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Game 99 Preview: Cubs @ White Sox - 7:10 pm

Game 99 Preview: Cubs @ White Sox - 7:10 pm

Perhaps it's a product of not growing up in Chicago, but I have never had any strong negative feelings toward the White Sox, but the reverse can't often be said for the south side fans I've come across. But whatever the case, I don't harbor any real ill will for that team (except Hawk Harrelson. I don't know how they listen to him.) No more so than any other American League team, really. At best it's mild amusement, curiosity, and even a faint glimmer of rooting for them from time to time; usually just in cases like early this season when they were doing so well. I think it's more fun in Chicagoland when both teams are doing well (2008 was a fun season in that regard), and I just don't hold ill feelings toward the other team from Chicago at all. Even after losses like last night's. I'm more frustrating by the bad baserunning, to be honest. I'll take solace though in the fact that they rallied to tie it all. That's worth something, I suppose.

In the second game of this four game set that's split between U.S. Cellular and Wrigley Field, the Cubs take another step further in reordering their bullpen, one that saw the addition of Mike Montgomery last week, and Aroldis Chapman just yesterday. The Chapman trade has been covered from multiple angles here already, so I won't comment on it directly other than that it appears as though he might be available out of the bullpen tonight or tomorrow.

More immediately, the Cubs call upon steady-as-he-comes Kyle Hendricks in tonight's game. I've noted it before, but Hendricks has quietly been the anchor to this pitching staff and has probably earned himself the right to take the ball in a playoff game. Hendricks is steadily putting together a season in which he should top last year's 3.4 fWAR total, as he sits at 2.5 currently. He hasn't given up a run in either of his past two starts, against Texas and New York, and he was especially sharp against the Mets on July 20, striking out 7 in 6.1 innings and walking just one. He's excelling at limiting hard contact and unless offenses adjust to what he's doing, Hendricks has become a very hard pitcher for other teams to beat.

Among the White Sox batters, Todd Frazier has seen the most of Hendricks because of his time in Cincinnati, but that's just 11 plate appearances, which he's mustered a pair of doubles and a walk. Adam Eaton will be worth keeping an eye on, as he has 2 hits (including a home run) in 5 at bats. Justin Morneau and Tyler Saladino are both 2 for 6 against Hendricks, and Jose Abreu is 1 for 3 with a walk.

Game Information:

7:10 pm CT on CSN and 670 AM on the radio

Lineups:

Cubs

Dexter Fowler CF

Kris Bryant DH

Anthony Rizzo 1B

Ben Zobrist LF

Addison Russell SS

Jason Heyward RF

Javier Baez 2B

Miguel Montero C

Tommy La Stella 3B

 

White Sox

Adam Eaton RF

Tim Anderson SS

Melky Cabrera LF

Jose Abreu 1B

Justin Morneau DH

Todd Frazier 3B

J.B. Shuck CF

Dioner Navarro C

Tyler Saladino 2B

Opposing pitcher scouting report:

RHP James Shields (115.1 IP, 126 H, 48 BB, 81 K, 4.99 ERA, 5.26 FIP)

Shields came over from San Diego at the beginning of June, and he was brutally bad at first. I have to think that White Sox brass were looking for their receipt at least until his start against the Red Sox on June 23, in which he looked sort of like a major league pitcher again. To his credit, he's bounced back since then and has been pitching rather well of late. In his two most recent starts, he threw 8 innings of one run ball against the Angels on July 16, and then a quality start against the Tigers on July 21.

The Cubs offense doesn't have a particularly impressive resume against Shields, boasting a collective .678 OPS, but here's how it breaks down:

- Dexter Fowler: 2 for 11, HR, 4 K

- Kris Bryant: 1 for 6, 4 K

- Jason Heyward, 1 for 5, HR, BB, 4 K

- Anthony Rizzo: 2 for 5, 2 2B, BB, K

- Ben Zobrist: 1 for 5, BB, K

- Miguel Montero: 1 for 5, 2 K

- Addison Russell: 1 for 2, BB

Shields has an array of pitches, but a couple (slider and slow curve) are used very, very sparingly. Even without those, he has 5 other pitches in his arsenal, but it's the classic four seam fastball that gets the most use. In general, his changeup gets swings and misses at a pretty good rate, as it is offered at about 57% of the time and missed about 19% of the time. When hitters do put that pitch in play, it has a nice groundball rate of just under 11%.

What to watch:

  • It does appear as though Chapman will be in uniform tonight, so the big question will be whether or not he gets an opportunity to make his debut with the Cubs. Again, the moral quandary here is thick, so I'll leave it at this and focus on the fact that, whether it's tonight or not, we will soon be watching him pitch in a Cubs uniform for the first time.
  • Dropping last night's game was a product of a few things, but one that's still a thorn in my side today was the baserunning. There were a few very key gaffes there, and I think that's an area that needs to be addressed, and soon. The White Sox are not a powerhouse, but even middling teams can capitalize when you grant them free outs like that.
  • Jason Heyward is getting harder contact, and maybe his double last night is a product of that. While we're all probably past the point of holding out hope that he'll pull it together and make a run at the plate this season, noting that his BABIP is way, way down from last year and the exit velocity on his hits is climbing (soft contact is often a contributor to low BABIP numbers) might be reason enough for a tinge of hope that he'll make some progress this year. We'll see.
CHICAGO TRIBUNE VIDEO

Comments

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  • I was mildly surprised with the assertion that Hendricks has "probably earned himself the right to take the ball in a playoff game." As I was reading that sentence, I expected it to conclude that he probably earned himself the right to "start the first game of the playoffs." Kyle pitching in the playoffs is a no brainer. It's just a matter of whether he's our first, second or third starter. If he keeps this up, he should be our first starter.

    I do like our line up for tonight.

  • In reply to TTP:

    No probably about it. Unless he takes a nose dive, Hendricks has definitely earned the right to pitch in a playoff series, maybe first or second. He's been the most reliable pitcher on the staff for the better part of the season. I'm starting to wonder if he's ever going to "fall back to earth". What if this is Hendricks new normal?

  • In reply to Mom2futurecubs:

    I have jumped FULL BORE on the Kyle bandwagon, but anyone who expects him to finish the season with a sub 3 ERA is expecting too much. If we allowed for the rest of the SP to come back to earth, then we should expect the same from Kyle.

    So, with that, while as of NOW I would say he has earned it, we have quite a ways to go before the end of the season.

  • In reply to TTP:

    Ava . if you think Gerald `s postlng is shocking, last wednesday I got a top of the range Lancia Straton after having earned $8326 this-past/month and-also, 10k lass-month . it's by-far the easiest-work Ive had . I actually started 6 months ago and pretty much immediately was bringing in over $85, per/hr .------------------- j­o­b­.­i­n­c­o­m­e­h­i­nts.­org­

  • I can't help but to think La Stella is more suited to play 2B and have Baez at 3B. This is mostly due to the fact that Baez's arm seems to be orders of magnitude better than La Stella's. I guess Javy covers more ground at a middle infield position, but still La Stella's defense at third leaves something to be desired.

  • In reply to nukee:

    Put Ross in LF.

  • In reply to nukee:

    Many of us have had this debate here mutiple times. I'm very happy to be seeing Javy at second more and more. I like my best D up the middle. You mention the arm, and yes, but LaStella is in for his left-handed contact bat. Don't move Javy's glove to accomodate that. Second base is much more complex than third, with double-play turns, basestealers, etc., and Javy is a strategist on the dirt.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    "Many of us have had this debate here mutiple times" Okay thanks, I'll have to scroll back through all the comments and read it then!

  • In reply to nukee:

    Dude... I meant no disrespect. I was simply saying that many of us have discussed this topic many times, and everyone has their own opinion. I gave you my opinion, but I am biased (or Baez'ed) because I've been a middle infielder my whole life.

  • The game is at 6:00 Central time today

  • In reply to bolla:

    Yea, not sure what happened. Either start time changed from what it was originally, or I just had it wrong.

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    Just heard that Chapman doesn't even remember the talk the cubs mgmt had with him about what they expect from their players. Oh brother.....He couldn't remember what they said because he was sleepy....LOL...way to go Epstein. First you traded a premier young bat for a mediocre left handed pitcher that can't get anyone out...and next you send our No.1 prospect and 3 others away for this clown.

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    In reply to Greg Simmons:

    Man, thats classic. I hadn't heard anything about this, but if this is true, this is hilarious. Maybe the cubs will just start calling it "Chapman being Chapman". You know Theo knows about that type of non serious nonchalant behavior

  • In reply to Greg Simmons:

    I couldn't believe that response. That conversation had to have taken place 2-3 days ago and you can't remember that conversation. I need what ever put AC in his "nap".

  • I continue to root for Heyward hoping he will break out of this season long funk. The team could sure use the boost as well as the fans. While I'm not in favor of outlawing the shift I don't like it because it always seems like someone hits into it at a crucial time killing a rally. There were a few occassions against the Brewers where I thought JHey had a clean hit up the middle only to see the SS or 2nd baseman standing right in its path and making the easy out. Such is life I guess, hopefully the Cubs will see bad James Shields and can salt this one away early so I can get to bed and actually fall asleep instead of being amped up or angry....

  • Radio controversy today was whether Chapman was awake or asleep when he talked to Ricketts or just no comprende la pregunta o Inglés. Maybe Abreu can puede traducir para él esta noche.

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    In reply to jack:

    Jack, I don't know what you just said in Spanish, but was listening to am1000 and now with Theo on Comcast and just after the news conference he (Chapman) did a one-on-one interview in Spanish with Pedro Gomez and said in no uncertain terms that he was told that he would have to be a good person off the field and a good neighbor and teammate. Now we can take that for what it's worth, but it seems that Theo and Tom Ricketts were satisfied with Chapman's responses so that they traded for him.
    I asked a question in the minor league review, but now who is our top SS prospect in the minors? Happ is more of a 2nd baseman. thanks everyone.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I'll leave the "top minor-league SS" question to someone else, but with Baez and Russell on board, I'm not going to worry about that for several years.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Exactly.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I just hope we don't have to worry about SS. We traded 2 solid SS in thinking AR would take it for next 8-10 years.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    At what point, if ever, does Zobrist gets moved off 2nd in favor of Baez on a more permanent basis? Or does Baez just continue being the infield super sub? I see Baez making plays at second that I know Zobrist doesn't make. Obviously Zobrist has the more mature bat, but lately he's been slumping. Is Zobrist the automatic starter next year at second or does Baez get a shot?

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    In reply to BarleyPop:

    I know we have 2 premier SS here at the major league level. I just like to know our minor league players (don't we all--that's one reason we read John et al.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Wasn't trying to be a wise guy, that's why I said I'll leave it to the experts here to answer that question. My focus now is on drunken snow angels

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Of course they had that phone conversation and Chapman wouldn't have been signed if he had not agreed to their terms. The dam interview was done in English, with Preston Gomez translating. Don't know if Gomez is Cuban but do know that he is not a professional translator. All the moaning and groaning continues to come from Cub hatters and some radio guys trying to make something out of nothing, especially Bernstein who always comes across as an arrogant know it all..

  • In reply to jack:

    He didn't have the benefit of Google Translate.

  • The game is at 6:10 tonight, not 7:10

  • In reply to Dingerpalooza:

    Yea, either the start time was changed from what it was originally or I just had it wrong.

  • ......can't say I have actual animos toward the White Sox......some, perhaps but they are the best Triple A team we have and should be supported......

  • In reply to Wickdipper:

    Strong work, WD. Way to put a positive spin on it

  • In reply to Wickdipper:

    Watch it WD, 'jack' will feel disrespected and come back at you. He's in his glory right now.

  • Yea the chapman pc wasn't a good start at all.I'm more worried the cubs will make shields look like bob gibson tonight.

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    In reply to bolla:

    They are either going to crush shields or we are going to have a 3-2, 3-1, 2-1 game heading to the 7th

  • In reply to bolla:

    Shields has been solid as of late and Hendricks struggles away from wrigley.

  • In reply to bolla:

    Take that back!

  • Did you know that the Cubs won their first series after the All Star break for the first time in 80 years? That's an eight and a zero. Over the past 10 games, only three teams have a better record than the Cubs (6-4). The Yankees, Reds, Angels went 7-3, and those teams stink. The Cubs have the best record in the league, and are the only team with a .600 winning percentage. And they have a management team that went out and got the best closer available on the market. Brighten up, folks.

  • In reply to Cubswin09:

    Make that first "three" series.

  • In reply to Cubswin09:

    I've been wanting to throw this song out to all theo doubters. I've heard every conspiracy theory there is, like he's walking and intentionally sabotaging the team. "If not now, when?". To all you keyboard GM's:

    "Not necessarily stoned, but, beautiful"

    Spoiler alert: I usually don't do this, because I like to ser if people recognize the obscure lyric, or google it or youtube it, but I'll give you the meaningful lines:

    "Are you experienced?
    Have you ever been experienced?
    Well, I have".

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I love that quote from Theo, "If not now, when?" Cub fans are lame. I honestly am starting to think they liked it better when they were selling off players at the deadline for prospects, as opposed to having a really good team and using assets to acquire players. Bad teams trade players for prospects. Good teams trade prospects for proven players. It happens every year. This isn't brain surgery.

  • In reply to Cubswin09:

    Has nothing to do with who they gave up. More of who they acquired and with no extension. Theo' answer is a way to divert a tough situation and comes off winning at all cost. Cub fans want to win it all. A very blanket and generalization of cub fans.

  • In reply to Cubswin09:

    I agree, it seems some fans like to collect prospects and take greater satisfaction in having the #1 farm system instead of improving the team. Some moves work, some don't. Time will tell.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Go Jimi go :)

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I'm not really sure where you are going with all of this. There are some typos and I am having trouble with your usually level context. Seems like a Jimi Hendrix song, yet; IDK how it pertains. I'm sorry.

  • In reply to rickmonday:

    My cheap phone, not the operator, mind you, is sometimes prone to errors. I quoted Hendrix correctly, and though his meaning of the song had nothing to do with baseball, I thought the words were appropriate: many people lost their bowels over what we gave up. It was an overpay. But it gives us a better chance to win the world series this year. I was making the point of people questioning Theo with Jimi's words: "Are you experienced? Have you ever been experienced? Well, I have". Meaning people who question their moves have never built a baseball team to win a world series. Theo has. "Have you ever been experienced? Well, I have".

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Thank you, bp. I guess you take the cup! Har har.

  • Love the picture and the caption. I was at a watering hole last night watching the game and met one of them. He said he was a life-long Cubs fan but became a Sox fan when they won. He knew his stuff, too. He kept grilling me on the Cubs. "Who was the CF in '84"? " Name the starting lineup from '78". "Who was the closer in '82?". I passed with flying colors, of course, but this dude knew as much about the Cubs as I do, and he's a Sox fan because he switched sides when they won. Sigh!

  • Every time I question Joe Maddon's lineup he is right and I am wrong (so, I am getting use to this). So here it goes again. Why play La Stella at 3rd and Baez at 2nd?

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    Because second base is a much more demanding defensive posistion, and Baez is a much better defensive player than LaStella.

  • Be nice if the cards could get swept tonight.

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    In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Just need them to lose game 1. They lose that, we free roll the last one w worst case being they go 1-1

    can't lose the Syndergaard game

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    If we win and they lose both. Wouldn't it be 9 game lead? If we lose and they win both wouldn't it be 5 game lead?

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    In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Game 1 to the cards

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    What s throw to second.

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    In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Unbelievable rt?

    Grandy is a little slow now but dayum !!

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    Right now, top of the 8th, STL is leading 3-2. Thor was pitching too.

  • Jared:

    In response to the fan's emotional attention to the crosstown series I will try to bring at least one perspective from someone from the Chicago area having grown up in a northside old city-suburb from the early 60s on. It is a combination of originally a regional identity split almost in uniform discipline line drawn by Roosevelt Rd. This carried back before WW II when the Chicago metro was primarily within the city and close in suburbs (inside present day I-294) where there was a big cultural and neighborhood identity attached to either you were from the northside or southside. When the 50s turned into the 60s and the white flight into the suburbs things got mixed up as time wore on so now the northside/southside cross cultural ethnic/racial identity has become a cliche. In that cultural regional identity lined up previous generation fans and their legacies. Now both clubs anthropological heritage embodies early winning and competitiveness to then long periods of bad or poor teams so there is an inherent inferiority and pessimistic outlook or expectation, so often the only bragging rights were these previous exhibition games. Now the Cubs over a generation and growing have become the "in" or "yuppie" and corporate affinity plus the multi generations who became affiliated outside of Chicago from the cable market penetration. The 00's demonstrated a deep potential market popularity despite the ChiSox's '05 WS win. Now this is the deep resentment where all sorts of stuff is between old timer (I have a best friend who is an old southsider ex-urbanite and a brother- in- law who is a southsider and both strong Sox fans. They loathe at most popular non baseball Cubs fans and put up with me. Now my best friend of 40 yrs is fearful the Cubs are going to be the true Big Money team joining NYY, BOS, LAA, SFG, & LAD, making the Sox permanent second fiddle.

  • In reply to rnemanich:

    VERY accurate description sir of how it used to be yes......before the advent of the big suburban sprawl things were a lot more parochial in Chicago.....neighborhoods were like mini-villages ala Bridgeport or Jefferson Park. Schaumburg was still mostly cornfields....

    Back in the 60's the Cubs and Sox used to play each other one game a year, an exhibition called the "Boys Benefit Game", usually a night game at Comiskey....

    I remember one of the years I went as a youngster hoping to see my favorites like Ernie or Billy but they only would make a quick appearance and then put all the scrubs in. The one I remember vividly to this day was Lee Elia playing 2nd for the Cubs and muffed a pop up just out on the outfield grass which allowed the Sox to win
    in the late innings.......been mad at him ever since.....

    I did get an autograph one year from Billy Hoeft in full Cub uniform under the outfield bleachers smoking a cigarette. I could never forget how BLUE Cub colors were on those uniforms....good memories :)

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    Great start.......hopefully it will only be 2-0

    lets see if whitesox can show the cubs how to situational hit

  • I blame myself for talking up Hendricks so much.

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    In reply to Mom2futurecubs:

    He was due to give up a run. Got to get Frazier here

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Hendricks going to have an off night where things aren't going his way. I'd rather it happen now and he works it out than in a playoff series against a better team.

    I'm happy to see him get out of that inning only giving up one.

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    Even Kyle Seager is bunting down the 3rd base line to beat the shift. I refuse to believe Heyward thinks he's better then that or cannot do it or learn to do it to help the team. With a few hits, he could loosen up the pull shifts on him and help himself.

  • I know several have said the series doesn't matter to them or to the Cubs themselves, so why do they look so tight? Kyle threw 30 pitches in the first inning and might not last 4. Some think I'm crazy, but there is something about this team that is kryptonite to the Cubs. Hoping at this point to just try and sneak one game of the four. Cardinals, meanwhile are now just 6.5 games back. Why worry though, we have a new shiny closer.

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    In reply to INSaluki:

    The Cardinals have played the most home games in the majors so far this year by several games. They'll have a lot of road games coming up. Granted, they have a pronounced reverse home/road split thus far, but I'd expect/hope for some regression to the mean.

  • They always sleepwalk against the sox. I think they feel sorry for sox fans having to live on the south side so they want them to have at least a couple days to be happy every year.

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    Big mistake walking a ice cold bum on 4 pitches to bring up one of our hottest hitters

  • Shields looks bad tonight against left handers. If they can lay off, should be a lot of walks or pitches to swing at.

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    HUGE break from the former cub Dioneer Navarro......make it hurt Dexter !

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Dang it fowler.

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    Walk in a run if you want Shields........I am okay w that.

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Listen to us...hoping for a walk. Is mallee on the DL? Where is this patient approach? Pop ups, weak grounder so...that seems to be SOP for Heyward, but what about the rest of them.? Right now having Chapman feels like the cart before the horse....can't score...can't win.

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    It occurred to me as in watching the Cubs with the bases loaded that in the last year and a half they have gotten everything they wanted--they wanted Maddon they got him, Lester, Lackey, Zobrist, Fowler (coming out of the blue) and now Chapnan. This is now a prime destination for everyone now.
    So with all this going for us can we not win this year? Maybe just Dexter getting a base hit last inn. He did have Shields throw a lot more potches than he wanted to.

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    Least Shields is throwing a lot of pitches......Should get into the pen much earlier tonight !!

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    In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Well I take that back.....shields has throws 6 pitches to get the final 4 outs ( last of 3rd and thru 4th)

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Sometimes their up their hacking like they're playing beer league softball.

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    Heart of the order. Need another Zero Kyle

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    What the heck is Russell doing ??

    Justine Moreau can't run, he could of waddled over to 2nd and still had enough time to get him.

    Boy do we need to win this replay..........great play by Rizzo

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Did AR touch second??
    Glad got out of that

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Cards winning

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    In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    So are Mariners......Liriano already out of the game in the 4th even after hitting a BOMB

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    Okay cubs......Time to stop playing around and get a couple runs and give Kyle a little lead.

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    Boy, I thought that was gone or way foul if not......surprised these balls are staying in the park

    just one of those nights..........so faaaaarrrrr

  • way to make another journeyman look lik an ace. they are playing with no heart. this is not a championship team right now.

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    We just can't score against these guys . Someone said Kryptonite and it's true. Plus they're swinging at pitches way out of the zone.

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    Come on Heyward.....how about a 2 run shot.....get out of the dog house...........

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    In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Or a ground ball to the right side. You know, for variety.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    I want him to start bunting or slapping the ball down the 3rd base line. IF he can slap the ball down the rt field line, he could do it w a little practice.

    If he hustles, he's looking at a double almost everytime the ball gets to the OF. Would really help his slug % which is almost nonexistent

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    In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    The thing is, as frustrating as he, personally, is, the offense just isn't scoring. Take out the Will Smith blow up and Fowler's outstanding first game back and this road trip is a disaster.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    I been considering the Will Smith meltdown but the Fowler game was accompanied w a great pitching performance but offense wise, your rt, Road trip has been UGLY

  • The Cubs could have gotten Shields for relatively nothing, instead let the White Sox get him. Watching him pitch............. I honestly cannot believe we settled for Lackey.

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    In reply to INSaluki:

    I hate to hear what you would have been saying if we traded for him rt at the same time the sox did and saw the beatings he took.

    Granted he's been pitching well for a few weeks now.

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Check his game logs, he had four, albeit horrendous, bad starts. Lackey has pitched poorly for a month now and is 3 years older. Plus Lackey is a tool box.

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    In reply to INSaluki:

    I know how well he's been pitching as of late. Cubs could have knocked him out w 1-2 timely hits. He was at 55 pitches in the 3rd

  • In reply to INSaluki:

    Shields had a 24 era over four starts...we are making him look good by swinging at bad pitches...he is actually gaining confidence because of our poor approach.

  • In reply to Calicubby:

    Exactly, take away those starts and you have a much better pitcher than Lackey, who btw has an ERA over 6 since the beginning of June.

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    In reply to INSaluki:

    A much more expensive pitcher, anyway. Shields was terrible with the Padres, too. So much so his owner called him out.

  • In reply to INSaluki:

    Saluki, your pretty accurate when you second guess, after the fact. One of best I see on here.

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    Swinging at bad pitches or over swinging.......curse of the cubs this week.........thank god for Will Smith on sunday or we would be really upset.

  • Over/under for runs Cubs score in the NLDS: 3.5

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    In reply to Stubbs:

    First lets get there

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Well, taking the under hedges against that, so...

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    In reply to Stubbs:

    If cards sweep the DH, I am betting on the Cards to win the Central. Thats my hedge in case the wheels completely fall off.

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    In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    I said to John the night of the sweep that the Cardinals were going to win the division. I really don't want to be right but it's looking good at the moment.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Well, the Cards are losing. The Cubs still have the largest division lead. And as I said above, the Cards have played by far the most home games in the majors. They'll be traveling a lot.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Wow, Mike. Really? I'm gonna remember this prediction/confession when we're celebrating the Division clincher.

  • In reply to TTP:

    Thank you. That was going to be my exact reply: really?!?

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    That's CubsTalk, chiming in for Mike Moody. Remember him?!? lol!

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    In reply to BarleyPop:

    I get that they have a long way to go but: it's the offense. If Fowler, Bryant, or Rizzo don't drive in runs, they don't get driven in. With weak hitters at the bottom it's been near impossible to string together hits to score runs. Contreras has really slowed down as scouts have caught up to him and Schwarber last year suggests it may not be a quick bounce-back. Heyward... 'nuff said. The catchers are terrible offensively. Zo isn't hitting.

    Think about this: without big hits from Fowler and Rizzo in Milwaukee, they are 0-5 on this road trip.

    Add to that the pitchers have been good but not superhuman like they were in the beginning of the year and the cracks in the Cubs are pretty apparent.

    Then you have the Cardinals. An outstanding team that got off to an ice cold start. Everything is now clicking for them and making up ground in both the run differential and the W/L. It's a problem.

    Why do I think it will turn out badly? The Cubs had a chance to end their season in that series. Instead they flung the door open and said: "Come on in guys, let's make this a race!" That rarely ends well.

  • Jason Heyward 2015 Highlights

    https://youtu.be/l80RtDaKQwM?t=74

  • When a team is slumping offensively it is time to play some small ball. Joe just refuses to do that. I really don't know why so against it.

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    In reply to AzChris:

    He's against it because he's in the NL and a lot of NL teams play small ball from time to time. He refuses to just be "another" manager hence one of the reasons he was so successful in Tampa was he was one of the very very few AL managers ( prob only one in AL east) who would play small ball. Unfortunately his ego make sure he has to the "mad genius "

  • I wonder what the Cubs record is when they're televised on ESPN?

  • I remember last years cubs team was much more gritty.They led mlb in comeback wins,had a winning record in 1 run games,beat the good teams.This years team started off strong because of a weak schedule and has been pretty average ever since,can't hit even below average pitching,arrieta has regressed and I'm genuinely starting to get concerned.Some one said the white sox as bad as they've been could take 3 out of the 4 games the way the cubs have been playing and that's a strong possibility.This team is not as good as their record indicates

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    In reply to bolla:

    They beat Pittsburgh 5 of 6 early, Cards 4 of 6 (on the road) and swept Washington. It wasn't an easy schedule.

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    Why pull Hendricks so early. Let him get out his troubles. Hows he's going to learn come playoff time. I am pretty confident he would of finished the inning w out giving up a run. Max, he would have given up 1 IMO>

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Because the mad genius pulls Hendricks more quickly than any of the other starters.

  • In reply to AzChris:

    Hammel has as short a leash as Hendrick's.

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    In reply to stix:

    Hammel has deserved his short leash but Hendricks deserves the benefit of the doubt.

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    In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    LOL< walk after walk after walk.......now we a base hit away from being out of this game completely...................

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Joe wanted the lefty lefty match up 4 batters down the road.

  • Sometimes there may be something to be said for knowing what portion you are going to play when your on your way to the game...

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    Ichiro 3 hits from 3000 !!

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    In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    He can still run at over 40. Wish we had him on our bench

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Wish we had him in rf over the mad grounder

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    ^^^^^!!!!!^^^^↑^

  • I think it's time Maddon stops bouncing the line around so much. Guys are slump and can't get any rhythm!!!! Put the guys where they were at the beginning of the year and stick with it!!!! Bump Bryant and Rizzo down one and get Zobrist out of the clean up position. Leave Russell near the middle, leave Montero out of the line up and if (NO MEANS OF MINE OF HIM EVEN PLAYING) he plays Heyward bat him last!!!!!!

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    Everyone on here really needs to get a grip. The team had three terrible weeks before the break, and otherwise have played at a very strong clip. If they have issues to work out, I'm glad it's happening now. I want them to peak in late September and October.

  • In reply to John Winter:

    Lets look at the facts the team started 25-6. Since then if tonite they lose they are 34-34. That is 68 games which is over 2 months of playing average to bad. This team has issues and I'm with you that I hope they peak in September but it certainly has been longer than 3 weeks that they have played poorly.

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    In reply to AzChris:

    The three weeks before the break, they were 6-15. The rest of the 68-game stretch of supposed mediocrity you mention, they would now be 28-19. That's a 95+ win pace. So, yes, it was three terrible weeks.

  • In reply to John Winter:

    Im not going to argue with you three terrible weeks then some better weeks but overall after the first month this is essentially a .500 team and my expectations as a fan is to be playing better than .500. During a season you have ups and downs for sure.

  • In reply to AzChris:

    Without the streak when they went 5-15 or something like that they are 29-19 since their fast start. That's not bad. That 20 game stretch is where they tanked just before the all star game.

  • In reply to John Winter:

    THIS....I'd rather their slumps happen now in June/July then for them to go and have a September collapse or tank in the postseason.

  • In reply to John Winter:

    I agree about not panicking, but that being said...we are finally getting healthy and we probably have the team we will have when the playoffs begin. So Maddon needs to stop the constant tinkering...

  • I would play Montero and Ross only when Arrieta and Lester pitch. All other times put the kid back there so he gains major league experience.

  • We really need Soler's juice in lineup. So many wanted to move him, but we miss his power bat and I can't wait til he gets back.

  • In reply to TTP:

    I think they need to let Chapman hit. They can't pay him so much to sit:-)

  • Made shields look like bob gibson tonight like I thought.The cubs cannot hit they struggle vs 4-5 starters I seriously hope this isn't 2008 all over again.

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    I know this is Cubs Den but I am a huge Ichiro fan. He went 1-5 and now has 2997 hits.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I'm ready to overpay for him too

  • Heyward can't hit a HR in a little league field.

  • In reply to stix:

    It's time for him to get an extended stay on the bench. Defensive sub in late innings with lead.

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    In reply to TTP:

    its time for him to work w John and the other in extended spring training in AZ

  • In reply to TTP:

    Totally agree with you but will Joe have the stones to make such a move.

  • In reply to AzChris:

    It was easy to ignore him when things were going good. Not now.

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    In reply to Calicubby:

    We have to find a replacement for him. Maybe if he sits for awhile and works on his stroke kind of like Castro did those few weeks when he was benched.

    I mean how could it hurt? Could he get any worse? Its not like he's going to lose trade value?

  • In reply to AzChris:

    Joe really doesn't seem to have the stones to stand up to any vets. I wonder if they have Lester working on throws to first, or explaining to him that he can step off the rubber when someone leads off first, just daring Lester to do something. It's time to give Bryant a rest, here and there. Also Joes man Zo, needs to sit awhile and not be hitting 4th. Hopefully when Solar gets back.

  • i thought we just couldn't hit good pitching, but the sox have average pitiching and we can't hit. Should we start a go fund me page to dump j-hey?

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    Hate to say it but I have seen this baseball act in prior years. Hope we get to chapman in a save opportunity this year. Sorry but what a lack of any signs of a team wanting to win a penny today

  • Have you noticed the Sox have won 4 in a row since the blow up in clubhouse. Sometimes things like that unify a team.

  • This offensive anemia isn't all Heyward's fault. Zobrist is done. Montero is done. Fowler hasn't been the same since April. KB apparently is worst in MLB against the changeup. Situational hitting is non-existent. Rizzo is the only consistent light in the darkness.This staff reminds me too much of last year's StL staff - great composite numbers belie limited capabilities. I wish we saved our prospects for the offseason to fix that. Coupled with a healthy Schwarber, next year could be the right time to go for it. As it stands, Chapman may not pitch to a batter in October at this rate.

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    In reply to Stubbs:

    Yes, he will.

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    In reply to Stubbs:

    I don't know what's wrong with KB. His eye used to be so good, but now throw him a CU or slider down and away and he's swinging. He used to let those go, and it's not only him. We get a hit when we don't need it but with RISP we don't. I keep repeating that RISP--it was the problem last year and it is this year.

  • Wonder if Theo picked Chapman up to flip at the deadline for SP prospects. Essentially swap our strength for our weakness, using AC as a middleman.

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    In reply to Stubbs:

    Doubt it as the teams w starting pitching basically told the Yanks n Royals to get F'D for when they asked for the young pitching prospects for a rental. Guess top pitching prospects are worth much more then any other type of prospect in this trade market.

  • In reply to Stubbs:

    In all seriousness, he should see if a pkg of AC, Happ/Jimenez, Candelario + could yield a Urias or Giolito

  • In reply to Stubbs:

    That would be way too much for either of those 2

  • In reply to Stubbs:

    Paplebon just blew his 3rd save against the tribe too. they might be a bit more motivated

  • I'm gonna treat the Cubs like Illini basketball. As soon as they get good again, i'll start watching. I look like Lackey does after a bad inning. Cussing and yelling. I cannot take much more of this. I understand they're gonna lose games, but they have looked so inept 4 straight games against an average pitcher, 2 journeymen, and a washed up pitcher. Maybe this puts more emphasis on acquiring a LH left fielder like Reddick.

  • I expected the cubs to lose to sale but not gonzalez and shields.Last nights loss is even more frustrating now.

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