Pain--Brewers 3 Cubs 2

First off, an apology is needed for the recap appearing now. I have been a bit under the weather lately, and it wasn't just the actual weather the Cubs have been through or the Cubs performance when they have played. I also got suckered into watching the Bears for the first time in years, and I had learned my lesson by the end of that night. Anyways here is your belated recap of another night of pain for the Northside nine.

There are a few ways to look at the current Cubs situation. The Cubs are struggling hard right now. This is a team that has been dealt a terrible hand by extenuating circumstances. The team is clearly tired and worn down with only a single offday remaining on the calendar that is over a week away. The Brewers are peaking at exactly the right time and could easily leave town with a divison lead they never relinquish.

It is also true that the Cubs are a very talented team that has dealt with all kinds of adversity to achieve the best record in the NL to this point. The Cubs control their fate, and do so largely from the comfort of their own home. The Cubs have performed well down the stretch every year Maddon has been here, and the odds are still overwhelming that this is a playoff team.

Both of these things can be true at the same time as it turns out, and I find myself oscillating between those two poles this morning. The game itself last night wasn't a fun one to watch. Jon Lester was greeted by a Brewers team that was eager to swing early. When Lester is on those are some of the special nights he has had in his career. Unfortunately, Jon Lester was not on at the start of the game. The Brewers hit him hard with those early swings with Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich hit back to back singles to start the game. Lester struck out Jesús Aguilar to for the first out, but walked Ryan Braun to load the bases. Jonathan Schoop hit a ball hard but at a Cubs outfielder for the first out. It also scored the first run of the game. Yelich was caught stealing on his Theriot-esque TOOTBLAN to end the inning and keep the Cubs in it.

Daniel Murphy flew out to start the inning, but Kris Bryant hit a hustle double against the shift for the Cubs first baserunner. Wade Miley fired a wild pickoff attempt to allow Bryant to advance to third base. Anthony Rizzo hit a groundball to Aguilar, who thought about going home before stepping on first for the second out. Javier Báez drew a full count walk and Ben Zobrist continues to hit with a groundball single. Albert Almora Jr. made weak contact on a 3-1 pitch to end the inning with the game tied.

The Brewers were still hitting Lester hard in the second inning. Mike Moustakas doubled on a hard hit ball. Dr. Katz-I mean Erik Kratz hit the ball hard, but the wind helped the ball stay in the ballpark. Moustakas was able to tag and advance to third on the play. The Cubs brought the infield in with one out and the runner at third. The Cubs were burnt by this strategy as Orlando Arcia hit a soft single over a leaping Addison Russell to put the Brewers back ahead right away. Lester struck out Miley and Yelich to end the inning with the Cubs still very much in the game.

The starting pitchers actually settled into the game at this point. From the bottom of the second through the top of the fifth inning there was a combined three base runners. With each team bouncing into a double play during this stretch it meant that only once did either starter not face the minimum as the game began to move along quickly.

The Cubs bats came to life in the bottom of the fifth inning against Miley. Willson Contreras started the inning off with a groundball double. Jon Lester hit the ball hard, but the speedy Cain managed to track the ball down running into deep right center. Contreras advanced easily on the play. Miley walked Russell and Murphy to load the bases with just one out. Kris Bryant hit a ball hard, but it was the wrong night for that as it was caught in deep left. Contreras scored the tying run on the play, but it was an important missed opportunity when Rizzo grounded out to end the inning.

Lester went back out in the top of the sixth inning. Big Jon recorded two outs pretty easily, but Moustakas hit a ball back up the middle for a single. Moustakas reached third on Erik Kratz hard hit double. That would be it for Lester who left the game with back tightness. Thankfully the early reports suggest it was a minor issue that shouldn't prevent him from making his next start. Joe Maddon attempting to get Carl Edwards Jr. on track once again, inserted the electric righty into the pressure situation. First pitch Edwards spiked and Moustakas scored the go ahead run. Edwards, understandably frustrated with himself, made a critical error by not immediately breaking to home. Contreras made an ill-advised throw to the late breaking Edwards that had no chance of being successful. Thankfully nothing more wacky happened on that play. Edwards walked Arcia, but struck out pinch hitter Curtis Granderson to avoid further damage.

The Cubs offense looked inept at the very good Brewers bullpen. Corbin Burnes pitched the sixth inning. Almora hit a two out groundball single for the Cubs only hit of the inning. The Cubs bullpen managed to match the Brewers efforts in the most important category, but the Brewers had traffic in every inning against Jesse Chavez, Steve Cishek, Justin Wilson and Brandon Kintzler.

Josh Hader entered the game in the seventh inning. Maddon inserted Kyle Schwarber into the game in the top of the seventh inning. That made Craig Counsell counter with Hader. After the game, Maddon said that Schwarber was not available to hit tonight due to his own back issues and that Maddon wanted to force the move to Hader then. David Bote was the pinch hitter, but it didn't matter as Hader struck out him and the next five batters he faced.

The Cubs faced Jeremy Jeffress in the ninth inning, and two outs happened pretty quickly. Contreras drew the two out walk to keep the Cubs hopes alive. Terrance Gore continued to make his case for the surely this isn't 2004 we will need a postseason roster. Gore stole second for his now second on the team fifth stolen base. Tommy La Stella struck out to end the threat, and the Brewers are now within a single game.

The math still hasn't changed much though, and a win tonight erases a lot of the bad feelings. I am cautiously optimistic about a team that has gotten two decent nights of rest in a row for the first time in over a week. Jose Quintana has performed at his best against the Brewers. But who can predict baseball?

WPA CHART

Source: FanGraphs

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  • Jesse rogers tweeted 2 things last night that stood out to me.

    He said the cubs had the highest chase rate in mlb(31%) since august 1st. That's chasing pitches out of the strike zone,last night they chased 33% of the pitches they saw.

    and that the brewers 3rd base coach told moustakas that edwards was susceptible to a wild pitch and be ready to score when he does. It's like they expected edwards to be wild and he spiked the 1st pitch.

    Thought joe did edwards no justice putting him in that situation, he's clearly been struggling for a few weeks.Game was too critical to bring him in at that point, the cubs had 2 outs they needed to get out the inning.

  • In reply to bolla:

    Could be that they are trying so hard to make things happen that they are getting away from their own game plan, but it is frustrating to watch. They have the talent to get it done but can be their own worst enemies.

  • In reply to bolla:

    Joe has not had his best few games. I get the reasoning for bringing in Edwards there (Arcia is a trash hitter who chases everything, it's only one out, 1B open), but a tie game with Hader lurking is probably not ideal. Learn your lesson with Carl already.
    Then he baits the Brewers into bringing in Hader. Why? If they are going to use Burnes to pitch to a righty then let them. You don't bait them into bringing in the best pitcher in baseball just to get a platoon advantage.
    And please no more Russell or Almora. I get that Heyward and Schwarber are hurt, and Bote has been bad lately, so it's kind of pick your poison. Russell is not a professional hitter right now, and Almora is completely guessing up there. A lineup with Almora, Russell, Baez, Murphy does not make the pitcher throw enough pitches.

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    Good thing we've got Chili Davis! These guys will be hitting in no time at all...

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Hitting coach is over rated. The players need to be held accountable for their own performance.

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    In reply to Kramerica20:

    The sad part is that I'd rather have Almora in the lineup than Russell. In a perfect world I'd go with Heyward, but that's a moot point right now.
    I was looking at Fangraphs today and I still don't believe Russell's DRS is as good as it is, but his bat negates the runs saved imo.

  • No apology needed, Mike. Thanks for keeping up up-to-date. Hope you feel better soon.

  • At the end of May, Bryant had a .401 OBP and .524 SLG. I really thought he was on his way to a second MVP. The injury has clearly sapped his power. The team is deep, but it hurts to have such a drop with your best player. As for the rest of the team, I actually buy into the tired theory. If they can split the next two and not have to fly to D.C. because of the storm, the schedule really eases up. Go Cubs!

  • In reply to Cubs09:

    How can they be tired? They are constantly being rested.

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    Mental fatigue. They haven't had a day off since August 20. They have had to travel a lot. They had to sit through approximately 14 hours of rain delays. The most exhausting part of my job is the commute, not the actual work. The Brewers also have a very good team.

  • In reply to Cubs09:

    They played 1 inning on Friday and no game on Sunday.

    I'm not buying mental fatigue.

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    Try showing up for work everyday for 3 weeks and see if you get tired. I think we don't realize how hard it is for them. We see a 3 hour ballgame, but a lot of the players show up 4 hours before that, working out and preparing. So they are easily putting in 8 hours a day (+plus commute) . Even on the days they don't play, they still have to go to work, prepare and be ready to execute at their highest level should they be called upon. I'm not making excuses or trying to feel bad for them. Hey I wish I could play ball for a living, but at the end of the day, they are real people, that are effected by the same things we are.

  • In reply to jimbullinger:

    The funny part of all of this is this is just a game and all the teams pretty much go through the same so-called grind. How come they are out-playing the Cubs? They have the same outside problems.

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    It actually isn't the same grind the last 3 weeks. The Brewers have had 3 days off since the Cubs last had an off day.

    The Brewers have also only traveled to 3 road cities in that span, and had 2 home stands with 2 series each (with a day off between the home series, so it was a complete off day)

    The Cubs have traveled to 5 road cities, and are 1 game into their second home stand.

    I'm not saying it should be a complete excuse, just don't think we should dismiss the wear of showing up to work 3 weeks straight for 8 hours a day (and taking 10 flights on top of that) in those 3 weeks.

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    In reply to jimbullinger:

    Give me that "wear n tear" if I get that pay check, glory, and fun. Oh and winters basically off. Sign me up for 8 days of "work" every 7 day week for a few weeks.

    Also, don't worry about Thursday. 95% chance that game is going to be canceled. The Cubs will have their "off day". I guess we should expect them to play .750 ball starting Friday since they will now be rested.

  • In reply to jimbullinger:

    Exactly my main issue is this isn't even close to a level playing field this is unprecedented at this late point of the season. I'd be the 1st person to tell everyone to shut up if we were on the same playing field as our competitors but we're not and I'd like to see any of you show to the ballpark and play a baseball game every day for 5-6 weeks straight. Judging by some of your no excuses attitude I'm guessing you guys have never played non little league baseball in your lives but As a former high school player I legit think it's dangerous on the players bodies and who are all these players getting so much rest bc were supposedly deep. Heyward an every day regular is out number one, Bryant returned in the middle of this stretch and yes I admit our struggling players like contreras, Russell, Almora, and happ are rested I have no excuses for those guys I admit struggling players are a part of the problem but our best and hottest hitters like schwarber, rizzo Baez Murphy are worn down, have barely got any rest besides to tend to injuries and I really don't see how it's up for debate that the Washington series wouldnt have gone differently if they just let us play that game last Friday that they were supposed to and I also think we may very well win last nights game if Lester stays healthy and he gave us the 7 innings that he was in line to give us before his 6th inning injury. No ones saying that the team doesn't have problems and that every single player is not performing just bc of fatigue we know the bullpen isn't perfect but overall from a team wide perspective I really don't see how there's any doubt whatsoever that this unprecedentedly long stretch of games is one of primary factors in the team faltering lately. Look at how many of our main guys (rizzo Murphy zobrist schwarber, heyward Lester) have left games or missed games due to injuries over this stretch lol isn't it obvious

  • In reply to jimbullinger:

    You are making excuses. The Cubs played 1 inning on Friday and didn't play on Sunday. Each day a couple regulars rest. This team should be one of the most rested teams in the league due to their depth. They finish the year with 16 out of 20 games in Chicago. You can't blame the schedule if they don't win.

  • I wrote on here over a month ago that every time we win a couple of games that people start counting magic numbers and setting playoff rotations. Well, with this offense you cant count on nothing. We will be lucky to get in the wild card game with our schedule. Our bullpen is shot, thanks to horrible starting pitching the whole first half. Carl is a complete head case and Joe keeps putting him in in pressure situations. Joe might have the players love but he's a terrible in game manager. Our outfield is so unproductive with over valued players by the front office. Almora, Happ and over payed Heyward. In the off season while our rivals picked up Ozuna, Cain and Yelich we stand pat with Theos draft picks. Even Schwarbs has limited playing time cause he doesn't hit lefties. With the cardinals young pitching and the Brewers young team period I'm afraid Theos reign over the division is over. Oh yeah, he's depleted the farm system also, something he said he wouldn't do. But I guess we did win a world series. Glad for that.

  • Earth to Willson :

    Please do not call for Quintana to throw any inner-half curve balls to Ryan Braun tonight. The last two, from August 14, have not yet landed.

  • Obviously this stinks right now but I still think we'll come out on top I've been saying for months that I think that the end of this 23 game stretch is gonna be difficult to overcome for any player/team and I think despite a semi off day Sunday those weekend rainouts in washington really killed us. We had Lester against a rookie starter last Friday in what should've been an easy win and we had Montgomery vs Eric Fedde which should've been another win and now because of the rainout we get swept in a double header led by Scherzer and now we lose our off day this Thursday. That means our players have had to show up to the ballpark every single day for about 5-6 weeks straight let's all keep in mind this is absolutely unprecedented. I know in sports there's this no excuses philosophy that I try to abide to but how would any of us feel if we had to report to work that long I know I'd be mentally and physically gassed. The brewers in contrast had an off day this past Thursday I hate to be a cry baby but this isn't part of the game if 2 teams aren't even close to on the same playing field MLB has really sabotaged our season from a scheduling perspective and that's how you go from starting this 23 game stretch at an impressive 10-3 mark only to implode in the latter stages of this stretch as these guys need an off day they look dead tired and gimpy. In addition, what was Maddon thinking I thought it was a given that we'd give Lester his 5 days of rest following his rain shortened start Lester is notorious for being very strict about pitching on 5 days rest he has a strict and rigorous process that he goes through to prepare for each start and he doesn't even like to pitch on 6 days rest that's how strict he is with his regimen. What is Joe Maddon thinking pitching him 2 days early why mess with a pitcher that you know is stringent about his routine? I hate to say it but I think Lester's injury last night was a direct by-product of having him throw earlier than his arm is accustomed to I think in general when you throw out a pitcher on short rest you're risking injury or an ineffective outing as a former catcher I'm a huge non-believer in throwing a pitcher out there to the wolves earlier than scheduled against their routine. In my experience that's when you tend to see injuries occur or pitchers not looking crisp with the command on their pitches. Hopefully it's not a lat strain or worse with Lester it stinks because losing him effectively would end our NL pennant chances in my eyes at least.

    As much as this stinks we're still a game up though and this group has answered the bell most of the time their backs have been against the wall so I still have faith. I've been saying all year these aren't your past brewers this group is really good and they have ace relievers that can effectively shut down your offense in the latter stages of the game. It's not gonna be easy to beat them with how dead the team is from a fatigue perspective but I still believe that the cubs have the more complete roster and the experience of playing in these types of big games.

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    There's no chance that Lester wasn't consulted about pitching game 1 last night. If he started, he signed off on it.
    Part of me agrees with you. The Cubs are a better team, and they can get hot at any moment and be unbeatable (we saw it when this long stretch began). But right now no one is hitting, and only 3 or 4 guys have hit in the entire second half.
    Just a thought I had... Almora is exhibit A on why belly fire does not matter for a hitter. The guy has more "want to" than just about anyone I've ever seen. If you're not a good player though, "want to" does nothing.

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    I think there's absolutely not one doubt in my mind Kramerica that Lester lobbied hard to start earlier following his one inning outing Friday. I think he's one of the most intense competitors I've seen and that doesn't surprise me. But I think it's Maddon's job there to protect him from himself I know he only threw one inning but I'm very against getting pitcher away from their routines it's not just mental his throwing arm is physically accustomed to getting more rest between live outings from his many years of pitching. If it was me I would've denied lester's request but I get their logic after he didn't throw much on Friday. Don't think his injury was an accident and I'm always concerned about injuries or lack of command when a pitcher is pitching on shorter rest.

    No question certain guys in the 2nd half like Contreras, Russell, KB's absence, and guys like 2nd half Almora are killing us lately but I think it's more than that. Look at how many guys have gotten injured or banged up during this stretch. That list includes Lester, Rizzo, Zobrist, Murphy, Heyward, Schwarber, and you have a previously banged up Kris Bryant. As a former player there's no question in my mind that many of these injuries and ailments are a direct by-product of such a grueling stretch in the latter stages of the year when players are already fatigued with bumps and bruises. For me I think we have the best roster in the division but like you I'm afraid that this stretch may cost us the division. Our injury list keeps growing with Heyward and now Lester on the shelf and our best healthy players are beat up and fatigued. I really hope MLB addresses this issue by adding more off days for makeup games because in my eyes this division race has been sabotaged because it's not part of the game if one team has no off days for a huge stretch of time and their competitors have plenty of rest

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    I mean, you're not wrong. I think both arguments are valid and it comes down to "what does the pitcher want to do?" If he feels like he's ready to go, you let him go. Especially someone who's been around for 10 years.

    This roster has too much talent to struggle like they have. I think this winter is going to be very interesting. Could see a few of the young guys shipped out (feels like Russell) and there are plenty of good bats available.

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    Lesters 1 inning was equal to a bullpen day between starts. He was still in his routine and should have started yesterday.

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    I mean we can debate this all day whether it effected him or not but at the end of the day because of the schedule makers we not only lost out on his start in wash in a game we were heavy favorites against a rookie and we also had to tank a game by starting Jaime Garcia instead and then he got hurt most likely Bc he was pitching on shorter rest then his throwing arm is accustomed to. Oh and we lost our long awaited off day as well and have to travel to Washington to face Scherzer only to have to come back to Chicago that same night. The results are the results and that rainout in a game that should've been played late really sabotaged this teams scheduling and playoff run look at how many players have left games with injuries during this stretch its a long list FYI and it's not easy to compete against high end teams like Milwaukee when you're not even close to a level playing field

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    Agreed on Almora too love his makeup and he can generally handle LHP but I'm just not sure that he has enough bat to play against RHP. His OPS against lefties is a strong .809 but his OPS against righties despite a .278 average is only a putrid .687 which basically means he's only hitting singles and almost never walks against a righty. I think there's definitely reason to be concerned that maybe he's best utilized as a platoon player/late defensive replacement. But overall, I'm not satisfied with that Happ/Almora tandem this season

  • Long plane rides, sitting around airports, sleeping in hotel room beds, killing hours of time in cramped visiting club houses ... does wonders for the back, doesn't it Jon and Kyle? I am expecting Rizzo's back to flare up again.

    You know, there IS a reason that the MLB CBA specifies the maximum number of days without a day off as 20. Unless there is a makeup, in which case it is 25. Theo and the Players Union need to raise a stink so this does not happen again.

  • You watched the Cubs AND the Bears last night, Mike? Bless you and I assure you that the sun DID rise again this morning.

  • I feel compelled to comment, yet I have nothing to say.

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    Lol! Thanks, I needed that today.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I'm glad someone appreciated my comment. Things haven't gone so great for the Cubs in the past week, but I don't doubt the character of our players and their ability to rebound from this tough stretch. Baseball...

  • Washington DC just declared a state of emergency, the cubs will most likely get Thursday off.

  • In reply to bolla:

    I just want our guys to get the one off day that they deserve. Not show up to the ballpark and wait at the stadium for 8 hours type of off day I'd like them to be able to actually sleep in their homes and spend a day with their families for a day. Sports fans have this no excuses mindset but for me this type of thing is not a part of the game if one competitor is getting screwed by the schedule and their competitors aren't

  • In reply to bolla:

    There's some talk of a neutral site for the game but the money involved makes that a really difficult last-minute decision. Unlikely they play at a neutral site.
    Man, getting this game moved to 10/1 would be enormous. Basically it's Montgomery vs Scherzer during the tail end of a 3.5 week stretch and losing streak while the Brewers are surging, or Jen ho Tseng vs Who-Cares for game 162 when the playoff picture is probably cemented.

  • Not trying to come off trying to start a argument. But it is time for the players and fans to shut up and perform/just cheer. We have had a tough unfortunate stretch but lets be honest cause have had issues all season. The cubs are a very good team and there is no team in the NL that I would trade rosters with. Cubs weren't the greatest hitting team last season so the fired the hitting coach to help. The Cubs didn't bring in a quality hitter until the trade for Murphy. Some of our struggles can't be a shock. The biggest weakness to me is the 7th, 8th, 9th innings. We do not have a serious WS contending bullpen. The offense is gonna have to put up a 3 run lead and starting pitching has to hold em down and have a low pitch count.
    We can make all the excuses in the world but we have 19 games left and a 1 game lead. If that isn't enough to help the players get over "mental fatigue" then we don't deserve to be in the play offs.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    This is a fair point and I agree I definitely think we would've run away with this division if not for the scheduling I think it's fair to say it hurt us in the standings but at the same time we still have a lead we'll have some off days hopefully moving forward and we're still in control of our own destiny

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    I don't think it is the schedule that has prevented the Cubs from running away from the division.

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    They started this 23 game stretch 10-3 and even after that I predicted that they would have a hard time winning games by the end of that stretch. It's no coincidence that this losing is happening as we're at the end of this long stretch of games and It's no coincidence that they suddenly have an influx of players that are either injured or beat up over the course of this long stretch. I don't deny that this team has flaws most teams do but we were running away with it and this division wouldn't still be this competitive if our players were even somewhat rested the results of WHEN the losing started really speaks for itself when you consider whether fatigue has been a big factor in our decline this past week.

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    It is a coincidence they are losing at the end of this stretch.. The Cubs are a deep team and rest players every day. The players are rested and fatigue is not an excuse you can use for losing close games.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Take the next 2, look in the rear view mirror and see the Brewers 3 games behind, and we can all put our frowny faces :( away.

  • A lot of guys seem to put certain batters down because they do not take enough walks. Why? If you look at our team stats you will see the guys with the higher percentage of walks are also the guys with the most strikeouts. In fact the guys with the most walks are probably also the ones not swinging and watching a third strike go by more often. Besides, it takes a lot of walks to score runs. We need guys that make productive outs when they don't get a hit. You do not have to swing at a strike to get a hit. Many hits are off the plate.

    However, it is bad when you swing at balls way off the plate but because of the speed of the pitching the batter needs to start their swing quickly which doesn't leave much time to determine where the pitch will actually end up. And last but not least, there is the terrible Ump calls to consider. walks have their place but with runners on base we need to put the bat on the ball more.

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    The first big advancement in sabemetrics was understanding the value of walks. For a few years it was easy for guys like Billy Beane and Theo because other GMs still undervalued it and didn't realize that OBP, which is in part driven by walks, is perhaps the most important offensive stat. It's why some people prefer wOBP over OPS, because wOBP gives more weight to the OBP than SLG. So two players with a .800 OPS: one with .350 OBP and .450 slugging, with .310 OBP and .490 slugging, the first player is slightly more valuable because OBP is slightly more valuable than slugging.

  • 'On Aug. 1, Contreras went 3-for-4 with a double and a home run. Since then he’s posted a 38 wRC+ and an .032 ISO with just three extra-base hits (all doubles). Almora has a 48 wRC+ since July 9 with just six extra-base hits. Since returning from the disabled list on Sept. 1, Russell has a .375 OPS with just three singles. And it wasn’t as if he was lighting the world on fire before that as he’s posted a 38 wRC+ since July 4. With the way that trio has performed at the plate of late, the Cubs essentially had four automatic outs at the bottom of the order on Monday night.'

    this is the issue, the cubs have too much of this in the line up.Whether it's happ,schwarber or bote(who outside clutch situations has been awful)

    still wondering why there are people clamoring for almora to play more.

    Also joe intentionally burned schwarber(back soreness he wasn't gonna bat) to bring in hader last night. Wow wtf

  • In reply to bolla:

    Agreed 100% whether it's happ or almora in there's a major flaw using either in CF for differing reasons, Contreras is flat out having a pitiful 2nd half although I like his game and think he'll be fine long term he has a much stronger overall body of work compared to those other struggling players. And what do I need to add about Russell that I haven't stated a million times his value is plummeting plain and simple. Schwarber hasn't had the best 2nd half either and it seems like we're extremely reliant this 2nd half on Rizzo, Baez, Murphy, Zobrist, our starting pitching and to a far lesser degree even Jason Heyward who while not a star offensive player is a better option than most of our struggling players. Now that this 23 game stretch has all our hottest hitters besides Baez clearly beat up, injured and fatigued the recent weaknesses of a number of our hitters and relievers are becoming exposed. I hate giving up defense but it's looking more and more like Heyward, Schwarber and zobrist need to make up our starting outfield against right handed pitching with our CF tandem and Russell on the bench. It's September now and we have to go with the guys that are producing.

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    Yea Contreras hasn’t been the same since that hamstring injury, he has the 3rd highest soft contact % in mlb since August 1st

    Russell is a disappointment to me, he had a lot of hype when the cubs acquired him. Baez is hands down a better player

  • In reply to bolla:

    He's not having the best year it's almost as if he's forgotten the launch angle concepts that got him on fire midseason last year when he basically looked like an MVP candidate before that hamstring injury. Can't help but wonder if he maybe hurt by Chili Davis's anti-launch angle campaigning. He at least got on base and hit for decent contact in the 1st half but he's been rotten the 2nd half and I hope he's not injured. Contreras has already proven to me that he can be really good when he's locked in so I still have high hopes for him but you can easily make a case that he's been the 2018 most disappointing player due to our very high expectations of him given his pure physical ability. I've said in the past that I have a friend that's close to Contreras and while Contreras is a good kid I've heard that he's the opposite of humble and he's a very cocky player which I'm sure is part of the reason he's had success but maybe being humbled isn't the worst thing for him in the long run nothing is given to you in this game no matter how talented you are.

    As for Russell what more do I have to say about the guy that I haven't already said. You know I pretty much never generalize Bolla I get that this game comes with peaks and valleys but I seriously am sad to say that I think Russell just maybe the one bust out of this young core and even if he turns into an average/above average player which is possible I highly doubt that he'll ever live up to the upside that we hoped for out of him given his hype. I hope I'm wrong and he matures but I would easily trade him if teams still value him.

  • In reply to bolla:

    I do not want to start an argument but Almora got 1 of the 5 Cub hits Monday night. Like most players, I believe he would play better if he got to play more. However, His BA is .291 so who are you going to play instead? If there is a better CF than I would say sit Almora but when no one is hitting I say play Almora. I just want the best Players in the lineup, that's all especially if someone is hot.

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    Respectfully, I get your perspective that Happ is also an imperfect option unfortunately but Almora sitting isn't just about him not taking walks. If that were the case then we would've traded Javy Baez a long time ago. The simple fact of the matter is Happ is one of the worst hitters in baseball against lefties and a solid hitter against righties and Almora is very good against lefties and not good at hitting righties at this point in time. This is a numbers based decision made by the front office and coaching staff. Happ this year has been one of the worst hitters in baseball against lefties with a pitiful .649 OPS which has brought his numbers way down but he actually has a pretty darn good .811 OPS against righties this year and has an even stronger .863 OPS last season against RHP. Almora on the other hand has an impressive .809 OPS this year against lefties and an outstanding .898 OPS against lefties last year. This year while he has a .278 average against righties the other numbers aren't so favorable as he has only a .316 OBP and a poor .687 OPS this year and a .711 OPS last season. Those aren't minor splits my friend that means he's a very good hitter against lefties but a border line liability against righties. And that's now 2 years of data so at this point this is not over some small sample size there's a clear trend here. I know Almora's your guy and I do enjoy his all out style of play but the results are the results and no matter how much we like the guy players have to be held accountable for the numbers they post

    I'm not trying to advocate what Happs doing and bashing almora I think they're different players with different strengths and weaknesses and they're both imperfect players for differing reasons. Honestly in some ways I wonder if we can improve on our CF tandem this offseason after watching them hit over the 2nd half but that's a different subject. But the numbers do justify Maddon's decision making in protecting Almora vs righties.. Almora should be in the lineup against lefties his numbers over the past 2 years justify that no question but at this point we have 2 years of data that says he can't hit righties. I respect your opinion but the numbers are what they are and we have to do not just better but a lot better than a sub .700 OPS from our CF for a team that wants to contend for titles every season. I hope Almora reverses this trend with his splits and we're all rooting for him but there's a reason why Maddon and the front office don't want to play the guy against righties and I know these guys put a lot of thought and analysis into their decision making. There's a reason they're in their positions and not you or me.

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    I didn't even mention Happ. Its NOT about Almora! I only defend Almora when I feel you or others are nitpicking him. I keep reading how bad Almora is but the fact of the matter is there are a lot of other Cub players not playing up to their expected potential. Our Offense has been terrible more times than not lately and you guys can blame it on individuals all you want but the whole team has been lacking. You can preach your sabermetrics all you want but my eyes tell me the whole team is not playing up to their potential and it isn't even close.

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    bolla didn't blame it on an individual. He blamed it on like, 5 individuals who have all been terrible for a good while now. Almora is one of them. Now, you have to start 9 players, so some of these guys have to play. But bolla's right: you aren't going to score with Contreras, Almora, and Russell in the same lineup.
    Like you said, we all want the guys who are hot to play. Why don't you want the guys who are cold to sit?

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    Exactly

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    I didn't respond to Bolla.and I agree with some of what you said but are we watching the same game? The Cubs in Monday's game had 5 hits total from ZO (2hits) and 1 hit each from Bryant, Almora, and Contreras. Murphy, Baez, Contreras, and Russell each got 1 walk. The rest of the team was Dead Weight yesterday.

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    Respectively I'm just giving you the front offices perspective of why the playing time is being allocated as it is. It's a numbers decision was all I was getting at forget happ was even a part of this talk. And Almora absolutely doesn't deserve full blame actually when some of us criticized him we were actually also referring to contreras, Russell and a number of guys who are just killing this team in the 2nd half

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    I apologize again for maybe sounding so intense but unfortunately that is one of my faults and I am too old to change now. I do not like putting anyone down but I do try to mention certain things that I feel can be better. I won't say a word if someone blames or nitpicks the right players. However, like everyone, I may not be right all the time.

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    No need Clark I get your point and I don't mean to pick on Almora I think he was a big part of our 1st half success that we seem to forget about and one thing I like with him is that I have confidence in him as a person to do what it takes to adjust and hopefully improve his splits against righties. At the end of the day I hope you're right about him I'm not the type of fan that has any individual agendas against any players well except maybe Addison Russell because I don't have the best impression of him as a person/worker. I'm always worried about what's in the best interests of the team I avoid playing favorites and I'll be the 1st to laugh at myself and praise Almora if we start to see those splits vs righties catch up to his splits against lefties. I'm rooting for the guy and while I consider many of us to be intelligent baseball fans, that doesn't mean I'm always right many players have reached upsides that I haven't envisioned when they were young players.

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    Almora also watched strike 3 go right down the middle in the 9th and swung at junk outside the zone earlier that would of been ball 4 when Miley was clearly laboring to get out the inning.

    I like almora but he’s been struggling for a while and should only play vs lefties imo. The cubs don’t have time for guys to get out 2nd half slumps they need productive players in the lineup

  • Just doin’ my duty...18 does not seem to be a magic number, even if it the Magic Number. I really hope I can write something else tomorrow.

    Go Cubs!

  • Listening to the score..
    Believe they said the cubs last in the league at hitting RISP.. 3 to last last year. Bryant and Wilson the worst.
    and don’t say because Bryant hurt. His career numbers are bad also.

  • Wish I knew the exact physical description of Contreras right now but I don’t, but it just seems he is not even the same player he was a year ago. His defense has been his strong point but even that lately has really been falling. His receiving has not been good, alot of bad baserunning and he just isn’t hitting. Like Russell, he also looks to be tuning out as if his head isn’t even there. Just not the same since that injury about a year ago.

  • mlb has denied the cubs a change in venue for the make up game with the nationals. As of now the game is still scheduled to be played Thursday, despite dc being declared a stare of emergency ahead of hurricane florence. So it's looking like 30 games in 30 days with no days off unless a last second change happens

    last year mlb allowed the marlins and brewers series to be moved to miller park because of hurricane irma. Makes 0 sense what they are doing, hopefully it changes by thursday. If the game is postponed thursday then the make up game will be october 1st

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    In reply to bolla:

    The game won't be played in DC. The Cubs are going to get their "rest day" and can play .750 ball starting Friday due to the extra rest now.

    MLB just waiting till the last minute ( tomorrow to say it) in case the storm decides to take a u turn tonight.

    Also they don't want to move the game to a neutral site ( which IMO is a win since now the cubs will get the ever so important magical "off day" ) because the Nats don't want to lose the revenue since they already lost some revenue from the rain out/ DH last weekend.

  • fb_avatar

    I'm so very glad that stab happy Willy isn't starting tonight. His horrible ability to not be able to frame a pitch has been costing our pitchers pitch counts. Caratini let's the ball come to him & the difference is like night and day.

  • fb_avatar

    Imagine if the Cubs resigned Arietta instead of signing Darvish. And still made the Hamel trade. They probably wouldn't have signed Walkwood either. But that's all in the past and there's nothing we could change now.

  • In reply to Wrigley0923:

    I think they still would of sign Chatwood. Why do you think it would be different if the Cubs signed Darvish?

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    I meant why do you think it would be different if the Cubs signed Arrieta?

  • In reply to Wrigley0923:

    The phillies can have areitta and his increasing fip,whip,hits per 9 and rapidly declining velocity and strikeout rate. He's a declining overrated pitcher

  • In reply to bolla:

    But all he did was produce while he was a Cub. I’ll never understand why you dog him the way you do, even going 10-5 on a bad Cub team. Declining.....probably, but never overrated. Best record by a Cub pitcher over a 4 year period and probably cheaper than a Ted Lilly.

  • In reply to Wickdipper:

    He's absolutely an overrated pitcher that had a nice 1.5-2 year run on the cubs. his past performance doesn't matter when you're taking about a significant increase in salary for the next 4-5 years when he was slowly declining in several baseball metrics.

    I Appreciate what arrietta did for the cubs but he's old news, cubs fans need to stop crying about him and move on.Or go be a phillies fan.I didn't want wade davis back either for the same reasons

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    In reply to bolla:

    Agree w everything in both your posts, BUT "overrated pitcher that had a nice 1.5-2 year run"

    Nothing nice about that. That was a super human run that we prob will never see in our lifetime again as Cubs fans.

  • In reply to bolla:

    Not being argumentive....and yep....he’s no longer a Cub but 2 no hitters and a Cy Young is not overrated and Davis leads the NL out of Denver with 37 saves. Who faults players for getting paid?

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    In reply to Wrigley0923:

    Your dreaming if you believe Walkwoody wouldn't be a Cub just if we signed Arrieta unless your implying we gave Jake the 7-8 yrs 180-200 + million or so he wanted from us.

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