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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  • Eric S 1 hour 40 min ago (view)

    Edwin took the L today in team USA's extra inning loss to Japan - should be able to help the Cubs efforts to secure a high draft pick soon. 

     

  • Arizona Phil 5 hours 19 min ago (view)

    Even though the MLB Trade Deadline has passed, Cubs minor leaguers with MLB experience like RHSP Joe Biagini, LHRP Tony Cingrani, RHRP Ryan Meisinger, OF Ian Miller, and RHSP Adrian Sampson can still be traded up until one week prior to the scheduled conclusion of the MLB reegular season, and I would expect each of them to get some interest from contending teams prior to the August 31 midnight post-season roster eligibilty deadline.

     

  • cubbies.4ever 17 hours 25 min ago (view)

    Still haven't seen/heard if Cubs signed 19th rd Daniel Avitia, the last of the unsigned or declined.

     

  • crunch 17 hours 37 min ago (view)

    imagine he'll go into indie ball somewhere and hope he doesn't end up like matt harrington.

     

  • Sonicwind75 18 hours 3 min ago (view)

    So is Kumar going "pro" by taking a KBO contract next season or something like that or does he just work out for a year?  Not sure what the rules are for a player in his situation.

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 20 hours 55 min ago (view)

    Good. Suck it Mets

     

  • crunch 22 hours 1 min ago (view)

    mets fail to sign k.rocker.

    at the time it was considered a hell of a pick when he fell so far (11th pick).  he was considered a top-5 pick for most of the year, #1 for a chunk of it.  his medicals (elbow) gave the mets pause offering him slot value.  his agent, boras, says he's healthy.

    he will not return to vandy and will go "pro"...he returns to the draft next year and the mets get a compensation 11th pick in round 1 next season.

     

  • crunch 22 hours 40 min ago (view)

    rizzo, baez, and bryant all homered in their 1st game with their new team.

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 23 hours 14 min ago (view)

    Winning very much to a backseat to profits. I would imagine it always kinda was that way, but it became very obvious after the title. I think when ownership saw Darvish struggle year one, that was that, no more free agent spending. And never adjusted after it became clear Darvish was back starting midway through year two.

     

  • Charlie 23 hours 25 min ago (view)

    Ownership absolutely decided sometime after 2016 that fans owed them and not the other way atound.

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 23 hours 32 min ago (view)

    To be fair they also did a good job bringing in talent to the system that they were able to use to make trades. And a few solid signings such as Lester and Zobrist.

    I think part of it was the hunger mostly vanished after the title and things needed to be switched up to kick people in the ass a tad. Add a level of being hamstrung by Heyward deal, no one coming up to replace the lost farm system talent or aging players, no one but Rizzo and Hendricks signing extensions, and here we are

     

  • crunch 23 hours 35 min ago (view)

    HUGE standing O for bryant.  they're loving it.

     

  • Cubster 23 hours 59 min ago (view)

    The Chicago Ortegas

     

  • crunch 23 hours 59 min ago (view)

    well...

    who though we'd have "the ortega game" today?  alright, then.

     

  • Cubster 1 day 24 min ago (view)

    Rizzo leading off for Yanks today

     

  • crunch 1 day 25 min ago (view)

    the cubs had years of 1st round picks gained by tanking do well and they got very lucky with the arrietta/strop trade.  strop is especially underappreciated in that trade.  theo obviously wanted rizzo badly, and made the right call there.  hendricks was a complex back/forth trade because of player injuries, but at the end of the day the cubs wanted hendricks and they made the right call there, too.

    aside from that, it looks a lot like it's been for decades.