Cubs vs. Cleveland: Series Thread (Games 49 & 50)

With first place still in their possession and an Alec Mills no-hitter under their belt, the Cubs return to Wrigley to take on the first of several AL central opponents. Cleveland comes into the series in third place, 5 games out of first and 2 games out of second. The Cubs begin the series 4 games up in the division.

Game 1, Tuesday, Sep. 15, 7:15 pm central
CHC: RHP Yu Darvish (7-2, 1.77 ERA)
CLE: RHP Carlos Carrasco (2-4, 3.12 ERA)

Yu Darvish ended a 7-game winning streak when he allowed 3 earned runs to the Reds over 6 innings. After a wild first inning, he returned to the dominant form to which Cubs fans are now accustomed. He has roughly 3 starts remaining and 72 strikeouts. If everything breaks right, he could strikeout 100 and win 10 games in this 60 game season.

After missing most of 2019 as he recovered from leukemia, Carlos Carrasco appears not to have missed a beat. The Cubs will be fortunate to miss Cy Young probable Shane Bieber, but the veteran Carrasco continues to strike out more than 10 opponents for 9 innings, holds walks at a reasonable level, and elicits ground balls at a more than respectable rate. Current Cubs have hardly seen him at all. Rizzo is 2-2 with a homerun. Billy Hamilton, who used to have to bat, is 3-10 with a triple.

Game 2, Wednesday, Sep. 16, 7:15 pm central
CHC: LHP Jon Lester (2-2, 5.05 ERA)
CLE: RHP Aaron Civale (3-5, 3.88 ERA)

Lester could not earn a decision in the Cubs 1-0 loss to the Brewers, but he pitched 6 scoreless innings and struck out a season high 8 opponents. Can he translate that success from the floundering Brewers' hitters to the merely middling Cleveland lineup? Francisco Lindor (4-11 with a homerun) and Franmil Reyes (5-7 with a homerun) have had Lester's number in limited exposure.

Aaron Civale debuted in 2019 and made 10 major league starts. Including his 9 starts in 2020, he now has a 3.11 ERA and a 6-9 career record. He brings a low 90s fastball and a troubling mix of off-speed stuff, including both a cutter and a slider, a nasty curve, and a changeup. Only Cameron Maybin (1-5) has faced him before.


happ / bryant(3rd) / rizzo / contreras(DH) / schwarber / baez / heyward / kipnis / caratini

game 1

baez in the 6 slot.  it's been frustrating to watch because he doesn't look totally lost at the plate...or that he's over/under-doing's just not happening for him right now.

He keeps looking like he *could* get on a tear of liners to right field and then he just doesn't. His strikeout to walk ratio has gone from really bad to truly horrendous, but his underlying plate discipline numbers are not actually worse. The only big differences I can see in his peripherals are that he's missing in the strike zone more than usual and he's seeing more sliders (and fewer fastballs) than any other single season in his career. There's nothing super explanatory there--it just backs the eye test conclusion that he looks off.

The Cat says Strop is in Chicago!

SF/SEA postponed because of bad air quality from know, typical 2020 shit.

In Portland myself and I gotta say that time outdoors feels unhealthy. Just hoping the fires end [checks watch] ever.

While a world-wide famine, thermo-nuclear war, and/or sudden magnetic pole reversal is still quite possible sometime in the next couple of months (obviously none of which would be significant enough to interrupt the completion of the 2020 World Series), I've got my money on a gamma-ray burst that will destroy the ozone layer and fry all electronics or (more likely) a mass global extinction-level asteroid strike on or about 11/3. Then the 2021 MLB season can proceed pretty much as planned, except the start of Spring Training might be delayed until March.  

all of this makes too much sense and seems quite 2020 reasonable.  i'm ready.  bring it on.

Ross was really downplaying the chances of Chatwood pitching again in 2020. We have not seen the last of Alzolay for the irregular season.

i like baez batting 6th so far.

dugout going nuts for his HR...they know he needs that.  good dugout, good crew...

i gotta say it's nice seeing a guy with baez's personality handle his lack of success well.  he's not done any public showings of overly-negative angst throughout all of this.

Ready for KB to sit out the rest of the 2020 season and let Bote finish the season at third.  Give  him a mulligan and start 2021 anew  - with Bote at the ready should he crater again. 

i kinda wonder if KB is even a 2021 cub.  finishing the season poorly would still make him a $20m-ish dude next year in arbitration ($18.6m this year).  heating up even a little bit towards the end would tack on a few more million.

that said, his trade value is a 1-year club controlled $20m+ guy coming off a down season who's D at 3rd probably shouldn't have him at 3rd as a regular.

KB non-tendered would be in line with this crazy year

So far tonight, KB has picked up his 5th RBI and 4th error on the season. Also the first time this year that Rizzo has driven him in. Nuts

thing that's personally weirding me out about rizzo is he now fully looks like an older vet, especially compared to the younger kids.  he's as lean and fit as ever, he's just starting to "show his age (31)" compared to a lot of the other guys.

Just as a point of information, per the macro CoViD-19 agreement between the MLB & MLBPA, if an unsigned post-2020 arbitration-eligible player requests an arb hearing the player's performance in the 2020 season will - NOT - be considered by the arbitration panel. Only the player's performance up through the 2019 season can be considered (which will help somebody like Kris Bryant but hurt somebody like first-time arb-eligible Ian Happ). 

So to paraphrase that great lawyer Perry Mason, an arbitration-eligible player's performance in 2020 is incompetent, irrelevant, and immaterial. 

yowsa. AZ Phil invokes Della Street. 

drone over the field delay...

i f'n hate 2020.

when oliver perez retires in 2035, if the cubs don't hire him as pitching coach i'm done with this team.

I hadn't thought about Perez in 10 years, but this bullpen version is absolutely the most fun version.

Adam showing a nasty curve ball!

He's part of the two first names crew on our pitching staff. Jason Adam, Jon Lester, Kyle Ryan

cards lost...and dakota hudson left with "elbow tightness"...and they moved into 3rd place behind CIN.

good day for people who aren't cards fans.

10 games left w 5.5 game lead over Reds. Normally thats good but this is 2020. 

seeded at #2 and obviously fluid but as of tonight Cards would miss the playoffs and #7 seed is Giants.

I definitely would prefer to not see the Reds in the first round. Or any round for that matter. 

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  • Dolorous Jon Lester 9 hours 31 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 31 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 53 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 2 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. 18 hours 57 sec 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 29 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 46 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 22 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 28 min ago (view)



  • crunch 23 hours 32 min ago (view)

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


  • Charlie 23 hours 39 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 42 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 42 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 46 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 48 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 49 min ago (view)

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