We Have Javy And You Don't: Cubs 5, Padres 4

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After a flat loss against the Padres on Thursday night, the Cubs looked to bounce back Friday afternoon. At times it was an incredibly frustrating game for Chicago as San Diego would not go quietly. After a very tense final two innings, the Northsiders were able to nail down the W.

Jose Quintana had a much better opening inning than his last outing. Hunter Renfroe singled, but Q only needed 12 pitches to escape the inning. Tyson Ross went 1, 2, 3 through the Cubs in the bottom of the 1st. The Padres stranded another single in the 2nd, before Javy Baez smacked a high slider over the wall in right for a solo homer to make it 1-0. Kyle Schwarber singled, then got caught around second on a Victor Caratini ground out for a double play.

The Cubs added a run in the 3rd, Tommy La Stella walked and was singled to third by Anthony Rizzo. Ben Zobrist hit a sacrifice fly to center for the second Chicago run. The Padres finally got to Quintana with a Christian Villanueva solo homer in the 4th, it was just enough to make the left field basket.

La Stella and Rizzo combined again to start a 5th inning rally. This time it was back-to-back singles to put runners on the corners. Zobrist grounded to Eric Hosmer at first who hesitated then fired home. Tommy beat the throw for the third run. Actually he appeared out, but Padres manager Andy Green had used his challenge unsuccessfully claiming a pitch hit Villanueva in the 2nd inning, a costly mistake.

Q went 6 strong innings allowing only the one run, before being lifted for a pinch-hitter. Carl Edwards threw a quick 1, 2, 3 inning in the 7th. Rizzo added a homer to his two singles, his solo shot against Robert Stock was barely in the basket in right.

Edwards went out to start the 8th with a 4-1 lead and was quickly greeted with singles from Cory Spangenberg and Travis Jankowski. Joe Maddon called on Steve Cishek who got Manuel Margot to hit a tapper right to him. Cishek spun and threw to second, but it was a mile wide going into center and giving the Padres a free run. AJ Ellis bunted both runners over and Renfroe hit a grounder to Javy at second who fired home to cut down Jankowski.

Randy Rosario, back after two days in Iowa, entered with two down to face Hosmer who drew a walk. Brandon Kintzler then faced Villanueva with the bases loaded. The former Cubs scalded a liner to third where defensive replacement David Bote snagged it for the final out.

The Northsiders got a crucial insurance run in the bottom of the 8th. Javy smoked a liner into the right field corner against Jordan Lyles. Baez went for a triple and made it with his patented swim-move slide. He was able to score on a Ian Happ sac fly to center. Addison Russell and Victor Caratini singled to make it runners on first and third with one out. Albert Almora hit a pop up that shortstop Freddy Galvis made a sliding play on with his back to home. Russell didn't try to tag on the play when he likely would have scored, Bote struck out to end the inning.

The 9th got very tense to say the least, Pedro Strop entered for the save. Galvis hit a seeing eye single and Jose Pirela walked, Spagenberg doubled to cut the lead to 5-3. Jankowski grounded to Rizzo for the first out, but Pirela scored to reduce the lead to one. David Bote then played hero, taking a Margot grounder to third and going home to nail Spangenberg at the plate. Strop struck out the only-dangerous-against-the-Cubs pinch-hitter Austin Hedges to secure the 5-4 win.


Source: FanGraphs

High Q Efficient

Quintana looked worlds better than his 51 pitch 1st inning debacle in St. Louis. Most importantly, he didn't walk a batter for the first time all season long. When his control is on Jose can be a very good pitcher. Did it help he was facing a weak Padres lineup? Perhaps some, but it was encouraging to see none the less.

Javy I Think I Love You

Seriously what else is there to say about Mr. Baez? Today he had the opposite field stroke working on his triple and homer. He matched his career-high in homers set last season with his 23rd. He made a huge play nailing the runner at home in the 8th inning. Every year Javy improves on the year before with hard work and a sky high baseball IQ. Javy is the Cubs and possibly the National League MVP.

Random Reference

Me and Javy this season.

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  • That was was way more tense than it should have been, and illustrates that we need our closer back, but there were two huge positives in Quintana's effort and the performance of young Mr. Baez. I don't think talk of MVP are premature. Just happy to get the win and a Brewers loss would be icing on the cake.

  • In reply to TC154:

    Yes the Cubs are playing without three important players but with team effort and fortune overcoming a TOR SP, best all around offensive player and their closer. Baez is filling in the impact of Bryant, team's staff filling in the TOR SP, but as for a closer that is hard to fill. by

    Now this game was actually decided by three plays at home plate, the safe call of La Stella, and two outs at home plays of Baez and Bote, perfect throws and perfect block tags by Caratini. Those plays cemented my confidence that Caratini can perform in the playoffs and now the Cubs have a super solid backstop corps for a few years. Bote is a real find, he can pick it and perform on the infield, (though if Zo was in LF and not Happ, no double and an out, anyway...) Bote made the play, so Cubs wiggled out of it.

  • Baez has hit 3 opposite hr's in the last week(@stl,@pitt,today) opposite field triple today too. He routinely goes to right field now

    He's a having a monster breakout season.One more stolen base and baez will join trout,betts and jose ramirez as the only 20 sb/20 hr players in mlb.

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    In reply to bolla:

    If he can get to 30-30. They can't keep the MVP away from him unless the Cubs completely collapse and miss the playoffs.

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    A little cubs bias but he’d make a strong case for top three, if not the MVP. Arenado and Freeman at least would also be viable candidates.

  • In reply to stix:

    As of now those three for sure, and possibly Lorenzo Cain as well. It may come down to team performance and who makes the postseason. All the more reason for us to bury the Brewers.

  • In reply to bolla:

    Hitting the ball hard and driving it to right field is a nice sign. The job Zo did getting the runs in from third was huge. A number of nice plays lead to an important win.

    Since the ASB, the Cubs have looked flat. Every team has a flat period during a long season. Playing .500 during your flat time frame... I’ll take that.

  • In reply to bolla:

    Javy's willingness to consistently hit the other way is the biggest sign that he in fact has matured greatly this season. I still have some reserve in believing this will be the Javy we will see in 2019 and beyond, but I can't see him wanting to revert to swinging out of his shoes at pitches out of the zone. He's proven he does have good pitch recognition and that he isn't just guessing at what the pitches will be, but I still want to see him show a more discerning eye at times, and that really would be the difference between him taking some more walks instead of grounding out like what happened in one of his at bats today.

    If he's on base, he can make crazy stuff happen, hence why I'd love to see him take advantage of about the 25-50 more walks that can come his way throughout the long season. That literally is the difference between Javy being who he is in 2018 (all star and possible MVP) and being considered one of the best generational baseball players of our time, and sticking him up there in the pedigree of the likes of Mike Trout and Mookie Betts.

    If Javy shows pitchers that they have to throw him strikes (like Trout and Betts do), he'll hit more doubles, more triples, and even more home runs too!!! As a result, his batting average, slugging percentage, and OPS will all skyrocket!!! Then he'd need to get a bigger mantle to put all his MVP awards on. And just think what that would do for Bryant, Rizzo, and Contreras all batting before and after him.

  • What else can you say about Javy except MVP? For years I, and I'm sure many others, rooted for a Cub to win a batting title, home run crown, or Gold Glove because that's all we had. It isn't supposed to matter anymore as we compete for titles, but I'd be lying if I said I don't want it. I let out a loud "Hell yes!" when Jake was announced the CY winner, and I'm all aboard the Javy-for-MVP train.

    Great to see the outing from Quintana, Bote continues to impress, and Zobrist has discovered the fountain of youth, or at least a healthy wrist. Many Cubs fans have been counting down the days until his contract expires, and now I'm waiting for the calls for an extension.

    That 9th inning was a little tense, but, W:

    Thank you, may I have another?

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    In reply to BarleyPop:

    Yes you may!!

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    In reply to BarleyPop:

    I could see an extension happening with Zo. But nowhere near what he is making now. I am thinking something more like, 2/$10-12M. He is having a great season but Maddon is still saying critical to that is giving him more days off.

  • A very relieved feeling after this one. We somehow held on. That crazy slide at 3b got a huge run.

    I still don’t know how bullpen is gonna shake out. I don’t think joe knows who is gonna pitch 6-8 inning. Not a knock on joe more on the guys themselves.
    My only negative is come on Cishek!!! Throw a ball to 2nd base!!!!
    Have to throw Rizzo a bone. I don’t have the numbers but he appears to hitting better as of late.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Rizzo is slashing .280/.387/.450 .837 OPS 121 wRC+ since July 1. He's been even better recently.

  • Better execution today, but lets axknowlwdge its just one game. This team still needs to be firing on more cylinders to achieve a sustained winning percentage over thbe last 2 months of the season.

    I admire Javy on several levels, mainly because his baseball instincts are unrivaled among the current crop of the ML regulars.

    That said, he still make ways to way too many outs to put runs on the board and is presently not a bonafide MVP this year.

    He still needs to tighten up his strike zone judgement to move to the next level.

  • So glad the cubs let wade davis walk, he labors way too much thru saves. He just blew the save vs the brewers, he has no command and blown several saves this season.

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    That terrible Wade Davis gives up a 3 run 2 out walk off HR to Eric Thames.

    Of Course he walked the 2 guys ahead of the bomb........ damn dirty walks.

    Like Bolla said, if Wade was the lockdown closer he's been this yr, the Rockies would be in 1st place the WEST

  • I'm buying first class tickets for BP's Javy-for-MVP train. He deserves his own verb, something like "That team got Javy'd today!' I love Javy, but I truly hope all of the adulation doesn't go to his head. He really is an unassuming person off the field. I hope he stays that way.

    Also, it is so, so, so good to see the big fella, heart-and-soul, Mr. Rizzo now sporting an OPS over .800 for the season. For me, that number is the mark of excellence for a player's offense. Anthony has made huge gains since that horrendous April. Give Joe props for sticking him at leadoff. GLOATed is another verb that hopefully will be used frequently this year when describing Rizzo's production at the plate.

  • In reply to HefCA:

    Choo! Choo!

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    In reply to HefCA:

    I think "Javy'd" will catch on better than "Norf'd" did in 2015.

  • I want to opine about Q a bit. He is a solid starting pitcher. I'll take that any day. Sure, he may not be a consistent hammer to whack other teams senseless, but generally he is a good pitcher. And occasionally, even better than that. Q is building up good will with Cubs fans. Eventually the good will outshine the not so good, and the number of people on his bandwagon will grow.

    Just looking at intangibles, you have to love how much he cares about pitching a good game. When they aren't so good, he's definitely an unhappy camper. That speaks volumes to me. I'm a Q believer now. I would not say I was about a month or so ago. He is solid. If you don't expect greatness from him, you will like how he helps the Cubs, methinks.

  • In reply to HefCA:

    Quintana is not great...but, good, decent and adequate. His record as a Cub isn’t bad and with his contract a good pickup by Epstein.

    The Cubs also would not be where they are now without the year Baez is having. The team mvp no doubt.....same as Freeman has been for the Braves and Aranado for the Rockies, all 3 have kept their teams in contention. As of now Aranado gets the award because of better stats and because he’s been reemed out of it before. If Javy goes 30/30 and the Cubs make it to the WS that probably changes. Supposedly the votes are in and counted before it finishes up.....

  • In reply to Wickdipper:

    I think Arenado and Freeman are just ahead of Javy right now for MVP but if he stays this hot that could change.

  • In reply to TC154:

    If we are truly objective they are. No one says anything either about Suarez’s numbers in Cincy which are very similiar. Look at the AL.....even more different choices. Still early.....alot of baseball left but, without Baez this year we are trailing Milwaukee now instead of being ahead.

  • In reply to Wickdipper:

    Suarez defense hurts him so he's actually 8th in the NL in WAR, whereas Javy is 4th. What's interesting is that if Javy had his usual D numbers he'd probably be ahead of Arenado and Freeman. Of course Matt Carpenter is 1st in WAR but it's hard to call him an MVP candidate but I suppose he is one.

  • In reply to Wickdipper:

    MVP voting occurs before the playoffs, I think. Certainly before league champions are decided, so that doesn't factor into MVP votes.

  • In reply to JohnCC:

    I wasn’t sure but that makes sense. I’ve always heard them say they wait until after the WS to announce the results but the choices were already decided before then.

  • I like the Cubs depth and think that is the biggest reason that they are at the top of the NL. If a cog is struggling or injured someone else steps and fills in. Bote, Caratinii, Strop, Montgomery, and Happ are he latest. The fine seasons of Baez, Zobrist and Lester are examples of veterans answering the call as sell.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I should include Cantreras' season as well.

  • I know I usually think way too simple. But, the best players on the team with the NL's best record should be the NL MVP.

  • In reply to DropThePuck:

    By those standards Mike Trout would have none so I'm not sure that's right.

  • Darvish threw a 55 pitch bullpen today, no pain feels good

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