Game Post 7/11


Series preview is here.


Wednesday: 2:45 pm CT on MLB Network/NBC Sports Chicago/670AM



1. Ben Zobrist (S) RF
2. Jason Heyward (L) CF
3. Kris Bryant (R) 3B
4. Anthony Rizzo (L) 1B
5. Javier Baez (R) 2B
6. Kyle Schwarber (L) LF
7. Addison Russell (R) SS
1. Chase d'Arnaud (R) 3B
2. Brandon Belt (L) 1B
4. Buster Posey (R) C
7. Steven Duggar (L) CF
8. Alen Hanson (S) 2B
9. Johnny Cueto (R) P
Bullpen Usage

via Baseball Press.

Opposing pitcher

Scouting Report from Brooks Baseball.

Johnny CuetoJohnny Cueto has thrown 29,717 pitches that have been tracked by the PITCHf/x system between 2008 and 2018, including pitches thrown in the MLB Regular Season, the MLB Postseason and Spring Training. In 2018, he has relied primarily on his Slider (84mph), Fourseam Fastball (91mph) and Change (83mph), also mixing in a Sinker (90mph). He also rarely throws a Curve (79mph).

His slider is a real worm killer that generates an extreme number of groundballs compared to other pitchers' sliders. His fourseam fastball has slightly below average velo. His change dives down out of the zone, generates more whiffs/swing compared to other pitchers' changeups and results in many more groundballs compared to other pitchers' changeups. His sinker is basically never swung at and missed compared to other pitchers' sinkers, results in somewhat more flyballs compared to other pitchers' sinkers, has slight armside run and has slightly below average velo. His curve (take this with a grain of salt because he's only thrown 15 of them in 2018) results in more flyballs compared to other pitchers' curves, has little depth and has primarily 12-6 movement.

Sean's Note: Cubs fans have come to know Cueto very well over the years. An elbow injury cost him over a month, he just returned last week against the Cardinals. His change up is still a devastating pitch especially against left-handed batters. So expect a right handed heavy lineup against the right handed pitcher.

Final Thoughts: Kris Bryant is back after missing two weeks with shoulder discomfort. The Cubs offense hasn't done much the first two games of this series, but the starting pitching has been great. They have allowed no earned runs the first two games. Offense may be hard to come by again with Cueto on the hill.

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  • Disappointing you've got cueto really laboring that inning and bryant swings at ball 4 and rizzo can't get it done. Amazing we're doing so well with Bryzzo both amidst the worst years of their careers.

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    You also have Baez and Almora having their best years with good bounce back years from Heyward, Zobrist, Russell & Schwarber.

  • Montgomery's run looks like it is done. This will be the 4th poor start in a row.

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    Yep Bryant has reduced his value this year. Believe Harper has too

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    I was worried about KB this morning when I saw he struck out twice yesterday against AA pitching.
    I was feeling great after seeing the Fred Rogers movie with my wife and as we're driving home there were 2 on no out and heard KB's AB. When it was 3-0 I said take it and take the next one and of course he struck out on a pitch low and away. Could have been bases loaded no outs and that changed everything. I know Rizzo and Javy were up but dang! OK Cueto's still pitching--let him throw a few strikes first before swinging.

  • Cueto throws dirt. A wonderful pitcher.

  • I'm gonna get bashed for bringing up this point again and I understand momtgomerys pitching like crap today but I think people are starting to see why I say that while I like caratinis hitting I hate him as a backup catcher because the guy flat out isn't able to handle a big league staff right now again it's no accident why we can't limit runs with him behind the plate in general and there's a reason why theo hasn't shown much faith in him as a backup catcher overall. Once again we flat out have a really hard time winning games without contreras and we need a backup catcher asap because willson can't continue to play this much

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    So those hard hit balls in the first are on Caratini? Interesting.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    Did you read my post? Did I ever once absolve Montgomery of this mess of an outing? My evaluation is based on what I've seen of Caratini his entire career not just one game I flat out don't think he's a good enough defender right now to be a backup catcher and frankly how about you tell me why I should view him as an acceptable defender instead of just posting snarky replies does he do anything well behind the plate really lol?

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    It was not a "snarky" reply. It was a well thought out reply to you saying Caratini is the problem. I happen to think his defense is not as bad as you do. I like having him as the back-up catcher. We will just have to disagree.

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    I don't think we can judge Caratini on a spot start here and there. JMHO. What did he do wrong in the first inning as I can't see the game.

  • In reply to KJRyno:

    Respectfully I've been saying Caratini isn't an acceptable backup option at catcher for over a year now. I like his bat but I think he has a long ways to go defensively and needs to go somewhere where they can be patient with his flaws defensively because I've always considered him to be a poor catcher going back to his minor league days. He's not athletic, can't block, can't throw, is a an average to below average framer and I generally don't approve of how he handles a pitching staff. You may disagree but my opinion has nothing to do with this game although I'm not surprised our pitching is getting shelled like they seem to a lot in his starts.

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    And let me say I actually think caratini is a pretty good prospect and if he can become a competent catcher then he can be a big league starter with his hitting and ability to play 1B I just think he's a terrible fit for this team because he currently can't play a competent catcher and we don't have the AB's or the patience to develop his flaws behind the plate. Either way I'm certain that Theo's going to get another catcher that's more of a defensive minded catcher with the ability to hit much better than Giminez at least. I don't have an agenda against caratini I actually like him as a prospect but I think he has more value to another team than he does to us.

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    And this is coming from someone that thinks that Victor has elite upside with his hitting potential for a catcher anyone whose followed his minor league career knows that he can hit but I personally mainly value defense and the ability and experience to handle the nuances of the position but it would be nice if that is at least hitting 225-250 unlike a Giminez. I feel like a lot of the support for Victor here is because the visual things like hitting he thrives at but at least for me I place heavy value on being able to handle the catching position from my backup catcher and based on Victor's cub career I don't think he handles the position in an acceptable manner even despite his offensive contributions and that's not based on one game or his cubs tenure in general this has long been my opinion on why he's not an ideal backup for us

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    What do you view as Caratini's big defensive liabilities that prevent him from being a backup catcher

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    I talked about this earlier waituntilnextyear but for me I don't like him as an athlete which is part of the reason why he's not a great blocker, he doesn't have a strong throwing arm, he's a below average to slightly below average framer (not my main issue though) and in my view as a guy that's previously watched some of his minor league game I don't think he's good at the nuances of catching like game calling, etc. He's too predictable with his pitch calling and if you read his scouting reports even he's a below average catcher with the potential to become average. I'd have to watch tape with you frankly to get into specific situations where I've been scratching my head with his game management but just know my opinion has never been based on today's 1st inning I don't make generalizations based on small sample sizes.

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    His defense is average and throwing arm is passable. He is good enough to be a backup catcher. You can have the bench call the game if you don't trust Caratini. With his hitting ability he is fine for a backup catcher.

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    We're just going to have to agree to disagree regarding his defense. Guess we'll have to see if Theo acquires a backup at the deadline I think that'll give us an indication of how they view Caratini's defense behind the plate

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    Team ERA when Caratini is starting is 4.72 coming into this game while Contreras is 3.62. I'm not saying that stat is everything and I don't think it takes context into play so I'm not a fan of the catchers ERA stat but overall there's a reason why many scouts have always said that he's a below average catcher in the minors but he may become average with time and experience. I don't believe we have the AB's or time to be patient with his defense with the big club being in win now mode.

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    I hope you're right though wait until next year I actually like caratini as a prospect and think he can be an average catcher if he's given patience and the proper development. He's a nice hitter at least which mitigates some of my defensive concerns

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    And my mistake the team ERA is only 3.37 with contreras behind the plate so pretty big difference between the two overall

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    I think we just have a different view of what a back up catcher should be. He catches one day a week and pinch hits the other days. Give me a hitter for that job, not a defensive specialist.

  • In reply to KJRyno:

    But he's not an OF or 1B he's a catcher KJ arguably the most important defensive position on the roster and a huge part of carrying out the game plan on how to attack opposing hitters. It's no accident that when David Ross started in 2016 for the cubs we were about 30 games above .500 in his starts and won a huge majority of his starts even when you exclude Lester's starts. The guy despite not providing much offense absolutely mastered the nuances of catching and was about as good of a game manager as I've ever seen and I believe the teams catcher has a much larger influence on the pitching side of the game than most fans want to believe. I think Victor has created an illusion that he's doing better than he is because people mainly see his hitting and how strong his offense is for a backup catcher and this hides the fact that he's not a great game manager and the pitching staff just isn't as effective when he's behind the plate. We're just going to have to agree to disagree on the importance of defense and the ability to handle a staff out of your backup catcher

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    Ross was asked to catch a lot more than Caratini. How many games did Giminez play in for us? Reason it was not very many was because you never used him as a pinch hitter the four or five days he was off. I am fine with Victor catching once a week and hitting off the bench the others or giving Riz a day off. You are correct about one thing though. We do see his positives in the batters box. Switch hitter to boot.

  • In reply to KJRyno:

    Joe has already said Willson is sitting one in 4 games because they've been playing him too much so we'll be seeing our backups play more. I like that caratini can back up Rizzo but his main job is to be our backup catcher and it's hard to have confidence in him behind the plate isn't that the point here? I respect your opinion but think you're undervaluing the importance of defense with the catcher position. Either way don't be surprised once Theo grabs a new backup catcher around the deadline because I sense the organization isn't confident in Caratini back there you heard it here 1st

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    I do agree with you that Giminez was an unacceptable option and in no way am I saying I want a player with that little offensive contribution. David Ross or someone like Rene Rivera are moreso what I was thinking at least they can hit about .200 and accept some walks.

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    It's just that it's so hard for observers to know how good or bad a catcher is at handling a staff. You might be right, but it can't be quantified or measured.
    Even with guys who are thought of as good at this like Ross or Molina, all we have is the pitchers touting their staff management abilities. Which is nothing more than hearsay, really. If Jon Lester says David Ross is a great game manager, all that really means is "I'm comfortable throwing to him." Which is still super important in and of itself.

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    I think this is a fantastic point Kramerica and that's why I always get bashed when it comes to bringing up the backup catcher fans just don't notice the same subtle nuances at that position that I do but I place a ton of value in having my backup catcher being able to step in and manage the staff and caratini probably will get better in this regard as he gains experience but I just don't see the AB's for him to develop in that area and I think he needs to go to a team that can not only give him AB's but be patient with some of his defensive issues. I do like him as a prospect honestly just not as a backup catcher for a team that's contending now.

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    What are you seeing that suggests he's a poor staff manager or game caller?

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    He hasn’t been around or played long enough to just write him off like this

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    Why can't he handle a big league staff?

  • Just watched the home run and double, and Monty missed the target on both by three feet. Set up down and in to leadoff and it ended up right in the middle of plate and then set up high and in on the double and monty was thigh high outside corner to Hernandez. Hard to fault Victor on those type of plays.

  • Big knock from KB there and Heyward looks locked in.

  • Almora's going to have to adjust. I'm fine with a guy attacking the first pitch, but opposing pitchers know he's doing this. He hasn't seen a 1st pitch in the strikezone, but he's swung at all of them anyway.

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    I wish Anthony had gone with either of those first 2 pitches to LF, especially with the shift on. Lost opportunities.

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    Time to move Rizzo down in the lineup until he starts hitting. Even the RBI's are on infield dribblers or flyballs!

  • In reply to Rick Rariden:

    I agree 100%. Rizzo needs to go with the pitch and quit trying to pull everything into the shift.

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    Javy, Javy, Javy!!!

  • Was that strike 3 to Bryant really a ball? It's hard to tell on pitchtrax. Is it like tennis, where some part of the ball has to at least touch the line?

  • Rizzo is in quite the funk.

    3 for his last 28.


  • Yay for the Schwar-bunt!

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    I can’t remember the last time I saw the home plate ump throw the ball to a pitcher. Just musing. Meanwhile Anthony swung at one eye height. We need some clutch hitting this inning.
    C’mon Javy!

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    What happens if Willson is injured? Both Caratini and Schwarber are gone. I don’t think we have any position players left. Javy caught at one time but who takes his place?

  • Norwood has closer poise and stuff. Wow!

  • In reply to wastrel:

    for an inning, anyway... c'mon kid

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    In reply to wastrel:

    "For an inning anyway" is usually all a "closer" needs.

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    I would have liked to see Tommy tag up on that. Go a few steps see it might be caught and then go back.

  • Heyward woulda had that one.

  • It seems like whenever the cubs go extras the game goes at least an extra 4-6 innings and the cubs lose in dramatic fashion every single time.

  • In reply to bolla:

    I agree but this is also a good example of a human failing we all have. The long, grinding losses like this stick with us far longer than the wins. And so I feel similarly but the Cubs are actually 5-6 in extra innings games.

  • ....was a loss but not a deflating one.....down by 4 from the get go but came back....the Norwood kid looked pretty good but you had to figure Cutch or Posey were going to get him. Rizzo needs to just get away for awhile....

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