 2-3 years ago, but didn't play or sucked in recent past."
houston finished using their trash can and the cubs are rooting around in it looking for players.
speaking of...it's taken MLB longer to figure out bryant's service time complaint than the entire astros cheating scandal.
crunch 20 hours 49 min ago (view)
"Chicago Cubs selected the contract of LHP Adam Choplick from Southern Maryland Blue Crabs."
okay. sure. congrats and good luck.
Charlie 23 hours 33 min ago (view)
Good for Nick. Good luck to him and the Reds improving his defense. That park should very much play to his offense.
Interest in Gennett is strange. If you are going to pick up a bench infielder at this point, shouldn't it be someone with SS chops?
crunch 1 day 35 min ago (view)
nick castellanos to the reds, 4/64m...opt out after 1 year.
meanwhile, on the cubs front...
"Bruce Levine of 670 The Score reports that the Cubs continue to have interest in free agent Scooter Gennett. "
Sonicwind75 1 day 4 hours ago (view)
There seemed to be a least an tacit understanding between ownership and fans during the rebuild that we as fans should support the organization when it was intentionally underspending and tanking. When it was time to be competitive, you know when the greatest core of Cubs players in my lifetime are in their prime, ownership would make the most of that window. That doesn't appear to be the case with the team shedding around $40 million in salary.
crunch 1 day 15 hours ago (view)
in all honesty, the team is spending a healthy amount that i only jokingly complain about...but...it was not just fans talking about the extra perks the new revenue streams and tv contract would open. it was ownership and front office at points in the past bringing it up.
George Altman 1 day 16 hours ago (view)
What's pretty obvious is that the Cubs 2020 salary budget is $208m AAV. Whatever Theo/Jed can field with that number (existing players, trades, and/or signings). They could generate $100m from Marquee, concerts, Wrigleyville, etc and it's NOT going to translate into more $$$ for players. Very sad, frustrating, and maddening.
crunch 1 day 20 hours ago (view)
maybe if the cubs can squeeze a 5th in-season concert at wrigley they can sign addison russell.