Cubs vs. / @ Royals: Series Thread (Games 10-13)

How 'bout this weekend? The Cubs swept the Pirates at home, including a walk-off 11th inning victory on Sunday (and some socially distanced air-fives), we saw the new extra-inning rule, and Rob Manfred warned that the season might already be over. With Manfred now anticipating the season being played to completion--and his warning described as a "bluff" by Sports Illustrated--I guess we can proceed with another series thread.

The Cubs (7-2) greet the Royals (3-7) at Wrigley for two games before heading off to Kansas City for another two. Let's call it a 4-game series? Can the starting rotation continue to lead the way? Cubs pitchers will need to dodge blasts from old friend Jorge Soler.

Game 10, 7:15pmCDT, Aug. 3
CHC: RHP Alec Mills (1-0, 3.00 ERA)
KC: LHP Danny Duffy (0-1, 5.79 ERA)

Alec Mills looked more than serviceable in his first 2020 start, inducing plenty of weak contact in six innings and even missing a few bats. He made three relief appearances with the Royals in 2016 and spent parts of 5 season in their system.

Duffy gave up 4 earned runs to Detroit in five innings last time out, despite collecting eight strikeouts.

Game 11, 7:15pmCDT, Aug. 4
CHC: Kyle Hendricks (1-1, 4.05 ERA)
KC: Brady Singer (0-0, 3.60 ERA)

Hendricks went only 4.1 in his second start after going the distance in the opener.

23-year-old Brady Singer has gone five innings and allowed two runs in each of his starts so far.

Game 12, 7:05pmCDT, Aug. 5
CHC: TBD - RHP Yu Darvish (1-1, 2.70 ERA)
KC: TBD - LHP Kris Bubic (0-1, 4.50 ERA)

Game 13, 6:07pmCDT, Aug. 6
CHC: TBD - RHP Tyler Chatwood (2-0, 0.71 ERA)
KC: TBD - RHP Brad Keller (0-0, -.-- ERA)


Jon Heyman: At least a couple Cardinals did go to a Casino, as @TheRealJHair 1st suggested. MLB has since tightened its rule on leaving the team hotel from very strongly discouraged to not allowed. Cards Covid count going into today: 3 players, 4 staff


They should absolutely know better BUT let's all remember that there are other authorities responsible for allowing those venues to open.

"take off your mask while you eat/drink" indoor venues has been one of the stupidest missteps in this whole thing.  i can safely say if i've been hearing this in covid briefings at work for months that government leaders have, too.

it's one of the most disasterous missteps we've taken during re-opening and there is little american appetite for ending it on a government or "personal responsibility" level.

Cards-Tigers tonight is cancelled and supposedly tomorrow's game is iffy.

MSNBC: 13 members of the Cardinals organization are positive, 7 players, 6 staff.

Sportswriters saying that the Criteria for shutting down the season is 3-4 teams with uncontrolled spread. 

Entire series between Tigers-Cards canceled.

Hanging by threads...

the "field of dreams" game that absolutely no one asked for, wanted, or cared about (STL/CWS) has been cancelled.

bryant(LF) / rizzo / baez / contreras / schwarber(DH) / bote(3rd) / heyward / hoerner / happ

m.soroka (ATL) is having to be helped off the field unable to put weight on his right leg.

it looks like he really screwed something in his calf/foot area that's not specifically the ankle.

torn achilles

game time delayed 30m

The Cardinals have to test negative for the next two days for the Cub-Cardinal series to happen this weekend (per Len Kasper) 

a.mills is good for 140+ pitches, right?

*looks at pen*  uh...right?

he was shakey through the first 2ip and stellar since.

The Adjunct Professor was dealing tonite 

"what i wouldn't give to have a man bun and a 99mph fastball" - JD on staumont

pen manages to string 2 good innings a row!

the cubs are 8-2.

the cards are 2-3.  the marlins are 2-1.

we're 1/6th of the way into this and who knows how much longer it will last...

Cardinal Coronavirus positives include: Yadi Molina, Paul DeJong.  Relievers Jr Fernandez, Kodi Whitley. Inf Edmundo Sosa and Rangel Ravelo. 6 members of staff not yet disclosed.

Yadi posted on Instagram (in Spanish). DeJong also released a statement. The team is to fly to StL on Wednesday but need two consecutive days of testing negative before they can travel.

No new positives for either Marlins or Cards today. The Marlins are OK'd to play at Baltimore tonight (so far).

so if the marlins keep covid'ing it up and finish with a 2-1 record do they make the playoffs with their kickass .667% winning percentage?

how does this circus work?

j/k...we're not gonna get to the playoffs.

Has there been any indication on how much effort will be made to make up the games lost to a team Covid shutdown? 

i haven't heard anything beyond speculation.  i don't even know if it was even addressed in the mlbpa/owners agreement, but i imagine it is in some way.

cubs gave d.bote a highlight reel tweet from his 3 notable plays last night.

Nick Castellanos with HR number 6 tonight against the Indians.  He's just killing it to start the season

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

Ideally would prefer Hendricks not pitch right after Mills given their similar profiles

Schwarbs looks more comfortable defensively in left field than Souza

he's done nothing extordinary out there, but he's looked a lot more comfortable out there this year.

he was especially bad at anything near the line the last few seasons, not making the play or getting over there so late somewhat ordinary popouts looked like great effort.  small sample size and all, but it looks like he has a bit more of a clue.  if he can be at least average-ish out there, his arm gives him a nice plus on top of it.

JHey joins the HR crowd - woot woot!!!

Anyone else think Souza isn't any better than Almora?

Should Souza's PAs go to Almora?

Right now Almora and Souza are number 12 and 13 on the depth chart, which is where they belong.  Ahead of Phegley and nobody else. 

I am ambivalent about how they split ABs.  Give each one a start every 5 games and ride each if/when they get hot.

Agreed all  around on this. Neither should be a Cub next year. Only reason Almora might be is due to his being Theo and Co's initial first round pick with the team.

I believe that Ian Miller would be more-useful to the 2020 Cubs than Albert Almora because he is faster than Almora and is an outstanding base-stealer (if the Cubs need that late in a game), and so he can be both a high-leverage PR and a late-inning defensive replacement in CF (especially if that's all Almora was going to be).

Almora does have an option left (two actually) so it wouldn't be a big deal to option him to the South Bend ATS (and keep him with the club as a member of the traveling Taxi Squad) and call-up I. Miller, although Miller would have to be added to the 40. To make room for I. Miller the Cubs could release or outright Josh Phegley and keep him with the club as a member of the Taxi Squad (if he isn't claimed off waivers and if he is willing to accept an Outright Assignment), or otherwise Norwood or Wieck (especially Norwood) could be transferred to the 45-day IL.

And then once on the 40, I. Miller does have minor league options left it it becomes necessary or desirable to drop him from the Active List roster at some point down the line.  

Also, it would be really good for the Cubs to have an MLB-ready third catcher on the 40 who has minor league options available and who can be easily moved back & forth between Chicago and the South Bend ATS, because both Phegley and Lobaton have Article XIX-A status and can refuse an Outright Assignment or elect free-agency if outrighted (presuming the player isn't claimed off waivers).   

As for Souza, he certainly is replaceable. I would say that Hernan Perez (who is on the Cubs traveling Taxi Squad) would be more useful to the 2020 Cubs than Souza if only because he is (like Souza) a veteran RH hitter and (unlike Souza) can play all over the diamond (1B-2B-3B-SS-LF-RF) which in and of itself makes him a more-valuable bench guy than Souza. And while (like I. Miller) H. Perez would require a slot on the 40, that would just involve releasing Souza (or outrighting him, if he is willing to accept an outright assignment).   

So MLB has changed the rules again. Instead of going from 30 to 28 to 26 players this year, teams will only go from 30 to 28 this Thursday and stay at 28 through the post-season.

Thinking about the Cubs potential moves, I would imagine that Jose Quintana and Brad Weick will be added at some point before the post-season and Rex Brothers, Colin Rea, Justin Steele, and one of Josh Phegley or Daniel Winkler would be sent down to South Bend (or released).

I prefer keeping Phegley just so the Cubs can use both Contreras and Caratini each game that they want to do so. (I'd be fine if Phegley just sat on the bench as insurance.) I feel like the Cubs have enough relievers with options remaining that they can cycle them through the remainder of the year. Thoughts?

The 3-man taxi squad is also changing to a 5-man taxi squad, but I'm not sure the Cubs are utilizing that too much anyway. (One required catcher if it's full.)

jeffress used in the 8th...easy one for him.  looks like kimbrell is still the 9th inning guy.

wow, kimbrel out with 1 out, men on 2nd/3rd.

0.1 ip 2h 0bb 1k

k.ryan coming in.

Hopefully Ryan is more 88-87 tonite instead of 86-85

He didn't walk anybody! Woohoo!

Didn't walk anybody, kept the ball in the yard.

Baby steps.  cubs win.

this pen...

Alec Mills was on MLB network about an hour ago. Apparently he's a really good golfer. Also, Mills has the lowest opponent avg exit velo (sub 80 MPH) among all MLB SP so far this season. That 65 MPH CV probably doesn't induce a lot of hard contact.   

wonder how mills compares to happ...or if happ is on his own level.

If he keeps this up, what happens with Jose "One Bad Inning Everytime" Quintana when he's healthy?

DJL: How about a six-man rotation so that the six SP can go as deep into games as is necessaary and then get five or six days off.  

“I’m in the middle of conversations with Craig (Kimbrel),” Ross said. “We’ll have those first before I talk to you guys. We’ll see where he’s at. We’ll see how his arm feels, and we’ll go from there.’’

How that conversation can be anything but "you're on mop up duty for a while" is beyond me.

jeremy "smoke 2 joints" jeffress...step on up.

Or, "Think how much fun you could have if you opt-out of the season." 

Just sayin'. 

BTW, if Kimbrel were to opt-out now, he would forfeit the balance of his pro-rated 2020 salary (about $5M that remains of his $6M pro-rated salary), but the Cubs would get under the CBT threshold for 2020 and not have to pay any penalties, and they could reset their payroll for 2021. (Right now the Cubs are about $9M over the 2020 CBT threshold, but eliminating about 5/6 of Kimbrel's original $16.5M 2020 salary would get the Cubs about $3M-$4M below the bar). 

That would actually really help out the Cubs a lot. 

So then what could the Cubs offer to Kimbrel/Boras in return?

1. A full-"no trade" in 2021-22 replacing the partial "no trade"; 
2. The 2022 $16.5M vesting option would be triggered if 55 games (appearances) in 2021 instead of 55 Games Finished and it automatically kicks in even if Kimbrel is injured at the conclusion of the 2021 season (which is not the case now), and the vesting option would include a player opt-out.  
3. If the vesting option does not trigger, the 2022 club option buy-out would be $3M regardless of the number of appearances in 2021, instead of escalating from $1M to $2M to $3M based on GF in 2021.    

That way, Ross could use Kimbrel any way he sees fit in 2021, and Kimbrel wouldn't be adversely affected financially if he works as a set-up guy or middle-reliever instead of as a closer in 2021. 

bryant / rizzo / baez / contreras(DH) / schwarber / bote(2nd) / heyward / hoerner(CF) / caratini

7/30 rainout vs CIN will be played as a 7-inning double-header on 8/29

That sequence at the top of the 8th - after the first two outs - was awesome.

woo!  cubs hit out of the save situation with 2 outs in the 8th!

sometimes 3 runs isn't enough to feel comfortable.

Caratini there to fluff your pillow and straighten your sheets

Rea hitting 95 - interesting 

He looked sharp in relief. Wish he was left handed. 

Relievers Justin Steele and Rex Brothers optioned to South Bend to meet the new 28 man roster limit. 

Still no word on who comprises the five man taxi squad that stays with and can work out with the team 

ERIC S: Other than assigning one catcher (who can serve as a bullpen catcher) to the Taxi Squad at home game, the Taxi Squad can only be used on road trips  

On the Cubs trip to Cincinnati last week, the Cubs definitely carried catcher Jose Lobaton, INF-OF Hernan Perez, and an unnamed pitcher (probably Colin Rea, because he was recalled while the Cubs were still in Cincinnati).

As for who will be the five guys on the Cubs Taxi Squad starting today (Thursday), it's probably Steele and Brothers (since they are already in KC with the club), Lobaton, H. Perez, and the pitcher who was on the original three-man Taxi Squad that traveled to KC and is (preferably) already on the 40 (maybe Dillon Maples?). 

Also, any pitcher on the IL who is not rehabbing at South Bend (like Wieck and/or Norwood) could be traveling with the club as well if they are able to throw. I don't know how close either are to returning to full action, but Norwood will probably get optioned if & when he is 100% although he could remain with the club while still on the IL for a few days as a back-up extra arm on the road trip (again, that's if he is able to pitch).  

Unlike Norwood, Wieck could get reinstated directly back to the Cubs MLB Active List roster once he is ready to roll because he has only been out for about ten days and since the Cubs are down to one lefty in the pen, but I don't know how close he is to returning or if he will need to ramp back up at South Bend. Also, Wieck's FB velo was down about 3-4 MPH from last year even before he hurt his hamstring, so there may be other issues with him beyond the hammy. 

Thanks, AZ Phil!

this digital crowd is creepy as hell.  at least it's not for the whole game.

i dont like august 6th, 2020 chatwood.

i've liked other recent versions, though.

If Chatwood can provide two excellent starts for each turkey I can live with that

top 9th, 1 out, men on 1st/2nd...alec mills steps to the plate.

they're down by 13 runs.  i want to end this, too.

This is baseball.

This is the sport we like.

...only because ESPN no longer shows australian rules football.

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  • Dolorous Jon Lester 9 hours 29 min ago (view)

    I understand why it feels unsettling. I remember the series well (though I, unlike Theo, actually was in high school). Anyway, I view it as a chance to right previous wrongs in the same way we stomped StL out of the playoffs in 2015, or the way the Nationals got to burn through two teams last year that had dumped them out of October in previous seasons.

    But if we lose, of course that was 17 years ago so it's two extremely different organizations.


  • Arizona Phil 13 hours 30 min ago (view)

    DJL: All players on Optional Assignment to the minors must be recalled on the day after the conclusion of the MLB regular season, even if the player has not spent at least ten days on Optional Assignment. Players cannot be optioned to the minors again until Spring Training. 


  • Arizona Phil 13 hours 51 min ago (view)

    CHAMP: No option year is spent just by calling up a player to MLB. An option year is spent only if a player on an MLB 40-man roster is optioned to the minors for at least 20 days in a given season. 

    Also, Brailyn Marquez is (was) eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft in December, so the Cubs were going to add him to the 40 on 11/20 anyway. They just did it a couple of months early.  


  • bradsbeard 17 hours 1 min ago (view)

    Not sure if serious, but Theo became the Red Sox GM in 2002. It's true though, there probably aren't many people in the organization besides Ricketts and Crane Kenney who have any strong feelings about that series. 


  • Craig A. 17 hours 59 min ago (view)

    I wonder if anyone on the Cubs cares or even remembers the odd events when the Marlins played the Cubs in 2003. I think Theo was in high school. To this old fart it will be more than a little unsettling to watch this post-season match-up. At least we can be fairly certain there will no fans grabbing for foul balls. 


  • bradsbeard 21 hours 27 min ago (view)

    Which is kind of annoying. Nobody really picked the Cubs to win this division pre-season. I guess Mattingly gets some credit for guiding the Marlins through their positives but even just letting them play that one game with half the team sick should knock him out of consideration. Meanwhile Ross kept a tight ship and the Cubs has no positives all year. I'd say Ross or Tingler should get it over Mattingly. 


  • crunch 22 hours 44 min ago (view)

    cubs finish 34-26 (1st, division)...they play MIA on wednesday.

    good start for d.ross, but the manager of the year is most likely going to d.mattingley (MIA) or j.tingler(SD).


  • crunch 23 hours 21 min ago (view)

    ...or he won't make it out of the 8th

    0.2ip 2h 3bb 1k, 5r/er...2 wild pitches

    there's some great stuff in that arm.  mid/high-80s slider, "changeup" around 90mph, fastball 97-99mph...all effortless.  21 years old and never pitched above A-ball.


  • crunch 23 hours 26 min ago (view)



  • crunch 23 hours 30 min ago (view)

    rough debut...doubt we're going to see him in the 9th.


  • Charlie 23 hours 38 min ago (view)

    Reminds me a little of Jeff Samardzija's debut. Adrenaline throwing straight gas but all over the place. Samardzija threw a fastball all the way to the backstop in his debut (2008).


  • crunch 23 hours 40 min ago (view)

    back to back 3-2 count 6-pitch walks.

    he's not in the zone.  he's throwing almost totally fastballs, too.


  • crunch 23 hours 41 min ago (view)

    alzolay's gotta be locked in for a start given what he's done lately.

    i wonder what role j.lester will be given.  if he's starting, hopefully he's the 3rd/4th starter, if at all.  someone will probably give him a 2021 contract if he doesn't retire...hope it's not the cubs giving that contract, though.


  • crunch 23 hours 44 min ago (view)

    dude's thrown a 97mph and 98mph fastball to start and both looked like he was barely expending effort.

    unfortunately, neither were near the plate.


  • Charlie 23 hours 47 min ago (view)

    So, Alzolay gets at least one October start, right? He'd be a weapon out of the pen if the Cubs had more than two believable starters ready.


  • crunch 23 hours 48 min ago (view)

    Q goes 2 effective (2ip 2h 1bb 2k, 0r/er) and here comes b.marquez...