Cubs vs Twins: Series Preview (6/29-7/1)

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The Cubs recovered from getting swept by the Reds with a hard-fought split of a four-game series with the Dodgers in Los Angeles. Now they return to Chicago for a eight-game homestand against three teams with losing records, including two from the truly lousy AL Central. The Northsiders can take no wins for granted after their recent struggles, the starting pitching struggled on the just completed road trip. The first opponent to greet them is the Minnesota Twins.

The Twinkies have not played well of late, having just lost two of three to the White Sox. Overall, they sit at 35-42, eight games behind first-place Cleveland. Minnesota's best hitter has been Eddie Rosario and it's not particularly close. The left fielder is slashing .309/.348/.563, with 17 home runs and 50 RBI's. The ageless Fernando Rodney is still slinging arrows as the closer, but the overall pitching staff is not great.

The Cubs bats came to life in the final game of the Dodgers series scoring 11 runs on Thursday. Anthony Rizzo had three hits after struggling mightily earlier in the series. Brandon Morrow is back from his pants mishap and saw some action last game. Despite their recent rough stretch the Cubs are still nine games over .500 and only 2.5 games back of first. This upcoming stretch of home games is pivotal for the Northsiders to make their move on the division. Hopefully they can put their troubles behind them.

Watch/Listen

Friday: 4:05 pm CT on NBC Sports Chicago/670AM

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

Sunday: 1:20 pm CT on WGN/670AM

Lineup

Twins

1. Joe Mauer (L) 1B
2. Eduardo Escobar (S) 3B
3. Eddie Rosario (L) LF
4. Brian Dozier (R) 2B
5. Robbie Grossman (S) RF
6. Max Kepler (L) CF
7. Mitch Garver (R) C
8. Ehire Adrianza (S) SS
9. Jose Berrios (R) P

Cubs

2. Jason Heyward (L) RF
3. Ben Zobrist (S) 2B
4. Anthony Rizzo (L) 1B
5. Addison Russell (R) SS
6. Kyle Schwarber (L) LF
7. Ian Happ (S) 3B
8. Chris Gimenez (R) C

Bullpen Usage

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via Baseball Press.

Opposing pitchers

Scouting Reports from Brooks Baseball.

Jose BerriosJose Berrios has thrown 5,164 pitches that have been tracked by the PITCHf/x system between 2013 and 2018, including pitches thrown in the MLB Regular Season, the MLB Postseason and The World Baseball Classic. In 2018, he has relied primarily on his Fourseam Fastball (94mph), Curve (83mph) and Sinker (94mph), also mixing in a Change(85mph).

His fourseam fastball generates a high number of swings & misses compared to other pitchers' fourseamers and has essentially average velo. His curve has very little depth, has sweeping glove-side movement, generates more whiffs/swing compared to other pitchers' curves, is much harder than usual and results in somewhat more flyballs compared to other pitchers' curves. His sinker generates a high number of swings & misses compared to other pitchers' sinkers, has slight armside run and has slightly above average velo. His change has slight armside fade and has some natural sink to it. 

Sean's Note: The 24 year-old Berrios is the Twins ace, with mid 90's heat and a devastating curve ball. The whiffs generated from that curve have led to a 26% strike out rate. His control is good too with a 4% walk rate. Despite a power sinker, he is a fly ball pitcher who has allowed 12 homers in 2018.

Adalberto MejiaAdalberto Mejia threw 1,926 pitches that were tracked by the PITCHf/x system between 2013 and 2017, including pitches thrown in the MLB Regular Season, Spring Training and Fall/Winter Ball. In 2017, he relied primarily on his Fourseam Fastball (93mph) and Slider (84mph), also mixing in a Change (84mph) and Sinker (92mph).

His fourseam fastball has slightly above average velo. His slider is a prototypical pitch with few remarkable qualities. His change is slightly firmer than usual. His sinkergenerates fewer whiffs/swing compared to other pitchers' sinkers and has slightly above average velo.

Sean's Note: Mejia has not pitched in the majors since 2017, he makes his first 2018 MLB start Saturday. He has pitched well in AAA with a 2.74 ERA so far this season. He struggled in 21 appearances last year for the Twins, allowing 13 homers in 98 innings pitched. Left handed and right handed batters fared equally well against the lefty Mejia.

Lance LynnLance Lynn has thrown 18,948 pitches that have been tracked by the PITCHf/x system between 2011 and 2018, including pitches thrown in the MLB Regular Season and the MLB Postseason. In 2018, he has relied primarily on his Fourseam Fastball (94mph) and Sinker (93mph), also mixing in a Cutter (88mph) and Curve (80mph). He also rarely throws a Change (86mph) and Slider (87mph).

His fourseam fastball generates an extremely high number of swings & misses compared to other pitchers' fourseamers, has less armside movement than typical, has some natural sinking action and has essentially average velo. His sinker is a real worm killer that generates an extreme number of groundballs compared to other pitchers' sinkers, generates a high number of swings & misses compared to other pitchers' sinkers, has less armside run than typical and has some natural sinking action. His cutter has heavy sink, has extreme cut action and results in somewhat more flyballs compared to other pitchers' cutters. His curve has a sharp downward bite and is slightly harder than usual. His change is slightly firmer than usual, results in somewhat more groundballs compared to other pitchers' changeups and has some natural sink to it. His slider (take this with a grain of salt because he's only thrown 1 of them in 2018) generates an extremely high number of swings & misses compared to other pitchers' sliders, is an extreme flyball pitch compared to other pitchers' sliders and has less than expected depth.

Sean's Note: The Cubs know the veteran Lynn well from his days in St. Louis, he was a late signing for the Twins. It has not gone well so far with a 4.81 ERA for big Lance. He is walking a career-high 13% of hitters this season. His ground ball rate is the highest he's had since his rookie year, that should be a good sign, but his hard contact rate is way up. So the ball is staying on the ground, it's just getting smoked.

Note: Javy Baez would likely have played today, but the Baez baby is here. Everyone at Cubs Den wants to congratulate Javy and his Fiancé on the birth of their son.

Comments

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  • I was just getting ready to BLAST Maddon again for sitting a player that is HOT (Baez) but then I saw that Javy and his wife had Baby Baez. CONGRATS JAVY!!

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    Not a good enough reason! Boo Joe!

    Congrats Javy. Knew she was close by the pictures not long ago. I think we have more babies on the way too....

  • I mentioned this earlier but it bears repeating: Darvish flew to Dallas last night to meet with a familiar orthopedic surgeon for a second opinion on his elbow. We should all wish for the best. Probably related, IMO, to this news another news tidbit came out: Eddie Butler is alive.

    Many have joked about his vanishing act, and I've speculated that being out of options we were keeping him in hiding to avoid beginning a rehab assignment and ultimately exposing him to waivers before a spot was open on the ML roster. With the Darvish uncertainty he now re-appears. If Darvish is OK, we probably lose Butler before the season's over, but that's a risk we have to take. If Darvish is out, Butler offers another option, at least.

    We play a game today. I almost forgot.

    Go Cubs!

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    To clarify, Butler has been "rehabbing" in AZ out if the public eye. He is now headed to Iowa to officially begin his rehab assignment.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Wasn’t one of the reason the signed Yu over Jake was because Yu already had Tommy John and wouldn’t have arm issues again??? And Jake would be more likely to have arm issues??

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    I think it was, very good point. I mentioned over the offseason that we seemed to be targeting pitchers who were 18 months - 2 years removed from TJS. It was like the FO had an idea they may have identified another market inefficiency.

    I just hope Yu is OK. Not to sound alarmist, but if he needs a second elbow surgery, there is no guarantee he comes back at all. From an organizational standpoint we may recover some cash through insurance, but I don't think that has an influence on the luxury-tax implications. But I'm getting way ahead of myself. He'll be back after the break and lead us to another WS title in 2018.

    Go Cubs!

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I thought it was a triceps injury that side lined him in the first place.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    It is, but triceps and forearm discomfort are often precursors to elbow problems. It was triceps soreness that led to Yu's original TJS. I'm not trying to predict a doomsday scenario, just saying that from what I've heard in this particular instance and from past experience, I'm concerned.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Oh ok, i did not know that. Thanks.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    I'm the lyrics guy, right? How's this:

    "The triceps bone is connected to the
    Elbow bone."

    Or something like that.

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    I think that Yu is getting maybe misplayed criticism. In Japan, failure is a huge loss of face, people there take it extremely personally, so if Yu doesn't perform well he is not only letting himself down, or his teammates or even his team but possibly his country. There used to be company managers or owners who have committed seppuku because they "failed." Workers put in 70-80 hrs a week. I don't think we realize the pressure he is feeling. He is from a different culture and that matters.
    On another matter--congratulations Javy and fiance with your new baby. I wonder if he caught the baby, spun and cut the cord in one sweet move! All the best to the 3 of you.

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    In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I would have to assume he did. My guess is while cutting the cord he was smiling and pointing at his wife ala WBC.

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    In reply to Joel Mayer:

    But if the baby was low and away he might have missed it.

    All kidding aside, congratulations to Javy and his fiance.

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    In reply to Joel Mayer:

    That’s good!

  • No baez today. Don't even want to watch, probably won't

  • In reply to bolla:

    In that case, you probably missed Kyle 'Schwar-bolla-rizing' one, to deeep CF!

  • In reply to cubbustible:

    Lol I saw it , good for him he still sucks

  • In reply to bolla:

    Thought you weren’t watching today!!

  • I thought Mauer had became a "Punch and Judy" hitter.

  • Is it me or do any of you feel like it's almost becoming an automatic loss whenever contreras doesn't play? We really need a backup catcher badly you've got one guy that can defend but is a worse hitter than chatwood and lester then you've got another guy whose has horrendous defense. Been saying we need a backup badly a little surprised we didn't place more value on Rene Rivera he could've been had on the cheap not to say he's the greatest player in the world but at least he can handle a pitching staff unlike caratini and provides a level of offense.

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    I agree, and we will be upgrading soon, IMO. Caratini's offense is tempting, but as you note, his work behind the plate isn't what we need in a backup catcher. With young Contreras firmly entrenched, I believe his value to this organization is better used in trade.

    We have to do better than Gimenez, and I think we soon will. The sooner the better, actually, to get acclimated with the staff and game-planning routine prior to our deep postseason run.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Giminez was to be YU’s babysitter. Yu’s Been on the DL since before Giminez was called up. His BA is .143 and I don’t remember any of his hits leaving the infield. Is he really good defensively? Is his defense that much to overcome his inept offense.

  • Chicago vs. Minnesota. With the weather conditions, the final score has to be Chicago 10, Minnesota 7.

    Go Cubs!

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Your prediction is looking good.

  • Gimenez is taking the whole "protecting my pitcher" thing to a whole new level. If he does anything with the bat, Monty's out of the game with LaStella ready to PH. But if he hits into a double play, he "keeps his pitcher in the game".

    Way to go, Chris.

  • Mental note for Maddon. Need to practice run downs, bunting and base running in spring training.

  • Addi!!!

  • Russell says "Manny who?"

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    At this point either way machado is starting to look like a luxury with all the injuries to our pitching staff ESP darvish. Figure theos probably gonna focus on bolstering the pitching staff unless we get some great news on darvish soon but frankly what do I know it's hard to guess what our needs are bc we can use another TOR starter, another high leverage reliever and we can use machado to provide another element to an explosive but at times inconsistent lineup

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    I don't know why I know they're both about healthy but I also just don't feel comfortable staking our pens hopes on Edwards and morrow both guys seem fragile and unable to handle a heavy workload. And with duensing falling apart the pen suddenly seems like it can use another arm as opposed to how good they looked earlier in the season

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    I would take Caratini over Gimenez in a minute. He's much better offensively and at least equal defensively.
    I told my wife Javy might play today, and he is ready. Let's win this game and really get some momentum!
    Go Cubs!!

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I agree 100% with Caratini over Gimenez.

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    I'm sorry to report that John Smotz didn't make the cut at the Senior Open. It's something to qualify, but right now, through 17 of the second day, he is 21 over par. The cut line is 8 over. He must be a terrific golfer, but it's different playing on your own and playing with the professionals. I like him in the booth and hope to hear him soon.
    I do hope he can play in another tournament, maybe he just had nerves playing this weekend.

  • Unbelievable,
    The Ump blew the call of Schwarber sliding into home. The Umps in New York still couldn't get it right !

  • That was a Schwar-bomb!!

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Trade him. He sucks.

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    10 game homestand. The way we’re playing I’d be ok but disappointed with 7-3, more realistic with 8-2 but not surprised with 9-1.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    It would be great to get some good pitching at the same time the offense is on fire. If that happens, 9-1 is realistic.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I'm going full Superfan: 11 wins in the next 10 games. Da Cubs!

    I also watched that brilliant turn by Javy on the DP and have to remind myself he is a negative-value defensive player according to the metrics. It's why his WAR is so low, he had caused several losses this year because he is so inept defensively. OK.

    Cubs win! Cubs win! Holy Cow!!

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Sabre-metrics is only good for telling the past accomplishments if that.

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    Kinda like batting average? Wins? Losses?

    Got it.

  • Cubs have Drew Smyly in their vest pocket. Haven't heard his name in a while.

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    Also, at some point, Butler will be back. I am a Butler fan and he was pitching very well when he was injured.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I liked how Underwood pitched as well, looking like we prayerfully have some good SP options.......

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    In reply to Treebeard:

    Pitching is coming. We need them to throw strikes and not get to 90 pitches by the 4th or 5th inning. Someone must be able to do this. Underwood was good in his start here, we have Little and Lange and Hatch developing also.

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    Bob Costas is broadcasting on the MLB network and he mentioned that in 1959 Nellie Fox won the MVP. He struck out 13 times that year. Not in a week, or a month, but the whole year. In all his years playing the MOST he SO was 18 times. In 19 years he struck out only
    216 times. How baseball has changed!

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Aaron Judge is almost half way there with 106 K's in the Yankees 79th game. As I type this he hits a 2 run homer.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Nellie of the -64 OWar? He wasn’t the poster child of good offense with low K numbers. Yes, baseball has changed. LOL.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    Feeling chippy tonight? Jonathan didn't say anything about being an offensive stud, just that he didn't strike out.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Nah, was laughing as I posted with the LOL at the end.

    I think too much is made about the K. That’s all. Just saying low K’s don’t mean much. Maybe I was wrong to assume Costas was bashing someone today who had a lot of K’s and then used Nellie Fox, a former MVP, who didn’t K to make his point.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    He used a bottle bat alot too....try to find those nowadays....

  • Darvish diagnosed with a right elbow impingement & inflammation after the 2nd opinion. Was given a Cortisone shot out 3-5 days, then will resume throwing if pain free

  • In reply to bolla:

    darvish will be re evaluated after 3-5 days then resume throwing if pain free

  • In reply to bolla:

    I had to look up the definition. That doesn't sound comfortable or good.

    Elbow impingement is a condition characterized by compression and damage to soft tissue (such as cartilage) situated at the back of, or within the elbow joint.

    The elbow joint primarily comprises of the articulation of two bones, the humerus (upper arm bone) and the ulna (inner forearm bone – figure 1). Shock absorbing cartilage lies between these joint surfaces cushioning the impact of one bone on another.

  • In reply to TexasCubsFan:

    Well done. I'm a fairly educated medical practitioner having performed several advanced medical procedures on my own broke ass. I understand the medical terms, as well as the public-relation ones.

    I am concerned with this situation.

  • In reply to TexasCubsFan:

    Not good then it didn't sound bad from the news my main concern is that the injury isn't too long term I don't think we need him in July necessarily if he needs the time but if he's out until mid August to early sept then I'd be a little nervous with the state of our rotation moving forward. With Hendricks and W dealing with mechanical issues with their fastball command according to an article on the athletic that basically chalked their issue up to simple fastball command issues compared to previous years we really need a healthy and effective darvish to lengthen our rotation at least

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    Hendricks and Q*

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    Thought "W" was Walkwoody

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