The Cubs offense sputtered in their weekend series in Pittsburgh, scoring just four runs total. With the help of solid pitching, the Northsiders split the series to stay three games up in the NL Central. That little offense is not a formula to consistently win baseball games. Chicago now heads to Detroit for a quick two-game series with the Tigers.
The Tigers are bad, really bad, 51-74 to be exact in third place in a lousy AL Central division. The offense is nothing to write home about, especially after losing Miguel Cabrera for the season. The pitching is average, but there aren't really any quality arms to fear. The Cubs beat them twice at Wrigley Field in July, without too much drama.
The Cubs made a trade today, adding fan-favorite Daniel Murphy. Clearly the goal is to add another bat, despite Murphy's obvious defensive issues. With the designated hitter available the next two days, the offense should get better production in the Motor City. With the Cardinals and Brewers not going away the Northsiders need to win these games.
Tuesday: 6:10 pm CT on NBC Sports Chicago/670AM
Wednesday: 6:10 pm CT on WGN/670AM
Lineups and Bullpen Usage via Baseball Press.
Scouting Reports from Brooks Baseball.
Jordan Zimmerman: Jordan Zimmermann has thrown 22,560 pitches that have been tracked by the PITCHf/x system between 2009 and 2018, including pitches thrown in the MLB Regular Season, the MLB Postseason and Spring Training. In 2018, he has relied primarily on his Fourseam Fastball (92mph) and Slider (87mph), also mixing in a Curve (81mph) and Changeusing a Circle Change grip (87mph). He also rarely throws a Sinker (92mph).
His fourseam fastball generates fewer whiffs/swing compared to other pitchers' fourseamers, results in more flyballs compared to other pitchers' fourseamers and has essentially average velo. His slider has much less depth than expected and is much harder than usual. His curve has little depth, is slightly harder than usual, has primarily 12-6 movement and results in somewhat more flyballs compared to other pitchers' curves. His change is a real worm killer that generates an extreme number of groundballs compared to other pitchers' changeups, is much firmer than usual and has slight armside fade. His sinker is basically never swung at and missed compared to other pitchers' sinkers, results in many more groundballs compared to other pitchers' sinkers and has some natural sinking action.
Sean's Note: The veteran Zimmerman is an extreme fly ball pitcher, his ground ball rate of 32% is well below league average. Injuries have limited him to just 88.1 innings pitched this season. Right handed hitters do a lot of damage against Jordan, so expect a fair number of right handed batters starting against him. He has an ugly 5.96 second-half ERA, so the Cubs are getting him at the right time.
Francisco Liriano: Francisco Liriano has thrown 26,249 pitches that have been tracked by the PITCHf/x system between 2008 and 2018, including pitches thrown in the MLB Regular Season and the MLB Postseason. In 2018, he has relied primarily on his Sinker using a Two-seam Fastball grip (93mph) and Slider (85mph), also mixing in a Change (86mph). He also rarely throws a Fourseam Fastball (92mph) and Curve (77mph).
His sinker has less armside run than typical and has slightly above average velo. His slider results in somewhat more flyballs compared to other pitchers' sliders. His change is much firmer than usual, results in many more groundballs compared to other pitchers' changeups and has some natural sink to it. His fourseam fastball generates fewer whiffs/swing compared to other pitchers' fourseamers, has some natural sinking action, has essentially average velo and results in somewhat more flyballs compared to other pitchers' fourseamers. His curve (take this with a grain of salt because he's only thrown 4 of them in 2018) is basically never swung at and missed compared to other pitchers' curves, is an extreme flyball pitch compared to other pitchers' curves, has little depth and has slight glove-side movement.
Sean's Note: If it feels like the Cubs have faced Liriano a lot it's because they have, 15 times to be exact. He has a career 3.35 in those collective starts, but this is a different Liriano. The crafty left hander has a 4.72 ERA in 2018 which is well below a 5.63 FIP, indicating he has had some degree of luck. The home run ball has been a problem, 16 in just 97.1 innings pitched. David Bote and Willson Contreras took him deep on the 4th of July in a Chicago win. He still dominates left handed hitters, holding them to a .171 batting average this season.
Update: Addison Russell has been scratched from today's game. In addition to a finger injury, the Cubs say he has shoulder and leg issues. Also the Cubs announced Yu Darvish is done for the season with a stress reaction in his elbow.
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