Good Q Not Good Enough With Slumping O--Reds 2 Cubs 1

I am making a bad habit of needing to apologize at the start of these, but I just didn't have it in me last night to write this when I finally crawled into bed. The Cubs dropped the game, but the Brewers finally hit a skid bringing the Cubs magic number down a game. José Quintana started off shaky. Scott Schebler launched a home run to start the game. José Peraza struck out, but Joey Votto singled with one out. Q walked Eugenio Suárez, but Q baffled Scooter Gennett all afternoon with a second punchout. Phillip Ervin drew a bases loading walk, but Tucker Barnhart popped out in foul territory to end the inning.

Luis Castillo faced the minimum despite hitting leadoff hitter Anthony Rizzo to start the Cubs first. Quintana gave up a leadoff bomb to Phillip Ervin in the fourth inning to double the Reds lead. A pair of Addison Russell errors extended Quintana's inning, but he managed to keep the Cubs in the ballgame.

Rizzo led off the Cubs fourth with their first base hit, and advanced to third on a pair of productive outs. Daniel Murphy drew a walk, and then a controversial foul ball call took a run scoring hit away from the Victory Carrot. Instead, an easy pop fly caught by the second baseman ended the Cubs threat.

Q would completed five innings with the Cubs still trailing by a pair. Castillo ran into trouble walking Addison Russell with one out in the fifth inning. Willson Contreras than hit a ball very hard and most everyone in the ballpark thought had tied the game. I am not sure how far Contreras was when the ball hit up against the wall. Russell only made it to third and Contreras barely beat Hamilton's throw back into the infield. Albert Almora Jr. hit a sacrifice fly to put the Cubs on the board. Ian Happ grounded out to end the inning.

Jaime García pitched the sixth inning and had to work around a Peraza bunt single with one out. A Gennett lineout to Rizzo ended the Reds threat. Dillon Maples and Carl Edwards Jr. each pitched a clean frame to give the Cubs a chance.

The Cubs had one more chance to break through against Castillo. The Reds righty pitched into the seventh inning and he punched out Addison Russell for the second out of the inning. Kris Bryant and Almora hit back to back singles to end his afternoon. Amir Garrett advanced the pair into scoring position on a wild pitch, but Rizzo struck out swinging to hold onto the lead. Jared Hughes and Raisel Iglesias each pitched a clean inning to close out the game. The Cubs couldn't manage the sweep before heading out on the last road trip of the year.

WPA CHART

Source: FanGraphsstrong>1st Topic

Random Reference
The game was certainly a sleep enhancement as the Cubs bats slept walk through another day off the calendar. However, this is what I feel like this morning.

Source: FanGraphs

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  • No need to apologise, Mike. We realize that what you do here is not the only thing that is on your plate.

    I would think that the offense is about ready to break out the bats. Every regular had a rest day this series and the season is getting short.

  • Murphy is in a serious slump he’s had some pretty bad ab’s lately.

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    Again, you don't have to apologize Mike. Life sometimes gets in the way.
    We keep thinking this offense is about to break out, but as we continue to hope the games are dwindling down and time is short. All we need is it to have a relatively short time to click, our pitchers have to do what they've been doing, the continued excellence over the last month of so.
    I don't know how many times Joe has to say "respect 90" players still don't--especially in such an important moment of a game. How can Willson stop and gaze with us down by 2? What has to be done? Sit him, deny him PT--maybe show him that's he's not indispensable will get through. He's not the only one, just the latest. We need everyone pulling together and that was a clear example of one player not doing it.
    So, Go Cubs, get them tonight.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    In Contreras' s defense, no one plays harder than Willson. He never takes a pitch off. I think that this was an anomaly due to his frustration over his recent lack of power. Fortunately, he was able to get to second and to third tagging on Almora's sac fly. Joe will address it as a reminder to all and move on. I don't see any reason for less playing time.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Yeah, I don't like to see them do what Wilson did but in reality it didn't cost us anything as second was as far as he could have went anyway. While we are on that, I do have to question Addy's baserunning on the play. At no time was that ball going to be caught. He should have easily scored IMO.

  • In reply to KJRyno:

    If Castro would have done this people would have demand he be taken out. I would like to see Joe pull him immediately. As a high school coach I have pulled and will continue to pull players if they were to do this. Hard to blame them when they see a major leaguer do it. Respect the 90????

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Just because a portion of cubs fandom doesn’t excuse a moment of human error for Castro, doesn’t make it necessary to hammer another player. I can’t imagine what it’s like to keep a mental edge day in, day out with fewer total off days in 6 months than I get in a month of my job, with a nation watching and judging at all times ready to pounce on every mental blip, all while reviewing endless video, memorizing different scouting reports each day, and trying to hit 90+ mph pitches followed by breaking balls that would make 99% of baseball fans dive out of the way if they ever saw one in person.

  • In reply to Stubbs:

    What does that have to do with walking and lack of hustle?

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Human. Errors. As in, dudes aren’t perfect.

  • In reply to Stubbs:

    I could have cared less if he struck out or threw a ball in cf. That has nothing to do with being perfect. That is a very controllable error. Can’t make excuses for it. Just don’t let it ever happen again.

  • Since MIL lost, the Magic Number Countdown is now 11. Any combination of Cubs wins and MIL losses that total 11 clinches the NL Central.

    StL and LAD are essentially tied for the 2nd WC, since they have the same number of losses. The Magic Number for clinching a playoff spot is 8.

    The Magic Number has decreased by 24 in the 4 weeks of the Countdown, an average of 6 per week. Clinching at the end of the PIT series during the last week would be an optimistic projection.

    The Cubs have a 4 game lead for th3 best NL record and home field until the WS, but since that the Magic Number for that is less than for the division, I will not consider that just yet.

  • In reply to CubsFanInNorway:

    Addi doesn't have the base running instincts that many have on this team. He is correctly less aggressive.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I agree he doesn't, but then he needs to seriously watch and learn. Most baserunners improve in that area as they mature. Their speed often goes down but knowledge and instincts go up. To me, "not having base running instincts" is correctable. I think Venable would agree.

  • In reply to KJRyno:

    It would be nice to see some improvement, as Russell has made me cringe more times than I care to remember. Baserunning is, to me, perhaps the purest show of baseball knowledge and awareness and something I look at closely when evaluating future potential. Everything is involved in good baserunning: situational awareness, studying positioning and knowing arm strength and route tendencies, even field dimensions and weather conditions. Anticipation, and the ability to react and improvise in a split-second. Good baserunners have their head on a swivel; others stand there and watch the batter. It's a big reason I've been so high on Javy and Bryant, and so low on Russell and even more so Soler.

    Baserunning can be improved but I think natural ability is a bigger factor. Some players have it and some don't, and I see it as a great indicator of inherent baseball knowledge and skill.

  • In reply to CubsFanInNorway:

    Isn't the number to clinch home field advantage the same as the number to clinch the division since the Brewers have the second best record in the NL?

  • Our Offense continues to leave fans scratching our heads.

    The 2019 version may very well have an entirely new OF and new 2B with Javy moving to SS.

    It’s a bad mix of hitters. I could really see Schwarber, Heyward, Happ, Almora, and Russell gone in trades. What looked like a bunch of 3/4 hitters has turned in 7/8 hitters.

    I am really disappointed in how these players have performed and lack of development.

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    In reply to rbrucato:

    Hate to say it, but Russell will likely stay. If Baez gets hurt no one on the team is better defensively up the middle than he. Same with Almora in CF. I can see Schwarbs & Happ moved for pitching. Then we lose a LH power bat.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    No one will take Heyward s contract and Theo doesn’t want to eat crow on his so so eye for draft picks that have all turned out to be 240 strike out hitters.

  • In reply to TheSarge#36:

    Harsh, man. Any contract can be moved, and of all the players rbrucato mentioned I think Heyward may be the most secure, for baseball reasons as much as financial obligations. He's a baseball player and leader, and we can use those.

    As for criticizing Theo, his eye for drafting position players would be way down on my list. I just can't see how an honest evaluation of his track record would lead to criticism. But hey, to each their own.

    Go Cubs!

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    In reply to BarleyPop:

    If his eye for drafting position players would be way down on your list for criticism, Whats your top 5 or top 3 then? This I am curious about.

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    1. Drafting pitching.

    2. Developing pitching.

    3. Signing pitching through free agency.

    Do we detect a common theme?

  • Don't see the front office making the changes you are predicting. I thought one of them would be moved last year and they kept them all.

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    I see some big changes as well, and your point about not moving them last year adds to that case: the FO has had another year to evaluate everyone. Different evaluators have varying thresholds for determining talent, whether it is 1000 PA's, 1500, even 2000. Most of these young guys have approached or surpassed those marks and you are getting a clearer picture of what they are. I'm like Joe, a big believer in run prevention, so I don't see a full-blown jettison of defense in exchange for offense, but as rbrucato said, this is a poor mix. There will be changes rather than just sticking with this core. It will be interesting to follow.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I think we all need to take a step back and realize how good this team really is even though everyone could do better especially lately. If someone told you the Cubs would have the best NL record (better than the Dodgers and the Nats, etc.) back in April would you have been satisfied? What would you have thought of the Cubs chances to get to the playoffs with Darvish out most of the season along with injuries to Rizzo, KB, Russell, Morrow, and all the rest of the DL stints? The FO may trade a few of our core players but I'm sure it would depend upon who they can get in return.

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    Good points and you sound like me, the eternal optimist. I'm certainly not trying to bash anyone, and we are in a tough offensive cycle. But we have had time to evaluate some of these players, and I'm looking forward to the decisions we make. Above all else, I'm looking forward to how far this current team carries us in 2018. We have had some underperformance and injuries lately, but we all remember that the Indians took us to the 10th inning of Game 7 of the World Series without Salazar or Carrasco, and that was the year all the universe aligned for the Cubs. I will never quit, and neither will these Cubs.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Remember the Cubs lead the NL in runs scored. Also best record in the NL. Without much help from bryant or rizzo in the first half. I would only trade for one player a top left handed hitting leadoff hitter that plays either second or cf. That is the one glaring inconsistency in their lineup.

    Starting pitching and relieving will be pretty solid in 2019. Will always need to tweak pitching.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    I think packaging russell and happ should be close to getting an elite leadoff second baseman.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    Scooter Ginnett?

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I noted in the off season and thoogh April that it was a poor mix, but had no idea who to move. None were finished products. I had Russell as odd man out because I liked Javy better at short and second basemen are easier to come by. I hated to trade left side power. We will see. This offense produces only in short spirts.

  • A historic look at the Schwarber knee injury indicates players production decreases to at best three quarters of what it once was. Likewise their careers are 3/4s as long. Of course, this is mostly related to football players at skilled positions, but I think it has had a bearing on his ceiling. He could flat out rake before.

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    In reply to 44slug:

    Boy if thats actually true and this FO really believed that...... they really made a mistake not trading the Schwarbenator for Andrew Miller. 25% is a lot esp since at that time.

    He still helped us win that World Series so he will always be a hero.

  • I think we’ll see some changes in the offseason, but not as many as being telecasted here. I also think people seem to jump to conclusions rather quickly. A month ago, I read many comments here about David Bote and how he’s the real deal, and what do we need Kris Bryant for. All that was just absurd. And now Bote is getting the same negative comments that Happ, Schwarber, and Russell always get. The one thing in Bote’s favor is he actually got time to develop, but realistically he’s part time player talent, luckily with versatility in the field. Russell, Schwarber, and Happ all were rushed to the big leagues, and unfortunately the situation of the Cubs rebuild dictated that as necessary in the cases of Russell and Schwarber. I really wish Happ spent all of 2017 in the minors getting time to really develop. His skill set could play in the majors, but he’s still got a lot of work to do that would’ve been beneficial not happening against major league pitching.

    At this point, I think resigning Hamels becomes important so we can trade from an over abundance of starting pitching along with 1 or 2 of our position players to get one or 2 other players that can help us with putting the ball in play and getting runners moving around the bases more frequently.

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    Don't forget, we are in a good position to get some Free Agents also.

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    It would be nice to sign Machado and trade for an elite leadoff hitter.

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    Machado will want a long term big dollar contract that I think the Cubs will avoid.

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    The front office will hate to break up the 2018 world champs tho.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Love it, 44!

    "With my New York brim,
    And my gold tooth displayed
    Nobody gives me trouble
    'Cause they know I got it made."

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    In reply to Cubber Lang:

    How long do you want to sign Hamels?

    I think exercising his option is enough so we have him for 2019.

    Which pitchers can we trade? Monty? and replace him w Walkwoody? Granted, I am sure due to his contract, Walkwoody is going to get another shot at the rotation.

    In regards to Happ, I agree 100%. I think that extra time after failing in the MLB really helped Javy, and I think it would have done a similar positive thing for Happ. I just hope they didn't break him, and this is who he is going to be long term.

    We def need some more contact hitters. It would be nice to have per say, 1 player who walks more then he strikes out.

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Buy out hamels then re-sign him for 2 years 24 mil.

  • In reply to bolla:

    This seems pretty reasonable.

  • In reply to bolla:

    Already have Lester, Darvish, Quintana, Hendricks and Chatwood signed for next year. Hamels turns 35 later this year. I think the team exercising his option is still up in the air.

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    The cubs signed john lackey who was 37 years old to a 2 year 32 million dollar contract. Not sure why you're mentioning age and hamels has been better than everyone on the staff since acquired. Why would the cubs let him walk? Who cares if they have walkwood signed he sucks. Hamels has been better than quintana they could trade quintana

    The luxury tax goes up to 206 next season and then chisek,morrow,zobrist come off the books after 2019 and lester after 2020. the cubs can go over the tax for one year and go right back under.Seems like you just wanna take the contrarian I disagree with everything angle.You have no valid point.

  • In reply to bolla:

    Doubt that the rangers would allow that as they are on the hook for the $6M buyout.

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    I’d be okay with just exercising the option, or even an extension, something similar to what Bolla said, maybe with a cheap team option on a third year. After hearing Hamels comments on him maybe pitching from the bullpen sometime In the future. Pitchers we couple possibly trade from would include Monty, Q, or maybe Smyly. Not saying to trade all 3, but one of them coupled w 1 or 2 position players maybe and should bring a decent return.

  • I do think the cubs will go after machado or harper, this line up has too many inconsistent hitters. The pending new tv deal will increase payroll the cubs are already raking in money the new deal will put them in yankees,red sox,dodgers territory. Very rare for 26 year old superstar talents to hit the open market, machado has no qo either

    There were reports machado would be willing to move to 3rd for the right team and reports if machado was traded to the cubs he would be willing to extend. Almora and Machado are good friends from their childhood.I prefer machado over harper but would be ecstatic with either.

  • In reply to bolla:

    I also agree we are busting the bank. This FO has always coveted the young free agent. Harper and Machado are available. But make no mistake, we are going WAY over the luxury-tax threshold. We have almost no money coming off the books for 2019, and the arbitration raise for Bryant alone will bump us up against the limit. Welcome to the big-market, and possible downfall of, the current Cubs.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Theo's track record with big contracts is not good. Signing players to long term, high aav deals rarely work out.

  • In reply to bolla:

    How about both...? Ha ha!! :o)

  • In reply to bolla:

    If they break the luxury tax limit not only do they pay fines it impacts draft choices and intl signings. Doubt the cubs go after either one.

  • In reply to stix:

    You guys should probably research this information.It seems some are misinformed how it works.You lose draft picks if you exceed the tax by 40 million and fines increase if you exceed it for 3 straight years.The tax increases from 206 to 208 to 210 starting in '18 and each year after.

    the cubs have several contracts coming off the books after 2019 and 2020.They can reset the luxury tax by going under for a season if they do exceed it.

  • In reply to bolla:

    Also, proven young elite players are much more valuable than any unproven draft pick.

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