Happy--Cubs 3 Brewers 0

José Quintana hasn't been what the Cubs thought they were getting when trading for him. He also hasn't been as terrible as some think. There is no question that there is something about Q when he faces the Brewers. The 6.2 scoreless innings tonight brought his career ERA against the Brew Crew down to a paltry 1.62 in 67.1 innings. The only teams he has a lower ERA against are the Dodgers and Mets but he has thrown a combined 39.1 innings against the two foes.

Quintana was strong as he retired the Brewers in order the first time through the order. Jhoulys Chacín matched Q in the first inning with a quick 1-2-3, but he ran into issues in the second inning in the form of Brewers defense. Ben Zobrist hit a ball against the heavily shifted Brewers defense and Jonathan Schoop was charged a tough luck error to start the second inning. Zobrist stole second early in the count before Chacín lost Báez to a base on balls. Tommy La Stella hit a bouncing ball over the head of Chacín. La Stella might have been able to beat the play on the high chopper but he was convinced that it was catcher's interference. It turned it into an easy out that moved the pair of runners 90 feet. Chacín then spun around to try to pick Báez off of second but threw the ball into the outfield. Zobrist scored the first run of the game and Báez reached third with just one out. Victor Caratini worked an extremely tough at bat, but then hit a soft liner over the head of the drawn in Schoop for a run scoring single. Quintana sacrificed Caratini to second, but Ian Happ is again lost at the plate with a swinging strikeout to end the inning.

The Cubs bats went back into the deep freeze after the assisted two run outburst in the second inning. Chacín pitched three straight 1-2-3 innings to finish his night. He ended the evening with 5 innings of one hit ball. He was charged with just one earned run, but the lead would prove enough.

Quintana ran into some trouble in the fourth inning. Lorenzo Cain ripped a single to start the inning and then Quintana walked Christian Yelich to put two runners on with no outs. The dreaded Q inning was lurking, but Jesús Aguilar took a called 3-2 strike on the black for the first out. Aguilar vehemently disagreed as he walked back to the dugout. Ryan Braun hit fly ball hard into right but it was caught for the second out. Schoop hit a pop fly to Báez for the final out as Quintana kept the shutout.

Cubs and Brewers pitchers traded clean frames until the seventh inning. Quintana was still pitching with a pitch count in the low 80s to start the seventh. Aguilar jumped on the first pitch to serve a single into right. Braun flew out to left for the first out. Schoop grounded out, but advanced Aguilar into scoring position. Quintana walked Travis Shaw to put the tying run on base. Hernán Pérez was summoned as a pinch hitter, and Maddon trusted Q for one more batter. Pérez bounced a slow roller to second base. Daniel Murphy, whose defensive prowess can be best summed up as he is an excellent hitter, waited back and then threw to first for the called out. However, in review Pérez was correctly and quickly ruled to have beaten Murphy's soft toss to Rizzo. That would be it for Q, and Justin Wilson entered the game. Manny Piña was the pinch hitter and Joe was rewarded with dominant Wilson. The hard throwing lefty blew three straight high fastballs by Piña to leave the bags juiced.

Brandon Woodruff pitched the bottom of the seventh for the Brewers. He struck out Zobrist looking to start the inning, but Báez hit a groundball back up the middle for a clean single. He rounded the bases wide and drew a throw that he beat back to first barely. Tommy La Stella bounced into the fielder's choice for the second out. This brought Caratini back to the plate and the Victory Carrot continued to heat up with a double into the left field corner. La Stella flew around the bases to score easily for the third run. Woodruff walked David Bote, but Ian Happ took a called strike right over the heart of the plate to end the inning.

Jorge de la Rosa and Pedro Strop each retired three straight hitters to remove the drama from the final two innings. Strop received some help with a good and then great play from Addison Russell in the ninth inning. The 3-0 lead proved enough and the Cubs shutout the Brewers for the sixth time this season. The win guarantees that the Cubs will still be in first place on Thursday no matter the outcome tomorrow.

WPA CHART

Source: FanGraphs

Random Reference
This I think conveys the swing of emotions in the past 24 hours here.

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  • fb_avatar

    The Brewers are a dangerous team, and actually at this point more talented than the Cubs, yet at times they lose their concentration and make costly errors. Some teams can overcome them, but with two teams so even a little advantage can go a long way. Again, we are doing this with our two big acquisition pitchers out (basically), our former MVP out for so long and just coming back, Willson hasn't hit a HR in months, Happ and Almora in long slumps, no closer--and yet Bote, though slumping, has been invaluable, Caratini has progressed, our bullpen acquisitions have been very good and our two late pick ups, Cole Hamels and Daniel Murphy have been stellar. I don't get the 2016 feeling looking at this team, but it is tested and knows how to play under pressure and very well could go on a streak of winning 8-10 or 7-10 and put this away. Neither Milw or StL has that going for themselves. We needed this win and got it. We need more, but for the first time in a long time I am more confident than merely hopeful. A win tomorrow would greatly help, but I think Milw will make it as a wild card and we could very well face them in the post season. We also have a advantage no one else does--Terrance Gore. He is a game changer.
    Go Cubs!!

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I disagree that the Cubs are less talented than Milwaukee. Is the talent playing better over a good stretch? Yes, but that isn't the same thing. I heard a conversation on MLB Network Radio yesterday with Casey Stern (not exactly a Cubs lover btw) saying that he felt strongly that the Cubs were the only team in the NL with a shot at winning a WS. His reason was that they had the best talent on a daily basis (he thinks it's a tie with the Dodgers but he likes the Cubs depth better) and when they hit a stretch where all three phases of the game are going well that they are tough to beat. I agree with that. I mean the Cubs are still the best offense in the NL over the course of the season while the Brewers are 5th and have scored 32 fewer runs. Pitching has been a struggle for both teams but when the Cubs guys are going well as they have recently they are far, far better than Milwaukee. In the last 30 days Cubs starters have a 2.97 ERA and 3.02 FIP while the Brewers starters have a 3.65 ERA with a 3.55 FIP. The defense is no contest, even with Murphy at 2B. The Brewers infield defense is a clown show. So again I agree with Stern's argument, if all three phases of the game are in sync the Cubs are one of the best teams in MLB, I just think that often we're too close to it to see it.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I disagree with your first sentence that the Brewers are more talented than the Cubs

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    Agreed. I wrote a long response that got eaten by the filter detailing why. Without rehashing that post one thing is that the Cubs starting pitching is much more talented even if it hasn't always performed better, however it has lately. In the last 30 days the Cubs have a 3.14 ERA and 3.43 FIP to Milwaukee's 3.59 and 3.52. The bullpen numbers are similar with the Brewers having a slight edge but the only real standout in talent between the two is Hader. On offense the Brewers have some good hitters yet the Cubs have been ahead of them all year in nearly every offensive category with a slash of .261/.337/.418 a wOBA of.325 and a wRC+ of 101 while Milwaukee in the same span has a slash of .251/.320/.417 with a wOBA of .319 and a wRC+ of 96. Milwaukee has been slightly better over the last 30 days but not significantly. The real difference lies in defense where the Cubs talent is unquestionably better. So while I'll admit that Milwaukee has some really good players, to say they're more talented is simply not accurate.

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    Agreed I've been saying that the brewers were gonna be a big threat this year back in April some posters have been frustrated by me earlier this season when I suggested that this brewers group is gonna push this cubs team calling me a brewer fanboy. Let me make something clear my acknowledging that this brewers team is a threat is in no way saying they're more talented than the cubs. I think they're more talented in the bullpen but the cubs are easily stronger from a positional player and starting pitching standpoint.

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    You shouldn't have to defend your position.

  • This is more like it! The Cubs’ Magic Number gets a double dip and is now 16.

    I will be wearing my Kyle Hendeicks shirt today to provide karma for a dominent performance tonight.

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    In reply to CubsFanInNorway:

    Not that I'm superstitious, but for the last few games I've watched in one room and yesterday (Tues) I watched another TV. I'll be doing that again on Wed.
    I like these double dips.

  • In reply to CubsFanInNorway:

    Since BOS was the first to clinch a post-season slot last night, I thought I would check the Cubs’ Magic Number for clinching at least the 2nd WC. I know this is not at all the goal. Anyway, for this exercise, the closest pursuer is LAD, and the Magic Number is 12, i.e. any sum of Cubs’ wins and LAD losses that is 12. Of course, with the WC race in the NL so tight, the closest pursuer may well change, and often. I will not be tracking this on a daily basis.

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    In reply to CubsFanInNorway:

    Thanks for continuing to post the magic number countdown, but I am also interested in the Magic # for the post season period as well.

    Over on mlb.com, if you click standings, they have a tab called "Postseason Projections" which changes day to day.

    Anyway for the Cubs, Going into yesterday ( even though we were only 1 game up in the standings) the Cubs had a 71.4% chance of winning the Division and 28.3% chance of a WC birth which combined equals a robust 99.7% shot of making the playoffs period.

    Pretty nice, but just about a week ago we were at virtually 100% at making the playoffs and a shade over 93% to win the division !!!

    Lets get this game tonight and I think we can breath easy as we should have the "rest day" Thursday before Fridays afternoon tilt w the Reds (who we just swept about 3 weeks ago) who should be ready to get swept again by "big brother" !

  • Kudos to Theo for grabbing Chavez and de la Rosa.

  • As it regards Thursday game ... I pull a Popovich.

    Leave most of your main position players and pitchers at home...,

    Almora CF
    Bote 3rd
    Caratini C
    Happ LF
    LaStella 2b
    Russell SS
    Davis 1B
    Monty P
    Gore LF

    RP Maples Rosario Mills Duensing Garcia Norwood

    Would anyone else not send the main players?

  • In reply to stv711:

    We can afford to just throw away a game again? No

  • In reply to stv711:

    I think I am crazy, but right now Caratini is providing this team way more than Contreras on both sides of the ball. .

  • In reply to KJRyno:

    Victor lengthens the lineup with his approach and he has honed his framing skills were one of the keys for Q. I expect to pick up more playing time while Contreras is struggling.

  • In reply to KJRyno:

    agreed

  • In reply to KJRyno:

    Would that fourth inning 3-2 pitch to Aguilar have been called a strike if Willson was catching?

  • In reply to stv711:

    That's a serious gamble, particularly now that it looks like they'll likely get the game in. Win tonight and that game is proba ly the coffin nailer for Milwaukee's chances. I don't risk that.

  • In reply to stv711:

    I can see the reasoning behind it, especially if you believe the game won’t be played, but it’s still too risky. If they do somehow get the game in that game could be huge. Can you imagine loosing the division by a game and loosing the WC game.

  • In reply to stv711:

    I would certainly leave the staring pitchers at home and any bullpen guy that is not available.

  • In reply to stv711:

    stv711, I think you have a decimal point error. The Cubs have a 2.0 game lead not 20.0 game lead. No way, Cubs need to win to try and win that game.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    "Cubs need to try and win that game." Need to do a better job of re-reading my typing before posting the comment.

  • In reply to stv711:

    You send all your players to win the game

  • Good game by Quintana, wasn’t nibbling and attacked the zone.Even got hitters to chase his curve

    Strong start especially when needed by the team

    Happ looked at multiple 3rd strikes right down the middle

    Cain is a cubs killer, he’s in the goldschmiddt,Murphy, arenado category.

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    Q was great,,
    thinkin maybe Carrot man gets some PT over Willy,,

    Happ is starting to get a Punch me in the face look after all these strikeouts,,

    great picks by Addy which is useful as he looks as bad as Happ with the stick lately

    Javy was surely the catalyst for the first tally and he is remarkable w/ the glove , a" generational talent" if I ever saw one

    winning is WAY better than losing.

  • Q gave us a great game when we really needed it bad. Thanks Q.

  • Caratini is definitely a better pitch framer than Contreras.

    I love Contreras but I’ve seen him take strikes away from cub pitching, at times he jabs at the ball when he receives them.he did it to Kintzler monday

  • In reply to bolla:

    Blocking, throwing, and calling the game all really important, but I think, that receiving pitches(framing) in today's game is paramount. At least until electronic balls and strikes are a reality.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Framing has always been important. This is nothing new.

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    Curt much?

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    In reply to 44slug:

    Thats how Montero kept his butt in the league ( after his O started slipping) and David Ross to a degree a long also w a bunch of other D only catchers.

    Tyler Flowers has made a career of being a top pitch framer ( although he's been hitting much better lately). Jason Castro, Tony Wolters, Roberto Perez, Christ Stewart, Mike Zunino ect have been able to keep themselves in the league because they have been historically top 10ish pitch framers in baseball pretty much yearly.

    The scary thing is that when Willson came up he was graded out as an above pitch framer. Actually his first yr, he would have been a top 10 framer if he had enough reps. So I don't know if its a SSS or the Ross/Montero impact on him. I dunno?

    Although I can say w confidence that its no coincidence our pitchers were so dominant in 2016 w Ross and Montero were doing most of the catching.

    Also when Willson is not hitting, he's borderline a liability back there, and I am starting to lean towards the group who believes Carrot is going to be catching much more then his normal share of games down the stretch.

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Good stuff. In Willy' s defense, I think that he is bit worn down from playing so much and so hard. I like Caratini. He is a rookie with a veterans presence. I believe pitchers like throwing to him. I know Hamels and Chavez do, probably Q too. His at bat in the second inning was huge. He can hold his own against good pitchers. Playing behind Willson and Riz, Victor gets a little rusty. I can't fault Joe for having a tough time not writing their those two guys names in the lineup, but I would like to see Caratini on the field a little more down the stretch as well.

  • Happ's bad ABs are really getting frustrating.

    How can he take multiple fastball strikes down the middle of the plate without swinging??? Is he just guessing instead of reacting to pitches?

    With JHey and Schwarber banged up and Almora slumping, our outfield is really thin right now. Wish we had one more offensively-minded outfielder to plug into the mix.

  • Btw that play russell made was spectacular didn't think if he had the arm to get it there and he barely beat braun but that was a great play.Can't deny russells defensive ability , wish his bat could be at least average because a baez russell middle infield is defensively top 5 in mlb.

  • Of the 3 teams in the NL central the cubs are getting the least production from their OF. Mil & Stl are getting a major boast from theirs. Especially STL from Bader, Martinez & O'Neill since these guys have been installed versus Pham and Fowler.

  • In reply to CubFanStuckInStl:

    I think you are forgetting about Ozuna.

  • fb_avatar

    Somewhere BP is asking and I'm answering--Yes You May!!

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Really worried about BP....

  • One of the biggest wins of the year last night we didn't get much out of our best every day players many of whom are obviously beat up and fatigued so it was great to see Victor Caratini who is well rested step up and pick up his teammates he has really had some big moments here lately. I've been outspoken about being harsh on Caratini's defense as a former catcher but I've been very impressed with the progress he's made behind the plate from where he was in June even as he's gotten to know this staff. I've always felt that he had the framing/receiving skills to play catcher but I was moreso worried about his game management/ability to handle a staff. I like how they've matched him up with Cole Hamels a lot with how locked in Hamels is in hitting his spots pairing him with a young and inexperienced catcher puts Caratini in a good position to succeed. Good for Caratini though in some ways I feel better about him than Contreras now with the way Contreras is struggling at the plate maybe Contreras needs some rest for a few days he's played lots of games this year.

    I know Q is always gonna have his haters and I get that with how Eloy and Cease are looking but again Q is a cub and those guys aren't why can't people support Q now that he's here the guys won 13 games (2nd on the team) it's time to admit that he's had a solid but maybe slightly underwhelming year given his expectations. He's regained a lot of equity in my eyes with these past 2 starts he's been the one guy that has put this fatigued/injured and struggling team on his back against a brewers team that we've had trouble figuring out lately. 2 of the biggest starts not only of Quintana's cubs tenure but really the entire season for this team. I can't think of many instances this year where we needed a starter to put the team on his back more than we needed it over this past week. We have to remember that this is only his 1st full cubs season (2 years left) he still has plenty of time to regain cubs fans respect and trust. Yes we all know Quintana is capable and is expected to have under a 3.5 ERA but he's still having a solid season and I always feel good about the teams chances to win when he starts and especially when he's commanding that fastball. Proud of him he showed me he's got bigger guts then some gave him credit for in stepping up to win 2 high pressure and needed wins. I think Q's finish to this season is a good example of why we need to give baseball players large sample sizes before we rush to judgment on them

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    In reply to kkhiavi:

    Are u bleeping serious?? He's only pitched good against one team and has absolutely sucked against everyone else.

  • In reply to Greg Simmons:

    Someone has to pitch good against the brewers Greg we've only won 2 of the past 5 games against them basically because of Q. What happens if we ended up losing all 5 games. Thank you for your post though we've been missing you here lately

  • In reply to Greg Simmons:

    That's just not true. In his last 5 starts (only 2 against the Brewers) he's posted a 1.84 ERA, 2.58 FIP, 1.06 WHIP and opponents are batting .239 against him with a .522 OPS. In his last 10, while not quite as good, he's posted a perfectly acceptable 3.97 ERA, 4.01 FIP, and 1.22 WHIP. If you're going to say someone is only good against one team have some numbers to back it up. Oh, you don't have them? No worries, thank you for your time.

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    In reply to kkhiavi:

    PLUS

    The Cubs are 17-11 in Q starts this yr. Is that phenomenal? No, but its above a .600 winning %. Considering how poorly he pitched the first 2 months of the year and the below avg run support he's gotten, he's been pretty solid.

  • fb_avatar

    Cardinals=2018 NL champs. Prepare yourselves for it so you won't be shocked when it happens. Cubs will be a WC team and loses the elimination game.

  • In reply to Greg Simmons:

    Thanks Greg. Have a good day

  • In reply to Greg Simmons:

    My question to you is, Do you think the Cards can hang on to the last WC spot? I think they keep it but get bumped out by the Brewers in the WC game.

  • In reply to Greg Simmons:

    Just guard against your random piss test a work....just sayin.....

  • In reply to Greg Simmons:

    If there's one thing we can truly learn from Greg Simmons' non-sensical ramblings, it's that CRACK IS ONE HELL OF A DRUG!!!

    I mean, what else does he got when the Cardinals hopes are now hanging on the magic of the RALLY SQUIRREL? That's how ridiculous baseball has become in St. Louis. They no longer can stand on the foundation of a solid baseball franchise, but a dirty rodent off the streets of St. Louis is how the now rationalize their ability to score runs... Crack...

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Greg Simmons:

    Bet the House today against the Brewers and Cards. Greg said it here first.

    What football teams do you like?

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    In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    That was my thought. We struggled when Greg made himself scarce. I feel better about tonight's game now.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    So right. Every time he posts, the Cubs get hot! The fact he’s made multiple posts yesterday and today, I think we’re about to get a roll...

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    Let's stop mentioning guys I'm on a heater betting wise when Greg posts let's not mess with his voodoo lol

  • Greg says silly stuff, but the Cardinals as the 2018 champs at this point in time is the least silly thing he's ever said. If they win the WC game (which they'll have something like a 50% chance of doing), they'll have about a 20-25% shot at the pennant just like everyone else.

  • fb_avatar

    Greg,Greg deadbirds lost. Tying and winning runs left on second and third in the ninth

  • Cardinals somewhat cooled off , they have a crucial 4 game series vs the dodgers this weekend.I still wouldn't bet against them in the wc.

  • In reply to bolla:

    I think I'm rooting for the Cardinals in this series.

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    Yea I want the cardinals to stay close to Milwaukee, because they have a critical series coming up the last week of the season.

  • In reply to bolla:

    Good point. I just want LA to miss the playoffs.

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