Series Preview: Cubs vs. Indians (5/23 - 5/23)


The Cubs kickoff a 5-game homestand starting tonight. First up is a little 2-game set against the AL Central leading Indians. Remember when the Cubs beat them in 2016 to win a World Series title? Me too. That was pretty neat.

Chicago is on a modest 2 game winning streak with an offense that seems to be all or nothing right now. I'll be watching my guy Tyler Chatwood as he continues to work through his walks issues. In the past 8 starts, Chatwood has only seen the 6 inning three times. That's not ideal and this bullpen needs rest. Hopefully the starters in this homestand take notice.

Tuesday: 6:05 pm CT on WGN or ESPN/670AM

Wednesday: 7:05 pm CT on NBC Sports Chicago/670AM




1. Francisco Lindor (SS)
2. Michael Brantley (LF)
3. Jose Ramirez (3B)
4. Yonder Alonso (1B)
5. Melky Cabrera (RF)
6. Jason Kipnis (2B)
7. Roberto Perez (C)
8. Greg Allen (CF)
9. Trevor Bauer (P)


Bullpen Usage
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via Baseball Press.

Opposing pitchers

Scouting Reports from Brooks Baseball.

Trevor Bauer: His fourseam fastball 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 cutterhas heavy sink, generates a high number of swings & misses compared to other pitchers' cutters, results in somewhat more flyballs compared to other pitchers' cutters and has strong cutting action. His sinker is basically never swung at and missed compared to other pitchers' sinkers, has well above average velo, results in somewhat more flyballs compared to other pitchers' sinkers and has slight armside run.

Adam PlutkoHis fourseam fastball has good "rising" action, has less armside movement than typical, results in more flyballs compared to other pitchers' fourseamers and has essentially average velo. His slider has much less depth than expected, results in many more groundballs compared to other pitchers' sliders and has primarily 12-6 movement. His curve (take this with a grain of salt because he's only thrown 10 of them in 2018) results in more flyballs compared to other pitchers' curves. His change (take this with a grain of salt because he's only thrown 1 of them in 2018) is basically never swung at and missed compared to other pitchers' changeups, has surprising cut action, is much firmer than usual, results in more flyballs compared to other pitchers' changeups and has an extreme amount of backspin.


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  • Almora starting vs. a RHP and no Heyward. Just one game, but interesting.

  • In reply to Cubswin09:

    Almora's earned the right to play give him credit he's playing great baseball, walking more than I would've expected from where he was 2 years ago and he has an .800 ops give him credit if he's playing like a legit starter now let's see if he can sustain that especially against righties moving forward even though I have some reason to be somewhat skeptical about his line vs. righties. I think he's still earned more AB's for now though. Love the decision overall to sit Heyward just can't seem to get to fastballs from guys that actually throw relatively hard it really is one of the most dramatic declines that I've seen. I'm as patient of a fan as you're going to get in the game of baseball and I think that Heyward needs to be considered as a bench player/super sub soon if he doesn't turn things around. I don't care what he makes if it takes you over 2 years to figure things out at the plate then we just need to hope for the best and expect the worst because I haven't seen many positive signs at the plate other than the increased fly ball rate. He definitely still looks as bad as ever just from the eye test and he's essentially a low average and low power guy and I think that if Happ's going well at the plate then he is a major upgrade at the plate over Heyward. In addition, I think Happ's defense plays well in the corner OF spots with his above average athleticism and our defense improves by default if Almora is our regular CF. So while we lose defense in RF, we still improve in CF and to me with time Happ can potentially be above average in the corner OF spots anyways. So while we may go from a gold glove defender in Heyward to a maybe slightly above average corner OF in Happ, I think you can definitely argue that the difference in offense more than offsets the difference in defense. Heywards still got a nice track record, he's still young, and I think Joe still needs to find a way to get him AB's but it's hard for me to justify keeping him as a regular starter and not a super sub type starter moving forward. Hard to justify giving him AB's with Almora and Zobrist hitting well all year and Happ having a scorching hot past couple of weeks.

  • Ladies & Gentlemen, Boys & Girls: Here is your historical tidbit to start today’s baseball.

    Many Cub fans are familiar with the Merkle Game of 9/23/08. To summarize briefly, the Giants and Cubs were locked in a very tight 1908 pennant race. In the 9/23 game, the score was tied and the Giants were at bat with the Cubs having obtained 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th. Giants were on 1st (Merkle) and 3rd, when the game winning hit plated the runner on 3rd — game over, or so the Giants and the home crowd thought. Only problem was that Merkle never touched 2nd, and Cubs claimed a force out there nullifying the run and forcing a playoff ultimately won by the Cubs, who went on to claim their 2nd World Championship.

    Here’s what I (and probably you) didn’t know about the aftermath.

    1. Harry Pulliam, the NL President that decided the situation in the Cubs’ favor, was so distraught that he committed suicide 8 months later. All teams save one (the Giants), sent a representative to his funeral.
    2. Hank O’Day was named the Cubs’ manager in 1914. Believe it or not, it turns out he was also the umpire that, later that night, called the Merkle force-out in the Cubs favor.
    3. Rookie Merkle started for the first time that day, ultimately had a 14-year career, and became a Cub himself in 1917.
    4. Merkle died in 1956, the year that the Cubs set the record for their worst winning percentage at 60-94 .390 (since tied or exceeded 5 times).
    5. Anybody remember 9/23/98, the 90th anniversary of the Merkle Game? Hint: Harry screamed, “He dropped the ball, he dropped the ball, he dropped the ball…!” That was about Brant Brown (a favorite player of mine), whose error forced the Cubs into a playoff for the Division title (fortunately won by the Cubs).
    6. On 9/23 this year, the 110th anniversary of the Merkle Game, we will be playing our last game of the season with the White Sox. Keep your rule book handy.

    That’s All Folks!

    You’re welcome.

  • In reply to wthomson:

    Turns out that Hank O’Day had a very distinguished and lengthy umpiring career, and he was inducted into the HOF in 2013. His induction speech was given by his grand-nephew Dennis McNamara, a retired Chicago policeman, whose other claim to baseball fame was introducing Ron Santo to his wife, Vicki.

  • In reply to wthomson:

    Well done. Of course most baseball fans remember that story by a phrase other than the "Merkle Game", but...

    Poor Brant Brown. That was brutal. But whenever I think of that play, I also recall Neifi Perez, who a couple days later hit a HR that was the most influential of his career for the Cubs... while playing for the Rockies.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    BP--We're trying to run a family website here....

  • In reply to wthomson:

    That's actually pretty awesome. Good work. The only exception I take to any of it was the Brant Brown "Oh no" call was Ron Santo, not Harry. Minor quibble to a great story!

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    In reply to TC154:

    I still hear that plaintive “oh no!” It was so wrenching to watch.

  • In reply to TC154:

    Absolutely right, it was Ronnie (brain fart!).

  • Noooo!

  • And there was the Yesss!! Such relief in his voice, you can feel it.

  • Chatwood with the irritating lead-off BB, but the 3-6-3 double play erased that. Len and JD mentioned that Francona was in a little dilemma there. Chatwood induces many ground balls, so you'd like to start the runner. But Chatwood throws so many balls you may run in a caught-stealing. I guess that's another example of "effectively wild".

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Not so effective any more...

  • I don't know if I would call Chatwood "effectively wild". Maybe "embarrassing wild". He is hard to watch. The walks will catch up with him eventually.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    5 walks in 2+ innings.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    Actually 6 wasn’t it? Not that should make Chatwood any worse than he was. I think historically he averaged 1 BB for every two innings he pitched. This yr I think he’s trying for one walk for every inning.

  • In reply to stix:

    You are correct it was 6 walks but, when I made the post it was 5 at the time.

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  • I'd be scared out my mind if chatwood entered/started a postseason game for the cubs.Those walks are a serious issue for him.It's like has zero control whatsoever. If the cubs make the postseason I bet he's left off the 25 man roster.

  • In reply to bolla:

    If he's pitching like this at the end of September (and we make it), I agree. But there's a lot of season left. He took a step forward in his last start, and a huge step back today. That was painful to watch today, but I'm always optimistic. Some consistent progress would be nice to see, however.

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    In reply to bolla:

    I wouldn't worry to much about Chatwood pitching in the playoffs because there aint going to be any playoffs for the cubs this year. Good Lord who do you what pitcher on this staff do you trust to pitch a playoff game? Lester will eventually get hurt or start showing his age,Chatwood and Quintana are both 5th starters,the league has finally figured out Hendricks and Darvish is one of the biggest chokers in all of MLB.

  • In reply to Greg Simmons:

    ...trollin'...trollin'...trollin'....Cardinal fans be trollin'....

  • Absolutely hate watching Willson stand and watch a warning track fly ball. Whatever happened to "Respect 90?"

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Then Baez does the same thing on a fly to left. It probably doesn't matter, the way this game is going, but I'm not happy with the hustle.

  • The lack of throwing strikes is awful. Just a terrible pace to the game and creates angst on the field.

    I thought Hickey was special. I am really disappointed how he has impacted this team.

  • “Mama said there’d be days like this
    ...there’d be days like this mama said”......

  • There goes our elite run differential.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    At least it only counts as one loss.

  • They sure know how to suck when they want to.

  • I can live with the one loss. But the lopsided scored really hurts the team’s Pythagorean rating, and that’s hard to stomach. Hee, hee.

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    The only positive about tonight is Justin Hancock. Also, I'm thankful that Willson hasn't torn a groin from all the contortions he's made catching the ball from everyone.
    Hancock is an impressive pitcher. Now we need a starter to come and replace Chatwood if his problems continue.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Could've given Montgomry the shot he'd earned. He'll start elsewhere soon enough.

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    Another comment eaten. I'm trying not to take it personally.

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    Thank you Happ for making sure we weren't shut out !!

    Thank you Reds and Royals for hopefully beating the Bucs n Cards.

    Thank you Dbacks for continuing to suck and can't even score a damn run ! Wake up Goldschmidt !

  • Ouch. That must have been one of the 60 the Cubs are supposed to lose. Not a good game from our #5 SP, and not much from anyone else, either. A better tomorrow awaits...

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