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!
crunch 2 min 50 sec ago (view)
haha. ump checked alzolay's hat and glove between innings and declared it all clear.
stuff so nasty they wanna make sure you're not on that "sticky fingers" bandwagon.
crunch 4 min 57 sec ago (view)
11 pitches, 2 Ks and a hard ground out to start things for alzolay.
i wonder how many pitches he'll be allowed to throw if he can keep the game under control. velocity and movement looks great.
Arizona Phil 1 hour 22 min ago (view)
CRUNCH: The only way this makes sense is if the Cubs promised Ryan when they outrighted him in May that he would be added back to the MLB 40-man roster within a certain number of days or by a certain date (June 20th). Otherwise, it makes no sense.
Ryan did have the right to elect free-agency when he was outrighted, but he accepted the assignment.
crunch 2 hours 13 min ago (view)
alzolay activated, k.ryan down. ryan was brought up less than 24 hours ago and not used yesterday. he was already earlier optioned to AAA and the cubs DFA'd r.stock to add ryan to the 40-man yesterday. odd use of the roster, kinda...
Wrigley Rat 19 hours 2 min ago (view)
Exactly what I needed - thanks AZPhil!
Arizona Phil 22 hours 9 min ago (view)
I doubt that whatever changes are made in the new CBA regarding compensation draft picks for losing a Qualified Player will be implemented in the 2022 draft. They might, however, remove the penalty of losing a draft pick after signing a qualified player, and that could easily be implemented in the 2022 draft. That would seem to be a demand the MLBPA would make that the MLB owners could accept.
Arizona Phil 22 hours 9 min ago (view)
W-RAT: Going over the CBT threshhold in 2020 but not in 2021 will not affect which draft pick a club receives if it loses a player who receives a Qualifying Offer post-2021 World Series and that player subsequently signs a major league contract with another MLB club prior to the 2022 MLB Rule 4 Draft (MLB First-Year Player Draft).
crunch 22 hours 43 min ago (view)
w.franco getting called up by TB. he's amazing. check him out. agressive at the plate and on the bases (and gets away with it)...rather decent in the field. javy baez meets ronald acuna type stuff...
tim815 1 day 1 hour ago (view)
With the CBA expiring in the off-season, nobody has any idea what will happen in 2022, if there's an MLB season in 2022.
crunch 1 day 2 hours ago (view)
kinda crazy cubs even matter in 2021 this late in june...also, that the cards are barely playing .500 ball.
cubs were supposed to be "competitive" going into the season, but we were hearing a lot more about who's going to be traded mid-season than how competitive they were/are expected to be.
also, the dbacks are down by 8 runs on their way to their 17th loss in a row. they've only won 20 games this year. AZ games are my go-to late night (east coast over here) preferred viewing and it's been some terrible baseball to watch.
Wrigley Rat 1 day 2 hours ago (view)
Sorry if this is explained somewhere and I missed it, but who knows the exact compensation the Cubs would get if they made qualifying offers to Rizzo, Bryant, and Baez after the season, all three turned them down and they each signed with different teams? I read that the Cubs exceeded the Luxury Tax in 2020, so apparently that changes the draft pick value. Thanks in advance!
Cubster 1 day 2 hours ago (view)
Rockies tie game w 6-spot vs Brewers
crunch 1 day 3 hours ago (view)
schwarber has 5HR in the last 2 days (3 games) and 9 homers in his last 10 games.
also, t.chatwood picked up a spot save for TOR today.
crunch 1 day 4 hours ago (view)
let's never do chris myers in the booth for a full game again, much less a full series.
Arizona Phil 1 day 5 hours ago (view)
The Cubs have purchased the contract of INF Edwin Figuera (ex-STL) from York (Atlantic League) and LHSP Dalton Stambaugh (ex-BAL - was Orioles 2019 30th round draft pick - Morehead State) from Evansville (Frontier League), and they have been assigned to ACL Cubs.
The Cubs have been minng the independent leagues big-time.
Arizona Phil 1 day 5 hours ago (view)
To give up on a guy who throws 101 when you don't have to do it is kind of dumb. Granted Stock is 31 and still has command issues, but there is obviously nothing wrong with his arm. Why not just hang onto him into next season and see what happens over the off season and then in Spring Training?
The Cubs could have transferred David Bote or (especially) Justin Steele to the 60-day IL. Steele has already been on the 10-day IL for 30 days, and he will need a rehab assignment -- which for pitchers can be up to 30 days -- before he is reinstated.