Panic Averted--Cubs 6 Brewers 4

The series started on a sour note with the bullpen coughing up a late lead. The second game was just baseball happening, but the Cubs were in danger of leaving Milwaukee very much alive in the division race. The Cubs missed their opportunity to bury the Brewers but they at least kept the Brewers at arms length.

Jose Quintana and Jhoulys Chacín were locked in a pitchers duel for the first three innings. Each team managed just one single in the first three frames. The game shifted pretty quickly once Daniel Murphy homered to start the fourth inning. Javier Báez singled and his status as most exciting player in baseball was maintained soon enough on the bases. Anthony Rizzo hit a ball up the middle that Javy was able to score on. He was aided by erros from Lorenzo Cain and Orlando Arcia in scoring and Rizzo wound up on third during the play. Ben Zobrist doubled to drive in Rizzo. Kris Bryant fouled out for the first out, but the Cubs kept tormenting Chacín. Kyle Schwarber drew a walk. Willson Contreras hit a groundball back up the middle. Zobrist scored, but Schwarber was thrown out at third for the second out. Jose Quintana struck out to end the frame, but the 4-0 lead would prove enough for the Cubs staff.

Quintana was not able to slam the door shut in the bottom of the fourth inning. Hernán Pérez singled to start the inning. Jesus Aguilar struck out swinging, but Q lost Ryan Braun to put a runner in scoring position. Jonathan Schoop singled to score Hernán Pérez. The pair moved into scorng position on a passed ball from Contreras. Mike Moustakas struck out swinging for the second out. Quintana hit Erik Kratz to load the bases. Arcia flew out to end the inning. The Cubs 4-1 lead was pretty safe with Quintana.

Daniel Murphy got his third hit against Chacin in the fifth inning. Báez struck out for the second out of the inning. Anthony Rizzo singled and an error by Schoop allowed the pair to advance into scoring position on the play. Ben Zobrist hit a groundball back up the middle. Murphy scored easily, but Rizzo was called out on a close play at the plate. The play was reviewed because despite the ball beating Rizzo to the plate easily it was unclear if the tag happened before. The call was upheld and the Cubs had to settle for a 5-1 score.

Kyle Schwarber hit a solo home run in the sixth inning against Corbin Burnes. That extended the Cubs lead to 6-1. The Brewers got that run back quickly against Quintana. Jesus Aguilar singled to start the inning. Ryan Braun doubled to put the Brewers into business. Schoop grounded out to score Aguilar. A line out and ground out ended the inning with no further damage.

The Brewers managed a two out rally in the seventh inning. Quintana retired the first two batters, but Jesse Chavez ran into problems when called upon. Lorenzo Cain singled and Curtis Granderson homered to make it a 6-4 ball game. Aguilar flew out to end the Brewers rally.

Steve Cishek and Justin Wilson pitched a clean eighth inning. Pedro Strop ran into some issues as the finisher. He walked Travis Shaw to start the inning. Christian Yelich singled as a pinch hitter. Eric Thames flew out to center for the first out. Cain bounced into a fielder's choice and Granderson struck out swinging as the Cubs preserved a four game lead in the Central.

WPA CHART

Source: FanGraphs

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    All I can say is that I'm glad to get out of there with a win. It looked good and then walks, passed balls, and a HR got them back in. We have to stop giving teams free passes. Fergie used to give up a lot of HR but since he hardly ever gave up a walk, they were usually only single runs.
    Go Cubs!

  • Since we beat our closest pursuer, the Countdown gets a double dip. The Magic Number for clinching the NL Central is now 19.

    Since StL also won, MIL and StL are, for Magic Number purposes, tied, since they both habe the same number of losses. Both have a day off, before MIL host SFG this weekend, while StL travels to DET.

  • In reply to CubsFanInNorway:

    If there's a good thing about game postponements and playing without a day off late in the season, it's days like today. The Cubs have the ability to add a half-game to their lead over the Brewers and Cardinals that can't be made up by those teams.The Cubs have played 2 fewer games than Milwaukee and 1 fewer than St. Louis.

  • Our bullpen is leaking oil. Hopefully this is just one of those periods before they get hot again. Nothing worse than scoring runs only to given them right back. Kills momentum.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    Makes me a little worried for post season if Morrow doesn’t come back soon. He needs to get the rust off before going into the fire.

    We’ll have Monty, Strop, Chavez & Cishek as the main guys w/hopefully Morrow. After that it’s tough... Wilson is better than last year, De La Ross ehhh, but... & Edwards just seems off. I think I trust Rosario most of the young guys.

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    And Kintzler has not been leaking oil, he’s been throwing gasoline & starting the fires... Ha ha. But I liked the acquisition when they 1st got him. Not sure why he’s off... Maybe it’s the Adam Warren syndrome that Wilson got last year... :o)

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    Are you forgetting that we will have Mike Montgomery moving to the BP along with Drew Smyly (if OK) and Jaimie Garcia all should be ready for the playoffs. Hopefully, a couple of them will add to the current BP making it that much better.

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    Since Drew Smily is on the 60 day DL and not on the 40 man active roster, is he eligible for the postseason? I believe the rule is that he would have to be on the 40 man roster by Sept. 1 to be eligible.

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    No, I mentioned Monty 1st. Smyly pitch here yet? Garcia not exactly himself yet, is he? Unless I missed something... The latter guys are basically darts in the dark. They could be great, they could be needing to iron out kinks.

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    I do not know about the status of any of them. I am just hopeful wishing because we sure can use some people to step up. I feel Monty alone is a big upgrade to the BP if Maddon uses him right.

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    Oh yes, Monty will be a good upgrade & might share a closer role in Maddon’s bullpen usage.

    Best Im hoping for Garcia is he can help alleviate the need to go to Cishek & Chavez to soon in the game &/or give those guys breaks this month where they can rest up a day & be fresh for the higher leverage situations. If he can be used in higher leverages himself, then that’s bonus, imo.

  • Sounds like Morrow could be done for the season. If he does return he may be limited ie: not 100% or can’t go back to back days etc

  • In reply to bolla:

    I get the feeling part of Joe's words were to challenge Morrow. Not to play hurt of course, but that they need him. I seriously doubt he would be able to throw on back to back days unless we got late in the WS. Still even some Morrow is better than none so fingers crossed. I expect Joe to go more matchup in the late innings and at key moments than permanent 9th inning guy.

  • Well, we needed a win and got it. It seems every time I think that, these guys get it done somehow.

  • I hope everybody is off the ledge now. Our guys have a five game advantage in the loss column with 3.5 weeks to play. That is an almost insurmountable hurdle for the Cards and Brewers. The Cubs need to do no worse than split this weekend and then win 1 game against Milwaukee next week and this thing will be practically, if not officially, over. It nearly is now.

  • In reply to TC154:

    Just about yep.....13-10 gets them to 95 wins.....look what the other 2 would have to do just to match that.

    Who would you rather have for the NLDS? Brewers or Cardinals?

  • That win was more stress than I was looking for yesterday evening but what a huge win I think most of us can agree that there's a huge difference in how secure we all feel about the division being up 4 games instead of 2 huge win now just gotta finish strong these final 7 games of this 23 game stretch. Proud of Quintana it's been a jekyll/Hyde season at times but to go into Milwaukee and step up against a red hot pitcher in Chacin that came in 15-5 and trying to avoid a back breaking sweep is the type of big outing that brought him in for. Say what you want about Quintana's up and down year I'm not saying he's playing to my high expectations of him this year but despite his inconsistencies, I still feel like the team always has a chance to win whenever he starts many people forget after his final rotten start against the dodgers in the playoffs that he outdueled Max Scherzer in that pivotal game 3 win over the nats in the NLDS. Yes our expectations of him are very high with what we gave up but all I'm saying is you can do a whole lot worse than going to battle with a Jose Quintana out there. Not to be another manager basher too but I have to again criticize Joe's in game pitching change decisions. I understand that Cain has been wearing us out all series and that Cain kills lefties but Q had been handling Cain all day inducing soft contact from him and I've never understood Maddon's tendencies to take out his starting pitchers when they're going well and they're cruising through the game or the inning. Quintana in that spot retired the 1st 2 baserunners and looked on his way to a 1-2-3 inning what's the point of taking Q out when he hasn't even allowed a baserunner. Defend Maddon all you want but I thought it was incorrect and unusual to pull a starter that had it going you don't see managers pull their starters like that with 2 outs and nobody on. And for me I guess I just generally trust our starting pitchers over our bullpen not only overall but at this timing with our starters in great form and a few of our relievers struggling lately. I think that move almost cost us the game and I wish Maddon would be a little more open minded about adapting his pitching change philosophies. Just because you've won a lot of games with loaded teams doesn't mean your management philosophies/processes can't be improved.

    But I can't complain that's a pivotal win in my eyes even winning 1/3 is like a cheap series win for the cubs given their 5 game lead coming in. I hope this game is another illustration that Murphy needs to play every single day unless he needs a rest day this is a different offense with him in the lineup esp. given Kris Bryant's loss of slugging due to injury. Hopefully our boys are still feeling good physically we're getting to the tail end of this long 23 game stretch and a 5-2 stretch would be nice

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    In reply to kkhiavi:

    Also, how pivotal were those early season wins against the Brewers?

  • Feeling a LOT more comfortable today after a win. Cubs knocked 3 games off the schedule and only surrendered a game in the standings. Nearly as important to the Cubs' championship aspirations is that Atlanta also lost. Locking up that #1 seed is going to be such an advantage. Much rather take on a WC team who can't use their best SP until game 3, than a well-rested division winner.

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    Understand your thoughts on not facing the other teams best starter is a great advantage but, my blood pressure can’t take a five game series against the cardinals.

  • In reply to TheSarge#36:

    Yeah I think Milwaukee and St Louis are the weakest of the playoff contenders, but I'm not sure how much I want to see either of them in the playoffs.

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    The Rockies are the weakest contender, I don't think it's even close, and yet they just might win the west. Knowing our team nearly as well as the Cubs know themselves is not something anyone should look forward to in and NLDS against either of our division foes. Our guys are better than both of them, but so are Arizona and LA better than the Rockies. Things don't always favor the better team.

  • In reply to TC154:

    Admittedly, I haven't looked at league stats much all year. My "MIL & STL are the weakest contenders" comment was basically off the top of my head. Looking at the numbers, I'd probably rank the Cardinals and Brewers 4th and 6th respectively, of the NL's 8 current contenders. But holy smokes the Rockies are bad! How are they in the position they're in?
    Run differential: -8
    wRC+ rank: 29th
    position player WAR: 23rd
    ERA: 22nd
    pitcher WAR: 8th

    By these metrics, the Dodgers are the best team in the NL, and they're on the outside looking in. Baseball is weird, man.

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    Nope, I'd say the metrics are weird.

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    It doesn't matter what numbers you use, the Rockies are mediocre at best (and I'd argue they're worse than mediocre). You can say the metrics are weird all you want, but it doesn't change the fact that they've been outscored by their opponents and are ahead of a team in the standings that has outscored their opponents by 129 runs.

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    In reply to Kramerica20:

    Funny things happen when you are 10 games over .500 in 1-run games and the 2 teams trailing you are .500 and .429 playing a similar number of 1-4 run games. It must be that "shut-down bullpen" that the Rockies have. LOL

  • In reply to TheSarge#36:

    Yea I want no parts of the cardinals in the nlds. None whatsoever, they are a completely different team post matheny.

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    In reply to bolla:

    Cards have no Ace and will be w/out who they call their "ace" plus a weak n tired BP and add in no Pujols so they don't scare me like they used to.

    Plus the short travel will set us up for the next round.

  • You could be right about the Rockies but your metrics, at best, can only tell you what the teams have already done in the past. In no way can they predict what will happen in the future. That's like saying your child's 1st grade report card will tell you how successful he will be in second or third grade.

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    But your child's 1st grade report card is pretty predictive of how he'll do in 2nd grade. He's not going to magically vastly improve or decline. It's the same with stats like run differential, wRC+, ERA. This is who the Rockies have been for 140 games. What evidence do we have that they will all of a sudden become a good offensive or pitching team?
    If a guy is a career .200 hitter, that only measures what he's already done. But do you have much confidence in him becoming a good hitter?

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    According to the metrics at the beginning of the season, which teams were most likely to make the playoffs? According to your metrics how many of these players were predicted to hit as many home runs as they have this year? Did your metrics predict Javy Baez would have this good of a year? Did your metrics predict Hamels would pitch as good as he has been since joining the Cubs? I could go on & on.

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    There are always outliers and those who over/underperform. They aren't predictive with 100% accuracy. That's why the players actually play the games. And that's why I said "baseball is weird." Every measurement we have tells us the Rockies are playing over their heads. The fact that I'm only pointing to the Rockies suggests that the metrics are pretty reliable, doesn't it? Otherwise I'd be confused about a whole mess of teams.
    But go back and look at who the statistical projection sites had in the playoffs on April 1. They usually get 7 or 8 out of 10 correct. As for player performance, they're usually pretty good there too. You can't point to a handful of guys who went off the grid, out of hundreds of players, and say, "See? The whole system is bunk."

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    With all due respect, if you believe that these metrics can give you any info other than what has previously happened, then I wish all the best. I'm just trying to tell you these metrics are in no way a prediction. What did the metrics show about Harper or KB this year? What did the metrics show about the Cards at the trade deadline? Did the metrics show Atlanta or Phillies winning their division this year. I said I could go on & on. It is way more than just a handful but if you choose to go by these metrics more power to you.

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    They aren't "my" metrics either, by the way.

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    If your point is that metrics are not 100% accurate, you are absolutely correct. That said they are fairly predictive. As Kramerica20 said if one team has a run differential of +129 and another -8 it's I would be fairly certain that there is a lot of luck involved with the latter team. I don't see how that's controversial. I've said it many times but my favorite baseball quote is "baseball is a math problem where pesky humans get in the way" and I think that explains it exactly right. Yet that mathematic predictive ability is very useful when trying to decide who is the better team. I think you can watch the Rockies and the Dodgers and say the same thing. Metrics and the human eye are both predictive tools, why you would be skeptical of one and not the other is mystifying to me.

  • In reply to TC154:

    Again, with all due respect, I believe the metrics are only good for a guide. The eye test (what have you done lately) is much more telling simply because players can and do get better and/or worse than before for many reasons which the metrics can not possibly tell you. If the players and teams can or do not get better than why do they have practice and spring training? Likewise, a team can get better throughout the season like Atlanta due to all their young players getting used to the MLB or other teams, like the Giants can gradually get worse due to age and/or injuries. If a team's run differential is out of whack, it could be due to a number of things that may or may not be fixed. Metrics will not tell you that.

  • Murphys hr was key because chacin was cruising early then after that & baez doing what he does on the basepaths the wheels kind of came off for him.

  • In reply to bolla:

    Murphy shook up Nola' s world as well. He can hit good pitching.

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