Game Post 4/25

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Series preview is here.

Watch/Listen

Thursday: 1:20 PM CT on MLB Network/NBC Sports Chicago/670AM

Lineups

Dodgers

2. Justin Turner (R) 3B
3. David Freese (R) 1B
4. Cody Bellinger (L) RF
5. A.J. Pollock (R) CF
6. Alex Verdugo (L) LF
7. Chris Taylor (R) SS
8. Rocky Gale (R) C
Cubs
1. Ben Zobrist (S) RF
2. Kris Bryant (R) 3B
3. Anthony Rizzo (L) 1B
4. Javier Baez (R) SS
5. Daniel Descalso (L) 2B
7. Jason Heyward (L) CF
8. Kyle Schwarber (L) LF
9. Jon Lester (L) P
Bullpen Usage
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Lineups and Bullpen Usage via Baseball Press.

Opposing pitcher

Scouting Reports from Brooks Baseball.

Ross Stripling: Ross Stripling has thrown 5,413 pitches that have been tracked by the PITCHf/x system between 2016 and 2019, including pitches thrown in the MLB Regular Season, the MLB Postseason and Spring Training. In 2019, he has relied primarily on his Fourseam Fastball (90mph), Curve (80mph) and Slider (87mph), also mixing in a Change (82mph) and Sinker (89mph).

His fourseam fastball has much less armside movement than typical, generates fewer whiffs/swing compared to other pitchers' fourseamers and has slightly below average velo. His curve generates a high number of swings & misses compared to other pitchers' curves, has a sharp downward bite and has primarily 12-6 movement. His slider is basically never swung at and missed compared to other pitchers' sliders, has much less depth than expected, is much harder than usual and results in somewhat more groundballs compared to other pitchers' sliders. His change results in more flyballs compared to other pitchers' changeups, has slight cut action and has some natural sink to it. His sinker is basically never swung at and missed compared to other pitchers' sinkers, has below average velo, has less armside run than typical and has little sinking action compared to a true sinker.

Sean's Note: Stripling is likely heading back to the 'pen when Rich Hill returns from injury in the next week or so. He's been good so far in five starts, allowing just 10 runs in 29.1 innings. He gets a lot of ground balls, 50% of balls in play this season. Home runs can be an issue, he allowed 18 in 122 innings last year and already four this season. In his career, right-handers actually hit him better than left-handers do.

Final Thoughts: The Cubs are running out essentially the same lineup as last night's dramatic win. Jon Lester is back from his hamstring injury, he will only throw around 75 pitches. Keep an eye on Willson Contreras, he hasn't gotten a game off since Victor Caratini got injured. Joe Maddon has to avoid overusing him like he did in 2018.

Comments

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  • I am also a little concerned with the use of Willson Contreras. This will be his 22 game out of 23 games this season he has been in. A day game after a night game.

  • Everyone got their brooms ready?

    The return of Big Jon. He never wants to come out of a game, but a cautious approach and earlier-than-usual call to the pen wouldn't hurt my feelings.

    Here's to you, TC. I do my best work spontaneously (some will say I don't do my best work, period), so I may have over-thought this, but I think I recall you saying you were a fan:

    "Now some say life will beat you down.
    Yeah, it will break your heart, steal your crown.
    So I started out for God knows where
    But I guess I'll know when I get there."

    Go Cubs!

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    after that horrible start, if cubs win today only the cardinals will have a better record in the NL than the Cubbies.

  • shout out to former cub prospect Dan Vogelbach. He is having a breakout year.

  • How much longer can they keep throwing Schwarber out there? He must be one of the worst hitters I've ever witnessed with a runner on 3rd less tha 2 outs. He's almost an automatic out in clutch spots. This is now heading towards his 2nd pitiful season in 3 years and last year wasn't good enough to justify his ice cold spells. He's just so disappointing the guy absolutely dominated the minors yet just can't hit a major league breaking ball to save his life.

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    I agree with you that he has been disappointing lately but his batting last year was far from being disappointing. His OBP was 356 and OPS was .823

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    Believe me Clark I said the same stuff last year and if you ask Bolla and others, I've been a Schwarber supporter throughout the years. But lets be honest he was awful in 2016, is off to a similar start this year, and even last year his lack of contact hitting really hurts his overall value. This is especially true in RBI spots where pitchers pitch away from contact and hitters have that extra anxiety. There are numbers that say he had the worst clutch hitting season ever last year. It's also always troubling when you hit 26 home runs with only 61 RBIs to go with that.

    I'm rooting for Kyle I've always liked him going back to the minors but the guys just not progressing. I thought he'd figure out how to hit a ML breaking ball and it's just not happening, if anything he's gotten worse thus far against breaking pitches. This guys been shown a lot of faith by this organization and right now I think I'd prefer to replace him even last year wasn't good enough for me. The power and OBP are nice but he's a poor contact hitter at this point in time.

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    Not to say replace him now moreso saying last year even doesn't cut it for me when we're talking about a LF that is here for his bat

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    I can not agree with you. RBIs are a bogus stat that depends on who is batting before you. If no one gets on then there is no one to drive in but yourself and if you follow batters who drive in a lot of runs, it doesn't leave much either. How can you want to get rid of Schwarber but bring back Happ who is worse than Schwarber in most every way?

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    That doesn't mean it's a useless stat though. You see I actually agree with you that RBI's are indeed an outdated stat for a lot of the reasons that you list. Like you said some factors with RBI's are luck based. That said RBI's still have plenty of value that's why most of the best players are amongst the league leaders in RBI's but yes there are anomalies. I prefer to blend metrics like WAR, FIP, OPS and traditional stats. RBI as a stat can be misleading but when a guy has 61 RBI's and 26 home runs that basically means the guy is awful in clutch spots. And frankly almost anyway you analyze Kyle's 2018 season he was awful with men in scoring position, and in situations with runners on 3rd less than 2 outs (almost historically bad). RBI's are still a skill though that's why you constantly see RIzzo with 100+ Rbis he has the contact skills to hit in those spots.

    Never said replace Kyle right now asap. I'm moreso saying big picture he's a guy that needs to be improved upon it's been 3 straight years and he hasn't lived up to his projections. They pretty much need to sink or swim with him after going all in on this OF group.

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    Are you aware that Schwarber was hurt and did not play in 2016 except for 5 ABs? His OPS for the other 3 previous years were .842 (2015), .782 (2017), and .823 (last year) all the while playing just part-time. These results are way above average so I don't understand your dislike of Schwarber. Maybe he has been lacking in clutch situations but so has most of the other Cubs players. Like you, I would like the Cubs team made up of "perfect" ballplayers but I realize that will never happen. What we do have isn't bad at all.

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    I mean like RBI's OPS can be a misleading stat as well. One stat isn't so much better than another when viewed individually that's why I prefer to view all the stats not just one to evaluate a player. OPS can be misleading when you have a high power/high walk guy like Kyle to me his OPS is distorted. His avg was an unacceptable .211 in 2017, he had a poor .315 OBP also both of which are bad for a LF. He only had 59 RBIs with 30 home runs once again almost never driving in runners with RISP and with men on 3rd less than one out. He's been hitting behind high OBP guys for years and articles have been written about how he's coming off the worst clutch season ever.

    I'm rooting for Kyle and have been supportive and patient of him throughout the years. But I respectfully disagree with you that his production is acceptable for a LF, a position which is largely based on offensive production. I'll always be thankful for 2025-16 from Kyle but he shouldn't be guaranteed a future in LF after this season if he continues to produce in line with his past 3 years. I think OPS is kinda cherry picked to make him look good. View other stats and they don't paint such a rosy picture.

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    2015-16

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    Again, I disagree. As far as "stats", it is very easy to "cherry pick" one to back up anything you want to refer to, but OPS is probably the most telling stat for a batter because it encompasses on base % with slugging %, two of the most important results a batter can have. It takes into account hits, walks, ave., and total bases per each AB. Otherwise I agree with Barley, these "stats" are made up by those who can't play baseball butg want to participate somehow.

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    I agree clark. OPS is probably the best of the standard stats for hitters. wRC+ is an advanced stat, but it is even better because it weighs park and league factors. Each position has an average of 100. Last year, Schwarber had a 115 wRC+, meaning he was 15% better than the average LF as a hitter. In 2015 he had a 131 wRC+. He was hurt in 2016 and had a bad year in 2017, but his 103 wRC+ was still around average. So, he has been average to well above each of his 3 years. He's off to a terrible start this year, but way too early to write him off as a hitter based on his history.

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    The other thing that makes wRC+ better than OPS is that it uses wOBA, which basically weighs the value of getting on base via walk, 1B, 2B, etc.. So, for one example, a player with a 800 OPS arrived via a .400 on base % and .400 slugging % will have a lower wOBA average than the player with the same 800 OPS arrived by a .350 OB and .450 slugging. I think I'm explaining that correctly. If not, someone please correct me. Thanks

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    It’s too early to write him off cubpack I think a lot of people including myself thought Schwarber would hit. But I personally thought he was acceptable last year thought he had a decent but flawed season given his struggles with men on base. I gotta admit I’m surprised anyone is trying to argue that he was average in 2017. The guy got sent down to the minors I think some of you are cherry picking his most favorable stats while ignoring the stats that don’t paint such a pretty picture. Good players have good stats all around fans shouldn’t have to ignore all the other statistics that paint him as a poor to below avg left fielder. Don’t get how anyone can argue he was decent in 2017 but we’ll just have to agree to disagree

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    I understand how ops and wrc works I often cite them both. I personally think the flaw in both stats is they tend to favor these high walk/high slugging players like Schwarber. Especially from my LF I prefer someone with better contact skills. Too much of Schwarbers production comes with nobody on when pitchers pitch to contract not away from contact. Again I think statistics are effective in player evaluation when used in conjunction with one another not solely by themselves

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    OPS is one of my favorite stats but again you’re going by one statistic over utilizing all the stats. That 2017 season that you think was fine by Kyle he also only had a 1.6 fWAR and a .315 obp so he didn’t just look poorly by traditional stats. You’re talking to a guy that generally favors ops and obp. I’d take a .260 hitter with a .350 obp over a .280 hitter with a .310-320 obp. But when kyles avg in 2017 was .211 to me that’s a point of no return where your walk rate and slugging can’t save you. I’d be the 1st to embrace and credit Kyle if he could hit .250-260 that’s an acceptable rate given his walks and power. But when we can only expect a .200-239 avg from a LF that’s a problem in my eyes.

    Last year I was making the same arguments against bolla about how his high walk rate and power mitigates his poor avg, but I think it’s time we all start being honest with ourselves on certain prospects. I hope and think Kyle can improve but he hasn’t helped team in a long time

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    Sorry, but the main point I am discussing here has little to do with previous "stats" and more to do with the potential of the current ballplayer. I am from the "old school" and what I see when looking at the "stats" is the PAST. I am more interested in the NOW and the FUTURE. The NOW can only be seen by watching the player today and no one can predict the future. However, as Cubpack has stated above, the past "stats" show Schwarber to be an above average left fielder for the past 4 years when comparing "stats" and I see a batter that with a few tweaks, he will be a better hitter with his compact swing. I think he is thinking too much instead of just hitting the ball like he was doing when they drafted him. He should come to the plate thinking HIT instead of WALK.

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    Fair enough Clark and honestly I’m not even ruling the guy out Moreso saying how much longer can they wait for his breakout. If you go by WAR he was at 1.8 in 2015 in half a year which was good. Then 1.6 WAR in 17 and 3.2 in 18. I personally think we don’t even have 4 years of data on the guy but I think he was below avg in 17 and slightly above in 18, although he didn’t do well in clutch nor did he hit in big games down the stretch. I personally haven’t been too impressed with him since 2015-16 but I respect your opinion. I defended him as much as anyone last year I’ve ways felt the tools were there for him to become a strong hitter. We have to remember that he’s a LF an offensive position and thus far to me he’s been a lot more hype then substance. Great kid though and I hope he proves me wrong

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    I agree on the mental side. I also think he’s an emotional player and it’s worked for him and against him. We saw flashes of contact ability in 2015-16 then he got a steady diet of breaking pitches and has never been the same. It’s unusual for a guy to be such a good contact hitter in the minors only to crash like this batting avg wise in the majors

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    I do not mean to argue with you or anyone but these guys are still young kids and can be easily swayed one way or another. I definitely do NOT believe in judging a player by his stats. That is only what happened in the past. I vaguely remember that in 2017 Schwarber was constantly getting BAD calls with 2 strikes on him or maybe it was 2018 or both. In any case, he can be a good to great hitter if he would only go to the plate thinking HIT. It seems he is not ready to swing with 2 strikes on him and if he can change his mind set and start swinging at those close calls, with his short, quick bat, he will get a lot more hits.

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    All good Clark I can appreciate that we can actually have a debate without going at each other’s throats like most people. I’ve been such a big believer in Kyle that I’ve actually expected that leap forward for years. As Theo says progress isn’t linear. I’m just getting impatient and wondering when do we hold these guys accountable. I’d personally be concerned to see him regress at all from 2018 I don’t think his 2017 body of work is acceptable

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    Thank you. I can also appreciate that we can actually have a debate without going at each other’s throats. Everyone has their own opinions and rightfully so. It's just that I do NOT think that these "stats" mean anything more than showing us what happened in the past.

    For anyone that is interested, check the "stats" on any of these younger ballplayers (including Baez, Yelich and so on). I think you will notice that, in most cases, their "stats" for their first 3 full years have not predicted how good they will be in their 4th+ years of playing in the majors. Most of our guys are just now playing in their 4th years in the majors.

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    That KC core is another example. There were a lot of kc fans that were impatient with hosmer, moustakas, Lorenzo Cain, Alex Gordon, etc. it took those guys 3-4 years of ups and downs to come into their own

  • I had to fight to keep my breakfast down this morning while reading all you gushing over this Baez cat in last night's game recap.

    This dude sucks.

  • Good ab by bote

  • In reply to bolla:

    Hope Zobrist isn't reverting back to his 2017 form he's also quietly off to a slow start

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    Yea I thought the same thing zobrist seems to be an even year performer for the cubs.His ops is .584 in 2019

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    another year passed.

  • C'mon, Cubs!

  • Albert!

  • Well that sucked.

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