Game Post 5/15


Series preview is here.


Tuesday: 6:35 pm CT on NBC Sports Chicago/670AM



1. Ben Zobrist (S) RF
2. Kris Bryant (R) 3B
3. Anthony Rizzo (L) 1B
5. Javier Baez (R) 2B
6. Kyle Schwarber (L) LF
8. Addison Russell (R) SS
9. Yu Darvish (R) P
1. Ozzie Albies (S) 2B
3. Freddie Freeman (L) 1B
4. Nick Markakis (L) RF
5. Kurt Suzuki (R) C
6. Ender Inciarte (L) CF
7. Jose Bautista (R) 3B
8. Johan Camargo (S) SS
Bullpen Usage

via Baseball Press.

Opposing pitcher

Scouting Report from Brooks Baseball.

Mike FoltynewiczMike Foltynewicz has thrown 7,509 pitches that have been tracked by the PITCHf/x system between 2013 and 2018, including pitches thrown in the MLB Regular Season and Spring Training. In 2018, he has relied primarily on his Fourseam Fastball (97mph) and Slider (86mph), also mixing in a Sinker (97mph), Change (89mph) and Curve (80mph).

His fourseam fastball is blazing fast, results in somewhat more flyballs compared to other pitchers' fourseamers and has slightly less natural movement than typical. His slider has some two-plane movement. His sinkeris thrown at a speed that's borderline unfair, generates a very high amount of groundballs compared to other pitchers' sinkers, has little sinking action compared to a true sinker and has slight armside run. His change is thrown extremely hard, generates more whiffs/swing compared to other pitchers' changeups, results in somewhat more groundballs compared to other pitchers' changeups and has slight armside fade. His curve results in more flyballs compared to other pitchers' curves, has little depth, is slightly harder than usual and has primarily 12-6 movement.

Sean's Note: The hard throwing Foltynewicz has had a very good season so far. He is primarily a fly ball pitcher and his strike out rate has taken a huge jump in 2018.

Final Thoughts: The Cubs lineup looks pretty similar to Monday's other than Ben Zobrist leading off. It feels like Albert Almora will lead off against lefties while Zobrist will lead off against right handers. Almora starts again against a righty, hitting in the seventh spot. Yu Darvish returns from the flu to start, the Cubs could use a quality outing from their big right hander. Jose Quintana's short start put pressure on the bullpen. With seven games the next six days, the relief corps will need to be managed judiciously.


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  • Would love to see a long outing from Yu today. He's fully rested but could be physically weak from the long illness.

    The bullpen usage is becoming a real concern with no end in sight. As Sean noted, we play 7 games in the next 6 days, and one of those will be started by a call-up (Alzolay?). I would hope for 5 innings in that start at best.

    There isn't much we can do about bringing up fresh pen arms. I think only Edwards Jr. has options, and I'd hate to shorten the bench even further. We may have to go with the phantom injury and 10-day DL to keep arms from falling off.

    Lots of rain forecast for this whole series. A postponement could be a short-term blessing but haunt us later.

    Go Cubs!

  • Feels like a huge start for Darvish, but I think that's just the long layoff building into inflated anticipation. In the grand scheme, yes he has to turn it around here soon but if it's not tonight, let's try and keep our wits about us.

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    Agreed. A great outing tonight (weather permitting) isn't going to convince anybody that the ace is back, but a bad one will surely convince some that he is indeed a complete bust. Neither of which is the case.

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    it's a big start for the team and don't get me wrong I'd like to see him do well but it looks like a tough matchup on paper as Darvish has been out for a while, will likely be on a pitch count meaning we may have to go to the pen early, and people seem to forget that the braves are red hot right now and arguably have the best young lineup in the league. I hope Darvish steps up but not the most favorable matchup given his time off lately.

  • I read that the Braves "closed" Foltynewicz' position on the rubber before he pitches. He used that stand "open" with his left foot slightly in front and about 18 inches apart from his right (rubber) foot. His new position is placing his left foot forward another 6 inches and only about about 12 inches from his right foot. That small change has increased his command of the strike zone. That, plus some experience and confidence go a long way towards making one a better pitcher. I wish improvement could be that simple for everyone.

  • Mlb said zobrist can't wear the black cleats & now says contreras can't wear his venezuela arm sleeve. This no fun league(NFL) type of dictating smdh

  • In reply to bolla:

    Agree with you there. MLB’s biggest problem is that they do a poor job of marketing their stars (not stupid pace of play nonsense). This isn’t a great look in that regard.

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    You and bolla are exactly right... We should be celebrating individuality within the team and honoring our heritage; and not just on one day of the season, but every day! MLB is way out of touch on these aspects. Pace of play will never bring more to the game. Respect for all people and their differences will do more for the game and society.

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    I chose my words in my comment on this topic very carefully to avoid getting into a discussion that could easily turn toxic. Your last sentence sounds great, but who determines "respect"? I'm sure Contreras is wearing his Venezuelan flag sleeve with pride, but many thousands of victims are reminded of a murderous regime. That was my point. MLB may not want to be put in the position of deciding who should and shouldn't be "respected". Baseball has become completely international, and with that comes international strife and domestic disputes that the league may simply want to avoid. I can't blame them.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Darn you Barley!!! Can't you just sing a song or something??

    While it's undoubtedly a pride factor for Contreras, you make a great point about "murderous regimes, international strife, and domestic disputes," but I don't think those memories should just be swept under the rug and forgotten, but they should be remembered and recognized for their place in history. This ideally is how we avoid more dirt in the unwritten parts of our history books. I wish I could say easily that it's something we can learn from, but for everyone that has been a victim to these things, that only trivializes matters. Having said that though, it is also just as important to be able to cope with reminders of tragedy and still move forward, as repressing those emotions will do more harm than good in the long run. Man, the can of worms....

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    I appreciate your measured response and am glad you saw my point. Not that that wasn't a baseball topic, but let's talk Cubs now. Play Ball! :)

    OK, I'll sing. The greatest inclusive song ever written:

    "All we are saying...
    Is give peace a chance."

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Peas man, peas...

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    In reply to Cubber Lang:

    Personally I am usually a F the system person F the "Man" but......

    It has nothing to do w MLB higher ups. It was bargained by the players in the MLBPA last time out about the 51% team color on shoes. Players want to cry n moan, talk to their playa reps.

  • In reply to bolla:

    It is a rule that's on the books and was collectively bargained, though why they are so aggressively enforcing it now is a mystery. The optimist in me says they want to avoid too much personal expression. What is deemed pride in one case, such as Willson's flag sleeve, could easily slide into something deemed offensive in another. MLB may not want to put itself in the position to judge what is appropriate or not on a case-by-case basis. Nip it in the bud. The pessimist in me sees a power play by MLB in an already contentious relationship with the player's union. Something they can take away, or more accurately simply enforce, to strengthen future bargaining positions.

    I hope the optimist in me is right, but either way this is bad for relations.

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    In reply to BarleyPop:

    Ding Ding Ding. Should have read this before I posted my response. Thanks for explaining it much better then I.

  • In reply to bolla:

    Do they ever fine the home plate Umpires for inconsistent calling of balls and strikes ?

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    In reply to ronvet69:

    Not likely! At least he’s an equal opportunity pisser-offer. No one likes his calls.

  • Good feeling about Darvish tonight. Sometimes an illness provide a mental as well as a physical reset.

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    A good start for Yu (for me) would be at least 6 and hopefully 7 innings, although that might be too much to ask. Our starters inability to go longer than 4 or 5 innings is a big concern. I don't follow other clubs so I don't know if this is common to other teams; I do know that hardly anyone throws a CG anymore. For those of you who didn't see Bob Gibson or Fergie or Don Drysdale look at their # of CG for a season. For example, Fergie almost always completed half the games he started. In 1971 he started 39 and completed 30! Most pitchers don't even start 30 these days. Different times, but our bullpen will suffer if these starters can't do better.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Maddon's mixing and matching with the position players drives some fans crazy, but it is the right approach to keep everyone fresh for a long season and a testament to our depth.

    I have faith that the starting rotation will come around, but the over-use of the pen due to the short starts is a concern. It is a long season, and Maddon manages that as well as anyone. But like early team losses, these early bullpen innings can't be given back. They may have to be managed through creative use of the 10-day DL, and I expect to begin seeing that soon.

    With that said, who do we call up for help in the pen? Maples has been missing bats and the strike zone. Ditto Mekkes. Underwood? I'm ashamed to admit I don't know Butler's current health/availability status.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I'd be elated if Yu finished 6 full innings tonight! I really hope he can too...

    I am interested in your question about other pitchers going deep enough into games in today's game. Just knowing how bullpen deployment has changed so much, I think it's safe to say most starting pitchers outings have been shorter than the years passed. I just looked up the leaders in IP this season. There's some good to great names listed in the top 20. Not many that we wouldn't want to see pitch for our team, but that would become debatable rather quickly. The leader is Kluber, averaging just under 7 1/3 per start. Ranked 21st is Cole Hamels, averaging just over 5 2/3 IP per start. So at that point it goes to show that after 20 deep, starting pitching isn't even finishing up the 6th inning of their starts. That doesn't bode well for many bullpens, and speaks more to how important it may be for contending teams to be adding strong BP pieces at the trade deadline.

    By the way, that top 20 list in IP includes 4 Astros, 3 Indians, 2 BoSox, 2 Nats, and 2 Rays starting pitchers, so that should tell us what teams (minus the Rays) may be difficult in the postseason. And Hendricks is the highest Cub at 27.

  • Bryant. One pitch too late for his single to left. Would have been nice in the ninth yesterday.

  • Schwarbs with the gun!

  • In reply to wastrel:

    Bring him out of the pen on days he doesn't play LF. He could PH and face a couple batters. Our pen may need the help.

  • Rizzo looks bad tonight.

    Hope Wilson doesn’t pull a Miguel montero after darvish can’t hold runners.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    He has scuffled all year except for a torrid stretch for a week. We need him to bust out. Can’t win a division title with him at a sub .700 OPS.

  • In reply to rbrucato: are a student of the game. I wonder if the issues in Venezuela are affecting Willson just enought that he is "off" his game? It doesn't take much to affect how one plays.

  • In reply to TexasCubsFan:

    FWIW, I was talking about Rizzo.

    IMO, yes, the personal side always affects these guys. Sometimes the field is their sanctuary, but it’s hard to turn the mind off. Willson is probably going thru some stuff we are unaware of. I also believe off the field stuff hindered Russell last year. He went thru brutal personal stuff. Can’t get away from yhfrom daily grinds of life.

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    In reply to rbrucato:

    I agree. It is easy to forget that these guys are humans. They have bad days. They have fights/arguments with friends. It is easy to think of them as automatons for generating BB, K, HR, H, good PAs, etc. They are probably better at separating their personal lives from their baseball life than we would be but they are not perfect.

  • Not to say that darvish has been pitching to my expectations at all but the Cubs offense hasn't done squat to help him out all year with the exception of that 1st start vs the marlins. It's almost like they're pressing on offense during his starts much the same way they did in 2015 when people were being critical of Jon Lester when he wasn't getting run support that season

  • And just as I'm typing that we get a fortunate run lol

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    We’ve had the runners on and can’t get that one hit. As stix said above, KB was one at bat too late. Yesterday was the time to get that single. Throwing 99 doesn’t mean a win, he’s thrown a lot of pitches and hopefully we can wait him out and get some more runs. Maybe 5 will be enough.

  • Addison Russell is frustrating the heck out of me right now. Perhaps I should be frustrated with all the scouts who claimed him the be a top 10 prospect tho.

  • 61 pitches seem fairly low. I would have thought 75-80.

  • At about a million dollars per start I would like more than 4 inninngs and 62 pitches.....

  • In reply to Wickdipper:

    A million dollars just does't buy you what it use to.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    Does darvish really need to get criticized when he's the only reason we're in this game. Talk to Joe Maddon he's incredibly lucky they didn't score in the 5th. Then we wonder why everyone in our bullpen is on pace for career high appearances Maddon cares about rest for everyone except the relief pitchers

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    I did not mean for the post to come out as calling out Darvish. It was an attempt at making a joke from Wickdipper's comment. Had nothing to do with Darvish.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    Apologies I misinterpreted your comment

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    No problem kkhiavi. Sometimes posts like email can be taken more than one way.

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    In reply to Wickdipper:

    Is he hurt? I missed that part if it happened.

    He comes out and the wheels come off.

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    In reply to Wickdipper:

    Just speculating but if Darvish had the flu he might not have been at full strength and the Cubs didn't want to push him to far. Even when the flu is gone it can still leave a person weak.

    I wish he could have gone 6-7 but 4 innings on 62 pitches I will take that.

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    In reply to Joel Mayer:

    Nevermind. Just saw he came out with a calf cramp.

  • Baez hotdogging it again. But, he does look cool.

  • Whenever Baez makes one of his crappy defensive plays I always hear Bill Walton in my head: “Come on. Throw the ball.”

  • In reply to Cubswin09:

    I think Baez has taken his hitting woes to the field. His last few errors are only made by Javy. Any of our other 2nd basemen make that throw without issue. The time Baez bumped Rizzo on the pop up earlier this year was also a little league play. He’s not concentrating on the easy plays.

  • In reply to stix:

    Whatever. He has real problems with basic throws and catches.

  • Not a Maddon hater but I absolutely loathe this move to take out darvish. I thought his stuff was good today and even if you're trying to be cautious with him coming off the DL I expected them to at least let him go 5-6 innings. I'm guessing being only allowed to pitch only 4 innings must be extremely frustrating for darvish and to me this takes away from the confidence that he could've taken into his next outing and with the way he was pitching he deserved to feel really good about the way he pitched against a tough young lineup and it's unfortunate that maddons decision is going to most likely not only probably frustrating for a pitcher that needed an outing to build off of but quite frankly this decision is essentially handing the braves the ball game from my perspective. Absolutely can't even fathom a reason for this mode other than darvish being injured. Why are we babying him to this degree he just missed one start he's not coming off an extended injury

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    In reply to kkhiavi:

    Thats why I didn't say anything because I am thinking maybe he's injured or they decided before the game he would throw 60 pitches or 4 inn and pre-planned Monty to piggy back. It would be very "mad genius" to do something like that and tell everyone after the game.

    Usually this kinda thing doesn't work but I am being optimistic vs a realist tonight........Lets go Cubs Go ! Braves pen can't be that good ! Lets do some damage !

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    Maybe stretching Montgomery out for the DH? Or is that over thinking...

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    Javy!!! You’re better than that. Sometimes he nonchalants it and makes errors that aren’t necessary. Al Maguire, a great basketball color analyst would call that “French Pastry” when someone did an unnessary fancy move.

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    I got new glasses today. The umps need new ones too.

  • Bad Javy!!

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    Cubs hitters may need some glasses too as it seems like everyone is either walking or striking out.

  • The sweeping curveball, low and away is all you need tonight to get through the line up.

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    Braves pitching Javy perfect today. In his last AB, they threw him 6 balls, 5 low and outside and 1 just low.

    He won't take a walk, force him to.

  • That outfield is a cavern!

  • Seven pitches to Baez and not one was in the strike zone. I don’t understand why he is ever thrown a strike. In fact, if I was a manager and my pitcher threw him a ball even near the strike zone i’d fine him. Baez is Superman with balls inside the strike zone.

  • In reply to Cubswin09:

    And if he ever learns to lay off those junk pitches and only swing at strikes, he becomes Superman squared. But I don't know that he ever fully does. He's naturally aggressive.

    Way to go Addy! Come on Zo!

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    Len and JD talking about how nice it would be to win w it being Darvish's return and then w 2 sort of bad losses to wrap up the home stand. Plus w 2 runners thrown out at the plate and 3rd, it would be nice to "steal" this pitch......SHOT by ACUNA 2-1

    Now we get to see if we were right to sell on Vizcaino

  • So about that Manchado trade that will never happen. The rumor I hear now is that it’s Baez who will be dealt along with Montgomery. Monchado to second to solidify the defense.

  • In reply to Cubswin09:

    That's a clown post, bro. :)

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Aren’t they all? Ha! Addison Russell trade for two months of Monchado. That’s wearing big shoes and a red nose.

  • In reply to Cubswin09:

    Btw: I wouldn’t trade Baez straight up. I want Javy!

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    I was just going to say (before Addy doubled) that he’s too good a hitter to give up on. I believe his rookie year is more indicative of his talent. I love the way he stands still in the batters box. We haven’t seen the best of him yet.
    Let’s scote this go ahead run!

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    So far so good.

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    Morrow has to hold this one.................this would be a real nice boost and may set the tone for the rest of the series

  • I was going to say that Javy's at bats look like it's 2016. But that AB from Addy right there, fortunately he looked like 2016 too! Great at bat.

  • And Zo! Steady as ever in his bright blue shoes. Another solid hit. This is a 2016 9th inning.

  • In reply to JohnCC:

    Your comment reminded me of Glenallen Hill hitting the HR onto the rooftop. He was wearing some funky shoes. The announcers were talking about them right before the blast, and as he rounded the bases, one (Chip Carey?) exclaimed "It's got to be the shoes!". I think it was more the massive doses of anabolic steroids, but I think Zo's knock tonight had to have been the shoes.

  • Beautiful victory against a good team.

    Go Cubs!

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    That at bat by Zobrist was perfect. He saw that HUGE hole where the SS normally plays and he tried to hit it where they ain't and even though it was a liner vs a grounder, he hit it where they weren't !

    What a win!

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    I was shocked that they had a extreme lefty shift on for him.

  • There were some ugly at bats throughout that game, but it is great to see two games in row where they worked hard to win in the 9th inning. Really great to see that focus and fight when down in the 9th inning.

  • Tonight is time to either praise Almora and Russell or leave them alone for the rest of the series.

  • In reply to stix:

    I’ll leave Addi alone and praise Almora.

  • When most of your outs made were because of strikeout and you still win you gotta feel pretty fortunate. Needsasammich has to be shaking his head too.....thought he was gonna get an L and winds up with the W.....

  • In reply to Wickdipper:

    And Edwards Jr. knows how to "fly the W".

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    2 straight outings with a HR allowed. Like to see that streak end.

    A W always feels better than an L. Hope this is the start of another 5 game win streak.

  • I've looked at that call at home plate in super slow mo, and you can see a case for not overturning the original call of out. The tag was on the HELMET (so earlier than the announcers thought), and at that moment, you can either a) not see the hand on the plate because the view is blocked by Caontreras's leg, or b) see the hand slightly elevated over the plate. If the call had been safe, it would have stood as well.

  • ^
    Montgomery's leg, not Caontreras (sic). Gotta finish my coffee before posting. I have a great screenshot of this, if anyone's interested. But we won, so moving on...

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