Cubs vs. Twins: Series Thread (Games 51-53(

With only 10 games remaining, the Cubs (30-20) start this series 5.5 up in the division. The Twins (31-21) roll into Wrigley in second place in the AL central but with a record equally as impressive as the Cubs'. They are still in striking distance of the first place White Sox, whom the Cubs will face in the season's 3 final games. Given their sizeable lead in the division, these last 10 games will likely have lost some drama. However, this is also an important stretch for key offensive players who have floundered most of the season, a bullpen that has only recently found reasonable footing, and a rotation with two consistent performers at the top and some major variables behind them. See below for the weekend's match-ups.


Game 1, Friday, Sep. 18, 7:15 pm central
CHC: RHP Kyle Hendricks (5-4, 3.29 ERA)
MIN: LHP Rich Hill (2-1, 3.81 ERA)

Hendricks has strung together three strong starts in a row. Last time out he went 7.2 innings against the Brewers and did not earn a decision, allowing 2 earned runs. Current Twins have 22 at-bats against him. Josh Donaldson (2-4), Eddie Rosario (2-3), and Rich Hill (1-2) account for all five of the roster's hits off the righty.

Rich Hill is now 40 and seems to have had about 3 different MLB careers. This will be his 7th start of 2020. He has yet to pitch more than 5 innings in a start and has seen most of his peripherals swing the wrong direction in this season's small sample. His average velocity is also down almost 2 mph compared to last year. Kyle Schwarber (0-6 with two strikeouts) is likely to sit this one out in favor of Cameron Maybin (2-8 off Hill). Bryant and Rizzo are each 2-6 with a homerun off of Hill.


Game 2, Saturday, Sep. 19, 7:15 pm central
CHC: RHP Alec Mills (5-3, 3.93 ERA)
MIN: RHP Michael Pineda (1-0, 3.57 ERA)

Alec Mills is fresh off the game of his life and the longest outing of his MLB career. There was nothing particularly unusual about his no-hitter, except for the outcomes and that he didn't miss in the heart of the zone much. Living on the edges of the strike zone has always been his key to success. No current Twins have faced Mills.

Former Yankee Michael Pineda has been limited to only 3 starts so far in 2020. In 2019, his first season with the Twins, he had an ERA of 4.01 and saw his GB% drop to a career low 36.1%. He's always been stingy with the walks, however, and was not overly stricken with the HR bug last season. Only Cameron Maybin (5-17) has seen all that much of Pineda. Bryant (1-2) and Schwarber (1-3) have each homered off of him.


Game 3, Sunday, Sep. 20, 6:08 pm central
CHC: RHP Yu Darvish (7-2, 1.86 ERA)
MIN: RHP Jose Berrios (4-3, 4.15 ERA)

Last time out, Yu Darvish failed to earn a decision for the first time in 2020. He allowed 3 runs, 2 earned, in 7 innings while striking out 7 Cleveland hitters. He has worked over Nelson Cruz, Josh Donaldson, and Marwin Gonzalez for 22 strikeouts in 48 at bats. Alex Avila is 3-13 but has also coaxed five walks from Darvish. With two starts left, Cy Young votes are definitely on the line.

The 26-year-old Berrios will face off against the Cubs' ace as well as in his own brother-in-law, Javy Baez. He's had a slightly down season, attributable partly to an inflated walk rate compared to his career average. The righty is using his fastball less and his changeup more than in any prior seasons. He does have his highest K/9 for any season so far to show for it. Jason Kipnis has seen the most of him of any current Cub, but he's only 4-23 with one double. Jason Heyward is 2-3 with the roster's only homerun.

Comments

rizzo! / bryant / contreras / schwarber / baez / heyward / maybin(CF) / kipnis(DH) / hoerner

d.ross is picking up one hell of a c.maybin addiction.

Better Maybin than Couldabin or Hazbin.

walk and a SB for the best leadoff man in the history of the game.  nice start.

woo.  hell of a game.  jeffress had to work hard for the save, but he got it done...threw a lot of pitches, though.

hendricks is a f'n treasure.  it's amazing he'll be 31 next year and still hasn't thrown 200ip in a season.

Cubs relievers regularly walking the leadoff man and continually working from behind are going to be the death of me.

a.chafin up, r.wick to IL (oblique)

This bullpen does not need a Wick IL stint. Rest up, dude.

gary hughes has died.

he was currently with the dbacks.

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

game 2

bote takes a week off after homering and hits a game tieing RBI double.

he didn't take advantage of his earlier opportunities with bryant out.  hopefully he can find some stability.  nice to see him actually doing something @wrigley.  it's been horrible for him @home this season.

speaking of...osich finds his way into a game.  i forgot about him.

...and now i'm trying to forget about him again.

it seems like bringing pitchers who haven't pitched in over a week into games isn't a good idea.

d.underwood shows up for the first time since sept. 8th and it didn't go well, but he escapes paying for thanks to ian happ making 2 outfield assists in a row.  neat.

You're not kidding...  weird that Duane was trusted with a high leverage inning, succeeded, then vanished for  10 days

CRUNCH: Conversely, Rex Brothers, who hadn't pitched in a game since like forever, was "lights out," striking out the side in the 8th (and it was Rosario-Sano-Kepler) with a 95-97 MPH FB and 89 MPH slider. When he throws strikes he can be unhittable.

And while Josh Osich wasn't terrible (an infield single, and HBP, and an E-6 that led to an unearned run), when it comes time to option somebody so that Adbert Alzolay can get called up to be the 5th starter on Tuesday, Osich might be the guy who gets sent down (it will be just through Sunday 9/27, because by rule all players on optional assignment must be recalled no later than the day after the conclusion of the MLB regular season even if the player has not spent ten days on optional assignment). 

The thing about Duane Underwood Jr is that even though he has clearly been the beneficiary of some lucky breaks (Saturday night wasn't the first time), he almost certainly will not be included on any of the Cubs post-season series active lists, but at the same time the Cubs don't want to give up on him just yet because he still has some untapped upside. So I think while he will probably not pitch at all in the post-season (or even be active), the Cubs will retain him on the 40 through the post-season and off season and then give him every opportunity to make the 2021 26-man Opening Day roster in Spring Training. The last thing they want to do is lose him off waivers (he is out of minor league options) and have him reach his potential with another MLB club. 

Brothers looked great, but the next time he might walk 3 in a row.

Honestly, I didn't think he looked all that sharp. He almost gave up a double/triple into the corner that landed just foul, bounced several pitches, and general seemed effectively wild. Not somebody I'd want throwing in a close game and not with runners on I don't think. 

If spotty command and inconsistency wasn't a concern, Rex Brothers would be Josh Hader. Right? I mean, a LHRP with a 95-97 FB and an 89 SL and he strikes out the side (which also happened to be the heart of the Twins order) 1-2-3 (all three swinging). 

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

game 3

Osich optioned, Jose Martinez returns

fwiw, supposedly brailyn marquez has been impressing so much at the alternate site he could get an elevated role...maybe a taste this year or maybe part of the playoff 40-man roster pool.

either way he seems destined to shoot up the minor league prospect rankings this offseason.

Jose Martinez still tracking with last season's pickup of Martin Maldonado - zero hits while with the Cubs

we really gonna leave this game to nico hoerner with 2 out and the bases loaded in the 9th?  a'ite then.  c'mon dude.

K...cubs lose.  meh.

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  • crunch 8 hours 32 min ago (view)

    hah!  also uggg...i wonder what $20m-ish of k.bryant after a down season and uncertainty of april-june for "normal" baseball is worth to a team.  we will probably find out in a month or 2, though.

     

  • Charlie 11 hours 10 min ago (view)

    What's that, crunch? Kris Bryant for Robinson Canoe? Bold call!

     

  • George Altman 13 hours 33 min ago (view)

    Phil, you used to put out a Top 10 or 20 Prospect list around the end of the AFL. Sometimes you would update mid year if trades or draft warranted. This is not false praise...your lists were more impactful than BA, MLB, BP to me, let alone the Cubs fan board lists. Today, the only thing I give any credence to are your evaluations and Fan Graphs Top 40. If the evaluator has only watched video then, hell, I can watch video.

     

  • crunch 17 hours 11 min ago (view)

    there is no way the 2-3 guys that created most of those cubs reports have seen much more than youtube video footage as far as "live" scouting.

    they seem very dedicated and eager, but there are some questionable things in their scouting reports.

     

  • Wrigley Rat 17 hours 56 min ago (view)

    I'd REALLY enjoy reading Phil's list with scouting reports!!! I'd definitely trust his ratings more than most!

    Here is what the ProspectsLive.com website says about seeing the players: "Our evaluation team has spent countless hours filling these boards with highly in-depth scouting reports from live looks and film study."

    Either way, in my opinion, it's good to read other people's evaluations, even when they vary from our own. It gets us thinking about how confident we are in our valuations and how much we're willing to modify them based on other people's reports!

     

  • Hagsag 19 hours 36 min ago (view)

    Phil, I am sure you could put together a more realistic list.

     

  • Arizona Phil 19 hours 47 min ago (view)

    No offense intended, but did anybody at this site actually see these guys play? 

    Chase Strumpf has only "40" power?!! Andy Weber even has more power than Strumpf? Seriously? Strumpf actually has plus-power. In fact, HR power is his #1 attribute. His power tool is probably at least "60" (maybe "65").   

    Both Ronnier Quintero and Aramis Ademan are "45" run? Really? Ademan has average speed ("50"), and Quintero is Miguel Montero 2.0. His run tool is probably "30" (on a good day). Quintero's plus raw tools are arm and power.  

     

  • Hagsag 1 day 45 min ago (view)

    Thanks for the info.

     

  • Wrigley Rat 1 day 10 hours ago (view)

    I just discovered this site: https://www.prospectslive.com/lists/2020/11/16/chi... (Sorry if you all know about it already!). 52 Cubs prospects listed with scouting reports! Really enjoying this one! :)

     

  • crunch 1 day 12 hours ago (view)

    we all knew trades were coming...getting rid of 1-2 of the core, but at this point i wonder how much (if any) of that free'd up loot is going back into the team.

     

  • Charlie 1 day 13 hours ago (view)

    He clearly did not want to be remembered for selling off the core and then walking away from the team a year later. Can't blame him.

     

  • crunch 1 day 15 hours ago (view)

    every other contender is full of rumor news for who they'll sign...and the hot cubs rumor is kris bryant won't be traded before the wednesday arb offer deadline.  wee.

     

  • Arizona Phil 1 day 18 hours ago (view)

    jdrnym: The MLB contracts that are tendered on 12/2 via Central Tender Letter are are non-guaranteed contacts.

    And a player signed to a non-guaranteed contract who is released prior to MLB Opening Day receives 30 days salary (paid at the minor league rate for players with split contracts) if the player is released more than 15 days prior to Opening Day, or 45 days salary (paid at the MLB rate for players signed to split contracts) if the player is released 15 or fewer days prior to Opening Day as termination pay. 

     

  • jdrnym 1 day 20 hours ago (view)

    If a player signs one of those deals that allows a split salary or incentives to be included, does that get treated like an arbitration salary in that it's only partially guaranteed until Opening Day?

     

  • bradsbeard 5 days 6 hours ago (view)

    Great info. Thanks! 

     

  • Arizona Phil 5 days 6 hours ago (view)

    BRADSBEARD: What happens on 12/2 is each club submits what's called a "Central Tender Letter" to the MLB LRD listing which unsigned players on the club's MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) are being tendered a contract and which unsigned players are not being tendered a contract. 

    The CTL is sufficient as far as providing proof of contract tender.  

    For players being tendered contracts, the CTL must list the club's MLB salary offer, a minor league split salary offer (if the club so chooses), and performance bonuses (if any) the club is offering to the player.