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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  • Arizona Phil 7 hours 28 min ago (view)

    You can pretty much figure out from my AZIL game reports who the Cubs will likely target if they trade Kyle Hendricks to the Angels during the off-season (which I believe is a distinct possibility).  

     

  • crunch 10 hours 48 min ago (view)

    "On Wednesday, and again on Friday, manager Joe Maddon said the Angels needed to land two front-line starters or risk perpetual mediocrity. On Saturday, Mike Trout said the Angels had “a lot of money to spend” and the offseason was “going to be big.”"

    $180.3m payroll and the star player + manager softly demanding more talent.

    wait.  you can do that?

    hey d.ross and...umm...hold up...do you have to have a star player to make this kind of demand?  sigh.

     

  • tim815 1 day 8 hours ago (view)

    Exactly. Teams realized that under-playing the rest of the season, and assessing what's currently on-hand, works. At least, better than pickung three or four spots lower on the draft board with less spending space.

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 1 day 10 hours ago (view)

    It required a good amount of luck, and the other hard part is like a third of the league are tanking now too. Last time it was basically us and Houston.

     

  • crunch 1 day 10 hours ago (view)

    this team is very hard to watch.  i can't take this for 1-2 more years.  i hope the 2022 plan is at least hybrid-competitive (team built to compete, but trade-ready if failing mid-season).

    rebuilding on total destruction for a slew of 1st round picks for years is/was lame even if those 1st round picks was pretty much all that worked for the cubs in the theo-era drafts.

     

  • K Dub 2 days 9 hours ago (view)

    PHIL: Thanks for the update on Devers. Are you able to give us some more context (velocity, pitch mix, etc)? Also, was Drew Gray included in the group you compared Devers to when you said Devers was "by far" the ACL Cubs best pitching prospect? I ask because I know Gray only pitched 4 innings this season. 

    Thanks! 

     

  • crunch 2 days 10 hours ago (view)

    cards 15 wins a row...franchise record

     

  • Hagsag 2 days 22 hours ago (view)

    The Cubs have no starting pitching right now with Carl in a funk.

     

  • Eric S 3 days 4 hours ago (view)

     Cubs were Nootbaar'ed to the tune of 12-4 in Game 2

     

  • Cubster 3 days 5 hours ago (view)

    With a Doubleheader loss, the Cubs are back on track for a better draft choice. Right now at 67 wins they pick #7, just ahead of KC and Minnesota who have 68-69 wins. 

     

  • crunch 3 days 7 hours ago (view)

    the shit sandwich that is zach davies is a 6 foot party sub.

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 3 days 7 hours ago (view)

    I am celebrating the day he signs with another team this offseason. I didn't know I could hate him more than I did when he was in Milwaukee but here we are!

     

  • crunch 3 days 7 hours ago (view)

    wisdom can hit some bombs when he does connect..wow.

    also davies still sucks.

     

  • tim815 3 days 8 hours ago (view)

    McAvene is struggling against hitters in Instructs. He's not ready for the AZ Fall League. I'd expect to see Juan Gamez otr Aneuris Rosario first. Vazquez, I agree with, entirely.

     

  • bradsbeard 3 days 10 hours ago (view)

    On the position player side, Amaya if he's healthy. Chase Strumpf makes a lot of sense (missed some time early and late, missed all of last year). Nelson Velazquez maybe as a Rule 5 guy if they're on the fence. Cam Balego and Andy Weber are two other candidates if healthy. Luis Vazquez could also use more upper level PAs and would make sense.

    Lots of potential pitchers. Ideally Marquez but not sure they'll let him pitch this year. McAvene is probably another one. Would be awesome if Kohl Franklin could participate. 

     

  • First.Pitch.120 3 days 11 hours ago (view)

    Thanks!