Welp, the Cubs were mathematically eliminated early in the last series and appeared to be completely broken in body and spirit thereafter. Perhaps they were reserving whatever fight is left in them for this final series against the Cards. The Cubs can still play spoiler to the team that swept them at home last weekend; the Cards lead the Brewers by only one game and could even fall behind the Nats in the Wild Card should the Cubs manage to play decent ball. Nothing will compensate for this team's horrendous couple of weeks, but any chance to scuff the Cards' boots is worthwhile. Read below for the match-ups.
2019 Gameday Thread
Having suffered a disastrous and heart-rending sweep at the hands of the Cardinals over the week, the Cubs remaining shot at the postseason is frighteningly improbable. Still, if they are to retain any hope at a Wild Card spot, the Cubs will have to take at least two out of three from the Pirates in Pittsburgh. At the same time, Nationals and/or Brewers losses to the Phillies and Reds will also be necessary. On the bright side, the Pirates have been absolutely dismal lately, combining poor baseball outcomes with horrible off-the-field news. See below for the match-ups in Western PA.
It's here, the Cubs vs. Cards series we've been waiting for. The Cubs feel to three games behind the Cardinals, remained in a tie with the Brewers for the second Wild Card spot, and fell behind the Nationals by 1.5 for the top Wild Card spot. That means, it would take a Cubs sweep of the four-game set to jump over the Cardinals in the division this weekend, right where you would want to be so that you don't have to end the season needing a sweep of the Cards on the road. The Cubs will have to continue to do their most important work without Javy, Rizzo, or even the backup Russell. In the meantime, they will continue to rely on mid-season additions (Castellanos), recent reactivations (Contreras, Zobrist), and 2019 newbies (Hoerner, Kyle Ryan, Rowan Wick, etc.). See below for how this hodge-podge will match up with the Cards.
The Cubs swept the Pirates at home and will aim to provide just that sort of treatment now to the Reds as they come into town. They'll have to continue to do their work without Javy and now Rizzo too will be unavailable. No word yet, as far as I can tell, about when Russell might become available again--but fans are generally pleased with Hoerner's first MLB stint anyway. The Cubs now trail the Cardinals by only 2.0 games in the division and the Nats by 1.5 in the Wild Card. The Brewers remain hot on their heels, despite the recent loss of Yelich, while the Mets, Phillies, and D-Backs have dropped back to likely also-ran positions. Don't expect the Reds to be a walk in the park, but the Cubs will at least dodge Luis Castillo. Continue below for the match-ups.
The Cubs just managed to tread water in the division and lost ground in the wild card by going 2-2 against the Padres. Four games back of the Cardinals and in a virtual tie with the Brewers, the Cubs have some homework to do. See below for the daily match-ups with the Pirates.
This weekend saw the Cubs lose three out of four to the trailing Brewers, fall to 4.5 behind the Cardinals in the division, and shrink their Wild Card lead to 1.5 games with the D-Backs, Phillies, and Brewers all pounding on the door behind them. Meanwhile, fans got news that Javy's jammed thumb is actually a fracture, and Russell was hit in the face with a fastball. If this didn't feel like a turn in the wrong direction, the team's inability to capitalize on the rally after Russell was hit felt like a failure to turn in the right direction. Nico Hoerner is called up to reinforce the middle infield, and maybe the rookie will be able to invigorate the team and the fans after the disappointing series in Milwaukee. He and the rest of the Cubs will take on the Padres for four games on the west coast. Continue below for match-ups.
The Cubs begin an eight-game road trip that pits them against the Brewers and Padres for four games each. Trailing in the division and fending off Wild Card hopefuls behind them, the Cubs will be feeling pressure to at least keep pace. Zobrist and Bote could see additional playing time with Javy and Bryant both nursing injuries. The Cubs enter the series 2.5 behind the Cards. See below for match-ups.
CHC (74-63): LHP Jon Lester (11-9, 4.36 ERA)
SEA (48-81): RHP Félix Hernández (1-4, 6.02 ERA)
First pitch 7:05pmCDT
Lester gave his team six innings of one-run baseball against the Mets in his final August start. Today, he and his supporting cast will go for a two-game sweep against the visiting Mariners. Kyle Seager with two homeruns off of the lefty, and Dee Gordon is 2-8. Most other Mariners have only a few at bats against the veteran.
CHC (73-63): RHP Kyle Hendricks (9-9, 3.47 ERA)
SEA (58-80): LHP Justus Sheffield (0-1, 7.94 ERA)
First pitch 1:20pmCDT
Kyle Hendricks toes the rubber and may have to tow the lagging Cubs offense toward a home victory in the series opener. He'll need to be sharper than his last start, in which he couldn't get out of the fifth and allowed six earned runs on eight hits including two homeruns. Current Mariners are 9-50 off of him with one extra base hit.
The Cubs greet the Brewers to Wrigley for a three game set. This series plus the 4-game set next weekend looked at one time like they would be a fight for the division lead, but with the Cubs on the heels of the first-place Cardinals they'll be looking to toss the Brewers clear out of the ring, narrowing the Royal Rumble that was the tight NL Central to a 1-on-1 grapple. The Brewers meanwhile will cling tightly to both their place in the division and their dwindling Wild Card aspirations. Read below to see which competitors will be starting in the series.