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.
Arizona Phil 3 hours 20 min ago (view)
jdrnym: That's correct.
Under the new rules, the 38-man AAA reserve list is now only used beginning on the date reserve lists are filed in November and extending up through the conclusion of the Rule 5 Draft. Then after the conclusion of the Rule 5 Draft, everybody goes back into the off-season 190-man Domestic Reserve List hopper.
jdrnym 6 hours 29 min ago (view)
Phil, can you settle a Twitter discussion? A team can only select players in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 Draft until its 38-man Triple-A reserve list is full, correct? Don't believe this changed with the latest Major League Rules that introduced the Domestic Reserve List and eliminated individual level reserve lists during the offseason.
crunch 10 hours 40 min ago (view)
"Mark Berman of FOX 26 in Houston reports that Carlos Correa's agent has been contacted by the Astros, Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers, Cubs and Braves.
It's not clear when the contact took place or what level of interest each club has."
...with the yanks and dodgers both with piles of cash and a bit of need, i wouldn't get too stoked...but at least there seems to be some interest in what his market is.
Arizona Phil 15 hours 1 min ago (view)
Stroman's salary escalators apply to 2024, so if Stroman reaches 160 IP in either 2022 or 2023 (but not both) it adds $2M to his 2024 salary, and if he reaches 160 IP in both 2022 and 2023 it would add $4M to his to 2024 salary.
So he gets $25M in both 2022 and 2023 (that's locked-in), and then either $21M, $23M , or $25M in 2024, depending upon whether he reaches his salary escalators in 2022 and/or 2023.
Arizona Phil 15 hours 6 min ago (view)
W-RAT: I should also mention that the Cubs cannot outright David Bote while he is injured or rehabbing from an injury, except during a window starting on the day after the conclusion of the MLB regular season up until the day that off-season reserve lists must be filed (normaly 11/20, but it was 11/19 in 2021 because 11/20 fell on a Saturday, and it will be 11/18 in 2022 because 11/20 will fall on a Sunday).
Arizona Phil 15 hours 22 min ago (view)
W-RAT: The Cubs can outright David Bote (if he is not claimed off waivers) once the transaction freeze is lifted. That's not a problem.
If he is outrighted and then elects free-agency, he would forfeit what remains of his contract - AS LONG AS - the contract is not fully guaranteed.
If the contract is fully guaranteed he would likely elect free-agency and the Cubs would be on the hook for what remains of his salary, offset by the MLB minimum salary if he were to sign an MLB deal with another club.
crunch 19 hours 38 min ago (view)
kristin call has been named GM of the Myrtle Beach Pelicans. she's been the assistant/associate GM for a few years and was formally a marketing director for the team.
she's been involved in baseball for a living for 16+ years.
Wrigley Rat 1 day 1 hour ago (view)
Hey Phil - Could David Bote be outrighted at any point before the start of the season (obviously not now while players are being locked out). I wonder because if someone claimed him, oh well. If he elected free agency, wouldn't that void his contract? These are the thoughts going through my head as I look to open up another 40-man spot, and Bote will be out until at least May.
I've read your 40-man tag for him, but I'm not quite smart enough to figure this out! :) Thanks!
crunch 1 day 6 hours ago (view)
Jeff Passan @JeffPassan
Marcus Stroman signed a three-year, $71 million contract with the Chicago Cubs that includes an opt out after the second season, sources tell ESPN. He’ll make $25 million in 2022, $25 million in 2023 and $21 million in 2024. It includes $2M escalators for 160 IP in ‘22 and ‘23.
Arizona Phil 1 day 10 hours ago (view)
The Cubs have re-signed RHRP Jonathan Holder and C-INF P.J. Higgins to 2022 minor league contracts, presumably with an NRI to MLB Spring Training.
They will be Rule 5 Draft-eligible, if and when there is a Rule 5 Draft.
Dolorous Jon Lester 1 day 19 hours ago (view)
Owners' stooge Bobby Manfred coming out swinging at the players with his statement about the owners instituting a lockout.
Arizona Phil 2 days 40 min ago (view)
The Cubs re-signed OF Michael Hermosillo to a 2022 Major League contract just prior to the midnight Wednesday MLB transaction freeze.
Hermosillo was non-tendered on Tuesday because he was a Rule 5 Draft-Excluded Player, and if he had remained on the 40 the Cubs would not have been able to outright him to the minors any earlier than 20 days prior to MLB opening Day.
crunch 2 days 5 hours ago (view)
we shouldn't, especially with how much payroll room for 2024+ this top-costing-for-fans team with a heavily monitized ballpark in a major media market has.
backloaded contracts aren't exactly groundbreaking new things...neither are cheap-ass owners. i don't expect them to compete every year, but i expect them to try after a punt season where they traded away the core. NYY, NYM, LAD, LAA, BOS, etc. don't seem to have trouble doing this even if it means throwing a bit of money around...
Sonicwind75 2 days 5 hours ago (view)
Stroman, a pleasant surprise. Good to know we aren't completely punting until 2025.
Arizona Phil 2 days 6 hours ago (view)
CRUNCH: Clint Frazier's 2022 base salary is only $1.5M and he has a minor league option available, so I think it's more likely than not that he opens 2022 at AAA.
On the other hand, Harold Ramirez is out of minor league options, and it is unknown at this point what he will get in 2022 as a "super two."
crunch 2 days 6 hours ago (view)
until clint fraizer came on board i wouldn't have counted bryant out.
OF is kinda crowded right now, though there's no stars in the mix. fraizer - happ - ortega - heyward - h.ramirez leading the group... even if he split time between OF/3rd with wisdom that just makes it more crowded, plus the team allegedly wants hoerner to prepare to be used as a super-utility guy.