Cubs vs. White Sox: Series Thread (Games 58-60)

The Cubs close out the 2020 regular season sleeping in their own beds but hosted by their South Side rivals, the White Sox. The Cubs enter the series 2.5 games up. The Cardinals have 6 games remaining to the Cubs' 3. The Cubs' magic number stands at 3 games as of my writing this. See below for the daily match-ups.

Game 1, Friday Sep. 25, first pitch at 7:10 pm central
CHC: RHP Yu Darvish (7-3, 2.22 ERA)
CHW: RHP Dylan Cease (5-3, 3.52 ERA)

Darvish still leads Cy Young contenders in wins and is in the top tier for ERA and most peripheral stats. This final start of the season may determine his finish in that awards race. It is also crucial for the Cubs as they attempt to lock the Cardinals out of the division race. His last start, a loss on 4 earned runs in 6 innings pitched, looks like a blemish because his shortened 2020 season has been otherwise spectacular. He did, however, strike out 9 Twins and walk only 1 in that start; it was mostly in keeping with his stellar 2020 except for a little extra hard contact. He defeated the White Sox on Aug. 23, going 7 innings, striking out 10 and allowing only one earned run. Edwin Encarnacion is 7-22 with two homeruns off of him. Jose Abreu is 3-6 with a homerun.

Dylan Cease is having one of the strangest seasons of any starting pitcher in the majors. Despite having a K-to-walk ratio near one-to-one and allowing 1.51 homeruns per nine innings, he has a winning record and a better than average ERA. He's out pitched his peripherals dramatically and benefited from a .240 BABIP despite allowing more hard contact than in 2019. He lost to Cincinnati last time out, allowing 3 earned runs on 7(!) walks in only 3 innings pitched. In his previous outing he walked 5 in 4.2 innings. Perhaps the struggling Cubs lineup can benefit from leaving the bats on their shoulders.

Game 2, Saturday, Sep. 26, first pitch at 6:10 pm central
CHC: LHP Jon Lester (3-2, 4.40 ERA)
CHW: RHP Dane Dunning (2-0, 3.19 ERA)

Veteran lefty and herald of the Cubs' window of contention, Jon Lester, makes his final start of the 2020 season and potentially his final start as a Cub. It remains to be seen how he will be included on the postseason roster or if the Cubs front office will find any way for him to continue with the team from 2021 on. We do know, however, that he was among the central performers in the troupe of Cubs that won it all in 2016 and gave us reason to attend to baseball with some vigor from 2015 to the present. His previous start was a solid 6 shutout innings in Pittsburgh, albeit with only 1 strikeout. Despite struggling to miss bats, Lester has turned in an uneven but roughly league average season so far. The White Sox chased him after only 3.2 and blasted 4 homeruns on their way to 8 earned runs in the process. May they not see the ball quite so well tonight.

The rookie, Dunning, missed the Cubs in August. After missing all of 2019, he debuted on Aug. 19. He's mixed three solid starts in with 3 shortened outings, collecting two wins and avoiding a loss so far. He's missing bats and missing barrels so far, surrending a hard-hit rate of only 18.1% according to Fangraphs. He mixes a good slider and decent change with a low 90s fastball. A former first round pick who strikes out plenty and gets a lot of contact on the ground, Dunning has good upside. He's looking to stay healthy and stay in the majors. The Cubs will be going in with no history against him.

Game 3, Sunday, Sep. 27, first pitch at 2:10 pm central
CHC: LHP Jose Quintana (0-0, 5.63 ERA) / RHP Adbert Alzolay (0-1, 3.31 ERA)
CHW: RHP Reynaldo Lopez (1-2, 4.68 ERA)

The final game of the season may be another piggy-back style game from the Quintana and Alzolay pair. Both pitchers last on Sep. 22 in Pittsburgh. Quintana opened with only 2 innings (allowing one earned run) and Alzolay followed by striking out 7 Pirates over 4 innings. Alzolay has been wild in his five appearances, striking out plenty but walking too many batters as well. Quintana, not having pitched more than three innings in any appearance, is probably out of the running for October starts but could find himself getting high leverage innings out of the bullpen as lefty Kyle Ryan has struggled this season, and new addition Andrew Chafin has been even worse.

26-year-old Reynaldo Lopez brings a blistering fastball and plus curve to face the Cubs' lineup for the second time this season. He did not earn a decision in the last face-off, going only 3.1 innings while allowing 2 earned runs. Current Cubs have seen little of him and done even less, with the exception of Billy Hamilton, whose 4-8 career line against the righty is probably not enough to get him at bats anyway.


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

eloy will not start this weekend for CWS and may be unavailable to pinch hit, too (foot injury).

hey, guess who just got a fastball in the back.

Plunking a guy for a bat flip only proves the pitcher has thin skin and short fingers. I'm glad Contreras scored. 

i wish more non-AFL winter league was televised.  dominican, puerto rico, can straight up showboat if you've earned it on a play without having to deal with retaliation (most of the time).  bat flips, pitcher celebrations, swagger home run trots, etc...all fair game.  it's you

2nd contreras bat flip, no staring down the pitcher, quick trip around the bases, into the dugout.

mature de-escalation.

j.baez is batting left handed...and hits a double.

CWS have a position player "pitching"

Maybe he should stick with it for a while.

How did the Cubs not just clinch the division?

Aren't the Cards only scheduled for 58 games?

beat Cards can do is 31-27. Worst Cubs can do is 33-27.

the cubs may or may not have to play a doubleheader vs STL on monday depending on the next game or 2...i think

Cubs?  We played the cards the full 10 slate?

if Cards make playoffs, I would think they'd want nothing to do with having to play a double header Monday to improve playoff seeding.

yeah, it may be another team.  i just know they have a possible monday double header...unless i got that wrong, too.

Ahh, 2 games against the Tigers, but seems to imply they'd only play those games if it will impact which teams make the playoffs.  If the Cardinals win their last 2, I don't believe the other games could impact which Team makes it.  Why would Detroit have any incentive to win those games?  Well, hope the Cubs won one of the next 2 so it doesn't matter.

The Cardinals have to play the doubleheader on Monday at Detroit if either the games impact who or who does not get into the playoffs, or if the games will determine whether the Cards or Cubs finish 1st in the division and get home field advantage in the Wild Card series.

So for example, if the Cards were already in the playoffs but winning the division was still up for grabs after play on Sunday but the second place team in the Central would be getting the #4 seed and home field in the Wild Card series anyway as the best second place record in the league (as the Padres will be getting), then the games in Detroit would not be played on Monday and the Cards would just play two fewer games and win the division by percentage points. 

So the Cards go to Detroit on Monday either because they have not yet qualified for the post-season, or if the Cubs haven't clinched 1st place by the end of play on Sunday and STL still has a chance to finish 1st in the Central and play at home in the Wild Card series. 

But I don't know if traveling to Detroit to play two extra games on Monday is worth it if the Cardinals have already qualified for the playoffs and all they get out of winning both games (presuming they even win both games) is that they finish 1st in the division and get home games in the Wild Card series (and stay out of the Dodgers/Padres bracket in the Wild Card series & LDS) at the expense of further exhausting their already over-worked pitching staff prior to the start of the Wild Card series on Wednesday (not to mention the possibility that somebody could get hurt in the games or contract CoViD-19 while in Detroit). 

It actually would make more sense to play the games in St Louis on Monday rather than in Detroit, since the Cards are already at home and the Tigers are in Kansas City this weekend. It would just be a matter of diverting the Tigers flight home from KC to STL for one night and the Tigers could play as the home team in the games.

BTW, because of the CoViD-19 postponements the Cardinals will be playing on only 27 of their 50 games in St Louis this season if they play the two games in Detroit on Monday, so moving the games to STL would still mean the Cards play 29 home games and 31 road games in 2020. (All ten of the games between the Cubs & Cardinals this season were played at Wrigley Field).     

I'm certainly not a Redbirds fan, but fair is fair. 

I don't know if the math works out but (at least to me) it raises the possibility that they would play one game on Monday and if that decided what was left that they'd skip game 2.

JACKSTRAW: The Cardinals & Tigers will only play the first game of Monday's doubleheader (and it will be a seven-inning game) if what needs to be determined is determined by the result of the first game (the second game will be canceled), but they won't play the games at all (and the Cardinals won't go to Detroit) if everything that is affected by the two missing STL games is settled and resolved by end of MLB play on Sunday. 

Thanks, AZ Phil

Cardinals have two games left with Detroit, not the Cubs.

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

game 2

bryant's back, and at 3rd.  neat.





lester goes out with a whimper...7 runs given up in his last start

5.16era/1.33whip on the year.

Game 2 somewhat less fun than game 1.

...and dodger stadium loses power.

If the cardinals loose and the giants win, the cardinals will have to play and win on Monday to make the playoffs. 

The opening two series for the Cubs will be in Houston. If they get farther next would in Arlington Including the WS.

Brailyn Marquez replaces Patrick "Good Luck Charm" Wisdom on the roster!

Pregame radio: Marquez will see some action in today's game

honestly, I didn't think Mlb would make it through the 60 game schedule. 2020, scariest and weirdest year ever.

same...especially after the first few weeks...

and in perfect 2020 manner, we also had cancelled games thanks to wildfire smoke and social justice protests to go with the pandemic cancellations.

Hmmm.  Bringing up Marquez?

Doesn't that use up an option year?

Why would you want to waste an option year for one meaningless appearance in a meaningless game?

I dont believe it uses an option because he will be active on the seasons last day and won't ever end up getting technically optioned. If memory serves, the playoffs don't count as being "optioned" if you're not on the active roster


Honestly, the reasoning you outline is a bit beyond my limited cognitve wherewithal.  But nevertheless, I am pleased to learn that we wont be squandering an option on him.

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. 

So players do not remain on Optional Assignment after the regular season is over, All players on a club's  MLB 40-man roster are "reserved" as of the day after the conclusion of the MLB regular season, and for clubs who are playing in the post-season, players who are on a club's active list roster for a given post-season series are "active," while eveybody who isn't on the active list roster simply remains "reserved."

For example, all players on the Pittsburgh Pirates 40-man roster are "reserved" beginning on Monday 9/28, and they will stay that way until Spring Training. None of the players on the Pirates 40-man roster are "active" because the Pirates are not in the post-season. They are just reserved. And that's the way they remain until Spring Training. Being "reserved":is how players are carried on the 40 during the off-season. It's kind of like cryonics.  

On their transaction page, MLB errorneously lists players who are not on a club's active list roster for a post-season series as "reassigned to the minors," but this - NOT - correct. The players who are left-off the active list roster for a post-season series are not assigned to the minors (unless the player is outrighted). The players not on the active list roster for a given post-season series are simply "reserved" (and inactive).  

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.  


And I did not know he was eligible already.  Makes sense..

Is it true that the Cubs are the only mlb team that did not have one  test positive for COVID? Pitching coach Tommy H had it in the spring but no players.

it's important to remember that tommy h is both young and in great shape with no pre-existing conditions and got smacked down really hard with Covid according to his own account.

we had an outbreak at our lab, 3 out of 14 people (all symptomatic), and 1 has been out 5 weeks now because she can't shake extreme fatigue and brain fog...took her 3 weeks to stop the hacking cough and chest congestion.  she's in her early 50s with no pre-exisiting conditions, non-smoker, not overweight...

neither of these people will end up on the "death count totals" that some people only seem to care about when looking at the impact of this virus.

Kris Bryant is covering that inside corner the last two games. Love to see it.

Sandbagging all season long.  Very sly.

hamilton HR...add that to the "odd stuff in 2020" list...first since 2018.

I dub this, "The Billy Hamilton Game."

yeah, a.alzolay can keep on throwing that new slider of's been one hell of a thing to watch the past few games.  i wonder who taught him (or refined) this quickly effective slider.

the curve is under more control/command, too.

stoked to see b.marquez later this game (assuming he's pitching today as mentioned in an above post).

the cubs producing in-house effective MLB pitching would be nice.  alzolay is 2021 ready, but i imagine marquez is more viewed as a 2022 or late 2021 guy.

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.

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.

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

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.

back to back 3-2 count 6-pitch walks.

he's not in the zone.  he's throwing almost totally fastballs, too.

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).

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

...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.


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).

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. 

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. 

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. 

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.

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  • crunch 2 hours 19 min ago (view)

    the 2 geese are now together covering left-center


  • crunch 2 hours 32 min ago (view)

    we now have 2 OF geese.


  • crunch 3 hours 3 min ago (view)

    game is in goose delay.

    arrieta threw 2 innings...not bad, not good, nothing alarming, nothing impressive.  it'll be nice to see him work in future outings.

    game back again...goose still in CF.


  • crunch 3 hours 27 min ago (view)

    there is a goose in CF hanging out.

    this is goose territory now.  this is not up for discussion.


  • crunch 4 hours 37 min ago (view)

    pedro strop broke COVID protocol and will be even more days away from his spring debut.  good job, guy.


  • Arizona Phil 18 hours 40 min ago (view)

    HAGSAG: I've been watching Michael Hermosillo since his earliest days with the Angels, playing over the years against the Cubs in AZL, Minor League Camp, EXST, and AZ Instructs.

    From the outset he showed plus defensive skills, a plus arm, and plus speed, but his hit tool was clearly lacking, and he had well below-average power. I thought AAA was his likely ceiling, and even then only as a 4th OF. 


  • crunch 1 day 1 hour ago (view)

    3/9 with a homer (no walks).


  • Cubster 1 day 1 hour ago (view)

    How is Almora Jrs spring going?


  • crunch 1 day 2 hours ago (view)

    maybin 0-9 with 6 Ks so far this spring.


  • Hagsag 1 day 11 hours ago (view)

    Phil, what are your thoughts on Mike Hermosillo? He is from our area,Ottawa.


  • Arizona Phil 1 day 20 hours ago (view)

    The fact that the Cubs have not run him through waivers by now tells me they know Duane Underwood Jr is a lock to get claimed and so they are hoping to find a club that would be willing to give the Cubs something more than the $50,000 waiver price in return for Dunderwood (either more $$$ and/or a player). 


  • Arizona Phil 1 day 20 hours ago (view)

    Today's pitchers, most of them the same guys who threw last Tuesday: 

    Alec Mills:
    FB: 89-91 
    SL: 81 
    CH: 81-82 
    CV: 67-70 
    COMMENT: This just in: Mills heater now sitting at 91!!!!... had two easy innings and looked very good... threw only a handful of his "Bugs Bunny curves" but they are fun to watch because hitters don't know how to deal with it... ... 

    Craig Kimbrel: 
    FB: 93-96 
    CT: 87-88 
    SL: 82-84 


  • Arizona Phil 2 days 26 min ago (view)

    DJL: Jason Adam sustained a right elbow fracture a few years ago and missed two full seasons, and when he returned to action he started using a "short-arm" delivery. 


  • crunch 2 days 26 min ago (view)

    baez "soft tissue injury"'s spring.  he'll be back in a day or 2.


  • crunch 2 days 2 hours ago (view)

    kimbrel...K, single, HBP, 3 more hits...inning called due to pitch count.  4 earned.

    also, baez removed after being HBP on the hand.



  • First.Pitch.120 2 days 8 hours ago (view)

    Cotton McKnight: In 23 years of broadcasting I thought I'd seen it all, folks. But it looks like Peter La Fleur has actually blindfolded himself.

    Pepper Brooks: He will not be able to see very well, Cotton.