Game Post 8/17


Series preview is here.


Friday: 6:05 pm CT on NBC Sports Chicago/670AM



1. Ian Happ (S) CF
2. Jason Heyward (L) RF
3. Ben Zobrist (S) 2B
4. Anthony Rizzo (L) 1B
5. Javier Baez (R) 3B
6. Kyle Schwarber (L) LF
8. Cole Hamels (L) P
9. Addison Russell (R) SS


1. Corey Dickerson (L) LF
2. Starling Marte (R) CF
3. Gregory Polanco (L) RF
4. David Freese (R) 3B
6. Josh Bell (S) 1B
7. Josh Harrison (R) 2B
Bullpen Usage

Lineups and Bullpen Usage via Baseball Press.

Opposing pitcher

Scouting Report from Brooks Baseball.

Trevor WilliamsTrevor Williams has thrown 4,614 pitches that have been tracked by the PITCHf/x system between 2016 and 2018, all of them occuring in the MLB Regular Season. In 2018, he has relied primarily on his Fourseam Fastball (92mph), also mixing in a Sinker (89mph), Slider(82mph) and Change (84mph). He also rarely throws a Curve (75mph).

His fourseam fastball has less armside movement than typical, has some natural sinking action and has essentially average velo. His sinker has below average velo and has some natural sinking action. His slider has short glove-side cut and has some two-plane movement. His changegenerates fewer whiffs/swing compared to other pitchers' changeups. His curve (take this with a grain of salt because he's only thrown 5 of them in 2018) is basically never swung at and missed compared to other pitchers' curves, results in more flyballs compared to other pitchers' curves, has little depth and has slightly below average velo.

Sean's Note: Despite not getting many grounders Williams has a very low home run rate. He has one of the lowest strike out percentages you will see from a starter, so he pitches to contact. A .256 BABIP indicates he should be allowing more hits than he has. He only allowed a single run in six innings against the Cubs in April.

Final Thoughts: Ian Happ is back in the leadoff spot for the first time since early in season. Happ's on base percentage is very high, so it's not a crazy notion. Willson Contreras gets the day off after looking a bit gimpy on a close play at first base on Thursday. Cole Hamels has been very good so far in a Cubs uniform. His changeup especially looks very nasty so far.

Update: The game will be delayed by rain, more updates to follow.


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  • Mike montgomery to the 10 day dl left shoulder inflammation

    walkwood starting saturday

  • Mike Montgomery placed on the DL with left shoulder inflammation. So much for replacing Chatwood hopefully Montgomery is alright I don't want to see our injury list grow anymore than it already has at this late point of the season

  • In looking at the bullpen usage, who’s the closer for today?

    Third day in a row for Cishek or Strop? Or Wilson or Kintzler?

  • In reply to Gerald:

    Guessing we're almost surely gonna see Kintzler and I'd guess Justin Wilson against his former team if we're ahead. I Guess there's a chance they use Cishek and Strop 3 days straight and give them tomorrow off instead but I'm guessing Maddon would like to give those 2 an off day along with Edwards obviously

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    Play today like tomorrow is an off day. Looking at the weather forecast for Saturday, it’s rain all day with no windows. You know that weather forecasts aren’t worth much but I think saturday is a rain out.

  • In reply to stix:

    I didn't know that stix maybe that factors into Maddon's thinking on the urgency of winning tonight's game along with the fact that Chatwood starting almost automatically decreases our chances of winning tomorrow despite the fact our team has really backed him up this season. A rainout honestly may not even be the worst thing if it means that we can skip our 5th starter with Montgomery being placed on the DL. The only issue is now really isn't the best time for a rainout with a stretch of 23 straight games to be played starting on August 21. I'd prefer any rainouts to be towards the latter half of that stretch

  • In reply to Gerald:

    Chavez... :o)

  • 2 weird tidbits for today's game I'm guessing Contreras is injured and unavailable for tonights game after his leg injury last night. Caratini is catching Hamels and this is interesting because it's not only his 1st time catching Cole but Hamels traditionally like Jake Arrieta before needs a strong throwing catcher behind the plate because he's slow to the plate out of the stretch windup. Caratini has a below average throwing arm behind the plate so it'll be interesting to see not only how he handles Hamels but how we're able to control the pirates running game using a battery that is ill suited for limiting stolen bases. I hope Contreras is alright his absence after his injury concerns me somewhat he looked pretty hobbled by the end of the game last night.

    Ian Happ also in the leadoff spot today hopefully this time works out better than it worked out in April. He does seem to do a lot of damage against the pirates, cardinals and reds specifically though so it's somewhat an interesting and calculated move by Maddon.

  • Interesting to see the LH heavy lineup against Williams today. Happ had a single and double against him, and Schwarbs had a double and HR back in April. Those were the only Cubs his off him back on April 12.

    Looking at the splits for Williams, they are actually very even. Here's Trevor Williams' slash line against RHB: .244/.304/.395/.699, and against LHB: .242/.310/.372/.683

    Now where it gets interesting is his K:BB ratio; 54:21 against RHB, and 28:20 against LHB. Also BABIP; .291 against RHB, and .247 against LHB.

    Call me crazy, but I'd almost rather see Bote start at 3rd tonight and give Javy the day off today, at least till there's a good PH situation to put Javy in a spot where he might really help the Cubs.

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    Looking at those splits and reading the report in Sean's post I would assume Williams, like most righties, swaps out his slider vs. RH's for the change vs. LH's. He rarely throws a curve. The glaring difference is he seems to command the slider better than the change-up, with the change resulting in more walks but weaker contact. My game plan if I was a LH hitter against him would be to focus on the fastball and lay off the change entirely unless he hangs one or behind in the count. It will be interesting to see how the Cubs approach him.

    One of the biggest reasons for Javy's offensive breakout has been letting the pitch get deeper into the zone, driving FB's to the opposite field and yanking the off-speed to the pull side. He'll hit an oppo bomb off a FB or crush a mistake change into the LF stands tonight and we'll all be happy, especially you, Cubber.

    Go Cubs!

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    You're right about Javy and hitting with the ball deeper in the zone. I like that he's not afraid to swing at the offspeed/breaking pitches when they start out inside on him. He absolutely crushes some some of them. He's gotta learn to stay off the pitches at the top of the zone, and the bottom outside corner. That's all he's seeing lately. Not many pitchers will do him any favors...

    Good idea for the game plan of LHB against Williams... let's see what happens. And as I typed about sitting Javy, my thought was, maybe he'll prove me wrong and hit 2 out today.

  • I was looking for Victor to get a start, if he is not already rusty. I know Joe hates to not have Contreras behind the plate, but it's been lots of playing time for a catcher lately. I hope Willy is not injured. He would hard to replace.

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    Rain Rain go away. Don't make me have to watch the Brewers and Cards and have no idea who to root for let alone like.

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    I just “prefer” the team lower in the standings to beat the team higher... I don’t really “root” for that team.

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    I hate the Cards and their fans .... Brewers are the only choice for me

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    In reply to stv711:

    I root for two teams the cubs and whoever the cardinals are playing

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    In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Someone said the other day that they hoped the Cards took 2 out of 3. That would mean that they would be in a dog-fight for 2nd place in the division. And the Cubs could simply float along on top.

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    Len just came on in-between "Beer Money" and said they are working on the field and we should have baseball at around 7:45 Chicago time !

    Lets do this !

  • 7:50 official start time, according to the Cubs radio folks. What do the Denizens think how Bote will be used when KB comes back, probably early September? I'm thinking KB plays 3rd because Joe doesn't want to push him too much now in the outfield.

    Bote has to play, however, assuming he doesn't nosedive between now and September. What makes the most sense to me is a lot of Bote at 2B with Javy at SS. Possibly also Bote in the OF and (a little) less of Schwarber, Happ, and/or Almora. You'd have to think that the playing time for Bote and Zo will not diminish, so probably the coldest of the Russell-Schwarber-Happer-Almora foursome will be sitting a bit more.

    Just my two cents. What do others here think?

  • In reply to HefCA:

    Thanks for the start time update...

    No matter what Bote does, he still doesn't get many starts, does he? So I reckon that after KB's return it won't change much. Bryant will need rest and will not be starting every game so hopefully Bote gets a couple starts a week a 3B. I don't see Maddon cutting into Happ's Schwarber's playing time. He wants those two guys to get "on track" - whatever that might mean - and clearly gives both every opportunity. I don't want to go down the "harp on Maddon" rabbit hole though. Russell is also a key to this team's success and he needs to get his rbi bat out of the closet. But if Bote can some 2B, that could help. I have no doubt that Maddon will not be afraid to stick him LF either.

  • In reply to JohnCC:

    I'm not advocating for Bote to start every game, but don't you think his playing time has been ramping up? His season should be viewed through the TSS (tiny sample size) lens, however, he has had a profound effect so far on the team. Not just with the bat (which has been huge), but defensively he's been excellent, he has shown a very high BB IQ on the base paths to boot. In short, you gotta play the hot hand. And he is hot.

  • In reply to HefCA:

    I would like to see his playing time ramp up, it just doesn't seem like it has. But I agree, he's been so good and it seems real. He plays solid baseball and I hope he contributes till the end of this season, whenever that may come.

  • In reply to HefCA:

    I think a lot of the playing time issues will be dictated by the division standings. Are we fighting for the top spot or setting up for the postseason? Like JohnCC said, Bryant probably isn't coming in and playing every day, so that solves some of the congestion. KB's injury is to his non-throwing shoulder, so I don't see any reason he couldn't see time in the OF, especially since he has more experience than Bote. If it comes down to someone reluctantly losing playing time, my money's on Russell. But looking further ahead Russell will be playing SSin the postseason, as Joe (and I) place a premium on run prevention. Russell could do himself a huge favor by upping his offensive game but I just don't see it happening.

    Since the premise of this question is "what about Bote", I'd like to focus on him for a moment. He's made quite an impact in his short time up, even acquiring cult status. Many have speculated that he will fall off and that people are too high on him, as many players have made an impressive debut before floundering. I don't think he will. The underlying talent is there, from the defense and speed to the hitting ability and my favorite tool, baseball intelligence. People argue that he is hitting better than he ever has so it must be a fluke, but it isn't. He has always hit the ball incredibly hard but on the ground. A little over a year ago, he was approached by Cubs management and asked to change his swing to take better advantage of his hard contact. This can be a risky proposition for a young player, but the Cubs were confident in his mental abilities, and the change has been a resounding success.

    I questioned Bote's impact on the Cubs long-term when he first came up. I didn't know much about him or his history. I was ignorant. The more I read and learn and, most importantly, watch him play, I realize I sold him short. He is the real deal, and has the tools and mentality to make an impact for years to come.

  • Just for some perspective I compared the Cubs record from 2015 to now at 120 games (with the difference in wins), and added in the number of wins they each finished with (along with their winning % for the final 42 games):

    2015: 69-51 (-1), 97 (.667)
    2016: 77-43 (+7), 103 (.619)
    2017: 63-57 (-7), 93 (.714)
    2018: 70-50, ?? (???)

    If these Cubs could finish with the .667 win % that all 3 previous season's team's last 42 games were played at, they'd get 28 more wins. They'd do pretty well to finish with 98 wins on the season. That would force the Brewers to have to win 30 of their remaining 39 (Cubs would probably still have the tie-breaker in head-to-head matchup, or the Cardinals to win 30 of their remaining 38 to tie. I gotta say, the way we've done really well in playing from behind, the Cubs do remind me of the 2015 team quite a bit. Hopefully our guys get healthy and give us the boost to have that kind of finish.

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    5-4-3 DP ........AROUND THE horn. Got to love Hamels inducing these ground balls. Great play by Russell to end the 2nd and Cole comes up w the "Shutdown inning"

    Of course the other mid west bash brother, the schwarbenator put us on the board w the early lead.

    Lets get some more runs

  • The Mets scored 24 runs yesterday? That is insane.

  • Lester yesterday, Hamels tonight........
    Hate to be the buzzkill but tomorrow.......

  • In reply to Wickdipper:

    ... but tomorrow, Chatwood will crush my low-scoring preferences, allowing 1 run and forcing us to score 2 for the W. Oh the horror...

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Rain out Saturday

  • I just had an epiphany and embraced my masochism. I am rooting for the Cubs to win 1-0. I actually wanted us to fail on offense to multiply the stress level of a 1-0 W. I must be feeling the effects of the dog days, or I am just a dog.

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    In reply to BarleyPop:


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    In reply to BarleyPop:


  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    Thanks for the validation. I'm kinda giddy.

  • Wow, lol......Cubs get more double plays in one game than the Cardinals get in 2 weeks....

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    In reply to Wickdipper:

    I remember a game, I think it was 9/23/2016 with Arrieta on the mound. The game was a meaningless one for the Cubs but the Cards were fighting for their playoff lives (3rd in the WC standings by 1/2 game with time running out. So they had every reason to do all in their power to win the game. On a couple of ground balls to 2B they tried to turn the DP mechanically. They made all the throws but there was no urgency, no "crispness" to their throws. Almost like it was infield practice. And both turned into FC rather than DP. Len Kasper commented, "Can you imagine if the shoe were on the other foot and the Cubs were fighting for their playoff lives that Javy and Addison wouldn't SOMEHOW make that DP?" It is the beauty of having much better athletes on the field.

  • 7 DPs. 21 games over .500. Lead is now 4 games.

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    In reply to Milk Stout:

    With the completion of the Cards-Brewers game the lead is now 4.5 games over the Brewers (5 over the Cards). And, more importantly, 6 games in the loss column

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    Yeah... I oopsed that one but no edit feature... Ha ha.

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    In reply to Milk Stout:

    As my co-worker says, "If that's the worst thing that happens today I think we'll all be OK." LOL.

  • WoW... Imagine if Darvish comes back strong. World Series here we come!

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    And Morrow & Bryant...:o)

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    Yes!! A lot of these so-called MLB Experts will be eating their words. They have overlooked the Cubs all year long in favor of the west coast and east coast teams along with Miwaukee. It's a classic case of open mouth - insert foot.

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    In reply to clarkAddson:

    I don't know that the experts have "overlooked" the Cubs. It is that the Cubs aren't as good of a story. The AL East is INSANELY good--at least the top of it. The Astros are probably going to have 100+ wins. The Dodgers have improved but still can't get over the hump. MIL is a small market team that is doing well. The Nationals look awful (can you imagine legitimate speculation before the season began that they would trade Harper at the deadline?). The Cubs are supposed to be good. They are good. Maybe not as good as their roster says they should be but they are the least surprising team.

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    I was out tonight but following the game on my phone. I kept seeing the 1-0 lead and watched as the innings go by. It seemed every inning the Pirates had runners on and then a DP and the inning was over. In the end, we won. I have come to believe that we are different than the Cubs teams I watched years ago--we have a lot of talent and it shows.
    Go Cubs!!

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    “...different than the Cubs teams I watched years ago--we have a lot of talent and it shows.
    Go Cubs!!“

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:


  • So frustrated with the old washed up Lester and Hamels. What is Joe thinking giving them the ball?

    Oh wait.........:-D

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    Ha ha! Nice one. I wish Quintana can soak up as much as he can from those “has beens”. He’s got the stuff.

  • Watching all those DPs last night, it was amazing. I may be the exception, especially in this day and age, but I love a good pitcher’s duel. Unfortunately today with Chatwood, to win, the Cubs may have to set some sort of triple play record. It’s tough to defend a walk though.

  • In reply to PhillyCubFan:

    I think Chatwood will be inspired by what Lester and Hamels have done and throw a no hitter. Got to be positive. :-)

  • In reply to John57:

    Better chance for me to win the lotto tonight... that's as positive as I can get!

  • The brewers are .5 from being out the wild card completely

    The oakland A's are 1 game behind the astros after their comeback walk off win last night.

    Even though I highly doubt the cubs would beat them I want to see a cubs vs red sox world series.7 games with 2-3 games going extras.

    Last but not least another great performance by hamels, those double plays were timely and hamels has a .0.72 era after 4 starts on the cubs.

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