Series Preview: Cubs at Cleveland (4/24-4/25)

The Cubs are back in Cleveland for the first time since they did the thing. It is a nice time to reflect on that for us as fans, but the Cubs need to start piling wins in a row. Kris Bryant is reportedly feeling fine and took swings this afternoon. He is not going to start today, and so there is still a slight holding of breath until he is taking healthy cuts in the batters box when it counts.

The secret to a Cubs win streak remains the starting pitching. The Cubs have gotten strong performances from each of the Cubs starting five, but consecutive good outings either by each starter or back to back days has remained elusive. Tyler Chatwood has shown all the promise and frustration that netted him the kind of deal he got this offseason. He needs to make a dangerous Cleveland lineup earn it. Jon Lester has thrown a couple of clunkers against also rans and been the bulldog the Cubs count on against potential playoff teams. Hopefully, a trip back to Cleveland will keep Lester at his best.

Joe Maddon seems to have settled on a top of the order with Kris Bryant's injury the only thing preventing 1-4 remaining the same for over a series. Ian Happ gets back into the lineup with the DH providing an extra spot. The injury to Bryant and the DH alleviates the Cubs suddenly having too many hitters to get into the lineup on a daily basis. I also look for big things from Kyle Schwarber whenever he is in Ohio.


Tuesday: 5:10 pm CT on WGN/670AM

Wednesday: 6:10 pm CT on NBC Sports Chicago/ESPN/670AM



  1. Albert Almora Jr. (R) CF
  2. Javier Baez (R) 2B
  3. Anthony Rizzo (L) 1B
  4. Willson Contreras (R) C
  5. Tommy La Stella (L) 3B
  6. Kyle Schwarber (L) DH
  7. Addison Russell (R) SS
  8. Jason Heyward (L) RF
  9. Ian Happ (S) LF
  10. Tyler Chatwood (R) P


  1. Francisco Lindor (S) SS
  2. Jason Kipnis (L) 2B
  3. Jose Ramirez (S) 3B
  4. Yonder Alonso (L) 1B
  5. Edwin Encarncion (R) DH
  6. Tyler Naquin (L) RF
  7. Roberto Perez (R) C
  8. Bradley Zimmer (L) CF
  9. Rajai Davis (S) LFs
  10. Josh Timlin (R) P

Bullpen Usage


via Baseball Press.

Opposing pitchers

Scouting Reports from Brooks Baseball.

Josh Tomlin: Josh Tomlin has thrown 13,026 pitches that have been tracked by the PITCHf/x system between 2010 and 2018, including pitches thrown in the MLB Regular Season, the MLB Postseason and Spring Training. In 2018, he has relied primarily on his Cutter (84mph), Fourseam Fastball (87mph) and Curve (74mph). He also rarely throws a Change(83mph) and Sinker (86mph).

His cutter comes in below hitting speed, results in somewhat more flyballs compared to other pitchers' cutters and has strong cutting action. His fourseam fastball comes in below hitting speed, results in more flyballs compared to other pitchers' fourseamers, has some natural sinking action and has slight armside run. His curve generates a high number of swings & misses compared to other pitchers' curves, has below average velo, has a sharp downward bite, results in somewhat more flyballs compared to other pitchers' curves and has slight glove-side movement. His sinker (take this with a grain of salt because he's only thrown 8 of them in 2018) is so slow that it is substantially gravitational, is basically never swung at and missed compared to other pitchers' sinkers, is an extreme flyball pitch compared to other pitchers' sinkers and has slight armside run. His change (take this with a grain of salt because he's only thrown 8 of them in 2018) results in more flyballs compared to other pitchers' changeups and has slight armside fade. 

Mike's Thoughts: Game 6 loser has had a very rough 2018. His 8 ERA is currently better than his strikeout, walk, and home run numbers suggest he should be. His numbers have been trending in the wrong way for years and his velocity has lost another tick which he didn't have to spare. The Cubs offense will either feast or it will be incredibly frustrating night in Cleveland.

Trevor Bauer:Trevor Bauer has thrown 13,404 pitches that have been tracked by the PITCHf/x system between 2012 and 2018, including pitches thrown in the MLB Regular Season, the MLB Postseason and Spring Training. In 2018, he has relied primarily on his Fourseam Fastball (94mph) and Curve (79mph), also mixing in a Slider (83mph) and Change(88mph). He also rarely throws a Sinker (94mph) and Cutter (89mph).

His fourseam fastball results in more flyballs compared to other pitchers' fourseamers and has slightly above average velo. His curve has an exceptional bite and is a real worm killer that generates an extreme number of groundballs compared to other pitchers' curves. His slider sweeps across the zone, has exceptional depth and results in many more groundballs compared to other pitchers' sliders. His change has an obvious armside fade, is much firmer than usual, results in somewhat more groundballs compared to other pitchers' changeups and has some natural sink to it. His sinker (take this with a grain of salt because he's only thrown 19 of them in 2018) has well above average velo, results in somewhat more groundballs compared to other pitchers' sinkers and has slight armside run. His cutter (take this with a grain of salt because he's only thrown 4 of them in 2018) has heavy sink, is basically never swung at and missed compared to other pitchers' cutters, is an extreme flyball pitch compared to other pitchers' cutters and has strong cutting action.

Mike's Thoughts: I don't want to drone on here about game 5 loser Trevor Bauer. He has always been a well thought of pitcher with quirky beliefs that extend to everything including how a pitcher prepares for a start. It is difficult to place a finger on why this year the pieces have seem to come together. His walk and strikeout rates are not actually at career best, but for once he is outpitching his "peripherals" suggesting that perhaps the deep Cleveland staff might have another front line pitcher.


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  • fb_avatar

    Another game where Albert A and Javy lead off. Thank you Joe. I think today Chatwood has a good game; I'm being positive. The Cubs have won 3 of the last 4 games with good offense and great defense in CF. This is the way we've won before and can do it again.
    Go Cubs!!

  • I'm in Cleveland on business and the weather is a bit ugly. It's been raining but not very hard so far, so hopefully we get this in. I really would like to see a good game out of Chatwood. I've yet to see what a lot of folks see in him. Walks kill.

  • In reply to TC154:

    I see some filthy stuff, probably the best in the rotation, without command. The Jake comp is over-used, but I see similarities. He won't get there, nobody will, but I'll be happy with a fraction of that. The Cubs saw it too which is why they went so aggressively and early. I'd rather have a guy with filthy stuff and without command that vice-versa. The command can improve with coaching and improved weather, and I believe it will. But you are right, walks kill. Our entire starting rotation's WHIP is not good, but I expect it to get better.

    As for today's game, Baez and Russell are up the middle, Schwarber is at DH, and Heyward is in RF with the possibility of a rain delay in Cleveland. We got this.

    Go Cubs!

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I get it BP, the stuff is nasty at times but then he gets himself into trouble. No one wants him to succeed more than I. Clearly I value pitching.

  • In reply to TC154:

    Smile, TC. Schwarber just launched a missile.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    You know it. My boy Bam Bam! Willson’s Wasn’t too shabby either

  • chatwood = meh

  • In reply to CubfanInUT:

    Not thrilled with 5 BB in 6 innings

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    Wow! Schwarbs just punished the ball and hit it into the RF stands that left his bat at 117 mph. HIs value is growing every day and I don't mean only in trade but as he gets better so do we. Now he's hitting like he did 2 years ago.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    That was stupid!!!! An absolute missile.

    Love me some Schwarbs.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    He’s starting to look like who I’ve thought he was, a dang good hitter.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    Did you notice the Cubs fan who was right there trying to catch that rocket, and he wisely pulled his hand away at the last second?

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    Can someone explain to me how a pitcher is wild? Take Chatwood e.g. Is he trying to be too fine and just pitch outside the lines or does he really not know where the ball is going? When he misses he really misses. Why not try and throw strikes? Throw it down the middle and then if he misses he might hit the lines. It gets me especially when he faces a .220 hitter--just throw strikes!!

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Only three starters are over .220. Not many he should walk.

  • In the credit where credit is due department, the Cleveland announcers are solid. Most other team’s guys make me want to claw my eyes out.

  • fb_avatar

    Schwarbenator did it again

  • fb_avatar

    Opposite field for it

    Just wish there were some runners on hit 4 homers, it usually a blow out

  • fb_avatar

    Cant stand leadoff walks to sub .175 hitters

  • fb_avatar

    Game is official now......rain can come if it wants

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Been rainy for over three hours. It already came just not hard enough for a delay/cancellation, yet.

  • Schwarber thrives as a DH(which is what he is) hopefully he bounces back at the plate his season and has all the great sabermetric stats dweebs love so the cubs can trade him asap :)

  • In reply to bolla:

    I still say he has the potential to be one of the best all around hitters in the game. The fielding will always be mediocre but he’ll more than make up for it. My favorite Cubs player and I don’t want to see him go anywhere.

  • In reply to TC154:

    I thought baez was your favorite cubs player?

  • In reply to bolla:

    You have me confused. I’m encouraged by Javy’s numbers but I was a trade him guy once. I was wrong. Schwarber has always been my guy. I’m sure people will back me up on that.

  • In reply to TC154:

    Yea I definitely have you confused.There's another poster with T in their s/n he loves baez. That's ironic I'm a baez guy and think schwarber should be traded

  • In reply to bolla:

    Don’t get me wrong, Java has always been a joy to watch play. I just wondered if he would reach his ceiling and his floor had trade value. I’d be mad to have either guy go now though. Now Russell...

  • In reply to TC154:

    Jump aboard the Schwarber train, TC, or have you been driving it? I got your back:

    "Fireman screams,
    But the engine just gleams."

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Well played sir, well played.

  • In reply to TC154:

    Thank you. I don't know how many people got that, and I post some weird stuff, but I was proud of that one.

    Great tune, and I found a nice version on YouTube of the original track played over video out the window of a train, perhaps travelling through the Great Plains? Stunning concept and good audio. Check it out, Dead fans.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I caught that... Nicely done BP!

  • In reply to bolla:

    Jump on the train, Bolla. He ain’t going anywhere. There’s room. C’mon and don’t wait.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    All jokes aside I've been encouraged by schwarber and heywards hitting so far. They Both have looked much better than 2016(heyward) and 2017(schwarber)

  • Before todays game schwarber in 63 pa's as a DH 304/365/661 5 HR 15 RBI they can add 2 more hr's and rbi's to that total.

    it's time to end the schwarber experiment and move him to the AL permanently sorry

  • In reply to bolla:


  • In reply to rbrucato:


  • In reply to bolla:

    Which AL team needs him and has what you want in return?

  • In reply to stix:

    I don't know I have to scout some AL teams get back to you in late june/early july

  • In reply to bolla:

    I am sure I speak for many others here when I say it's good Theo and Jed run the Cubs and you don't.

  • The same Theo and jed who traded a top 5 prospect for a #4 starter who is a mental midget? lol

  • In reply to bolla:

    Sorry I will still take their track record over yours lol

  • In reply to bolla:

    Schwarber is a commitment, not an experiment. He's going to be a great, great hitter and a decent left fielder.

  • fb_avatar

    I saw on MLB trade rumors that both the Cubs and Cards had scouts at TB the other day. I've lost my love for Archer. If we traded Schwarber I would want either a top of the line pitcher or a legit lead off man who could play LF.

  • I can't give Javy an all-caps or even an exclamation point, but that was a solid AB.

    RBI, El Mago.

  • So who here's holding up 5 fingers and has diabetes?

  • Oh GOD not justin wilson

  • fb_avatar

    Maybe Anthony is getting out his batting funk. That would be huge. Even though Albert has gone 1-5 (with an RBI) I hope we see him tomorrow. He’s learning to hit righties and provides GG defense. We probably have the best defense up the middle of any team in baseball.
    They say keep the line moving, well, keep the lineup the same—although I’d welcome KB back, LaStella has really done well this year.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I don't think I'm worried about Rizzo, yet. He has been amazingly consistent the last few years, but back injuries are scary and unpredictable. This could be a"oh, no" situation. I certainly hope not.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    If there is ANYTHING wrong with him, you can ALL blame me. I have a bad habit of jinxing my fantasy players (but only my first 2 rounders). I've taken studs such as Machado and turned him into crap. This year I drafted Goldschmidt and Rizzo in rounds 1 and 2 and Goldy has been striking out at a record pace, hitting less than .275 and has yet to steal a base. Meanwhile we all know what Rizzo has done to this point which is so unlike him. If this continues, I'll trade him and I'm sure that will fix what ails him. : )

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to INSaluki:

    Bad strategy taking 1st basemen early. 1B is a position where its easy to find offense

  • The biggest thing for me in the last few games is Heyward showing again, as I mentioned earlier in the season, that he is a different hitter this year. Going oppo quite a bit, driving it up the middle, etc. He definitely is passing the eye test. Also, you cannot discount what Schwarber is doing so far. If he can continue to avoid those large holes in his swing, he can be a huge boost to this offense. Still though, he is a career .229 hitter, even with hitting .300 this year so my expectations are somewhat tempered.

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