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.
Arizona Phil 43 min 15 sec ago (view)
Remember, the Cubs have until 5 PM (Eastern) on - SUNDAY - to decide whether to add any of the 25 minor leaguers who are eligible to be Rule 55 minor league second contract free-agents or 6YFA to the MLB 40-man roster, sign the player to a 2021 minor league successor contract, or allow the player to walk. (Some -- perhaps even most -- of the 25 have no doubt already signed successor contracts - TBD).
Arizona Phil 1 hour 53 min ago (view)
The Cubs have claimed 2B-3B-LF Max Schrock off waivers from the St. Loius Cardinals, and LHRP Rex Brothers has been sent outright to AAA Iowa.
If Brothers doesn't elect free-agency immediately, he will be automatically declared an MLB Rule 55 minor league 6YFA on Sunday at 5 PM Eastern, unless he agrees to sign a 2021 minor league successor contract).
Brothers is out of minor league options and he is arbitation-eligible post-2020, so he was likely to be non-tendered on 12/2 anyway.
Arizona Phil 2 hours 36 min ago (view)
K-DUB: It's pronounced "MAH - day"
crunch 4 hours 4 min ago (view)
"Jon Lester said in an interview on SiriusXM Friday that he's had conversations with president of baseball operations Theo Epstein "about getting something done, coming back and being a part of the organization." "
ummm...how about no? i mean, thanks for those 3 good seasons in your first 4 years as a cub...but after those last 2...yeah...no.
also, the cubs claimed 2nd/3rd max schrock off waivers from STL (no power, bit of speed, slow to react in the IF even though the glove isn't bad). meh.
K Dub 4 hours 13 min ago (view)
Cubs had a prospect named Jose Made (also Dominican) between 2007-2009. I believe his name was pronounced like the verb "made".
tim815 5 hours 27 min ago (view)
I lean two syllables.
He was Dominican-born, so Mah-day would have made sense, but that's a good Q.
K Dub 13 hours 41 min ago (view)
PHIL: How is Kevin Made's last name pronounced? Is it mah-day? Or like it's spelled - made? Thanks!
Cubster 14 hours 7 min ago (view)
Brewers decline Ryan Braun's option. Any predictions as to where he goes?
crunch 14 hours 34 min ago (view)
KBO (korea) ends their season tomorrow.
a.russell started off hot, but severely cooled off to a .253/.317/.336 slash (not counting today's game). if he comes back to the US (and finds a team that wants to sign him), it should be rather cheap.
Hagsag 1 day 3 hours ago (view)
Around the corner or in the ditch?
crunch 1 day 6 hours ago (view)
my dream of seeing s.castro end his career with 3000+ hits and a WAR in the mid-30s, making HOF voters sweat, came to an end this year with the shortened season followed by the early injury. he came into the year as a just-turned 30 year old (march 24) with 1617 hits.
George Altman 1 day 6 hours ago (view)
Jerry Reinsdorf is reasons 1 thru 100 why I could never root for the White Sox and have hated the Bulls since 1999.
Sonicwind75 1 day 6 hours ago (view)
Feels like Ricky and Starlin Castro should form a support group. Everytime your rebuilding team is about to turn the corner and you're gone.
Cubster 1 day 8 hours ago (view)
76 yr old Tony LaRussa to manage the W/Sox. Reinsdorf decision over objections.
Poor Rick Renteria. History repeats itself, NOPE. This won't end well (except for bring your dog day).
Cubster 1 day 10 hours ago (view)
but, but, but we're rounding the corner. The vaccine is warming up in the bullpen. Tucker's missing email package from Rudy is just lost in the mail. There are no pee-pee tapes. Corona, corona, corona. I like beer. ...and the DeutchBank will just forgive billions of MLB owner's debt if they ask nicely. How are the Russian minor leagues looking this year Phil?
Arizona Phil 1 day 12 hours ago (view)
There are going to be a lot of high-profile arbitration-eligible non-tenders on December 2nd as well, and there will not be much of a trade market for high-priced players during the off-season, either.