Gettin' Healthy--Cubs 11 White Sox 2

All it took for this team to get hot against teams that are pretty bad right now. That is no small feat for this team that too frequently in the past two campaigns seemed to play up or down to its competition's abilities. Tyler Chatwood did Tyler Chatwood things, but that was enough as the Cubs bombarded a part of the Sox future and ghosts of rebuild seasons past.

Tyler Chatwood actually took a no hitter into the fourth inning, but was wild frequently. He locked in at times and pitched out of trouble mostly of his own creation. Chatwood walked five batters in his five innings of work. The White Sox first run came in the fourth inning. Jose Abreu drew a one out walk to start the rally. Yolmer Sanchez singled and player I was totally aware existed before this game Daniel Palka doubled to drive in Abreu. A Welington Castillo strike out and Matt Davidson groundout ended the threat.

The White Sox final run came in the fifth inning. Chatwood walked two more batters after the first out. Adam Engel and Backyard Baseball character Nick Delmonico scored with the aid of another passed ball and wild pitch. Jose Abreu hit a two out single into left. Delmonico was sent and beaten easily by the throw and tag to end the inning. Engel's tally was the last highlight for the Southside club.

Carson Fulmer removed much of the drama from the game in the bottom of the first inning. Ben Zobrist hit a leadoff double, and then Fulmer hit Kris Bryant with a pitch. Anthony Rizzo singled to drive in Zobrist. Javier Báez struck out, but the trouble intensified with Kyle Schwarber drawing a bases loaded walk. Willson Contreras has gotten NBA Jam style on fire, and blasted a first inning grand slam to give the Cubs a 5-0 lead that was never in danger.

Kris Bryant hit a leadoff solo shot in the fourth inning making it a 6-1 game. Willson Contreras hit a second home run in the sixth inning bringing the game's score to 7-2. The Cubs put it completely out of reach in the seventh inning. The aptly named for White Sox fans Aaron Bummer provided the kindling for another crooked number. The inning started with Matt Davidson being unable to handle a hot smash from Ian Happ. Albert Almora Jr. switched places with him, and moved to second with Ben Zobrist single. Bryant singled to drive in Almora. Bummer walked Anthony Rizzo before being pulled with the very tall and large Chris Volstad. Báez had his best at bat of the afternoon against Volstad, and hit the ball hard. It was a bit too hard as it was merely a sacrifice fly. Tommy La Stella singled to give Willson another chance. Contreras hit a double down the right field line to drive in Bryzzo, and the score stood at 11-2.

Brian Duensing, Pedro Strop, Justin Wilson and Justin Hancock finished off the game. Hancock entered the game one inning too late to earn the blow out save. Instead it was two innings of scoreless work from the spring training standout.

WPA CHART

Source: FanGraphs

The Lone Rough Days At The Plate
Addison Russell and Javier Báez were the only starters in the Cubs lineup without a base hit. The much rumored Addison Russell offensive breakout was stalled for another game. He has some positive indicators, and Sahadev Sharma's piece in the Athletic on that topic is a great read. Russell walked twice but also struck out twice. He had been hitting .375/.417/.645 since April 29. Báez also struck out twice and seems like the ball has shrunk from the beach ball size it was a couple weeks ago for him. He just seems off a little bit a lot more frequently, and the O fer end his seven game hitting streak. But it was an encouraging day with his final at bat against Chris Volstad. He was down his final strike, and manage to make contact to drive the ball to the outfield. This is a sign of the maturation of his bat.

The Justins
It was extremely low leverage situations, but the Justins pitched well in this game. The biggest positive is that the month of May has brought about a transformation in Justin Wilson. This was his fifth appearance in the month of May, and he has yet to walk a batter. He has faced 16 batters and struck out 5 of them. That gives him a gaudy 31.25% strike out rate. Hancock pitched a pair of scoreless frames to close the game out. He has struck out four but he has walked three in those 3.2 big league innings. Odds are that Hancock is headed back to Iowa at some point in the near future, but he might be an intriguing piece in the bullpen.

Random Reference
I like Rick Renteria. He did a nice job with what he was given when he was here. The move to Joe Maddon was the right one for the organization. I am glad that he got another chance to manage, and I think it is an ideal situation for him with another chance to work with talented youngsters. It is a small twinge, but there was definitely one as the Cubs blew the game with Contreras first inning blast.

Comments

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  • Kris Bryant might have a future in the league.

  • In reply to Cubswin09:

    Contreras ain’t too shabby either.

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    In reply to Cubswin09:

    Don't get too excited. He is young and we are dealing with a SSS. I have seen lots of guys do well in their first 2100 PAs. And, yes, the vast majority of them became really good players and HOF players. But there have probably been a couple who struggled.
    LOL

  • Good to see contreras have a great day at the plate.Minor complaint I didn't like baez 1st two ab's, he seems to get over anxious at times if he's hitting clean up he has to have better ab's especially in that situation. Fullmer sucks

  • In reply to bolla:

    I love how white sox fans act like because we're rebuilding and being patient that were some sleeping giant and going to be like the Cubs in a few years. Learn how to draft and develop your own players pretty pathetic that their last 5-6 1st rd picks are all shaping up like busts and John on draft day personally questioned the picks of fulmer saying he wouldn't stick as a starter and to a lesser extent Rodon bc of injury concerns and fastball command. It says something when Johns saying that on draft day and ken Williams and Hahn aren't smart enough to see those issues

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    Yea I work with a white sox fan all he does is boast about their farm.I tell him all the time that the white sox don't have a history of good development of their players. While they do have some great prospects don't assume they'll all pan out. Also the yankees,red sox and astros have some great young talent and have way more money to spend, they will have to compete with those teams too. I do like reynaldo lopez he's a nice 2-3 starter they got from the nationals

  • In reply to bolla:

    Agreed 100% all my sox friends act like this is the best wave of young talent they've seen since being a sox fan when from my perspective with how poorly they're drafting it's hard to see this not being a very lengthy rebuild and somewhat disappointing for their fanbase. Besides moncada (who still has major, major contact issues), Eloy, kopech and maybe but I'm not sold on Reynaldo Lopez a ton of their top minor leaguers are disappointing and as a sox fan you have to be really concerned about them missing on all these top 10 picks although maybe a few of them bounce back. It says to me that they have a problem in their system drafting and developing talent and notice how even their successful prospects were drafted/signed and developed by other organizations. If I'm them I say it's time to cut ties with Kenny/Rick Hahn and unfortunately I'm guessing poor Rick renteria maybe a casualty of that regime change despite having no talent to compete. Guess rebuilding isn't always as simple as just tanking lol

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    Tanking does not guarantee a ring, nor does spending. Many teams are mimicking this model, but there is only one title per year. We got ours, but it ain't easy.

    I was just listening to some Chicago sports radio. White Sox fans were complaining that even in our darkest days the Cubs weren't this bad. Yes we were, or worse.

    Another example of an impatient and entitled society. "OK, I see how this works. I'd like my team to tank and then re-build and then win a Championship. BUT I WANT IT NOW!!!"

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    And most ironically: "I don't want my team to stink or lose while we're tanking and reaping the benefits of losing." We can get high draft picks and maximum slot money as we lose games on paper, but not actually lose, right? Because I want to win by losing, but we can not have to do the losing part first, right?

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    In reply to BarleyPop:

    The tanking strategy also takes a certain amount of luck. You have to have the Astros take Appel instead of Bryant. You have to sign Feldmann to a good contract and then be willing to trade him for a couple talented but struggling pitchers. Then both of those pitchers have to pretty much reach their ceilings. You have to have your veteran pitcher use his 10/5 rights because he thinks you can get a really good pitcher under the radar somewhere else. And then have that plan work out. You have to see talent in a couple of young international players, develop them, they don't get hurt and are able to trade them to acquire pieces for the MLB squad--and no, I do NOT want to rehash the Eloy/Quintana arguments. Just because you tank doesn't mean all those things will work out. Now, the Cubs also had some things that didn't work out. Chris Volstad didn't work. Ian Stewart didn't work. But just losing and building up a farm system doesn't guarantee success.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    To me the Dempster and Feldman trades were the biggest moves the franchise made. Personally I was really disappointed that Dempster nixed the trade for Randall Delgado and were pretty fortunate that he did. That being said give our scouts a ton of credit for finding undervalued diamonds in the rough like strop, arrieta, Hendricks and Villanueva it always takes some luck to win WS but I think it's clear that there's strong processes put into place by our organization to identify non top 100 prospect gems like these 4

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    Yup.I was saying the exact same thing telling my co worker the white sox best prospects are from other organizations.Rick hahn did good in the sale,quintana and eaton trades but he's also missed on a couple picks and traded fernado tatis jr for james shields. Jerry reinsdorf is super loyal to his front offices, kenny and hahn are probably set until they want to retire.

    It also bodes well to see canderlario,soler,torres(even though it kind of hurts) doing good in the majors and eloy & cease in the minors because it gives the cubs farm credibility for future trades.

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    In reply to bolla:

    I didn't think of the credibility thing but you are right.

    And I enjoy seeing Torres succeed. But it still hurts. The way lots of fans feel about Eloy I feel about Torres.

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    Y’all are being a little hard on the White Sox rebuild. Moncada’s sporting a 135 wRC+ and is looking like the kid I drooled over in the Red Sox system (my second favorite team) and Michael Kopech at AAS is starting to look like he could be a legit ace. He’s the kind of pitcher I’ve dreamed of the Cubs picking up. Then there’s Eloy who will likely not disappoint. That’s even before you get to Luis Robert, Alec Hansen, Dane Dunning, Dylan Cease and Blake Rutherford. I differ with most national commentators who think they’ll start to compete next year but in 2020 watch out. I say all this only because as Cubs fans we don’t need to belittle what looks to be an up and coming Sox team to validate ourselves. Leave that to insecure White Sox fans. It’s going to be OK when they’re good. We’ve had 4 years of good and the fat lady isn’t even in the 7 county area yet.

  • In reply to TC154:

    People are entitled to their own opinions. Understand that and then you wouldn't need to tell others how to think.

  • In reply to bolla:

    Isn’t that what we do here, share opinions? I’m not telling anyone what to think I’m disputing their opinions with my own and frankly I don’t appreciate your tone.

  • In reply to bolla:

    I'm probably getting more upset about this than I should but I did not deserve your abusive reply and it's sticking in my craw. When I dispute someone's opinion I do it with facts and numbers and try to avoid emotional arguments the best I can, although none of us are totally able to separate our biases totally. When others challenge my opinions in the same way I feel I learn something from them and maybe they will sway me and maybe they won't, but an unchallenged opinion is the worst kind. Again, this is what baseball fans do. We debate the merits of the numbers and of the game in general and hope we learn something in the process. I have never been disrespectful in my arguments and expect nothing less than the same courtesy in return.

  • In reply to TC154:

    I personally think you make a lot of fair points and counter arguments TC and yes some of those guys you listed are nice prospects off to good starts. But it's still hard to see this rebuild becoming a resounding success to the level of the Cubs and Astros if the sox can't draft and develop players which they haven't so far (despite bad luck with injuries although I personally don't see it as simple as just bad luck as theo is huge on injury prevention) and even a guy like Michael kopech isn't a sure thing ace he's improving but still has somewhat questionable fastball and overall command. I'm sure some of their prospects will be good but remember a lot of those prospects you mentioned with the exception of Eloy and kopech aren't elite prospects and we've seen with the Cubs that even if you have multiple elite prospects some of them may not reach their ceiling or take many years to Improve like Russell, schwarber, happ, Baez. The white sox have a long ways to go in my eyes and now let's see if they have the patience to see this process through

  • In reply to TC154:

    I think you make great points TC and I think there's nothing wrong with disagreeing with certain aspects of people's posts. The great part about Cubs den is that you can actually have an intelligent respectful debate/discussions with other educated die hard Cubs fans and I think all the points you made are fair although I do think that their rebuild has A LOT riding on the success of kopech alone and that's a scary thought to me because I think he has a wide range of potential outcomes as a player. Outstanding stuff but I don't know if he has the command or pitching acumen to be an ace which he'll need to be for them to be successful with their pitching prospects struggles

  • In reply to TC154:

    Fair point on moncada but he also has a 38% strikeout rate and if he's a .250 20 home run guy even then I consider the sale trade to be a borderline loss

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    And can't hit left handed pitching for power thus far

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    Moncada is worlds apart as a LH and RH hitter. Far better LH, has zero power from the right side and major contact issues RH also. Kopech still cant fins the strike zone consistently in the minors, hes nasty when hes pn, hes like Chatwood when hes not.

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    Kopech’s BB/9 is improving and sits at 3.9 right now. With his stuff he could get away with 3-3.5 in MLB. Chatwood isn’t half the talent Kopech is. Not to say he’s a guarantee to be an ace but I’d put some money on it. Moncada is going to get better as he has better players around him. There’s been talk of abandoning the switch hitter aspect of his game but I think it’s too early for that.

  • In reply to TC154:

    TC, you never admitted I was right about Heyward's remaining salary after this year.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    I still got the same numbers from Spotrac of 118.5 in the right column. Maybe I missed a post or am missing something?

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    Ok, found your post, I was traveling yesterday. Looks like you’re right. $8 mil unaccounted for in the right column. Got it. Doesn’t change much what I think it would take to move him though. Cubs would have to eat about half. Maybe a little more.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    Heyward has not received any bonus money yet. So he is still owed the $20M plus his salary of $106M. Look at the contract notes below the column's.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    I was never disputing your comment on how much money the Cubs would have to pay to trade Heyward. You were disputing my account on how much Heyward would still be owed after this year. I agree the Cubs would have to eat a lot of money to get rid of Heyward's awful contract. Theo and company had a brain cramp when they did sign Heyward to that contract.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    In fairness to Theo Heyward was coming off a 4 year run averaging over 4.5 WAR and was going into his age 26 season. The contract seemed like a good one based on the numbers at that time. Who could have guessed that the guy who only had 2 seasons with a wRC+ under 120 would fall off the map offensively like he did? Now, that said the contract has turned out to be a mistake and Theo and Jed have to own up to that. Given the numbers though and the fact that St. Louis offered him more money, the contract didn't seem so unreasonable at the time.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    I never liked the signing from day one. I think his WAR is over rated. A lot of that WAR comes from defense. I am not a big believer in defense sabermetrics. I think it has to many flaws and is over rated.

  • That was fun...

    Willson had a day, didn't he? He more than doubled his HR total from 1 to 3 and nearly doubled his RBI total from 9 to 16. For the advanced #'s crowd he added 162 points to his OPS while increasing his wRC+ to 126 from 101 entering the game. This comes after his two triple performance yesterday. Did I mention the poaching of Davidson off of 2B in the 3rd? Must be the bobble-head!

    I demand the Cubs announce a Javier Baez bobble-head giveaway this Sunday. Please?

    Oh, Chatwood. I remain hopeful and still make the bold statement that he will be one of the four starting pitchers in our postseason rotation. But dude, watching the free passes makes me long for some Ramones:

    "Just put me in a wheelchair.
    Get me to the show.
    Hurry, hurry, hurry. Before I go loco."

  • A few things have changed.

    Cubs HR's now coming with men on base more often.

    Displaced by Baez and a early season injury bug, Zobrist is playing himself into the everyday lineup, probably for the most part and that is a relative statement in Maddon's dugout, the lead off hitter. Besides his occasional platoon in LF or 2B more so to rest a player, Zobrist might be playing himself into the regular or preferred RF'er for the near term. Meaning bet we see Heyward have to get his playing time in CF or when Zobrist platoons. Meaning I am seeing Happ play himself somewhere else. Zobrist brings a lot to the table, setting up the big guns.

    Big Guns, Baez was spectacular spectacular and Schwarber is powerful and doing his bit, but the Cubs will only win it all if/when Bryzzo is humming. Bryant was getting into form before the head knocker and now is back on that trajectory. Rizzo is where Bryant was in April where when they hit on both cylinders, the rest of the big guns will also contribute and runs will not be a big problem.

    Cubs pitching is good, despite the stats here and there.

    Make hay now, White Sox are 9-26 and the Reds are 11-27 sandwich with early season surprise Atlanta who are 22-15, Cubs are 20-15.

  • In reply to rnemanich:

    Okay .... ?

  • In reply to rnemanich:

    Atlanta really shouldn’t be a surprise, they’re loaded and next week’s series is going to be fun. I’m hoping the Cubs are using this as a warmup.

    You’re right on Rizzo he’s got a 202 wRC+ for May and an insane slash to the tune of .353/.378/.765. If you’ve got Rizzo, Bryant, Schwarber, Baez and Almora and Zobrist as part timers all firing on all cylinders it’s goonv to be a very fun summer.

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    HRs are coming with men on base because finally the Cubs are taking walks--7 today, but still struck out 11 times. That's too many.
    We can see how Zo can play when healthy and how professional a hitter he is. He takes pitches as a lead off man and doesn't seem to care if he has 2 strikes on him. I can easily see him playing RF a few days a week and JHey coming in as a defensive replacement later in games. We can see again how important it is to have a high OBP at the top of the order, especially when KB is KB and Rizzo will be hitting like he has.
    As impressed as I was with Willson's offensive day it probably was more important that he picked off the runner at 2nd. He couldn't have thrown a more perfect throw. When he is on he is one of the top players in the game and as much as he wants to be better than Yadier M I hope he learned from him during the last series in StL--wear protection please!
    btw, every Cubs club won today, from single A to the Cubs. A great day.

  • Second day in a row where all teams that played in the Central won and all teams in the West lost.....strange

  • One note to keep an eye on: Happ is fanning at a 45% clip, and his wRC+ is behind Zobrist, Russell and LaStella. He seems to have but one all-encompassing long swing, which he uses in every offensive situation. Time for some situational modifications.

  • In reply to wthomson:

    Yeah, 45% K rate ain't going to get it done. I truly believe this kid needs a stint in the minors to get his groove back.

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