Cubs vs Giants: Series Preview (5/25-5/27)

(AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

(AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

After a promising road trip the Cubs stumbled at home losing two straight to the Indians. Especially frustrating was Wednesday's 1-0 loss, in which some questionable decisions short-circuited a late Chicago rally. They look to right the ship as the San Francisco Giants come to Wrigley for a three-game series.

The Giants have had a disappointing season after a big off-season makeover. Injuries to starters Madison Bumgarner and Johnny Cueto have been a big factor. The rest of the rotation has struggled badly. San Fran's best hitter in 2018 has been Brandon Belt, Belt is hitting .317 with 11 homers.

The Cubs inconsistent play has been frustrating early in the season. A sustained stretch of quality play has seemed to elude them. There have been excellent games and bursts of success for individual players, but things haven't totally come together. At some point it will happen, it has to happen eventually, will this be the weekend?

Watch/Listen

Friday: 1:20 pm CT on MLB Network/ABC-7/670AM

Saturday: 6:15 pm CT on FOX/670AM

Sunday: 7:08 pm CT on ESPN/670AM

Lineups

Giants

3. Buster Posey (R) C
4. Brandon Belt (L) 1B
5. Evan Longoria (R) 3B
7. Mac Williamson (R) LF
8. Kelby Tomlinson (R) 2B
9. Derek Holland (S) P

Cubs

1. Ben Zobrist (S) RF
3. Kris Bryant (R) 3B
4. Anthony Rizzo (L) 1B
6. Javier Baez (R) 2B
7. Ian Happ (S) LF
8. Addison Russell (R) SS

Bullpen Usage

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via Baseball Press.

Opposing pitchers

Scouting Reports from Brooks Baseball.

Derek HollandDerek Holland has thrown 20,334 pitches that have been tracked by the PITCHf/x system between 2009 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 (92mph) and Curve using a Knuckle Curve grip (80mph), also mixing in a Sinker(92mph), Slider (82mph) and Change (84mph).

His fourseam fastball results in more flyballs compared to other pitchers' fourseamers, has some natural sinking action, has essentially average velo and has slight armside run. His curve has very little depth, has primarily 12-6 movement, is much harder than usual and results in somewhat more flyballs compared to other pitchers' curves. His sinker has slight armside run and has slightly above average velo. His slider has primarily 12-6 movement, results in more flyballs compared to other pitchers' sliders and has less than expected depth. His change is basically never swung at and missed compared to other pitchers' changeups, results in more flyballs compared to other pitchers' changeups, has a lot of backspin and is slightly firmer than usual.

Sean's Note: The veteran lefty Holland has struggled in 2018, with a 4.94 ERA. He is an extreme fly ball pitcher, almost 50% of balls in play are in the air. Right handed hitters bat much better against him with significantly more power.

Chris StrattonChris Stratton has thrown 2,192 pitches that have been tracked by the PITCHf/x system between 2016 and 2018, including pitches thrown in the MLB Regular Season, Spring Training and Fall/Winter Ball. In 2018, he has relied primarily on his Fourseam Fastball (92mph), also mixing in a Curve (78mph), Slider (84mph), Change (84mph) and Sinker(91mph).

His fourseam fastball has less armside movement than typical and has essentially average velo. His curve has sweeping glove-side movement and has a sharp downward bite. His slider has exceptional depth, has short glove-side cut and results in somewhat more flyballs compared to other pitchers' sliders. His change has some natural sink to it. His sinker is basically never swung at and missed compared to other pitchers' sinkers and has surprisingly little armside run.

Sean's Note: Stratton is another pitcher with low ground ball rates. There is no significant platoon advantage for righties or lefties against him. He has been hit hard in May with an ERA over 6.

Ty BlachTy Blach has thrown 3,638 pitches that have been tracked by the PITCHf/x system between 2016 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 (90mph) and Change (80mph), also mixing in a Curve (76mph). He also rarely throws a Slider (79mph).

His fourseam fastball has heavy sinking action, is a real worm killer that generates an extreme number of groundballs compared to other pitchers' fourseamers, has essentially average velo and has slight armside run. His change generates a very high amount of groundballs compared to other pitchers' changeups, has slight armside fade, has slightly below average velo and has some natural sink to it. His curve is basically never swung at and missed compared to other pitchers' curves, generates a very high amount of groundballs compared to other pitchers' curves and has a sharp downward bite. His slider has exceptional depth, results in more flyballs compared to other pitchers' sliders and has below average velo.

Sean's Note: Blach is a pitch to contact guy with only a 10.4% strikeout rate. Unlike the first two Giants starters Blach induces a lot of ground balls. Both sides of the plate hit for a very high average against the lefty.

 

 

Comments

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  • I personally think that if Bumgarner and Cueto are healthy, and the Giants somehow sneak into the playoffs, they would not be a team I would want to face. Especially if Stratton returns to his earlier form, which is debatable now. Mac Williams returns to the lineup, and he has been a big upgrade for the in left.

  • Honey, it's Buster Posey!!!!!!

    Seriously, love watching this guy play. Probably my favorite non-Cub.

  • Jesse Rogers is reporting more lies from Theo Epstein: "Not surprisingly considering the time of year, Theo Epstein said today there have been "zero trade talks" between the Cubs and other teams. Any report to the contrary is false, according to Epstein."

    As we know from Jon Heyman, Machado is their top target.

  • In reply to Cubswin09:

    Yeah, yeah. Heyman and the rest of the media are in a Machado/Cubs frenzy. Theo says no. Duh.

    The headlines yesterday were all about Theo denying the deal, saying Cubs' management were "rolling their eyes" at such a move, and adding that the FO said they wouldn't pay a "premium" for a rental. That is all out of context, and lazy journalism.

    The Cubs FO are "rolling their eyes" at the voracity of the rumors this early in the season. They specified as much, but that doesn't get clicks. Depending on how this season plays out, we could absolutely acquire a rental or three. The definition of "premium" is up to the FO, and generates much debate and site traffic.

    We know the deal. We will be in to the end. I think we win the division, although this year may be a bit more difficult due to tougher competition. The FO is constantly monitoring the market, of course, but will pull the trigger when everyone has a clearer picture of the race and our needs.

    I know it makes for interesting dialog, but the reality is pretty simple.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I believe Theo. And I think Jon Heyman is a hack.
    I don't want Machado as a rental. Not if he's going to play SS. I don't mind trading Russell (I'd prefer not to because I like him), but not for 2 months of... anyone. And I definitely don't want Machado at SS. The Cubs have arguably the best defensive SS in the NL right now, and people want them to trade 3.5 years of him for 2 months of arguably the worst defensive SS in baseball. Granted, the bat is a massive upgrade. If they're getting a rental, give me Beltre, Donaldson, or Lowrie. Put Bryant in RF and leave Heyward for 9th inning defense from now until they can trade him.
    As for the offseason, honestly can't decide if I'd rather have Harper or Machado. If Machado insists on playing SS, then it's a no-brainer - give me Harper. If he'll play 3B, then I think I want him more than Harper.
    In my opinion: Russell (SS) & Harper (RF) > Machado (SS) & Heyward (RF) by a lot.

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    Heyman is not a hack. He’s a seasoned reporter with excellent sources who have told him the Cubs have made Machado their top priority.

  • In reply to Cubswin09:

    I'm not going to dig through his reports, but I've seen him be wrong quite frequently. If anyone has examples of news he's broken or rumors he's been right about, I'll gladly take my comment back. Really, the only national guy I trust is Rosenthal

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    I initially mis-read this and thought you said Rosenbloom.....
    After I fell off the chair I just had to tell you :)

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    I’m being snarky. He is a complete hack who just pulled his “report” out of his you know what.

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    He broke heyward to the cubs and several other mlb trades/signings. But hey what does he know.If some irrelevant bloggers say heyman is a "hack or click baiter" it must be true because you guys would know & your opinions matter without any concrete substance to back it up. Reality says otherwise, and what do y'all expect theo to say? "Yes machado is our top target and we intend on acquiring him via trade"

  • In reply to bolla:

    Gordon Wittenmyer (of all people) broke Heyward to the Cubs. And yesterday Theo all but said they've talked to Russell and told him not to worry about the trade rumors. If they really were targeting Machado, i'd expect Theo to be zipped up and shielded with his responses. Rather than outright laughing about it.
    All things considered, you're right. I don't know anything. But Russell for Machado makes zero sense. Jon Heyman, who has a history of being wrong, is the guy saying the Cubs are pursuing him. And Theo has publicly addressed it and said it's not happening. Of course anything could happen, but i'm going to believe Theo and not Jon Heyman.

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    No heyman broke it. That's a fact,wittenmeyer reported it afterwards. Heyman was the 1st person to report heyward to the cubs, and the worst thing any reporter/journalist can do is report fake news. That destroys credibility. I highly doubt jon heyman who has surpassed rosenthal as the #1 reporter in baseball would destroy his credibility by printing an article saying machado is the cubs target. I wouldn't trade russell for machado but I'd definitely trade schwarber,happ and some pitching prospects not named adbert alzolay for machado. Believe what you want, but it sounds foolish on anyone's part to question a respected baseball reporter because you don't believe a trade rumor.

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    In reply to Kramerica20:

    That's wrong. Heyman broke the Heyward signing first.

    This from the same guy (Theo) who told the media Castro he had nothing to worry about either. It's baseball. It has so many moving parts. Anything can happen. You have to be diplomatic in these situations and Theo is one of the best at it.

  • In reply to bolla:

    Huh, never knew it was actually Heyman on Heyward. I'll take your word for it that he's a good reporter.
    Maybe the Cubs are in on Machado. Russell (or Schwarber or Happ) still doesn't make sense though and I'd be surprised if Theo traded any of them in a Machado deal. Like i said, I only want Machado if he's going to play 3B.

  • In reply to Cubswin09:

    Heyman has been wrong an awful lot over the last couple of years. Before that he was pretty good but I think with the competitiveness of the business he jumps the gun with rumors. I do not believe the Cubs have targeted Machado.

  • In reply to TC154:

    To be honest, I don't have a lot of respect for what most of these reporters do. Like you said, the need to be first often takes priority over the need to be right. And most of them are incredibly vague: "Team X could pursue player Y." "Teams have discussed X deal, nothing imminent." I have exactly zero connections, and I already know 90% of the stuff they are "reporting." Everyone knows who is likely to be dealt, and which destinations make sense. When it gets reported that teams are having discussions... well yeah! Of course they are. Most FO execs are going to do their due diligence, or at least ask about a guy. Mentioning a player's name for the heck of it does not constitute that the player was "being discussed in a trade."

  • In reply to TC154:

    Targeted versus checked in are two vastly different things. Theo would not be doing his job if he did not check in with Balt and kick the tires. I believe he has done that.

    Has he targeted him now making the ground work for a trade behind the scenes? No, I don't believe he has done that. Yet.

  • In reply to TC154:

    Heyman is a click baiter..

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    In reply to Cubswin09:

    He is a hack.

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    If we are in the race after the AS Game, which I fully expect us to be, we will add. The national media gets more traffic by putting Machado in their headlines than Lowrie or a pen arm. We will assess and add as needed.

    To Cubswin09, I agree that Heyman isn't a hack. A mouthpiece for Boras perhaps, but not a hack. I think he has some real info into the Cubs' thought process. As I've said numerous times, I believe the Cubs have had enough time to evaluate Russell. None of us know those internal evaluations. I think they have been made, and I have my beliefs on which way we will go.

    There are many options to upgrade our team beyond Machado. There are also, IMO, enough internal evaluations of these young guys for the FO to have an idea of how, and who, to deal.

    We love our guys. We want to see them succeed, even through the bad times. But we're fans. The FO absolutely has ties and feelings towards specific players, as they should. But their goal is to win Championships.

    They are good at it.

  • In reply to Cubswin09:

    So, you assume that both Rogers and Heyman are impeccable men of integrity, while Theo is dishonest? Would you be happier if Theo said, "Yeah, we're in talks with several clubs. We gotta unload some of these deadbeats...?"

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    A scarasm button is needed. I think Heyman is full or it. Theo is not going to trade for Machado. 100% clickbait.

  • If they don't hit Holland hard, with the wind blowing out, I'm going to become an Astros fan.

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    Let us know how Correa, Springer, Altuve, and Bregman continue to show what good hitters look like. LOL!!! Good luck.

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    Holland and his .858 OPS against LHP: 4 IP, 5 singles, 5 K.
    Here's my meatball hot take, halfway through this game: the Cubs, despite leading the NL in wRC+ and average runs/ game, are not the NL's best offense. The feast or famine narrative is real. I want the Cubs to be fun again.

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    Against RHB

  • Good 1st inning but a terrible send!!!!

  • First inning TOOTBLAN

  • Hendricks looks sharp.

  • fb_avatar

    Hendricks can't do more than he's doing. Extremely sharp and Willson hardly moves his glove to catch his pitches. Again, though, nothing with RISP. We've had runners every inning and just one run. I love KB, but in the first with runners at 2nd and 3rd nothing, now with 2 out he singles to left.
    Very frustrating!

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    KB was waiting until after the 7th inning stretch to drive them in. LOL!!

  • Cubs need to do something this offense is just too easy to shut down to many players with lots of holes in their swings and when you are hitting into the shift it even makes it more difficult to get a hit.

    Plus Happ just too much swing and miss in his game and zero power in Heywards both play positions that are traditional spots for power and production.

  • In reply to CubFanStuckInStl:

    100% AGREE

  • Ok, let’s see what happens......7 complete for Hendricks, looking real good and under 90 pitches. Even if the Cubs get the lead here now I just wouldn’t understand how Hendricks comes out of the game.

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    That's Game......Thank you Zobrist

    Hendricks w a W and 3 runs off Holland......maybe that will keep Kramerica a Cubs fan for at least 1 more game.......

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Nope, not good enough. See ya, suckers. Enjoy this inconsistent ride. I'm off to enjoy Houston and their video game probably cheating numbers.

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    Go Zo!!
    I wish Javy would study how Zo bats. That swing was measured and easy, not the all everything that Javy does. I’m told golfers do the same thing—a nice easy swing works better than a hard wild one.
    Again, why was Albert bunting? He makes goid contact and there was no force play.

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    In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Prob cuz JOE believes he can't hit RH pitching ?

  • Hey LOOK! We scored 5 runs without a homerun! That's how to play baseball.

  • Any updates on Eddie Butler? He’s been out awhile.

  • While this no longer constitutes as a close ballgame it's good to see the guys come up with big hits in a tight game. It seems like we've been losing games like this at an alarming rate.

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    Cubs 13-2 vs SFG in last 15 games at Wrigley ( inc post season)

    Talk about ownage !

    As I type this.....poor Heyward makes 2 outs w 1 swing.

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    As a Bay Area resident, I love those numbers! I've long felt like the 2015 four game sweep of the Giants at Wrigley was the real start of the Cubs recent run.

  • In reply to Cubswin09:

    Probably one of my favorite cubs series with this group and I think that series really was when our guys realized that this isn't just some ordinary young and coming team. We really played great baseball to close 2015 following that series.

  • Strange handling of the bullpen in this 9th.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    Strop couldn't get 1 more out with a 4 run lead? Odd.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    Yes, exactly what I was thinking.

  • Obviously cubswin09 is a Democrat. Great win by the cub. Russell and Bryant defense was instrumental for the W

  • Sorry I shouldnt say he is a Democrat and knows nothing about baseball . I should say he knows nothing about baseball and is a Democrat.

  • In reply to Oldno7:

    I thought you went away. I'm here and would love to debate anything baseball or Cubs-related with you. I think we should retain the three-strike, four-ball format we've used for a couple years now. What do you think?

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I think you're stalking him...

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    I am.

  • Whatever barley. What do you want to debate? I just tell it like I see it and you defend someone on this site even though they are wrong.

  • Or as I should say, whatever fits your argument.

  • It’s funny how cliff1969 stands up for you? I thought you were debating me?

  • In reply to Oldno7:

    I'm over here, Oldno7. Focus...

    I get your intentios here. I'm just letting you know they are going to fall flat. I could one-up you in the insult department, but I feel no need to. We love the Cubs, and baseball, and if you want to make a relevant point you are more than welcome to. We welcome all new baseball fans. If you want to get into a pissing contest and try to out-insult everyone, I would suggest you are on the wrong site.

  • Ok. And.

  • Whatever the argument here can it be taken elsewhere... this is a site created by a great lover of baseball who is sadly departed.

    John wanted this page to be somwhere that Cubs fans debated the Cubs... fans were welcomed by John regardless of political affiliations so long as politics or their reference were never mentioned.

    For heaven’s sake let us respect John’s wishes and our memories of the great man.

  • Hey everyone - I just moved from Chicago down to Charlotte s few weeks ago and finally got my internet set up. I am curious - are there any denizens here? I'd like to meet up with you if any of you are down here.

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