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Lineups and Bullpen Usage via Baseball Press.
Scouting Report from Brooks Baseball.
Kyle Freeland: Kyle Freeland has thrown 6,112 pitches that have been tracked by the PITCHf/x system between 2016 and 2018, including pitches thrown in the MLB Regular Season and Spring Training. In 2018, he has relied primarily on his Fourseam Fastball (93mph) and Cutter (87mph), also mixing in a Change (86mph), Sinker (91mph) and Slider (82mph).
His fourseam fastball has less armside movement than typical, has some natural sinking action, results in somewhat more groundballs compared to other pitchers' fourseamers and has slightly above average velo. His cutter generates an extremely high number of swings & misses compared to other pitchers' cutters, has extreme cut action and has some natural sink. His change is much firmer than usual, results in many more groundballs compared to other pitchers' changeups, has slight cut action and has some natural sink to it. His sinker has less armside run than typical, results in somewhat more groundballs compared to other pitchers' sinkers and has some natural sinking action. His slider results in somewhat more flyballs compared to other pitchers' sliders.
Sean's Note: Freeland has had an excellent 2018 season for the Rockies, a sub 3.00 ERA is good for any pitcher, let alone, one who plays half his games at Coors Field. His groundball is down from last year but is still above average. Strike out and walk rates are about at league average. He is very hard on left handed hitters holding them to a .179 batting average. The Cubs scored three runs against him in a win at Wrigley Field in early May.
Final Thoughts: The Cubs are going with a right-handed heavy lineup against Freeland. One head scratching move is starting Daniel Murphy at second base. Murphy has had a horrible year against left handed starters hitting just .238. Combined with Freeland's .179 average against lefties, it's a bad match up and defensively a huge liability. Putting Jason Heyward in center and Ben Zobrist at second is a sideways move offensively and much better move defensively. The Cubs are counting on Jon Lester in another big playoff game. Anything can happen, but there is no one I would trust more in an elimination game than Lester. Carl Edwards isn't on the playoff roster so he won't be available, but Pedro Strop is active and available tonight. Not much more to say, let the crippling tension of playoff baseball begin!
Come on Cubs let's do this!!!
All our work amounts to this.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) October 2, 2018