Game Post 5/16


Series preview is here.



2. Kris Bryant (R) 3B
3. Anthony Rizzo (L) 1B
5. Javier Baez (R) 2B
6. Kyle Schwarber (L) LF
7. Addison Russell (R) SS
8. Ian Happ (S) RF
1. Ozzie Albies (S) 2B
3. Freddie Freeman (L) 1B
4. Nick Markakis (L) RF
5. Tyler Flowers (R) C
6. Ender Inciarte (L) CF
7. Johan Camargo (S) SS
8. Ryan Flaherty (L) 3B
Bullpen Usage

via Baseball Press.

Opposing pitcher

Scouting Report from Brooks Baseball.

Brandon McCarthyBrandon McCarthy has thrown 15,773 pitches that have been tracked by the PITCHf/x system between 2007 and 2018, including pitches thrown in the MLB Regular Season, the MLB Postseason and Spring Training. In 2018, he has relied primarily on his Sinker (93mph), Cutter(91mph) and Curve (81mph), also mixing in a Slider (87mph). He also rarely throws a Fourseam Fastball (92mph).

His sinker generates a very high amount of groundballs compared to other pitchers' sinkers. His cutter has well above average velo, has good "rise", has little cutting action and results in somewhat more groundballs compared to other pitchers' cutters. His curve generates fewer whiffs/swing compared to other pitchers' curves, is slightly harder than usual and has slight glove-side movement. His slider generates fewer whiffs/swing compared to other pitchers' sliders, results in more flyballs compared to other pitchers' sliders, is much harder than usual and has some two-plane movement. His fourseam fastball (take this with a grain of salt because he's only thrown 17 of them in 2018) is basically never swung at and missed compared to other pitchers' fourseamers, is an extreme flyball pitch compared to other pitchers' fourseamers, has some natural sinking action and has essentially average velo.

Sean's Note: As per usual McCarthy has generated a ton of ground balls this season. Over 50% of balls put in play against him have been on the ground. He has struggled overall with 5.58 ERA.

Final Thoughts: Last night looked like it was going to be another frustrating loss for the Cubs. Then a 9th inning rally completely changed the storyline and gave Chicago a big win. Ben Zobrist, who had the winning hit, gets a day off and Albert Almora is at the top of the lineup. Javy Baez is in his first slump of the season, he is chasing sliders in dirt more often of late. When he is on he leaves those egregious breaking pitches alone. Tyler Chatwood has yet to find his control at any point this season. His ability to limit damage while walking over nine batters per nine innings is  almost superhuman. It doesn't seem sustainable over an entire season.



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  • I could make the bold prediction that Javy will draw more walks tonight than Chatwood allows, but I'm not that bold.

    This is a good young Braves team, and we've stolen two wins from them this year. I would love to see a victory tonight because we outplayed them.

    Go Cubs!

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    In reply to BarleyPop:

    Chatwood has walked more batters than any other pitcher this
    year--32. Javy has 36 SO, that's an amazing stat considering that Javy plays almost every day and Tyler pitches every 5th day. btw, Javy has walked a total of 6 walks this year. He also has 4 triples. Will he have more triples at the end of the year than walks? I don't
    Again, I hope Chatwood can pitch at least 6 innings tonight, but I wish that every night from our starters.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    We have to, I repeat HAVE TO, start seeing our starters going deeper into games. There are no more early-season weather excuses left. Our pen is Championship-caliber, but not with this rate of usage.

    We all know how the bullpen has changed the game over last decade or so, especially in the postseason. We're getting to the point in mid-May that we may have to DL guys to bring in fresh arms. Even if/when we do that, the guys brought up from Iowa wouldn't be used in high-leverage situations, so even that strategy would only benefit the arm that is on the DL.

    Bottom line, our starters need to throw more innings. I think they will.

  • Javy will adjust and start waiting back to drive the ball to right until pitchers start trying to get inside, again. He is strong enough to drive the ball to right and his hands are fast enough to turn on anyone's fastball inner half. When he decides to let the slider down and away go, he will take that next step.

  • I'm a big time mookie betts fan. Love the way he plays and he's a great hitter with great plate discipline.82 k's in 671 plate appearances!! That's amazing

  • In reply to bolla:

    That is amazing, and he is a special player. You know what else is amazing and special? Tonight's Cubs lineup, and how they were acquired:

    Almora: Rd 1 #6 2012 Amateur Draft
    Bryant: Rd 1 #2 2013 Amateur Draft
    Rizzo: Trade (SD, Cashner) 1/6/2012
    Contreras: Signed IFA 7/2/2009
    Baez:. Rd 1 #9 2011 Amateur Draft
    Schwarber: Rd 1 #4 2014 Amateur Draft
    Russell: Trade (Oak, Shark/Hammel) 7/5/2014
    Happ: Rd 1 #9 2015 Amateur Draft

    That's a lot of high picks, I know, but they've all hit. That isn't always the case. Even the trades for Rizzo and Russell brought young guys, with Rizzo having 153 ML PA's on his résumé at the time and Russell with only a handful of token appearances above A ball.

    If only we start acquiring and developing pitching at this rate...

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    yup hopefully alzolay is the one

  • ESPN announcers sound like Braves fans

  • In reply to Crispy Pata:

    Nevermind, live look in of Atlanta broadcast

  • What a catch by almora WOW

  • Michael Ernst, I mean no offense, but have you changed your opinion of Almora's defense yet?

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    No. You can be a very good defender that makes great plays, and still not be a GG.

    He has shown me a bit more range than i thought he had.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    There are a bunch of CFers doing as much or more right now. Position is crazy deep defensively.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    This was the best play he has made this year. Can't play that particular ball any better. Knew exactly where the wall was and perfectly timed his jump.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    I think if he is not a GGer he is getting closer. He has made some great catches this year.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    This was certainly a great catch. I still maintain a couple of those plays in Colorado are plays someone like Buxton (and several others at least) makes without needing to leave his feet. Almora still makes the play so I give him credit. But I don't give him extra credit for style points.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    We had a short discussion on this context earlier when Wickdipper graded the overall defense as a C-. rb noted that we were ranked #2 and should be graded higher. I noted that the grade could be based upon our potential.

    I don't know that it's fair to knock Almora Jr's defense simply because there is a current glut of outstanding defensive CF's. He may not be the best, and therefore not a legitimate GG candidate, but I don't see that taking away from his actual talent.

    Babe Ruth was better, but that didn't mean Lou Gehrig was any less. Do you see my point?

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Those fangraph defensive rankings are a little confusing to me. Like I said in the other blog the Cubs are 27th in fielding percentage. and tied for 26th number of errors. Not sure how they can be #2 defense.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    Errors are a terrible judge of defense. Guys who get to more balls will generally make more errors. Russell and Javy are occasionally going to make crappy throws on plays that other MI wouldn't even attempt. Contreras is going to make a few throwing errors because he throws more than anyone else.... etc

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    Good points and I agree. I was just throwing that out there.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    Defensive metrics are confusing to everyone. They are questionable at best, and take longer to stabilize than any other stat, if they do at all.

    There is a hot story making the rounds over the Internet that by one defensive metric, UZL, Schwarber is the best defensive player in all of baseball. I love Schwarber, but no.

    Almora Jr. is a special player and CF'r, a true baseball rat. I want him on my team, and believe he can become a leader both by performance and example. There may be better pure CF's in this golden age, but that doesn't diminish his talent.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I posted that link right when you posted this.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I have maintained all along that my assessment of Almora's defense has not changed since A ball. He has always been this good, but he has also never had elite range. At the time of him being drafted there weren't many great CFers in MLB. In that environment he could have won a GG or at least been considered among the top 3 or so at position.

    In the 5-6 years since we have seen an insane amount of defensive CF talent enter the Majors. I don't watch everyone on a daily basis so it can be difficult to gauge, but I wouldn't be shocked if Almora is not even in top 10 in MLB. That doesn't make him bad.

    But I also don't give a crap about GGs or if he is the best or among the best. He makes all the plays you need him to make. And he is probably the best CF the Cubs have had in a long time. The only real concern I have regarding him is whether he is going to hurt himself running into a wall. At least on his play today he showed terrific spatial awareness. If he is able to do that moving forward I will have no qualms.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    This is a one very good reason I do not think to much of defensive sabermetrics stats.,d

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    We agree. Because he isn't the best in this amazing group doesn't make his talent any less.

    He has said he isn't afraid of walls. He has proven that. But I am afraid watching him near walls.

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    Albert can field, run the bases (who thought of game 7 when he took 2nd on KB’s flyout?) and now we see he can hit. I hope he’s becoming our everyday CF. Addy also has looked more comfortable at the plate, yesterday’s hit and his first at bat was hit to deep right center. If he starts hitting we’ve really got things going, as long as our pitchers pitch longer into games!!
    Go Cubs!!

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    This is about the most frustrated I’ve seen Anthony.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Do you think the slump is in any way related to the Florida high school shooting and his mind is being distracted from all he needs to do to hit?

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    In reply to stix:

    I don’t think so because he’s been so good lately. He’s going through a rough time and he really hasn’t in such a long time.

  • Anyone notice how well we are playing with out HEYWARD in the lineup. The guy kills us night in and night out.

  • What the heck? 79 pitches in the 6th inning, one BB for Chatwood?

  • fb_avatar

    Ok, I don’t understand this move. Tyler had pitched well and has thrown only 79 pitches, has induced double plays and we want to save our bullpen. I know Freeman is a rough hitter and maybe Joe the lefty lefty lefty matchup. I know he wants to keep it close too, but I just don’t know.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Sometime the manager has to trust his starting pitcher. Seems like the only started Maddon trusts is Lester. Which is ridiculous. In the 6th inning with your SP throwing his best game, just let him go! I can't stand it.

    Maddon is all about getting struggling hitters chances to start even though it reduces the chance to win the game -- Happ today rather than Zobrist -- but he won't give Chatwood a chance to try to work out of something and build some confidence.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I hear what you are saying, and to an extent I agree. But for the longest time I wanted a sabermetrics-based team and I feel like we finally have one. Most fifth starters don’t do well the third time through the lineup. Joe has that information and makes a move based on it.

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    We’ve had so many on base and only scored one. Happ has to get him to 3rd or drive him in!

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Then LaStella popped out (and was genuinely frustrated in himself) and Almora Jr. looked like Javy chasing junk.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Happ is not the move along he baserunner type player.

  • We're scoring at least 2 here in the 8th. And I may as well say it now:

    El Mago.

    Go Cubs!

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Looks like El Mago has been talking to Mr. Magoo when he’s hitting recently.

  • In reply to stix:

    This is ugly. But these ugly stretches have been getting shorter. Hopefully he snaps out soon.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Well that didn't work. And now we need at least one in the 9th.


  • No worries. When the Cubs face Miami or the White Sox in the playoffs, they'll be okay.

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    In reply to INSaluki:

    Giving up on the season already?

  • The unraveling of Carl...

  • In reply to JohnCC:

    That's what you get when you put Carl in when we were up by 7 and he allowed that homer, totally ruined his confidence; not the best move Joe.......

  • Did I mention how much I hate the Braves? Ever since the dynasty in the 90's that couldn't close the deal I've despised them. The bright white uni and that awful freakin' college football chant with the "tomahawk chop" - the combination grates on my nerves!

  • In reply to JohnCC:

    I lived that era in the Braves' market. Tell me about it.

    I hate to be "that guy", but could anyone look at Albies' career numbers and explain to me how he is suddenly one of the premier power hitters in MLB? Color me skeptical.

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    In reply to BarleyPop:

    I think I know what you're saying. All I can say is that if you look at Jose Altuve's record and for a number of years he hit single digit HR and then in 2015 and on he hit 15, 24, 24 and 2 this year. They are about the same size so that's a comp. I don't know.

  • No way I send Edwards out there today. Maddoning.

  • In reply to wastrel:

    Braves sent Vizcaino out again today, so why shouldn’t the Cubs send Edwards out two days in a row?

  • In reply to stix:

    Because he's been worked too much and you have other options. I wouldn't have sent him out there. Was surprised to see him. It's got nothing to do with Vizcaino.

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