Cubs vs. Brewers: Series Preview (8/14-8/15)

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The Cubs staged two comebacks, including David Bote's dramatic walk-off grand slam Sunday, to take two of three from the Washington Nationals. Bote's ultimate grand slam electrified Wrigley Field after Chicago was shut down by Max Scherzer most of the game. The Cubs look to ride the momentum into a crucial two-game series with the second-place Brewers.

Milwaukee's strength has been the bullpen, but they have let a few games get away recently. Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich are having huge seasons at the top of the order. It appears Craig Counsell has moved Josh Hader to the closer role after several bad outings from Corey Knebel. The Brewers have fallen three back of the Cubs and the red-hot Cardinals are only two behind Milwaukee.

If the Northsiders can beat the Brewers in this series it will give them their biggest division lead of the season. Milwaukee needs these games, so they are going to go all out to win them. There is still over a month left in the season, so this series is hardly definitive. If the Cubs can win both, however, it will help build a nice cushion for September.

Watch/Listen

Tuesday: 1:20 pm CT on MLB Network/NBC Sports Chicago/670AM

Wednesday: 1:20 pm CT on MLB Network/WGN/670AM

Lineups

Brewers

1. Lorenzo Cain (R) CF
3. Jesus Aguilar (R) 1B
4. Ryan Braun (R) LF
5. Hernan Perez (R) 2B
6. Mike Moustakas (L) 3B
7. Erik Kratz (R) C
8. Orlando Arcia (R) SS

Cubs

1. Anthony Rizzo (L) 1B
2. Javier Baez (R) SS
3. Ben Zobrist (S) 2B
4. Jason Heyward (L) RF
5. Tommy La Stella (L) 3B
6. Kyle Schwarber (L) LF
8. Jose Quintana (R) P
9. Ian Happ (S) CF

Bullpen Usage

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Lineups and Bullpen Usage via Baseball Press.

Opposing pitchers

Scouting Reports from Brooks Baseball.

Jhoulys ChacinJhoulys Chacin has thrown 19,086 pitches that have been tracked by the PITCHf/x system between 2009 and 2018, including pitches thrown in the MLB Regular Season, The World Baseball Classic and Spring Training. In 2018, he has relied primarily on his Slider (80mph) and Sinker (90mph), also mixing in a Fourseam Fastball (91mph). He also rarely throws a Splitter (87mph), Change (83mph), Curve (76mph) and Cutter (87mph).

His slider comes in below hitting speed and sweeps across the zone. His sinker has slight armside run, has slightly below average velo and has some natural sinking action. His fourseam fastball has some natural sinking action and has slightly below average velo. His splitter is basically never swung at and missed compared to other pitchers' splitters and is slightly firmer than usual. His change has slight cut action and results in somewhat more groundballs compared to other pitchers' changeups. His curve is basically never swung at and missed compared to other pitchers' curves, has little depth, results in somewhat more flyballs compared to other pitchers' curves, has slight glove-side movement and has slightly below average velo. His cutter (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' cutters, is an extreme flyball pitch compared to other pitchers' cutters, has slightly below average velo and has strong cutting action.

Sean's Note: Chacin baffled the Cubs in June, shutting them out in six innings. He is struggling of late allowing 11 runs his last two starts. He pitches to contact with a strikeout rate below league average. A .256 batting average on balls in play is below Chacin's career average, so luck may be a factor.

Junior GuerraJunior Guerra has thrown 5,153 pitches that have been tracked by the PITCHf/x system between 2015 and 2018, including pitches thrown in the MLB Regular Season and Spring Training. In 2018, he has relied primarily on his Fourseam Fastball (94mph) and Sinker (94mph), also mixing in a Splitter (87mph) and Slider (84mph). He also rarely throws a Cutter (93mph).

His fourseam fastball has essentially average velo, results in somewhat more flyballs compared to other pitchers' fourseamers, has slightly less natural movement than typical and has some added backspin. His sinker results in somewhat more groundballs compared to other pitchers' sinkers and has slightly above average velo. His splitter has surprising cut action, generates more whiffs/swing compared to other pitchers' splitters, is much firmer than usual and has movement that suggests a lot of backspin. His slider results in somewhat more flyballs compared to other pitchers' sliders and has some two-plane movement. His cutter (take this with a grain of salt because he's only thrown 3 of them in 2018) explodes on the hitter, generates an extremely high number of swings & misses compared to other pitchers' cutters, is blazing fast and is an extreme flyball pitch compared to other pitchers' cutters.

Sean's Note: Guerra has held the Cubs to two earned runs in 12 innings in 2018. He has a very low ground ball rate, so most of his outs are in the air or line drives. Junior is very good at pitching around baserunners, stranding 80% of men on base. He has a much higher road ERA than a home ERA this season.    

 

Filed under: Lineup, Series Preview

Comments

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  • fb_avatar

    One pitch at a time.

  • Quintana dominates the Brewers, going 2-0 with a 0.95 ERA in 19 IP this year, allowing just 9 H and 5 BB while punching out 16. For his career he is 4-1 in 7 starts, and his 0.92 ERA is the lowest of any active pitcher vs. any opponent in baseball with at least 7 starts. Let's hope that continues.

    Darvish threw a sim game earlier today. He pitched 3 "innings", about 50 pitches, and all reports are good. If he feels good tomorrow he probably makes a rehab start Sunday in South Bend. I would expect at least one more, so if all goes well he could be back when the rosters expand. Fingers crossed.

    Javy has cooled off, and his home/road splits are ridiculous. He can't hit (comparatively) at Wrigley, and I don't know why. I haven't looked back over the last couple years to see if it's always been this way, but I hope he figures it out.

    Lots of complaining about Bote not being in the lineup, but Chacin is much tougher against righties. We'll knock him out early and David will take over for Tommy. Bote can't come off the bench to hit a HR if he gets the start, right?

    The Cubs want these 2 games. The Crew need these 2 games. I really want to stomp them just to watch Kato Kaitlin's head explode on Twitter. Let's roll...

    Go Cubs!

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    Barley, you basically said what I was going to, although you have a better style than I do.
    It struck me as so Joe-like to have Bote on the bench, but I realize that he has very good reasons for his lineup choices and you're probably right about Chacin vs Bote. The team that is suddenly back in the race is StL, now only 5 back. We have the talent and depth to get this done and so far has done so. How many teams lose their MVP, their possibly #1 pitcher (or was thought to be) and closer and still do as well?
    All we can do is play right now, one pitch at a time. As Satchel Paige said, Don't look back. Something might be gaining on you.
    As I write this Cain just hit a HR. Another game to come back from!
    Go Cubs!

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I honestly felt strange while typing that about Quintana, hoping not to jinx him. Watching Braun hit dingers in Wrigley makes my head explode, but, We Never Quit.

    P.S.: I like your style, Jonathan.

  • Ughhhhhhhhh

  • In reply to bolla:

    Not gonna lie Bolla I've preached patience when it comes to Q and you know from our conversations that I've been more than fair with him, but it's getting harder and harder to defend him these days he's flat out not having a very good year. I get he's won 10 games so it could be worse but he's pitching like a 4/5 starter and not the 2/3 type of production that he should be expected to provide. I'm not gonna say that he's a bust he still has time to change his cubs narrative but I think this season thus far has to be considered a big disappointment I can no longer deny that. He's usually pitched to a very favorable FIP and this year he's not even doing that his FIP is around 4.5 so it's not as it he's been getting unlucky he's simply regressed this season from his previous norms. I'm still rooting for him and I certainly hope for the teams sake that we see better days ahead from him I think he's capable of more but that trade is off to a bad start from our viewpoint I don't think that can be denied any longer.

  • Tell me again why we traded two of the best prospects in the game for a pitcher with a good statistics against the worst division in baseball? Also, it’s not just him that sucks so how long are we going to keep Joe Maddons buddy as the pitching coach?

  • fb_avatar

    Last game we saw one of our little know prospects win in a dramatic walk off, and now all I see are 2 of our best prospects gone when I look at Q. I know he's trying, but it is trying to watch.
    If we hold them to 3 we have a chance. It's a long game.

  • Q is certainly doing himself no favors with Cubs fans

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    I've defended Q all year Michael from inpatient cub fans but his sample size is no longer small enough for me to say that he doesn't deserve criticism. He needs to pitch better no question about it I simply wouldn't trust him in a playoff game with the form he's shown this season. Even his peripherals aren't very strong anymore as they typically have been

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    Assuming Lester turns it around, Q is definitely the odd man out in the PO rotation at this point.

    I'm patient, and ultimately I'm not overly concerned with regular season performance, at least on a start by start basis. Q was brought in to help in the playoffs. If he doesn't do that then it will be a lost trade.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    He has help get them to the playoffs.

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    In reply to kkhiavi:

    He’s had a bunch of good starts in July/ August, but he’s also mixed in a few bad ones. The consistency has been the issue. Also, as I’ve said before, Q had no control over the trade or the return. It doesn’t seem fair to him to be criticized based on that, though I understand that’s it’s unavoidable.

  • Wow. It's clear after watching Q pitch for the Cubs for over a year now that he will have his good days and his bad days. But there are just too many games where the bad crops up. Is this the same guy who pitched for the White Sox?

  • There was some heated chatter a couple of games ago between followers regarding Quintana that got a bit out of hand. That was unfortunate for this forum and I don't want my comments to spark any thing that fires people up too much, but I do think it's within reason to start to evaluate the Quintana trade and realize that it's looking like the cubs gave up a ton in terms of potential for a pitcher who seems average and is often inconsistent. A 4.28 ERA in 22 games started this year, a WHIP of 1.375. I'm not saying the guy is horrible and maybe he gets better this year - we've seen a few starts where he has been quite good. Just feeling frustrated and disappointed in what the cubs got for the prospect package sent to the whitesox in the trade a little over a year ago.

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    In reply to Bill Buckner #22:

    Yeah, I’m sorry I started that exchange by criticizing the OP, though I tried to be respectful. Anyway, I think what you’ve said is perfectly reasonable.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Bill Buckner #22:

    I know it’s tough to look at Q and realize what we gave up—I said as much earlier here. The only thing I can say is that at this point they are only prospects and although they are dominating in the minors it’s not the Majors. We have to go a few years out and see what Q has done and what they do up here. If we hadn’t traded them what were the other options? Would we have traded for another pitcher and what would we have given up? If not, would Eloy be up here and where would he play? I don’t think Cease would be here yet but we’d be watching him. Lots of different possibilities.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I guess what I always go back is Verlander. I think he was traded to Houston last year later in the summer right near the post season player deadline. But if the cubs had been able to acquire him (instead of Quintana), would they have needed to include both Jiminez and Cease in the trade? Or maybe they could have gotten him for neither of those prospects at the time. Who knows. I know none of it matters now and I see why the cubs made the trade for Quintana at the time.

  • In reply to Bill Buckner #22:

    Preach, this is all I’ve been saying. This trade is looking like a highway robbery now.

    I know he was already moved at the time but Chris sale or deGrom are the type of pitchers you give up Jimenez and cease for not Quintana. Theo got fleeced , there’s a reason Hahn sought him out

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to bolla:

    I wanted Verlander so much I was watching the MLB network the last 30 min to see if it was going to happen. He would have made a difference last year and certainly this year. I haven’t looked up what Houston gave up but I know it wasn’t their 2 best prospects.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    If we never did the deal for Q, I'd bet we could've gotten Verlander for Cease and a couple other decent prospects, and not giving up Jimenez. The SP that Astros gave up was ranked between 35 and 53 between BP, MLB, and BA. The CF'er they gave up was ranked between 74 and 85 between the 3, but that was pre-2016, so he obviously fell off... There was a 3rd unranked player in the deal too. Hence why I think Cease plus a couple decent, not great, prospects could've gotten it done for the Cubs, along with maybe taking on more of Verlander's financial responsibility. Of course, hindsight is 20/20.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Yea Astros only gave up secondary prospects for Verlander and cole. They still have Whitley and Tucker and another top 100 in Alvarez

    And Verlander and cole became next level dominant when they went to Houston. I don’t know what the Astros are doing but they get the best out their pitchers. Go look at rondons #’s from last year and this year

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to bolla:

    While somehow all of our pitchers have taken steps backwards this year....... Minus Cole Hamels of course :)

    I wonder if we would be struggling this bad if BOSmosis was still here. Or could it be worse?

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    I specifically wonder if his absence hurt Kyle Hendricks in particular Jim Kyle really seems to be missing his spots much more than in previous seasons. I don't want to blame Hickey when I don't have enough information to make that claim but it's hard not to question why we're having team wide declines with our pitchers fastball commands. I'd include Darvish in that mix as well despite the fact he's pitched just 8 games his command seemed off too and he's always been a strike thrower

  • In reply to bolla:

    Do the current yr # include the blown save Sunday?

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I agree with cubber that we could've possibly acquired verlander without giving up Jiminez but lets keep in mind context wise that the consensus among fans and major league executives was that Verlander was declining last season. I remember the velocity was still solid but he was just getting knocked around and appeared to be a declining asset overall. There wasn't much support for acquiring Verlander unless it was as a fallback option if we didn't get one of the higher priced pitchers I can't recall a single poster that was clamoring for Verlander as their 1st choice for a starting pitching upgrade in July 2017. I remember many including myself were interested in acquiring Verlander to be our 5th starter after the Quintana trade but Houston was more desperate as their players were reportedly very unhappy that they didn't make a move at the July 31 trade deadline in 2017 to supplement a team that went onto winning a WS. I still maintain also that it was highly unlikely that the white sox would've dealt Chris Sale to us they asked for Kris Bryant and Contreras which was there way of saying they don't want to deal him to the cubs and the pirates didn't want to trade Gerrit Cole within the division so that's 2 premiere options that we were at a disadvantage for.

    I understand the frustration of the Q trade I think criticism of him is warranted but I will say in the organizations defense that I don't believe that we've had many high end alternatives available. TB has long been stingy about trading Archer who hasn't even been that good and they finally dealt him after the pirates gave them a huge package of prospects. Degrom wasn't traded as well as was speculated. As someone that saw Verlander last season too I'm sorry if I offend anyone by saying this but it's hard for me not to speculate that he may have juiced. Good for him it's been a nice turn around in Houston but guys don't typically suddenly become the best versions of themselves at age 35 when they had been showing many signs of decline in previous seasons. Sounds a lot like Roger Clemens to me it's a little fishy even though I'm by no means saying the guys guilty just that it's easy to be suspicious at his age

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to kkhiavi:

    Good points regarding the Verlander situation plus we were so low in Waiver priority as we are in the NL w a great record so it would have been a long shot to get him plus apparently we didn't want to take on the salary. Theo and Co believe in their models ( good or bad, right or wrong) and #'s and they said Verlander was in steep decline so they were not going to tie up money and prospects for him.

    I agree as something is def up as it can't just be change of scenery. I feel the same way about Matt Carpenter post April.

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    You just reminded me also Jim money wise that there were luxury tax concerns with acquiring Verlander and his big contract. We likely wouldn't have been able to sign all the guys from this previous offseason without going over the luxury tax mark. Obviously in retrospect we would've been happy to take on Verlander and his remaining money but it was a concern for the cubs they obviously placed a lot of value on Q's team friendly and cost controlled deal but unfortunately he hasn't lived up to everyone's expectations of him performance wise thus far

  • In reply to bolla:

    Idk if that's fair. I liked the trade at the time. I'm disappointed with Q too, but I expected better and still do. Nobody has every trade work as expected.. Arreita,/Stro, Hamels, and Hendricks worked well.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    It't not fair. Everyone forgets that EVERY trade is a gamble and that sometimes the players involved don't play up to the expectations that we (and the FO) have for them. Verlander is a great example, as his performance in Detroit was declining. Houston gambled that he could turn it around and they won big, but there was certainly no guarantee. Quintana? Well, it sure didn't look like the Cubs got much when they traded for that Arietta guy along with some crooked-hat flamethrower named Strop...

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I never liked the trade, quintana had a 4.49 era, 4.02 fip and 1.3 whip in 2017 BEFORE the cubs acquired him. Thought it was a huge overpay then and a robbery now.

    I don't know how anyone expects better from quintana either he's had several terrible starts in 2018. Cardinals,braves(twice),brewers today.This is not someone I'm confident in when he starts.

  • In reply to bolla:

    The Cubs have had several examples of mediocre pitchers who did well once joining the team. Maybe it was the catching, the coaching, or simply a change of atmosphere, but I'm not sure it was unreasonable to anticipate some improvement in Quintana. Today's performance, obviously, had us longing for the "good ole days" of Tyler Chatwood...

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Well I really hope so.I read nothing but good insight about hickey after the cubs hired him, how he helped lower walk rates and gave tips on how to use secondary pitches etc.I have no clue why the starters have struggled so much in 2018.

    Besides hamels, Hendricks is the only starter that has looked somewhat decent lately.

  • In reply to bolla:

    Maybe the FO won't let Hickey talk to Hamels?

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    In reply to bolla:

    The whole pitching staff has regressed since last year. I don't know how we can sugar coat it any other way, but what is the thing that has changed? The weather?, the team colors?, the baseball?, the mound? atmospheric pressure? pitching coach? catcher? manager? the game?

    The scariest thing is the one thing our new pitching coach was known for was fastball command and improving secondaries. Everyone of our pitchers are walking more and fastball command has been crap including Hendricks who was a master of spotting his fastball. Yes I know Yu has only had 8 starts, but even his fastball command was off and he's been a notorious strike thrower his whole career.

    I don't know if its true or not, but a couple of friends of mine told me Bosio was fired because he was a racist. If thats true, fine, but you have to get someone at least as good as he is, not a few notches below.

    This is not Dunkin donuts or Subway where you can hire your buddy to manage it. This is big market team in the MLB.

  • In reply to bolla:

    How would you compare Jimenez to Soler at the same time in the minors?

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    In reply to Bill Buckner #22:

    Not saying you said anything wrong, but you don't win many games when you score 0-1-2 runs. How many runs have the scored against this hodge Podge band aid brewers starting staff the last few games vs them?

    Sickening to say the least about this offense. I knew the off day was in a bad spot for us ( off a huge win) and good for them ( tough tough series in Atlanta plus travel)

  • I understand chacin is tough on righties but I really dislike la Stella and his .680 OPS in the 5 spot in a game with playoff implications. I like la Stella nice pinch hitter but it's hard to convince me that starting him ever gives us the best chance to win and guys really don't need rest coming off an off day

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    If a pinch hitter doesn't get a start once in senile, he probably won't be very good at it. Seems as good of a time for that as any.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I'm fine playing him in the right matchups 44 but just not against the brewers I'd prefer him against cincy or the pirates. I just don't believe there's any lineup in which La stella gives us a better chance to win because of his poor defense and his .680 OPS is far inferior to Bote's and Almora who also provide better defense at their respective positions.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Actually, I was thinking a start against Max Scherzer would have been a good move for LaStella. He works the count and makes the SP throw more pitches, which could come in handy just in case nobody hits a slam in the bottom of the ninth.

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    In reply to 44slug:

    44, I know you meant once “in a while” but it does come out as funny as once in senile. You gave me a smile on a gloomy Cubs day. Thanks.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Ha!

  • Can anyone tell me why we have Heyward and LaStella batting 4th and 5th (our 2 lowest OPS of the players in the lineup)?

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    Brewers SP is tough on righties

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    It would have made better sense batting Happ or Schwarber 5th and LaStella last (in front of Rizzo)

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    Schwarber has been scuffling of late. Not sure about Happ. Heyward has been hitting in middle of order for a while. Might have been something Maddon liked about TLS matchup.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    I understand what you are saying but most all the Cubs are struggling ABs currently so if they are still in the lineup, I feel they should be where it makes the most sense.

  • Wait till Eloy is up next year taking batting practice against Q.
    What good is a cost controlled starter when he sucks.

  • I guess this is Quintana when he is not "nibbling".

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    Now that's funny!

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    And true.

  • The Chris Archer trade was finalized. The Pirates gave up Austin Meadows, Tyler Glasnow and Shane Baz. That, I think is even more then what the Cubs gave up for Quintana.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    Oddly reminiscent, isn't it?
    And I would argue that Archer is just as shaky, if not more so than Quintana at this point. Archer hasn't had a good full season since 2015.

    Both have the nice contracts though. Teams willing to pay for the cost control.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    I agree. I think Quintana looked better then Archer when the trades were made. Those are 3 good prospects the Pirates gave up. With Meadows and Glasnow already having been in the majors and Baz was the 12th pick in the 2017 draft.

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    In reply to Michael Ernst:

    Great Trade for the Pirates if Archer gets them to the playoffs ( and pitches well) at least once before his contract is up. The pirates are trying to extend their window right now before the inevitable rebuild. You can't blame them or really disagree too much.

    The rays got themselves a lot of talent on paper. If 2 turn into solid contributors they did very very well. If one turns into an all star type player, they did very very well.

    This could turn out to be a great trade for both sides. Hopefully this is a concept people can start to grasp. A trade doesn't have to have a winner as both sides can do well esp depending on where both franchises are at the time of the trade as well as where each franchise is heading.

  • Does the package we gave up for Quintana last year get us degrom this year?

  • Does the quintana package get you degrom this year?

  • On top of the SP inconsistencies, my long standing concern with the 2018 team is the sporadic nature of the teams run scoring.

    As we head into the last 1/4 of the season and the potentially the playoffs, this team can be beaten in a short series if the offense is going through a run scoring dry spell.

    Again, short series are a crap shoot but this team is struggling on both sides of the ball, late inning heroics notwithstanding.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to JK1969:

    Exactly. Q has struggled 3 of the last 4 starts, but in those 3 the offense has scored a total of 2 runs, including shutouts in the last two (so far).

  • In reply to JK1969:

    No way. Jim Hickey fixed all those sporadic hitting issues...not.

  • Maybe they are trying to see if they can win another game with the fewest possible?

    At least we'll always have Bote Game.

  • Well, it's no wonder that we lead in comeback victories because we are always behind after the first inning.

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    I still don’t understand how a team with a leading .OBP can get shutout so often. It’s like there’s a mass hypnosis that takes hold. On the other hand when we score we can score a lot.

  • Did the filter block my last comment? Did I say something wrong?

  • Iim a half empty kind of a person but I said it it last week. This team is not that good. Starter s are bad exept hamels. Offense is inconsistent. No outfield production , Schwarber 2 rbis since all star break. Russell is invisible , Contrares has lost his power. Happ is an automatic strike out. Chile Davis is not working. Look at Boston offense since he left. The Cardinals will probably win this division.

  • The cubs offense has been boom or bust for a few years now.In the 2016 postseason they were shut out 4 times in the nlcs and world series alone.It's either 2 or less runs or 5+ runs it seems.

  • In reply to bolla:

    At least they could pitch in 2016. What we gave up for Q is criminal.

  • As it sits right now the Cardinals are the team that can gain ground on both teams in front of them by winning their next 2.....however,
    the situation gets flipped into our favor when the Crew and Birds play this weekend.....we gain on somebody if we win.
    The ones stuck in the gaunlet this week are the Brewers....

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