Game Post 4/19

Series preview can be found here.

Watch/Listen

Thursday 1:20pm: ABC 7 for the locals, MLB Network for the outsiders

All games can be heard on 670 The Score

Lineups

Cardinals

1. Dexter Fowler (S) RF
2. Harrison Bader (R) CF
3. Matt Carpenter (L) 2B
4. Marcell Ozuna (R) LF
5. Jose Martinez (R) 1B
6. Yadier Molina (R) C
7. Jedd Gyorko (R) 3B
8. Paul DeJong (R) SS
9. Luke Weaver (R) P
Cubs
1. Albert Almora (R) CF
2. Javy Baez (R) 2B
3. Kris Bryant (R) 3B
4. Anthony Rizzo (L) 1B
5. Willson Contreras (R) C
6. Kyle Schwarber (L) LF
7. Addison Russell (R) SS
8. Jason Heyward (L) RF
9. Jon Lester (L) P

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  • Good one to shakeup the batting order. Also, a good time to look for a new leadoff. Happ might need to start over in Iowa like Javy did.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Not to be negative with Ian, but he needs at bats, lots of them. He won't get them here and the Cubs can't wait for him to fine his groove. Happ has a good future, but is pretty far off his square right now.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I think you need to give Happ a lot more time before making a decision to send back to AAA.

  • This is for discussion sake only, NOT to be taken the wrong way, but................................

    What do you think will POSSIBLY turn out to be the more debilitating decision by Cubs Mgt.

    1. Giving up the potentially BEST prospect in baseball for a hit or miss Quintana who seems to have lost consistency even prior to coming to the Cubs (which was one of his best attributes)

    -or-

    2. Giving a ton of money to a pitcher, in Darvish, who when on has unhittable stuff but when off is woeful?

    My vote is easily the Q move. Jimienez is going to be a beast. Q had never pitched in a big game and had no scrutiny on the South Side and had struggled for much of the 2017 season prior to coming over. Too many risk factors for the price.

    Again this is all hypothetical so when Q has another outing where he goes 6-7, gives up 0 runs and strikes out 9, don't rush to bash. This is just my choice IF one or both turn to be poor decisions.

  • In reply to INSaluki:

    I agree with you if both of your worst case scenarios comes to pass. Stud prospects are rarer and therefore more valuable.

    I am too much of an optimist to think that both of your scenarios will be realized. I am not going to get too worked up over the poor performance of the starters until they are pitching in consistently warmer weather.

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    In reply to INSaluki:

    I think my answer is obvious.

    Here's the thing: I would love to know the internal decision making on bringing in Quintana, because they know more than I do and must have seen what you and I saw. So there must be some things we don't know about. Those things are important in evaluating the decision but it sure doesn't look good just now.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I have a tendency to overvalue prospects, so I am glad to hear you say this, as you are much more discerning.

    It appeared we overpaid relative to other offers based on performance. At the time of the deal, we were struggling and possibly going to fall out of the race; arguably the Q trade got the team going, though that is purely conjecture. But I think our front office had some desperation to make a move.

    I do think the front office may have bought too much into ceilings for our young offense (i.e., we don't need hitters, as Happ, Almora, Schwaber, Russell, Baez will all improve and w/ Bryant, Rizzo, Contreras, therefore Eloy, while incredibly good, is tradeable). Prospects of his caliber are not often traded (see link below, written before Eloy deal), so one would expect that any such trade would yield a guaranteed star (like the Chris Sale trade) rather than a pretty good #2 starter. At a minimum. with Eloy being given, seems we shouldn't have had to include Cease.

    https://www.mlb.com/news/biggest-mlb-prospects-traded-in-recent-history/c-210477932

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I agree with you that Q's performance thus far has been disappointing but it's very early and it's hard to make sound judgments given this historically cold April. That being said, what were our alternatives really besides maybe punting the 2017-18 seasons. I think everyone hear would've rather had chris sale, archer, stroman, or gerrit cole. But stroman and archer are still on their teams for a reason despite multiple teams inquiring on them and reportedly the white sox and pirates didn't want to trade franchise icons like sale and gerrit cole to the cubs. I think cole realistically would've been my ideal target as I've always loved his stuff plus I felt his value was a little lower than it should be given his off year last season. That being said, we know the cubs are probably the last team in the world that the pirates want to deal with and even Cole himself has some bad blood with the cubs organization saying they're essentially overrated. I'm sure Houston was a much preferred destination from the pirates and coles perspective.

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    In reply to kkhiavi:

    Here's the thing: according to reporting at the time the same was true of Quintana (Reinsdorf didn't want him going to the Cubs) until no other team would give the White Sox what they wanted so finally the Cubs were asked in. That there is a scary thing. If that's true -- and it sure fits the facts -- that alone should have made the front office question whether their assessment of Quintana was right.

    The worst case is that Eddie Butler/Mike Montgomery is the fifth starter and Jimenez is ready to replace Heyward this year. That rotation doesn't have the sexy names of the current rotation, but I'd argue for the team it's a better solution to compete THIS YEAR. And that's assuming Jimenez can't pry away a better starter. (For example, Verlander with a lot of money covered.)

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Yeah I think Theo and most educated cubs fans knew that we were getting Q at a surplus value but I think the FO's perspective was that they weren't going to sign more than one mega starter so they felt that they needed to make a trade if a relatively fair one was available in order to secure their rotation in the 2017-18 seasons. Q was the best starter available at this timing.

    I must admit that given our OF struggles last year and so far this year, I think Theo may have underestimated how big our organizational need for OF's really was and that's why we may very well be kicking ourselves for trading an elite upside OF like Jimenez. The one thing that I disagree with is that I think that the Butler/montgomery tandem is a big fall off from Q and Darvish. I understand that our rotations off to a really bad start but these guys have only started 3 games and frankly Q got blown up against the braves on one of the worst days to pitch that I've ever seen. From an innings pitched standpoint alone, there's a huge upgrade there. I'm chalking this start up to a small sample size but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed with our pitchers starts to the season.

    On a completely separate note, I'm starting to get a little nervous about Theo's recent tendency to sacrifice the long term for the short term with the chapman and Quintana trades in addition to all the money we spent this offseason on another 30+ year old starter in Darvish. It almost feels like he's doing everything he can to maximize our WS chances the next 3-4 years before he leaves to take on a new challenge. I hope this isn't the case because I've certainly noticed a very aggressive approach to building the roster these past couple of years.

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    In reply to kkhiavi:

    I'm assuming Darvish is still there because Butler/Montgomery still gives them the money to sign him.

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    In reply to kkhiavi:

    And I think where a lot of the disagreement people have with me on this comes from is I believe (and believed before the trade last year) that Quintana is the single most overrated player in baseball. He looks outstanding in the statistics but the statistics never tell the whole story. And I think a lot of baseball teams have forgotten that.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I for one wouldn't think we had much of a WS chance with Chatwood and that tandem as our 4-5 starters especially given Chatwood's erratic start to the year and inconsistency throughout his career. You maybe very right on Q though my experience watching him with the white sox is that he eats innings, yields a solid ERA and FIP, but seems to unfold in big moments in tight games which he had a lot of with the white sox. I think he's better than he's shown so far this year and in last years NLCS where he pitched both games on 3 days rest, but he has to be better because that trades looking like a big win for the sox.

    I'm kinda with you in that I thought at the time that the cubs organization needed to reload at last years trade deadline as we just don't have much help coming from the minors right now although they still made a nice run. Like I said I hope all these recent moves aren't a precursor to Theo joining another organization and leaving the cubs to decide which young players they want to keep around for the long haul.

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    In reply to kkhiavi:

    I think you could argue either way on whether this is Theo on his way out. If it IS his way out and he plans to leave whoever takes over with an aging team and no minor league system.... Let's say that would actively impact my opinion of him.

    Going back to Q: you mention his habit of unfolding in big moments. That's my observation on him, too. But that's exactly where I'm going. If he unfolds in big moments, does it really matter if he gives up the lead in a big inning or Montgomery gives it up bleeding over multiple innings? And EVERY playoff start is a big moment. If the pitcher you're counting on to help carry you to the World Series struggles in high pressure moments... (For example, NLCS Game 5.)

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Yeah I would be too I feel like Tom Ricketts has gone out of his way to keep Theo happy so we don't have a repeat of what happened in Boston. To me we have a ton of organizational stability from ownership down so I hope Theo remembers that when it's time to discuss his next contract.

    As for Q, agreed but that being said it's tough not to unfold in big moments sometimes when you're getting 1-2 runs a game like he did with the white sox. My opinion is still if he pitches like pre-2017 Q then he should win a lot of games with the cubs even if he's not an ace. What he's done so far with the cubs though hasn't resembled the pitcher I saw with the white sox for the most part and that's why he's deservedly being ridiculed. I still maintain that he has a very long way to go in his cubs career so hopefully he can prove some of us wrong. I think he has the talent to turn things around and hopefully Q getting closer to Free agency gives him the motivation to pitch his best ball as it has for many athletes that have come before him.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Were would Heyward be going? He is not going to opt out. You have Eddie Butler/Mike Montgomery as your 5th starter and Chatwood at number 4. You would need a 12 man bullpen because those 3 can't throw strikes.

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    In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    He's the world's most expensive fourth outfielder. It's sad but that's where he has played himself. Hell, the way Schwarber is playing Jimenez could replace him, too.

    I get that it seems like a downgrade but, forget about stuff (Q is better), in terms of actual results, do Butler/Montgomery really provide worse results than Q? He's kept the Cubs in about 3/4 of his starts. That's pretty much what you'd get from Montgomery.

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    In reply to kkhiavi:

    Also: I do think they should have punted last year and Theo had said if they didn't go on that run, they were punting. So they made the Quintana trade fully expecting to trade Arrieta/Davis in a few weeks. If they'd punted, there's no telling what they get from those two to stock up for this year.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Definitely agree that in retrospect we may have been better off punting and I for one was certainly in favor of it at the all star break just because of how depleted our farm systems become recently with trades and players getting promoted to the majors. That being said I definitely didn't think we would be playing in the NLCS for a chance at going to another WS so it's not like Theo was wrong here either.

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    I have read multiple comments on "the cold" being a factor. Well that should be used when determining to trade, or pay, for a player. It's all about the playoffs and WS and, guess what, it's almost ALWAYS cold in October and November so if they can't pitch in the cold, they shouldn't be in Chicago, NY, MIN, etc. IMO of course

  • In reply to INSaluki:

    See to me it somewhat depends. The weather that we are seeing thus far this year has been historic and I wouldn't even define it as October weather. But if a player can't play in under 50 degrees then yes it's hard to see them as a consistent performer in October. Jorge Soler comes to mind as a guy that struggled mightily in the cold.

  • In reply to INSaluki:

    Well, that train has left the station! My only regret at this point is that the Cubs could only trade Eloy once.

  • In reply to INSaluki:

    I think Quintana is much better than you give him credit for. Until the prospects are performing in the majors at a high level they are still just a prospect.

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    I don't know about you guys, but I cleared my afternoon today and am very excited about this game and lineup.

    I am expecting Lester to come up w a big performance, but its going to come down to taking advantage of scoring opportunities and strong bullpen work !

    Cubs win this game 5-3

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    I'm apprehensive about the game and season. I'd rather be excited, but I'm not there yet.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I've had thousands of games and dozens of seasons when I'm less-than-confident of success, but never apprehensive. Play Ball!

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Always like a good Cubs vs Cardinals game.

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    I heard on the radio that this is John Lester's 100th start as a Cub. He has been worth the money we paid him. What I don't understand is that the peak years of players used to be between 28-32. Now it's barely up to 30. We see many players though that do very well after 30. I don't advocate signing many that are over 30, but through 32 or 33 isn't bad.
    I'm also glad that Albert A is in there against a righty. I've said it before--let him play for a few weeks in a row and let him know that the job is his so he doesn't have to worry every time he strikes out.
    C'mon John, don't throw so many pitches!

  • El Mag... Ugh.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Um, El Mago!

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    In reply to BarleyPop:

    Javy hates singles!

  • Baez haters shhhhhhhhhhhh. He's the cubs best player whether you like it or not.Keep silencing them javier

  • In reply to bolla:

    Coming around on Schwarber yet?

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    nope

  • In reply to bolla:

    That’s too bad. He’s going to have a big year when it is all said and done.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    I really hope so, but I'll believe it when I see it

  • I like the yin and yang of AA and El Mago batting 1,2.

  • Just to elaborate, lead off hitters, as we know it, are scArce.
    Maybe, it makes sense to bat your best hitter second. But the caveat is having a .370 guy in front of him.

    So y not throw that wild card, or cards that individually expose/set the table, for 3-6.

  • I've been hesitant to say it (for fear of jinxing a hot start), but with our never-ending search for a lead-off man, and Javy's seemingly improved approach... ?. I'd just love watching Javy consistently on base directly in front of Bryzzo. What fun, and his antics on the base paths I think would rattle the pitcher, further benefiting good hitters behind him.

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    In reply to BarleyPop:

    I was actually thinking that myself.

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    In reply to BarleyPop:

    While he's hot, there is no reason not to put him in the 2 hole and keep him there. Get him as many ABs as he can plus the protections in front of KB/Rizzo ( like he needs it, LOL)

  • This is weird. This is the kind of lineup all other managers would start for the Cubs. I wonder what Maddon is thinking.

  • Yes!!!! Cubs keep delivering with risp

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    Say hey Albert A
    You can bat 1st for me every day!!

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    In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Either him or Zorilla needs to be in the leadoff spot in 95%+ of the remaining games

  • Great to see Almora come up with a big hit. I'll be the first to say I'm skeptical of his skillset vs RHP's in general and even more skeptical about him as a leadoff hitter but all I know is we can't continue to put Happ in the leadoff spot with the way he's struggling.

  • The Cubs are playing baseball!! Hooray!

    And that was a 3 run HR sans the wind.

  • Also want to point out that Baez looks to me like the most improved player on the roster. I know he still swings wildly at times but I'm really seeing a ton of improvement in his approach from a process standpoint. This is just what I'm seeing but he seems to be walking more, fouling off more 2 strike pitches and much better with his 2 strike approach in general. If the lights turning on for him and he's starting to master this level then watch out he maybe the best player on this roster besides maybe Bryant

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    It’s easy to downplay the leap he has made, but THAT is a major league approach he is showing.
    Something that, as I said recently, is in a lineup with 3 proven hitters (Bryzzo and Zobrist).
    Any way u paint it, this is a team of kids offensively. Some proven, some not; Some with SSS and some with more.
    Point being, this is not 2016, they can’t replicate that. They have signed no one to extensions and developed no pitching (How important would Godley be right now, a virtual throw in fo eating MM’s contract).
    They can identify good pitching, but some might say they have failed at identifying it, let alone developing it, in their system.

  • One pitcher, like Godley, would have been HUGE.
    I can’t fault them for Q or Yu, without considering that. But, one pitcher developed in 6 years has cost them; in extensions. I mean, considering the need to stay under the cap until next year, they/we are counting on a lot to go right.
    An unproven Schwarber (considering actual healthy MLB time, Russell’s peripherals, AA hitting RHers, Happ adjusting. El Mago taking that leap and Contreras being a core guy.

  • It's a clinic today.Hope they can keep this up

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    This is 2016 all over again. I should know better, but when I saw Weaver throwing 95 or 96 I thought that why don't the Cubs have hard throwers like that? Well, one reason is that they can be hit. I think a better curve or splitter is better than a fast ball, especially if it's a straight one.
    Like real estate, it's location, location, location.
    I agree with kkhiavi, Javy looks much much better this year. I can't remember him going so often to RF. One time he did is when Manny was in Iowa and telling him to do that. He could be our MVP this season.

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    What are the odds our friend who proclaimed Lester would get smoked shows up sometime today or the near future?

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Did he ever accept my terms on the wager he challenged me with about the Cubs finishing .500? I'll have to go back and look. I have a gut feeling, but he could prove me wrong.

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    In reply to BarleyPop:

    I can't even count how many wagers I offered him, even willing to give him odds. No chance in heck the Cubs don't win the division, don't finish ahead of the Cards, and finish below .500?

    Come on, he can't be serious w those thoughts

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Oh, he'll show up. He's unapologetic. Something, something, lucky, the better didn't win, something, something, worst team in baseball. Pretty close right?

  • I know we are all loving the progress being shown by El Mago, and I'm shouting as loud as anyone, but anyone who thinks he is the best player on the team should pay attention to this Bryant kid.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I think Bryant could very well be the second best player in baseball.

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    In reply to TC154:

    I can't go there, but he could be in the top 5.

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Since the day KB came up the only player to accumulate more WAR is Mike Trout. That's the second best player in the game to me.

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    In reply to TC154:

    WAR is overrated and has its flaws

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    WAR is not perfect but it is the best we have. Before WAR people used their "gut feelings" and stats like RBI, WL records. WAR is an improvement.

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    In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    WAR is an attempt to put the contributions of a player into a single number. As such, yes it has flaws. The fact that bWAR and fWAR have to be specified because they use somewhat different formulas indicates that. But I believe it is a better measure of a players contribution to his teams success, or lack thereof, than most, if not all, others.

    The "eye-ball" test is also overrated and has its flaws. OPS, wRC+, OPS+, W, L, S, K, BB, HR (hit and allowed) all have their flaws and can be overrated.

    I work with engineers in manufacturing. In it we discuss "tolerance" a great deal. This is something I consider when looking at WAR. If 2 players are really close (like within 0.5 WAR) they are probably roughly equal in their contribution. However, when the difference starts getting to be more than 1 I think it is likely a true indication of a real difference in contribution. It is crude but I look at is as a +/- 20% if the WAR is below about 2-3, and +/- 10% or so if the WAR gets above about 3. I am not basing these numbers on any particular study of them so you can apply whatever tolerance you would like, but just something I like to keep in mind when I am looking at WAR.

  • In reply to TC154:

    Somehow, both Bryant and Trout are underrated.

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    Since 2015 in WAR

    Trout- 27
    KB- 21.5
    Altuve- 19.1
    Harper- 18.4

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    In reply to BarleyPop:

    When I said he could be our MVP I might have temporarily forgotten about KB. My bad.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    That wasn't meant to you, Jonathan. Javy could well be our 2018 MVP. I predicted him to finish top-15 in the NL last season. I may have been a year early.

    Bryant is so smooth and predictably good he can be overlooked, which is a shame. And he continues to improve, which is a joy.

    I've actually thought about who is the best pure baseball player on this team. I think it clearly comes down to two players, and I know who I pick. But I think the debate is closer than many want to admit.

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    In reply to BarleyPop:

    My preference is strongly for Kris Bryant, but not in a way meant to disparage Javy. When he is on Javy is an absolute joy to watch. To me KB is what I call a "text book" player. He seldom makes a mental error. He takes the extra base when it is offered but doesn't give us TOOTBLANs. He is very steady.

    Javy is more electric. When he is on you can't look away. Sometimes he tries to do too much but it has more to do with him, somehow, overestimating his abilities. But he also has a clearer understanding of how much he can do. This means he will run through some stop signs. But more often than not he scores because of prodigious ability AND extraordinary knowledge of where the fielder is, what direction and how hard he is running, how fast Javy is, what slides are in his repertoire, etc.

    To my untrained eye I would say Javy is more talented than KB, if talent were something that could be "counted/quantified." I prefer KBs steadier production and style. But both are extremely talented players.

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    I know its probably universal here, but we all want to see Javy finish his career off in Cubbie blue right? Don't you think it might be a good idea to start talking extension w him? He's about to be a papi, so maybe this is the right time. I doubt he's going to want to get every freaking dollar like KB/Boras so I say lets get it done !

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    I am not necessarily on the same page. Even when he was hitting .190 just a few days ago, everyone was up in arms bc he hit 4 HR's. I don't care about HR's, I don't' care about WAR...you know what I care about??....WINS !!!!!

    Javy showed that during the NLDS and NLCS of 2016 that, when he isn't swinging at everything, can be one of the most dangerous players in the game PERIOD. He then followed that up with one of the ugliest WS I have ever seen. That is, to date, who he has been. Now if he shows he can keep doing this for the entire season (say hit .270 have an OBP above .330) and do the rest of the AMAZING things he does, then yes sign that dude up. Otherwise, if he goes back to the old Javy, I'd consider trading him or another one of the younger players for pitching which we will obviously need soon.

  • In reply to INSaluki:

    And in the midst of the ugliness he went deep in Game 7.

  • In reply to INSaluki:

    I think we are watching the progression of an elite player. He has had ups and downs, and his progress has been slower than we would like. I'm not making excuses, but these players are human. Javy has dealt with some off-field issues, not self-created, that have slowed his progress.

    He is showing a more disciplined approach at the plate. He has been streaky but I think the good times are becoming more extended and the funks less so, the very definition of progress in a young hitter.

    We need to hang onto Baez. He is a core member of this team, and only now beginning to come into his own. The Cubs' FO has been wheeling and dealing the last few years, and every team wanted Javy. We have been smart to keep him, and I'll enjoy watching him for at least the next few years.

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    In reply to INSaluki:

    I get where your coming from, but I think Javy is the type of player you don't trade, cannot trade. His potential is too great. It's superstar level. How sick would we all be if he's winning GG's, silver sluggers, and finishing in top 5 MVP votes for ANOTHER TEAM.

    You just have to get a king ransom for him ( even then I am skeptical ) or you just ride w him thru the ups n downs......

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    He seems like a good player to target for a team-friendly deal. He was drafted in 2011, and did get a $2.6m signing bonus, so he has some money. He has this year and then three years of arbitration. I go back and forth, but at this point I prefer him over Russell, even more when you consider Russell is represented by Boras. The only question is would Baez be willing to sign now or wait until free agent? Contreras strikes me as another player they could lock down under a team friendly deal.

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    If those actually watching the game, did that O'neil guy for the cards make you think Stanton/Judge are midgets?

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Oh, heck, Jim. You must not have seen Greg's earlier comments.

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    In reply to BarleyPop:

    I did, thats what I am referring to

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    In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    He actually seemed a lot like this month's version of Stanton. ;)

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    It says he's 5'11"?

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    In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    I know. That's what I was tell Mr. Simmons, that how can a guy thats 5'11 ever make Stanton look small?

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Again, another one that sailed over my head. I'll try to improve my approach, but I'm on the wrong side of 30.

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    In reply to BarleyPop:

    It's all good. Simmons is getting so excited rt now. He's go his Voo Doo doo doc cards smoking n praying Cubs blow up this inning so he can at least say he was right about something.

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Oh ok got it LOL

  • Bad decision to bring Butler in there. He is NOT a late inning reliever. There are like 5 better choices at that point than him. The pen is completely rested. Now we have a game.

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    CJ Edwards is nails

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    That was the kind of 9th inning I love, really love.

    Easy 1-2-3 inning

  • W

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