That Familiar Feeling--Cardinals 5 Cubs 0

The Cubs started the game with the Cubs tied with the Brewers for first place in the division. The Cubs were percentage points ahead at the moment, but that mattered little with a game to decide the sole possession of one of those two clubs. As it turned out that the Cubs time in first was smaller than the percentage points ahead they had been.

Jose Quintana tantalized us with what he showed as one of the most consistent starters in the AL for years. Quintana pitched an efficient shutout five innings of baseball. He didn't surrender a hit until the third inning. He didn't face a runner in scoring position until back to back two out walks in the fifth inning. Still Quintana kept the Cardinals off the board heading into the sixth inning.

Jack Flaherty looked like the real deal on the national stage. His fastball-slider combination baffled Cubs hitters for five innings. He battled command with three walks, but the Cubs only managed a pair of singles against the young righty. Flaherty wobbled in the third inning. Albert Almora Jr. singled and advanced to second on an error by second baseman Jedd Gyorko. Flaherty hit Javier Báez in the elbow with his fastball. Báez left the game, but the early reports are promising that the missed time will be minimal. Quintana struck out and Ben Zobrist flew out to put the rally in jeopardy. Jason Heyward walked to load the bases, but Kris Bryant was one of seven strike out victims to end the inning.

The Cubs threated in the fourth inning with two runners on and no outs again. This time Addison Russell walked with two outs to load the bases, but that meant Quintana was the final hope in the inning. He took the third strike for the final out. The Cubs put a couple singles together in the sixth inning. It never materialized into a threat with Willson Contreras being caught stealing. The Cubs didn't record another base hit, and sent the minimum number of batters to end the game.

The Cardinals Cardinaled to start the sixth inning. Quintana attempted to register a quality start. Harrison Bader hit a groundball that Kris Bryant double clutched before firing half a step too late. Tommy Pham followed with another groundball single, and Maddon had seen enough despite Quintana not even throwing 90 pitches. His decision to go to Anthony Bass was a puzzler, and the defense didn't help Maddon or Bass out in this regard. Marcel Ozuna hit a groundball that pulled substitute shortstop Addison Russell to his left. Instead of making the short throw to third to get the lead runner, he attempted to fire across the diamond to first. His throw was short and Rizzo was unable to corral it. That loaded the bases with no outs. Yadier Molina hit a tailor made double play ball that the Cubs were happy to accept. The double play scored all the runs the Cardinals would need with Bader crossing the plate. Bass threw a cement mixer to Jedd Gyorko that only resulted in a run scoring single to extend the Cardinals lead to 2-0. Bass struck out Luke Voit to end the inning.

Brian Duensing gave up a two out bomb to Matt Carpenter in the seventh inning. Duensing continued into the eighth inning. He walked Pham and retired Ozuna. Luke Farrell was called on to finish out the eighth inning. Yadier Molina dropped a fly ball in front of Kyle Schwarber that bounced right over his head. The end result was the Cardinals leading 4-0. Farrell struck out and walked a batter before facing Yairo Munoz. He hit a groundball single that Russell made his second errant throw on. It didn't matter as the Cardinals 5-0 run lead was more than enough.

WPA CHART

Source: FanGraphs

What
It was a frustrating game, and there is plenty to be upset about in this one. However, little matters long term from this game besides the health of Javier Báez. The news as I said was positive early on.

about

Javy?
Sounds really positive, right? Why can't I fight the feeling that this is going to be three to four days of the Cubs playing with a man short bench?

Random Reference
The Cubs lost three games on this road trip, and in each of those games the Cubs scored exactly 0 runs combined. They scored 26 runs in the other three games. It feels a bit like this guy shows up sometimes when the Cubs go to sleep.

Comments

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  • What a disaster in the 6th. Bryant started it with a couple extra steps allowing the batter to beat out a hit. Russell fails to go to third for an easy force play and Rizzo can't handle the throw to first. Z had an easy force out at the plate but chose to go for the double play. Understand the philosophy but with the Cubs not getting any offense cutting off the first run was critical. Never saw a team take so many called third strikes. Bryant has become a joke. Pitchers don't even use a waste pitch any more. Just throw it past him. Saw that his dad was in town. Maybe he can help. Hope so.

  • In reply to veteran:

    Agree on all those plays in the 6th. Probably would have got out of it if Javy was at short or 2nd. I love KB, everyone loves KB, but sure would be nice if he started to come through when he need it. At this point i'd rather see Zo, Rizzo, Almora, and Heyward?? up to bat in a big spot.

  • In reply to veteran:

    Are you talking about they play where KB dove for the ball and getting up he took a extra half step to throw the ball??? That was a tough play.

    Where the game fell apart was putting Bass in the game. Why????

    Then early when had multiple guys on and didn’t score.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    I missed the lead off hit by Bader just watched and that one definitely isn't on Bryant. The play from Addy is one that you'd think Javy would have gone to 3 with, also if Javy is playing 2nd id bet he would thrown home to get the force instead of the conventional 4-6-3 dp. Who knows though. Can't really blame Bass though. He got two ground balls.

  • In reply to jefeggs2542:

    Don’t know why you don’t let Q try to work out of it????

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Quintana had already thrown 86 pitches. That is a lot for a starter to throw by Maddon's thinking.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Agreed My thing is if you're resting your relievers fine that's one thing but in that case I think most of us can agree that we have far more trust in Q with the game on the line than a journeyman reliever like bass who likely won't be on the roster much longer. To me pulling Q early in a game where Joe was clearly trying to rest his high leverage relievers is a real head scratcher. If those relievers are fresh I can understand the decision Moreso regarding the idea of going to your pen early but otherwise why pull a guy who had a shutout going up until that point to go to Anthony bass of all guys. Very predictable result I don't care what Joe says when he claims bass did a "great job" lol

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    Personally I wonder why bass is on the roster over mazzoni I don't love either but definitely like what I've seen from mazzoni Moreso

  • I think we lost on purpose. Follow me...

    If we would have won we would have crushed their spirits while putting them 5.5 games behind us. A relatively soft schedule leading into the AS break should allow us to separate further. We have to leave a glimmer of hope to allow these fools to sabotage themselves.

    If we allow our superiority to truly show, the DirtyBirds will have no choice but to accept their inferiority and sell at the deadline. This would bolster their chances for the next few years, perhaps even allowing them to finish only 10-15 games behind us. This is unacceptable, IMO.

    We must allow them to remain within what they believe to be striking distance so that they will mortgage their shakey future and buy at the deadline. They have a more realistic need for Machado than we do, but maybe KC could fleece them by dangling Herrera or SD with Hand. The DirtyBirds' needs in the pen could certainly cost them young pitchers such as the admirable foe we faced tonight, but only if we are charitable enough to let them continue their fantasies of competitiveness.

    One problem with this plan is that we play them head-to-head an incredible 8 times between July18 - July 29, brushing right up to the trade deadline. That initial stretch of games right out of the break is traditionally the final test of whether a team will buy or sell. Because we play each other so often in this critical period, the unfortunate reality is that the DirtyBirds will be buried by the deadline and be forced to sell and build for a stronger future.

    Unless... we continue with our brilliant, diabolical plan to keep them within arm's distance and allow them the visions of grandeur and just enough hope to self-destruct. Tee-hee.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I like the plan, but I think the Brewers being right there might cause a slight problem with that...

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I like the sarcasm but longer teams hang around harder it becomes to put them away. I’d love it if cards were 12 games back

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Was your plan, by chance, formulated during the consumption of Cynicism Enhancing Substances (CEDs)???

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    If that's what we're calling a few beers nowadays then yes, yes it was.

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    In reply to BarleyPop:

    It is a tried and true Cubs strategy to let the Cardinals have a belief they can win. It backfired on us many times as they took advantage and didn't obligingly lose when we expected them to. And they managed to maintain a 1st class organization. But, other than that, the plan worked like clockwork for nearly a century. Don't fix it if it isn't broken.

  • Starting today, 14 games in 14 days. I assume that at some point, Farrell and Bass will get sent down to Iowa and be replaced by Hancock and Mazzoni (after 6/22?). That is, unless CJ and Yu are ready to get back into action.

    Do the Cubs go with a 6-man rotation when Darvish returns or does Montgomery go back to the pen as Maddon has indicated?

  • Baez has a way higher baseball iq than Russell.reading game situations, defensive iq, base running there’s a major contrast

    And Bryant probably still affected by the hit to the head. He’s looked off for a while, his defense Has been shaky too

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    In reply to bolla:

    I agree that Baez has one of the highest baseball IQs on the team. And he has the athleticism to pull off defensive plays that others can't. That is no slight to Russell. To me it is like saying Jordan had a far higher basketball IQ to Pippen.

  • WTH is up with Russell? I haven't heard any more rumors that he's having a substance abuse problem, but he played like he'd left his brain in his locker. Maybe reduced playing time has him scared for his job?

  • 6 games head-to-head with division rivals and a 3-3 record with 3 shutouts? Yeah, there's still lots of time, yada, yada, but they have to find a way to address this. I don't think it'll be Machado, but I see a table-setter / spark plug acquisition at the deadline...

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    I agree...and the spark plug will be someone who can actually make contact with the baseball. Plus I wouldn't be surprised to see a bullpen piece added...especially since most of our starters can't seem to finish 6 innings.

  • In reply to Gingerbread Man:

    That is debatable. Are they given the opportunity to finish 6????

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    The first Cubs relief pitcher is at #75 with innings pitched. While it seems we go to the bullpen early and often, there are many other managers with quicker hooks than Maddon. It is how the game is played.
    I think Maddon’s use of the option arms of Bass, Farrell, Rosario, Hancock and Mazzoni has been very good.

  • In reply to TexasCubsFan:

    It doesn’t have to be played like that. Managers are choosing to do that. Are you telling me a Q with 80 pitches thrown in the 6th is worse then having bass, Farrell and others in a 0-0 game and 2 guys got on base to start an inning?

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Good point...but the end result is the same...very few times are the starters going 6 innings and the bullpen will be burnt out just like last year...hence why I think a bullpen piece will be added.

  • In reply to Gingerbread Man:

    I wondered if cubs would drop a position player and add 1 more arm ?

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    In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    I have advocated for years a 4-man bench and an extra arm in the 'pen. Bullpen pitchers lose effectiveness with increased use. Bench players often improve effectiveness with more consistent use. And the Cubs unusual defensive flexibility gives them a unique opportunity of not leaving Maddon's cupboard empty if the time comes that he needs to make a switch late in the game.

  • Admin ate 2 posts. I don’t think it likes the name of a player on the 40 man roster

  • A little surprising to see how many people are shall i say fed up with Bryant? Or at least beyond being patient.

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    In reply to refugee:

    While I disagree with the overall assessment that Bryant is a "problem" for this team I think it is legitimate to vent frustration when he doesn't come through.

    I still think Bryant is one of the, if not THE, best players on the team but he is not perfect. Nor is any other player.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    Not trying to argue and i think it fair to say he's left a lot of ducks on the pond, but why do you think he is a problem?

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to refugee:

    "While I DISAGREE with the overall assessment..." (emphasis added).

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    Ahhhh...pardon me. I supposedly learned reading comprehension decades ago. :)

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to refugee:

    We all make mistakes.

    In general, I agree with you. He does leave a lot of runners on base but he is still a very valuable member of the team.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to refugee:

    We all make mistakes. I don't mean to come down hard on you.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    No worries whatsoever. Carelessness has consequences.

  • Maddon's Madness Strikes Again! Against all RHPs yesterday, the whole Cubs team only got 4 hits and Almora had 2 of the 4. So he is on the bench again tonight. Is there any other smart Manager that sits the guys that are producing the most hits in the batting order?

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