Cubs vs. Pittsburgh: Series Thread (Games 7-9)

With the finale in Cincinnati rained out, the Cubs gather their things and head home to take on the Pirates. The Cubs come into the series atop the division with a 4-2 lead. The Pirates, meanwhile, bring up the rear with the Cincinnati Reds, both at 2-4.

Game 7, Friday, July 31, first pitch 7:15pmCDT
CHC: RHP Yu Darvish (0-1, 6.75 ERA)
PIT: RHP Trevor Williams (0-1, 7.36 ERA)

Both Darvish and Williams left something to be desired in their initial starts. K.B. is hitting .375 with 2 HRs of Williams in 16 ABs, and he has now had an extra day to rest his sore left elbow. Schwarber is at .364 with 3 long balls in 22 ABs. Josh Bell has the lone homerun off of Darvish among current Pirates.

Game 8, Saturday, August 1, first Pitch 7:15pmCDT
CHC: RHP Tyler Chatwood (1-0, 1.50 ERA)
PIT: RHP Mitch Keller (1-0, 1.80 ERA)

Tyler Chatwood got his 2020 season off on the right foot, going  6 innings and striking out 8 while earning his first win. His fastball command was sharp enough, and he mixed a slider-cutter hybrid especially effectively against lefties. Mitch Keller improved to 2-5 for his MLB career by winning his first start of 2020 on five inings pitched and 2 strikeouts. No current Cub has more than 5 ABs against him.

Game 9, Sunday, August 2, first pitch 1:20pmCDT
CHC: LHP Jon Lester (1-0, 0.00 ERA)

Jon Lester gets the ball for the matinee finale. Despite being somewhat behind schedule as far as building up for the season, he managed 5 innings pitched, 1 strikeout, and his first win of 2020. He allowed no hits and only one baserunner but had no shot at completing it as he was on a strict pitch count. Adam Frazier is 6-11 off of him.


So the Cubs are playing a 59 game schedule now? At this pace it projects to a 50-52 game season at best. 

Remember when we could've taken Nate Pearson in the Draft and instead took Brendon Little?


Can't keep crying over Earl Cunningham and other "little" mistakes.

Hard to believe but 10% of the season is over. 

There's no crying in baseball!

To be fair this little mistake was a tad more recent. Just kinda shaking my head, considering their pedigrees at the time. Draft is a crapshoot of course.

STL/MIL postponed friday because "someone" with STL tested positive.

supposedly it's at least 2 STL players...saturday game still on (for now)...hoping to play doubleheader sunday.

Here are some covid tracing informational stats.

The Cardinals just came from Minnesota but had Thursday off.  The cancelled game was scheduled in Milwaukee. The Twins played last night vs. Indians in Minn.  I'm not sure but suspect the Cards had their day off in a Milwaukee hotel. 

The two positive tests are pitchers. Here is the Cardinal pitching roster: Jr Fernandez, Jack Flaherty, Gio Gallegos, John Gant Austin Gomber, Ryan Helsley, Dakota Hudson, KH Kim, Carlos Martinez, Andrew Miller, Daniel Ponce de Leon, Adam Wainwright, Tyler Webb, Kodi Whitley, Jake Woodford (15 pitchers, 3 catchers, 7 IF, 5 OF). Remember they already have lost Miles Mikolas for the season.

Cubs have signed Cody Allen to minor league contract and he'll be reporting to South Bend. His stats from last year while with the Angels are remarkably similar to Kimbrel's with the Cubs ...

What went wrong w Cody Allen? Physical ailment? Colorado high altitude  Damage?  Any insight?

Age/ wear and tear seems the likely culprit.

Don't know why I thought this was a road series. Post corrected.

cubs great (for 12 innings) fernando rodney signs a minor league deal with HOU and is expected to be up pretty soon.  it will be his 12th team.  not bad for a 43 year old.

Oh oh... Manfred Mann and his Earth Band is on the brink.

Report: Rob Manfred warns that MLB could shut down by Monday if it can't contain coronavirus

im still bummed (seriously) about the 2021 WBC being cancelled.  it's a sideshow for some, but i enjoyed it.

no minor league ball is also cruddy.  weird 2020 MLB is still something worth nice to finish this out.

I genuinely think they should stop 2020 and the prospect of it still makes me sad.

at some point working around cancelations from covid along with weather is going to make it hard to even have a fair 60 game season.

Story going around is that some Cardinals went to a casino.

bryant / rizzo / baez / schwarber / contreras(DH) / heyward / caratini / kipnis / happ

-hoener +kipnis is the change from yesterday's lineup.

rizzo takes his 10,000,000 HBP of his career.

151, actually...22nd (oops, not 26) all time and he's been the active player leader for a little while.  he's 30.

On the inside, he's probably more like 63. I have to imagine the beanings age you.

im actually surprised he's not had his arm screwed up with as many as he takes off the arm.  batters don't get to use that oldschool barry bonds armor anymore.

Tigers beat Castillo and the Reds, 7-2 - that's a bonus. 

nothing like hoping the cubs score an extra run in the 8th so we might not see kimbrel in the 9th.  either way, c'mon good cubs stuff.

Came here to say the same thing.

bases loaded, 0 out...looking good...

...and rizzo gets it done.

Couple of more runs and maybe feel slightly OK about bringing in Kimbrel. 

What the hell!!!

yeah, i'm half joking when i rag on a player like this, but f'n wow.

manfred: guys, covid...quit doing covid spreading stuff

baez: *spits a swimming pool of mouth germs all over the infield*

jesus christ...i mean, really kimbrel...

1st batter faced...homer.

2nd batter faced...homer.

Christopher Kamka @ckamka
Craig Kimbrel allowing multiple HR

With Cubs:    4 times in 25 games
Prior to that:  1 time in 542 games

97 mph down the heart of the plate tend to leave the ballpark pretty quickly 

trump announced that if MLB would quit testing they could finish this season.

Pres. Rump gives MLB the option of 1) stop testing. 2) Playing night games without lights. Either option sounds kind of dangerous.

Lorenzo Cain opts out of 2020. No reason yet, either medical predisposition, family or others but he's out.

Baseball hanging in by threads that seem to be unraveling. Enjoy each game like it might be the last.

Per Roto: Multiple Cardinals players have tested positive for the coronavirus in the wake of the club’s most recent tests.  The exact number isn’t yet known, though SportsGrid’s Craig Mish (Twitter link) reports “more than five” positive results amongst the players, while The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports that “between four and six” of a “combination of staff and players” tested positive.  Former big leaguer Trevor Plouffe tweeted earlier this morning that “at least four” St. Louis players are positive.

StL-Mil Saturday game in Milwaukee is cancelled. 
Also Reds-Tigers canceled By Rain. 
The Current hurricane threat to Florida but might lead to weather cancellations up the east coast next week.

The Cubs are scheduled to be in StL next weekend. If the Cardinals go full "Marlins", that might be iffy.

Sheesh. This is getting icky.

bryant / rizzo / baez / schwarber / contreras / heyward / hoerner / happ / caratini(DH)

i really don't want to do another year of "so...bote exists" but here we are.  i know the dude isn't due for hitting .350 with 40 homers or anything like that, but he sure sits a lot for a guy that performs when given a chance.

I am starting to wonder if: a.) he is a jerk? or b.) he has a hole in his swing that coaches see but pitchers haven't eploited yet. Alternatively, middle child syndrome (with Hoerner as the favored baby and Kipnis the respected elder).

At least Descalso isn't blocking him?

i know nothing about bote, the person.  he consistently hits in all kinds of situations, though...and he showed a lot of progress last year (and this year...and this past spring)...

it could be viewed as a plus that he's great "cold" off the bench, therefore...etc etc

CRUNCH: One thing I know about David Bote "the person" was that in 2017 he left the AFL early (and missed the AFL Championship Game) so that he could go home and take care of his infant daughter so that his wife could go back to work. 

gotta be great for him to lock down a 15m guarenteed contract a year and half later.

it could end up being one of the best cubs contracts ever if he's good enough to have the 2 team option years picked up.

...and bote is in for bryant (last minute change)

happ / rizzo / baez / schwarber / contreras / heyward / hoerner / caratini(DH) / bote

bryant "gastro-intestinal issues"

Sometimes you gotta pass on those Taco Bell runs with the Professor

hefty spending big 2020 money at wrigley.

trash bags representing hard with a mound ad, a bleacher ad tarp, and both back home plate ad spaces to start the cubs 1st.

also, the radio side has the "hefty hefty hefty homerun" call by pat.  not kidding...

if the cubs want to make more money they could have the pen wear hefty trash bags as a uniform if they keep representing garbage so closely.

Somehow, someway they gotta incorporate Bosley's Law into their Cub Ad campaign

Well ... damn. All excited to squeeze a Tom Bosley reference here but its for the competition instead. 

Hefty is a quality product and would sue if it were to be associated with Cubs "relief" pitchers.

where the hell has this chatwood been the past 3 years?

Back to back nights for Ryan maybe not the best play - he was throwing 88 yesterday but 85 tonight 

ryan pumps his ERA up to 9.00

that said, he's not 1 of the 7 relievers with 10.00+ ERA.

Need Bote at short and Happ at 2nd for these late inning nailbiters

phew...drama 9th win.

6-2 to start the season.  bullpens are overrated.

"bullpens are overrated"

2019 Nats agree! 🤣

ha.  speaking of, it's been wild to see trevor rosenthal looking like a closer again with KC after spending 2019 with WAS/DET/NYY looking like a washup.  he was dominate in spring and it's carrying over into the season.

WAS paid him $6.9m for 6.1 innings of 22.74 ERA ball.

I fully expect the eventual DFA'd Kimbrel to turn it around and torture the Cubs in 2021-25

The Cardinals continue to provoke more questions than answers. Are they one rainout away from the Eve of Destruction (Barry McGuire nod intended)?

on MLBTR: The Cardinals and Brewers scheduled doubleheader for Sunday has been postponed, MLB announced in a statement. The Cardinals had 3 players and 1 staff member test positive for coronavirus this weekend with four pending tests still unresolved, tweetsESPN’s Jesse Rogers. The positive tests will affect the schedule for the next week as well. The Tigers and Cardinals were originally supposed to play a home-and-home pair of series this week in St. Louis and Detroit. Following the cases of coronavirus in St. Louis, however, all four games will be played in Detroit, including a doubleheader on Wednesday. 

Make the Deadbirds forfeit the season!

it looks like MLB has quarantined the entire city of St. Louis for this week.

Justin Steele is moving on up!

Not sure who is moving on down to South Bend (or perhaps placed on the IL)

Norwood to  Chicago, IL (formerly DL). Shoulder inflammation.


Well done, Dr Cubster

contreras breaks up the no-hitter with a double in the 5th.

lester needs to throw a complete game today.

60 game schedules are a perfect fit for Lester. Hell, if we know 2021 will also go 60, Cubs could do a lot worse than re-signing Big Jon

Telecast with Len/JD saying that several more Cardinals tested positive this am. Can't find it on twitter or net yet.

Another Pirate pitcher removed with injury. 

KB in Covid protocol even though he had a negative rapid test today.

This is stressful. 

...and no one seems to know where y.cespedes (NYM) is...didn't show up for the game today and isn't answering calls.  they're on the road @ATL.

Magic City wings could be in play here. 

cepedes is "opting out" of 2020, but didn't let the team properly know.  glad they found him.

When then is ever over, gonna have to have some of them Magic City wings, they must be something!

more on Cardinals...

Jeff Passan says: The latest round of coronavirus tests from the St. Louis Cardinals are, in the words of someone with the team, "not good." There are expected to be multiple new positives, sources tell ESPN. Cardinals took more tests this morning, and results of those should arrive by tonight.

Robt Murray: The St. Louis Cardinals have multiple new positive tests, according to sources with direct knowledge.

2:31 PM · Aug 2, 2020

we're 10-ish games in and the future is looking dim for finishing the season, much less forming a 16-team post-season.

at this point it seems making it to playoffs with enough people to fill a roster is a wiser move than actually winning games.

For all the heat Lester took to this point, he's really "pitched" excellent in both starts. In fact, the entire starting staff has been really good. Bullpen not so much although I've liked Jeffress.

Any other readers in southern Il.--are you blacked out of Cubs games? My dad is always blacked out as of this year even though MLB tv lists his zip as blacked out for Cards only.

If he is accessing via Internet, the location would be determined by the location associated with the IP address, not his physical address, that might be the issue.  A VPN service is always a good way to disguise your physical location and get around MLB blackouts. 

Thank you!

Many areas have multiple team blackouts.

See here:

Dang. That map suggests he's right on the border of being blocked, even though MLB says he's not according to his zip. We'll see about the IP address. Thanks!

game on...stupid rain delay...


been a while since i've seen a solid home plate collision...couldn't be avoided.

cubs in 11!

7-2 record to start the year.

the "socially distanced high-5s" in the middle of the infield is good stuff.

high fives followed by Rizzo passing out hand sanitizer

elbow bumps

how do you socially distance the dogpile?

By not having one.

but...muh freedoms.  :(

Recent comments

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  • Charlie 10 hours 19 min ago (view)

    Lol at Nico getting nominated for riding the bench a lot.


  • crunch 12 hours 18 min ago (view)

    RF Jason Heyward, SS Javier Baez, 2B Nico Hoerner, 1B Anthony Rizzo, C Willson Contreras, and Ps Kyle Hendricks and Alec Mills gold glove finalists


  • bradsbeard 16 hours 13 min ago (view)

    Thank you, sir! Sounds like a nice get for the Cubs, and a good project for (what's left of) the new development infrastructure. 


  • Arizona Phil 17 hours 2 min ago (view)

    There have been some holes in the AZIL east-side schedule, with one team canceling games last week (although they are back playing this week) and another canceling game this week due to CoViD-19 issue, so the other teams (like the Cubs) are making up some of the "lost" games with intrasquad and in-house "sim" games. 


  • Arizona Phil 17 hours 57 min ago (view)

    BRADSBEARD: From what I have seen of Jacob Wetzel so far (BP, fielding practice, base-running drills, sim games, AZIL games, and yesterday's intasquad game), I would say he looks like a football running back playing baseball in that he has a high motor and plays with a bit of an edge.

    He has a thick body but he also has plus speed (very much like a football running back in that respect), he runs the bases aggressively, makes hard contact, has HR power, a decent arm, maybe can use some work in the outfield as far as tracking balls. 


  • bradsbeard 1 day 7 hours ago (view)

    Phil, curious if you've seen enough of Jacob Wetzel to offer an initial scouting report. Just from watching some prep video he looked pretty strong and fairly athletic (HS football player and all). Impressive numbers albeit in community college, but he was a division 1 recruit before that so he's pretty intriguing to me. 


  • KingKongvsGodzilla 3 days 5 hours ago (view)

    AZPhil, thank you for these updates! It's a nice little pick me up during this dumb year. If you have anything to say on Yohendrick Pinango, Joel Machado, Rafael Morel, or Richard Gallardo, I would love to hear it! Thanks again!


  • crunch 3 days 14 hours ago (view)

    jim hickey new nats pitching coach.


  • bradsbeard 4 days 9 hours ago (view)

    Several non-prospects ate up spots as well. Ultimately wish they had given a few more Rivas types a shot there. 


  • tim815 4 days 10 hours ago (view)

    Only 60 spots in SB. Others benefited more from the time.


  • crunch 4 days 13 hours ago (view)

    not phil, but i think everyone is holding off on his potential ceiling until he gains enough weight to not look like someone you want to buy a sandwich every time you see him.

    big upside if his skills can strengthen as he builds his body.

    too early for a solid comp, but i wouldn't feel uncomfortable throwing ian happ's name around (bit better arm than happ, though).


  • bradsbeard 4 days 14 hours ago (view)

    Me too. Thought it was weird he wasn't in South Bend at all. 


  • Dolorous Jon Lester 4 days 19 hours ago (view)

    I am very, very intrigued by Rivas. If the DH is unfortunately here to stay, he's a prime candidate for that and give Rizzo a day off 1B here and there. If no DH, hopefully he is a passable OF. Big believer in his hitting ability


  • Hagsag 4 days 22 hours ago (view)

    Phil, do you think Chris Morel is the real deal?


  • tim815 5 days 11 hours ago (view)

    Blue and Red DSL instructs rosters. No Brayan Altuve.


  • crunch 5 days 14 hours ago (view)

    yup, they're gonna try.  starts in about a month.