Cubs @ Brewers: Series Thread (Games 10-12)

The Chicago Cubs (4-5) make their first trip northward to take on Milwaukee (5-4) for the second time this season. Having dropped 2 out of 3 in Pittsburgh, the Cubs will try to push and elbow their way to middle or front of the NL central pack. Benches cleared-ish in the last Brewers vs Cubs series, so don't be surprised to see some literally pushing and elbowing if Contreras finds himself on the receiving end of a beaning again. See below for matchups.

Game 1, Monday, April 12, 6:40 pm central

CHC: RHP Adbert Alzolay (0-1, 7.20 ERA)

MIL: RHP Freddy Peralta (1-0, 0.00 ERA)

Alzolay was on the losing end of this matchup on April 6. He allowed 4 earned runs on a 3-run homer to Trais Shaw in the 1st inning and a solo homerun to Narvaez n the 4th. The Shaw homer came on a 1-0 curve and Alzolay followed it with back-to-back strikeouts to end the inning. It was an uneven performance overall, but he did go 5 innings and struck out 4 while getting a 5-1 grounder to fly ball ratio.

Peralta fully shut down the Cubs offense for five innings in that game, striking out 8 and allowing only 1 hit in 5 innings. He did walk 4, but the Cubs hitters looked befuddled by his high-spin fastball. Kris Bryant had the lone hit of the game, a double. Brent Suter pitched 3 hitless innings in relief and Boxberger finished things up, with little of note there aside from plunking Contreras on the upper arm (a day after Willson had taken one to the helmet). With the quick rematch, perhaps Cubs hitters will have a better feel for their approaches against Peralta.

Game 2, Tuesday, April 13, 6:40 pm central

CHC: RHP Kyle Hendricks (0-1, 3.00 ERA)

MIL: RHP Brandon Woodruff (0-0, 2.45 ERA)

Game 2 of the series is another rematch. Last time, neither Hendricks nor Woodruff factored in the decision. Hendricks rebounded from a frustrating opening day by striking out 6, walking one, and allowing 4 hits and no runs in 6 innings. Workman took the loss in the 10th inning, following three innings of 1-run relief from Mills, Chafin, and Kimbrel.

Woodruff didn't win the game but had the best pitching performance of the day last time out. He struck out 8 in 7 scoreles innings and allowed only one hit while managing not to hit any batsmen. The only piece missing from Woodruff's game at this point is durability. Due to health or circumstance, he's never made more than 22 starts in a season. If he can pass that mark in 2021, more fans outside the NL Central might finally learn who he is.

Game 3, Wednesday, April 14, 12:40 pm central

CHC: RHP Jake Arrieta (2-0, 2.25 ERA)

MIL: RHP Corbin Burnes (0-1, 0.73 ERA)

Jake Arrieta has been the best Cubs starter so far, following a solid first start with a 6-inning win in which he worked around 7 hits and 3 walks to allow only 2 earned runs. He managed that in somewhat surprising fashion, collecting only one double play and getting 8 outs in the air while striking out only 4. Still, it seems like a decent snapshot of reasonable hopes for Arrieta in 2021.

Corbin Burnes has been lights-out in his first two starts of 2021, striking out 20 while walking 0 and allowing only 2 hits in 12.1 innings pitched. Cubs hitters don't have extensive history against him, with only Javy having seen him 10 times (he has a homerun as his lone hit in that small sample).


Sorry that I couldn't access things for opening day and then got busy for the next couple series. Glad to have a baseball routine to share with you all again!

cubs covid...chris young tested positive.  j.adam, d.winkler, and b.workman are now on the "injured list"

steele, wieck, and strop called up.

btw, strop is a "replacement player" in this move and isn't subject to 40-man roster waiver rules

justin steele warming...seems like his debut is on tap.

also, this game sucks.

It's kinda starting to feel like this team sucks? But yes this game definitely sucks.

Well, Chafin ... not your night I guess ... looks like its time to catch up on the latest installment of Falcon and the Winter Soldier

Me too, Eric Sogard

I can pause it for pinch hitting - otherwise I'm locked in as there's nothing else to see here

i know we're only 10 games in and you can't get good numbers on that, but this is a full-team hitting slump aside from marisnick and his 12 PA.

no one on this team is this bad, but all of them doing it at once is crazy.  bad ABs, tons of swings and misses, crap contact...

upon reflection (and another hit in the 9th) i need to give props to k.bryant...he's a 1-man show right now for the regulars.

KB having a perfectly adequate KB stretch and it's a highlight. Sigh.

Chafin may be reconsidering that jalopie after being the man on the mound when the wheels fell off in this one.

Patrick Mooney @PJ_Mooney
Cubs manager David Ross says none of the team’s players on the COVID-19-related injured list have tested positive: “We’re going to err on the side of caution.”

hendricks scratched because he's "not feeling well."

a.mills steps in.

...and matt duffy placed on the covid list (no positive, possible contact)

i.vargas up

pedro strop returns!

slider looks great, but (as designed) he rarely throws it in the for swings/misses and bad contact.  he's got great command of it nibbling low and both sides of the plate.

fastball coming in 92-94mph without much movement.  you could tell in the arias AB how much he didn't want to throw him a fastball (continuing to throw the slider on a 3-1 for a foul, and walking him with a slider on the next pitch).

1ip 1h 1bb 1k, 0 r/er


wow, a cubs moment to root for.  that's been a while.

Shelby Miller selected, Alzolay optioned. Adam returns, Wieck optioned. Romine returns, Wolters DFA

Shelby Miller's minor league contract opt out was probably 4/15. 

Good and/or depressing article about Javy over on Fangraphs.

With a title like, "It's probably time to be worried about Javier Baez," I think TCR readers might be ahead of the game.

The comps in the analysis are interesting, of course! Having watched a lot of Javy, I wonder less *if* he will make an adjustment offensively and more *how long* he will take to adjust. I don't expect him to start walking at a heightened rate (as some of the comps did). Instead, I think he'll find a way to cut down and make more contact, probably by finding a way to hit a couple of those elevated fastballs that are currently getting by him. But will he have to bottom out more first? I am a little worried the adjustment might be so significant that we don't see it until after the trade deadline or even next season. Is a nigh-free-agency Baez motivated enough to try a Rizzo style 2-strikes choke?

At this point are there any players on this team that you would make a qualifying offer to much less a long term extension. 

Kris Bryant 

Hopefully he will be traded before they need to make that choice. 

BOB R: I would think that the Cubs will almost certainly extend a QO to Bryant, Baez, and Rizzo, and possibly even to Davies.

Kimbrel and Arrieta are not eligible to receive a QO because they got one earlier in their careers, but of course the Cubs aren't going to decline Kimbrel's 2022 $16M option and then offer him $19M instead, and while still a serviceable veteran MLB SP, Arrieta seems to be in decline.  

Bryant won't accept a QO because he is a Boras client, but Rizzo and Baez might and Davies probably would. If nothing else the Cubs would get a 2022 draft pick between the 2nd and 3rd rounds if the player is offered a QO and then declines it and then signs with another MLB club before the next season's draft, and if the player accepts the QO, it's only a one-year contract (the best contract in baseball from the club's POV).

Also, keep in mind that with the draft moved to July (ASB) a player who declines a QO and then waits until after the draft to sign with a club so that the draft pick compensation is removed (as Kimbrel did in 2019) will now have to wait more than a month longer, and so I'm not sure how many players would wait that long to sign just to get the yoke of draft pick compensation off their neck. 

With the SS market expected to be flooded post-2021, Baez might be smart to accept a QO and then enter free-agency post-2022 when he could not be offered another QO, even though he would be a year older. 

And I'm not sure how much of a FA market there would be for Rizzo given his age (he will be 32 by the end of this season) and draft pick compensation if he is offered a QO. So I could see Rizzo accepting a QO and then continue to negotiate with the Cubs for a longer deal (even if it's just three years) throughout the post-2021 off-season. Rizzo is actually in a tough spot as far as impending free-agency is concerned. 

I guess it depends on if there's going to be a lockout, in which casae, owners might wait until after the CBA is signed toi sign free agents.

TIM: That is true. We don't know for sure how the CBA negotiations will go, and if there will even be an MLB season in 2022.

My concern with extending Baez is that so much of his game relies on elite athleticism. He may not age gracefully when that slips even just a little bit.  Old man baseball skills like plate disipline are not his forte. 

Trying to think of a good recent free agency comp to Rizzo.  Justin Turner?  Carlos Santana?

CHARLIE: If you think of Javy Baez for what he is, it's easier to understand his actual value. The expectations are too high and so he just can't meet them. And he's not going to change.  

On the positive side, Baez is a plus defender at SS, and an outstanding game-changing base-runner who hits a lot of HR. On the negative side, he doesn't take walks, he strikes out a ton, and he chases too many unhittable pitches. 

Javy Baez reminds me a LOT of Shawon Dunston, somebody who hits maybe 7th in the order and does what he does with a few warts. He just can't be a dude in the batting order. He doesn't do the things he would need to do to be that guy. He is what he is. 

javy will never have the skills to talk shit on the level of of the best ever.  dunston did play SS, they have that in common.

ah [NSFW] [NSFW]

audio is low, but dunston gets his points across.

he also has opinions on hard slides

I fully agree, Phil! There's a dream out there of Javy as an MVP that is a little silly. The adjustments I'm thinking of are just what Javy needs to make to get back to being productive as a hitter and not some transformation into an elite hitter.

shelby miller is dildos.

Arizona vintage Shelby today

So, me and Shelby Miller.  ERA's of infinity.

1966, Arlington Heights, Berbecker Park.  Me, a weak hitting, modest fielding, enthusiastic 1B, 2B, and OF.  Gritty.  Playing for the Rebels.  One of our two actual pitchers having an off day.  The other one being saved for our next game, against a league leading team.  We're down 9-2, or so.  Coach calls huddle on the mound, says "who wants to pitch?"  My hand shoots up.

I face seven batters.  Walk four and hit the other three.  I don't recall the precise order of BBs and HBPs any more.  Now we're down 13-2 or so.  Coach comes to get me, I revert back to 2B.  "He's squeezing me, skip", I might have said.  My pitching career ends that day. I retire after one more year, with no more pitching appearances, so a career BAA of .000 and an ERA of infinity.

david ross would like to know your contract demands and tom ricketts would like to know if you'd accept payment in camel cash.

I mentioned this in my pitcher reports from Spring Training. Although he had good raw stuff, Shelby Miller displayed command issues in Cactus League Spring Training games. 

I believe he was a victim of his own opt-out. He would have been best served pitching in the minors until such time as he could get his command straightened out. He's clearly not ready to pitch in MLB right now, but the Cubs apparently would rather have him pitch (ineffectively) in MLB while he is still getting into game shape, rather than risk losing him as a free-agent if they had not selected his contrtact prior to the opt-out deadline. 

The problem is, Miller has Article XIX-A rights so he has no usable minor league options. He cannot be optioned or outrighted to the minors without his consent, and he probably would prefer the Cubs release him rather than accept a minor league assignment or remain in the minor leagues (or at the ATS) past his opt-out date.

Under Article XIX-A, if Miller declines a minor league assignment and is released, the Cubs would be on the hook for 100% of Miller's remaining salary, only potentially offset by the MLB minimum salary if he were to sign a major league contract with another MLB club or if he were to sign a minor league contract and then subsequently has his contract selected to the MLB 40-man roster.

This is different from Article XX-D (player has accrued at least three but less than five years of MLB Service Time and/or has been outrighted previously in his career), where if a player with Article XX-D rights is outrighted he can elect free-agency immediately or defer free-agency uintil after the conclusion of the MLB regular season (presuming he isn't added back to the 40 in the meantine), but if he does elect free-agency immediately his contract is terminated and the club owes the player nothing more. 

off-day tomorrow.  ATL gets to come into town next to strike out 20 cubs and give up 2-4 hits.

we're trying to get at least 2 guys hitting .250 or move over here in cubs nation.  i'm pretty sure this is still chili davis's fault.

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  • crunch 29 min 28 sec ago (view)

    i.vargas DFA'd...happ returns.


  • Wrigley Rat 18 hours 4 min ago (view)

    Tyler Suellentrop:
    - 92-95 mph
    - Dominant in the B9th with a 1-2-3 frame, striking out all three batters. FB 93-97 T98


  • crunch 18 hours 10 min ago (view)

    it's really cool how playing vs DET in 2021 counts toward the MLB win/loss totals of a team.  it's like using a cheat code.


  • crunch 22 hours 17 min ago (view)

    there has been a ton of fringe signings the past 48 hours by many teams...guys that were not playing organized ball or playing indie ball for the past 1-2+ seasons.


  • tim815 23 hours 3 min ago (view)

    The Cubs have apparently signed Tyler Suellentrop, a pitcher drafted by Seattle in 2018 from Indian River Community College in Florida. He's been assigned to Myrtle Beach. I expect he'll pitch on Friday.


  • crunch 1 day 37 sec ago (view)

    wrigley going 60% capactity may 28th.  hopefully we'll be 100% by july/august.

    we're getting closer to "normal."  i hope we can get things stable for those that can't get a vax, and those that are still refusing or on the fence will cross over and join the rest of functioning society.

    as someone who was on strong chemo with a wide open immune system a decade ago, i'm thinking about them and others in similar health conditions.


  • Arizona Phil 1 day 18 hours ago (view)

    VIDEO: Zach Davis and Rochest Cruz are (were) probably the two fastest players (sprint-speed on the bases) in the Cubs system (though not Cruz anymore, obviously). 


  • Arizona Phil 1 day 19 hours ago (view)

    Cubs minor league RHRP Ben Hecht (Cubs 2017 12th round pick - Wichita State) had TJS a couple of days ago. 


  • videographer 1 day 22 hours ago (view)

    Rochest Cruz had some success in the DSL a couple of years ago.  Too bad he didn't pan out.  Carlos Pacheco showed power numbers in the DSL two or three years ago along with a high K rate.


  • tim815 2 days 14 hours ago (view)

    The rush to 70 players.


  • Arizona Phil 2 days 14 hours ago (view)

    The Cubs have released OF Luis Berrelleza, INF Rochest Cruz, LHP Misael Garcia, OF Orlando Guzman, C-1B Brayan Mancilla, RHP Yander Montero, OF Carlos Pacheco, and OF John Rodriguez. 


  • crunch 2 days 17 hours ago (view)

    it screws up stats.  i know you play for wins/losses, but real money is on the line for players and makes agent/player homework selling their client a bit harder.

    it also makes historical comparisons difficult.

    the amount of time i've seen a fresh inning starting out...bunt guy to 3rd for an out, IBB, IBB is too high.  what would amount to a leadoff single following that can easily turn into 2 runs (1 earned) with guys on the corner...which usually leads to another IBB.


  • Charlie 2 days 18 hours ago (view)

    Jay Jaffe has a timely argument against the runner on second rule over at fangraphs:

    I still don't know why we don't just have ties. Obviously, the Cubs could have dodged most of these situations by simply hitting a little bit during the regulation innings.


  • Arizona Phil 2 days 21 hours ago (view)

    The Cubs have signed free-agent RHSP Adrian Sampson to a minor league contract and he has been assigned to AAA Iowa, and RHP Michael McAvene, LHP Jack Patterson, and OF Donnie Dewees have been placed on the 60-day IL to open up slots for Sampson, Trayce Thompson, and Kyle Ryan on the Cubs minor league 180-man Domestic Reserve List. 


  • crunch 2 days 21 hours ago (view)

    well that sucked.

    2-game sweep, 2 games under .500


  • crunch 2 days 21 hours ago (view)

    stumbled onto this today...clip from a 2019 ESPN broadcast game with boog, chipper jones, and david ross in the booth...

    boog used to call games for ATL, btw...