Cubs @ Diamondbacks: Series Thread (Games 91-93)
Just before kicking off the post-All Star portion of the season, the Cubs traded their starting left fielder for an advanced A-ball first base prospect. Pederson had not proven himself integral to what middling success the Cubs had managed so far this season, and the team could conceivably improve without him. However, the Cubs were rumored to be sellers going into the All-Star break and this move lends further support. They'll continue on, for now, with remaining core players like Javy, Rizzo, Bryant, and Contreras--but we'll be watching these games knowing any of those players could be making their last appearances in Cubs blue.
The current Cubs will be taking up bat and glove against D-Backs club with the worst record in the majors. Arizona enters the series second to last in the majors wRC+ and dead last in pitching WAR with a shocking 1.0 in fWAR--a team 5.48 ERA in the DH-less league will do that. Still, things won't necessarily be easygoing for the Cubs. See below for my best guess at pitching matchups. [Edit: my guesses were wrong.]
Game 91, Friday, July 16, 8:40 pm central
CHC: RHP Kyle Hendricks (11-4, 3.77 ERA)
ARZ: LHP Madison Bumgarner (4-5, 5.73 ERA)
Despite the Cubs' struggles of late, Hendricks continues to defend an undefeated streak going back to mid May. He earned a win against the Cardinals before the break, allowing two earned runs in 6.1 innings pitched.
Bumgarner has made three starts in a row in which he's allowed at least five earned runs, exiting his last start after only two innings pitched. He's a got a seven-inning no hitter under his belt, but things have not gone smoothly for the veteran lefty.
Gamey 92, Saturday, July 17, 3:10 pm central
CHC: RHP Adbert Alzolay (4-9, 4.66 ERA)
ARZ: TBD - RHP Zac Gallen (1-4, 4.17 ERA)
Alzolay's numbers were inflated slightly in June and early July, but he hasn't had many severe ups or downs this season. The area of greatest consistency for him has been homers--giving up a couple of them every game or two, that is. Like many other pitchers, his success hinges on keeping his misses out of the zone.
The D-Backs have not announced a starter for this game. Taylor Widener started for the D-Backs on July 9th but was optioned the next day. [Zac Gallen last started on July 2. He went two innings and allowed three earned runs. It was the weakest of his nine starts this season. This will be his first career start against the Cubs.]
Game 93, Sunday, July 18, 3:10 pm central
CHC: RHP Zach Davies (5-6, 4.37 ERA)
ARZ: TBD - [RHP Caleb Smith (2-6, 4.54 ERA)]
Davies took a loss against the Cardinals, exiting after 4.1 and allowing three earned runs. It sure would be nice if he found the feel for his changeup.
[Smith has 27 appearances, nine of them starts, in 2021. He last started on July 10 when he surrendered nine(!) runs in a single inning pitched. He had another rough start in the first week of July when he allowed five earned runs. In 6 June starts he held down a 2.87 ERA, but he had very similar peripherals.]
tim815 49 min 25 sec ago (view)
Actually, Nick Castellanos and his opt out.
crunch 1 hour 37 min ago (view)
hendricks wins #13...11 in a row.
dude leads MLB in wins...and also hits given up.
Dolorous Jon Lester 2 hours 22 min ago (view)
I think we're going to get very experimental over these last two months in the high leverage spots. Only caveat is they may want to see if Wick can handle the 9th once he's back.
That, I'm pretty sure Ryan would have been my last guess to close out a game. Either him or Megill.
crunch 2 hours 25 min ago (view)
javy swings on 3-0 pitch, outside, fouls off.
javy strikes out, foul tip low and outside.
crunch 2 hours 28 min ago (view)
baez coming into the bottom 9th, down by 1, man on 1st.
standing O. NY loves him so far. part of the crowd is chanting "javy" and others "baez"...they'll figure it out in a few games.
crunch 2 hours 35 min ago (view)
k.ryan coming in for the save, but j.jewell is in the pen warming up...don't think anyone is officially "closer"
Dolorous Jon Lester 2 hours 38 min ago (view)
If we're looking to tank next year I think it would be wise to keep Brothers, Morgan, and Ryan. Toss em in high leverage spots, too.
Dolorous Jon Lester 2 hours 39 min ago (view)
I'd guess it's him too. If we wanted boring it would be Winkler.
Hopefully Ross gives the ball to MANROD.
crunch 2 hours 47 min ago (view)
wasn't ugly, but it was nothing masterful...heuer goes 1ip 0h 0bb 0k only giving up an unearned run on a sac fly. he may get the 9th because he barely worked the 8th (9 pitches).
crunch 2 hours 56 min ago (view)
rex brothers sucks. here comes heuer with the bases loaded and 0 outs.
Eric S 3 hours 21 min ago (view)
Still trails Rizzo by 1 HR for a New York franchise
Eric S 3 hours 23 min ago (view)
JHey with a bouncer thru the right side gets a two out rbi - his first rbi since July 16. Happ with another true outcome nite: 3 Ks and a walk
Dolorous Jon Lester 3 hours 30 min ago (view)
I'd guess Rivas at first. More contact, more low power.
Wisdom at 3B!
crunch 3 hours 31 min ago (view)
i imagine they'll go with hoerner/madrigal (aka, "hoes mad" for the disrespectful youth out there) at SS/2nd.
that's a lot of contact without power, though. this team needs to go buy/trade for some power.
crunch 3 hours 34 min ago (view)
javy hits hit 1st NYM homer
Charlie 4 hours 6 min ago (view)
I could see the Cubs signing a free agent 1B or Ss, an ok starting pitcher, and doing a half-competitive (i.e. finish in third place) phase while waiting for some of these prospects to arrive. Wouldn't be shocked if they get Rizzo back. It will take more than one season to build a real pitching staff, but I think ownership won't be willing to fully tank in the meantime.