Cubs @ Pirates (Game 55)

With last night's shutout victory, the Cubs (32-22) are now 4.5 games ahead of the virtually tied Cardinals and Reds. They'll call up Jose Quintana for his first start (and third appearance) of 2020. Meanwhile, Bryant is out with an oblique injury and Rex Brothers is sent down to make room for Quintana. 6 total games remain and the Cubs' magic number stands at 4 (because the Cards have 9 games left).

CHC (32-22): LHP Jose Quintana (0-0, 6.00 ERA)
PIT (15-39): LHP Steven Brault (1-3, 4.04 ERA)
First pitch 6:05 pm central

After making two 3-inning relief appearances on Aug. 25th and 30th, Quintana returned to the IL with a non-arm injury. Today, he'll make his first start of 2020. This should be an important step in determining whether to build him up for a potential post-season start or to begin assessing him as a relief option. He's allowed 4 earned runs in 6 innings of relief, but he does have 9 strikeouts in that time.

Steven Brault's lone win of the season came in his last start, in which he pitched a complete game and allowed only one earned run. He also allowed only two hits and gave up 8 strikeouts. It's not quite an Alec Mills no-hitter, but it must've been a pleasant surprise to the Pirates fans watching him take on St. Louis. He last faced the Cubs in a Aug. 2nd start in which he pitched 3 shutout innings and struck out 4. He'll be happy to miss Bryant, who is 8-16 with 2 homeruns against him. The struggling Jose Martinez, 4-9, should find his way into this game as Ross tries to find him opportunities.

Comments

happ / contreras / rizzo / baez / schwarber / bote(3rd) / maybin(RF) / martinez(DH) / hoerner(2nd)

anthony iapoce might want to start updating his resume...

i'm not saying it's his fault, but it doesn't seem like much is going right with the bats and it's getting worse over time.

How many hitting coaches would that be over the past five years?

At a certain point maybe it's just the hitters? I love the current group but we've been burning through hitting coaches recently

oh, it's totally the hitters unless the coach is forcing guys into trying ill advised changes...which is doubtful to the point of obsurdity for this many slumping hitters.

it's just that a near team-wide hitting outage with no one getting "fixed" isn't a good look for a hitting coach.

well that sucked.

even with the loss the cubs officially clinched a playoff slot tonight, though.

I understand that any team can win a three-game series, but if I'm a division winner I'd want to be the #3 seed rather than the #2 seed in both the A. L. and the N. L., because I would rather face the worst second place team (Houston in the A. L. and probably Miami or Philadelphia in N. L.) than the best wild card team (Cleveland in the A. L. and probably Cincinnati or Milwaukee in the N.L.).  

So while the Cubs need to stay ahead of the Cardinals in order to finish first in the division and avoid having to go to San Diego, winning the division but being the third seed would be better than being the #2 seed.

How to thread that needle (being just bad enough to say behind the Braves but just good enough to stay ahead of the Cards) is the problem.    

Is the Chafin experiment over yet?

Let's hope so. It would be great next year to NOT have to 'piece together a bullpen'.

Jose Martinez is going to hit some big post season homerun, isn't he?

Maybe, if he makes the roster!

Recent comments

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  • Hagsag 24 min 49 sec ago (view)

    Phil, we all are so glad you are getting to somehow "view" these games. Stay safe my friend.

     

  • Arizona Phil 1 day 5 hours ago (view)

    Someone to keep an eye on in 2021 is RHRP (ex-1B) Jerrick Suiter. 

    He was selected by the Cubs from the Pirates in the AAA Phase of the 2019 Rule 5 Draft and the Cubs  immediately converted him from a mediocre AA first-baseman to a full-time pitcher, having seen him throw garbage innings in blow-outs for the Pirates AA Altoona affiliate in 2019.

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 1 day 11 hours ago (view)

    Good to see Roederer and Velasquez  providing some production. From what I've followed they haven't been up to much. Granted this season isn't great for development

     

  • Arizona Phil 1 day 15 hours ago (view)

    The Cubs have added OF Brennen Davis to their AZIL Active List roster. 

     

  • crunch 1 day 17 hours ago (view)

    "He's a strong kid and shows a lot of HR power in BP and it's just a matter of making it game-usable."

    reggie golden flashblacks...if BP was a game he'd be an all-star.

     

  • Arizona Phil 1 day 18 hours ago (view)

    Unfortunately for the Cubs, all of their Top 10 position-player prospects (M. Amaya, Davis, Hearn, Howard, Made, C. Morel, R. Morel, Quintero, Roederer, and Strumpf -- listed alphabetically) are two or more years away from the big leagues, in most cases more like three or four or even five years away. 

     

  • Arizona Phil 1 day 18 hours ago (view)

    TIM: One of the things people wonder about when they see a young shortstop for the first time is does he have the arm and range necessary to play SS or would his tools maybe be better suited for 2B, 3B or OF. So far at Instructs Kevin Made has shown all of the attributes of a SS, and he is an advanced hitter (for his age) as well. 

     

  • Arizona Phil 1 day 19 hours ago (view)

    AZBOBBOP: Ethan Hearn showed off his plus-arm by back-picking a runner off 1st base last week. You don't see catchers with the confidence to attempt pick-offs much out here. 

    He's a strong kid and shows a lot of HR power in BP and it's just a matter of making it game-usable. His hitting (contact and barreling) has improved at instructs, and that's one of the things he needed to improve.

    His receiving should improve with experience as well. 

     

  • azbobbop 2 days 8 hours ago (view)

    Phil, saw Ethan Hearn with a couple of hits today. How has he been trending?

     

  • tim815 3 days 5 min ago (view)

    That Kevin Made is already representing offensively seems, on the 1 to 10 scale with 10 being fantastic news, in the 17 or 18 range.

    Nwogu in the 9 to 11 span.

     

  • Arizona Phil 3 days 17 hours ago (view)

    For those of you wondering about catcher Ronnier Quintero (the Cubs #1 IFA signing in the 2019-20 ISP), he participates fully in pre-game and Camp Day work-outs and he catches bullpens, and while he has been the bullpen catcher at every AZIL game he has not yet played in a game.

    As a catcher he has a lot to learn, and the Cubs would prefer that Quintero mainly concentrates on receiving and learning how to work with pitchers right now. He can learn about hitting and baserunning later. 

     

  • Arizona Phil 3 days 18 hours ago (view)

    In adition to the 22 pitchers originally on the Cubs AZIL Active List roster plus RHP Manuel Rodriguez (right biceps strain last March) and LHP Brad Wieck (wearing a brace on his left knee) who are on the Cubs MLB 60-day IL and are rehabbing at AZIL, the Cubs have added four additional pitchers to their AZIL Active List roster:  

    RHP Josh Burgmann 
    RHP Chris Clarke 
    LHP D. J. Herz
    RHP Michael McAvene 

     

  • Charlie 4 days 14 hours ago (view)

    This is weird. He seemed well liked and shifting him to another role would've made just as much sense.

     

  • bradsbeard 4 days 19 hours ago (view)

    I'd say the only guys who struggled all season were Baez and Bryant. Willson struggled for a lot of August but was one of the few who hit in September. Most of the team hit well in 2019 (including Baez and Bryant before injuries derailed them). I don't know if there's any reason to blame Ipoce in particular for the September slump. 

     

  • crunch 5 days 9 hours ago (view)

    iapoce expected to stay.  i'm surprised.  i know it's a weird/short season, but it was a season-long slump for a lot of guys and answers weren't showing up.

     

  • crunch 5 days 10 hours ago (view)

    i eagerly await the espn 10 part mini-series "Rafael Palmeiro, More Like Rafael Baseballmerio" covering those 28 legendary games.