Cubs vs. Dodgers: Series Thread (Games 29-31)
The Cubs dropped the final game in Cincinnati in dramatic fashion, letting the back-and-forth slugfest fade away with a soft single from Castellanos. It was a more competitive series than many we've seen from the Cubs this year. But it was also costly. They are now 4 games under .500 at 12-16, in last place, and likely down Ian Happ (3-5 with a homer in the game) who had to be taken off the field after a nasty collision with Nico Hoerner in shallow center field. The extent of Happ's injuries have not yet been reported in detail, but it would be shocking if he were right back at it for the next game. Jake Marisnick is the most likely to see playing time in center if Happ is out, but Joc Pederson is eligible to return and the Cubs could get creative in the corner outfield spots if they want to start Heyward in CF.
The 17-12 LA Dodgers roll into Wrigley with a trio of aces ready to kick the Cubs while they are down. LA enters the series third in the NL in runs scored and first in WRC+. They're also third in the NL in ERA. Cubs fans have been hoping to see the team find their footing going back to April 17, when a 13-4 win vs. Atlanta looked like a sign of the offense breaking out. More than two weeks later, the north siders are still trying to get their legs under them, now with some of the toughest competition in the league in their way. See below for nightmare fuel the pitching matchups.
Game 29, Monday, May 3, 6:40 pm central
CHC: RHP Kyle Hendricks (1-3, 7.54 ERA)
LAD: RHP Walker Buehler (1-0, 3.16 ERA)
Hendricks continued a frustrating start to the season, having possibly his worst start thus far in a loss to Atlanta. He allowed 7 earned runs for the second time this year, this time going only 3.2 innings. Issuing zero walks would be a silver lining if not for the fact he got hammered to the tune of 11 hits, including three homeruns. He's had two perfectly fine starts this year, which give some hope that his command might return at any time.
Walker Buehler has come into 2021 like he made a resolution not to issue any free passes. He's struck out 31 and walked only 2 in 31.1 innings. In his last start he allowed 5 earned runs while striking out 10 Cinicinnati Reds. Most current Cubs have seen little of Buehler. Tony Wolters is 1 for 17. Kris Bryant is 3 for 6.
Game 30, Tuesday, May 4, 6:40 pm central
CHC: RHP Adbert Alzolay (1-2, 4.71 ERA)
LAD: LHP Clayton Kershaw (4-2, 2.09 ERA)
Adbert Alzolay pitched 6 innings to earn a win against Atlanta's Bryse Wilson on April 29. It was his third solid start in a row. He leaned heavily on his breaking ball, with pitch tracking counting more than 50% of his pitches as sliders. He has a few shapes to that breaking ball though--I'm not convinced a few of those weren't variants of his curve. This will be the Dodgers' first look at Alzolay.
Kershaw had looked to be on the decline from 2017-2019, putting up very good numbers but nothing quite like his peak years. Then in 2020 he pitched like a beast and he has kept up that act so far in 2021. He pitched seven scoreless innings against the Reds in his last start, earning his fourth win on the season and his 179th in his career. Javy (4 for 8), Bryant (2 for 4), Contreras (3 for 7), and Rizzo (4 for 8) have all had some success in limited regular season appearances against the veteran lefty.
Game 31, Wednesday, May 5, 6:40 pm central
CHC: RHP Jake Arrieta (3-3, 4.31 ERA)
LAD: RHP Trevor Bauer (3-1, 2.48 ERA)
After making five straight solid starts, Arrieta turned in a clunker his sixth time out. He allowed three homeruns and seven earned runs in 3.2 innings pitched, bloating his ERA by almost a run and a half. Hopefully, he can get back to competitive if not dominating starts. Max Muncy is 4 for 10 with two homeruns and Corey Seager is 4 for 8 with a single homerun off of Arrieta.
Trevor Bauer cashed in on his Cy Young performance in the shortened 2020 to sign with the NL's foremost behemoth. In the early going, he's nearly picked up where he left off. He's struck out well over a batter per inning while limiting walks and holding opponents to an absurd 14.9% line drive rate. Last time, he went 8 innings deep in a loss to the Brewers in which he allowed two earned runs on only 4 hits and 2 walks. Rizzo is 6 for 14 with 2 homeruns off of Bauer.
Hagsag 5 hours 43 min ago (view)
Is AZ Phil okay?
crunch 8 hours 1 min ago (view)
gene clines has died.
he was with the organization on/off for a notable amount of time as both a player and coach.
crunch 2 days 4 hours ago (view)
sammy sosa off the HOF ballot after 10 years. he finishes up with a 18.5% vote, highest in any year.
crunch 2 days 6 hours ago (view)
cubs sign 31 year old eric yardley to a minor league deal.
he's a 31 year old righty that throws sub-90mph junk.
Sonicwind75 2 days 8 hours ago (view)
Thank you for sharing Mike. Sounds like the former owner was a high character human being and should be celebrated. Haven't had a chance to attend a game there since I moved away from Des Moines in 2007 but recall it being a great ballpark experience. Has there been any word of the new owners making any major changes?
crunch 5 days 2 hours ago (view)
a 22 month old.
a'ite. i'm done with Earth. going to Pluto. don't bother visiting or calling. later.
Cubster 1 week 1 day ago (view)
Jason Schmidt signs with Dodgers, 3/44.
crunch 1 week 1 day ago (view)
20 year, 800m contract incoming...front loaded 150m over the first 2 years with a player opt out after that...
videographer 1 week 1 day ago (view)
Darth Vader to rescue Carlos Correa's bruised ego.
crunch 1 week 1 day ago (view)
carlos correa has hired scott boras...
bradsbeard 1 week 2 days ago (view)
The IFA market isn't exactly an equal access thing. Not only do the Cubs have a slightly smaller bonus pool than some teams, players are often linked to teams through their trainers well before they are able to sign. It's not like when these kids are 14 that the teams know for sure that they have a top of the class player on their hands two years in the future.
Wrigley Rat 1 week 2 days ago (view)
Cubbies.4ever - I read that the Cubs strategy with international free agents has been to spend most of their bonus money on young, position players and then take chances on cheaper, older pitching prospects who have been late bloomers (taller, stronger, more command of pitches, etc.). They are also grabbing guys at the end of the international signing period and signing them to future service contracts. They have six pitchers that were signed last year to future service contracts, and only one position player.
cubbies.4ever 1 week 2 days ago (view)
Cubs IFA Signings are heavy on SS (given SS usually can play many positions as the develop), but only 1 pitcher. Given it's still early. Also disappointing that their best signing is #18. Gone are the days of Soler, Eloy, Torres, Marquez, Amaya etc. I believe Christian Hernandez last year was highly rated though.
Wrigley Rat 1 week 3 days ago (view)
One more international free agent signing announced today: Daniel Benschop, OF, Aruba
bradsbeard 1 week 3 days ago (view)
I hope all is well with AZ Phil. Hasn't posted in a few weeks and typically would expect him to have a post up tracking IFA signings. Maybe he's waiting for something official from the Cubs (who don't seem to have announced any of the signings officially)?