Gone Fishin'--Cubs 7 Marlins 2

Trevor Richards seemed like a bad matchup for the Cubs. The dreaded seeing a pitcher for the first time plus a good changeup for Richards and I thought the Cubs bats might struggle in South Florida. I was right from the end of the first inning until the early fifth inning. Richards retired eleven in a row. Sandwiched in between those 11 straight outs was five runs scored by the Cubs.

Yu Darvish didn't have an amazing start. His command was off at times, but his stuff looked the best of 2019 so far. Darvish started the game at about 95 and then managed to reach back for upper 90s to end his evening. More encouraging was Darvish worked out of a wobbly fifth inning on his own and was able to earn his first victory of the young campaign. The bullpen made it a stress free night as the Cubs inched closer to .500 again.

WPA CHART

Source: FanGraphs
Trevor Richards ran into trouble early by plunking Kris Bryant with one out in the first inning. Javier Báez singled with two outs to keep the inning alive, and then Trevor Richards helped the Cubs out with a throwing error allowing the pair to advance into scoring position. He then walked Jason Heyward and Willson Contreras to force in the first run of the game. David Bote ripped a double into left to plate another pair of runs. Richards avoided further damage after intentionally walking Albert Almora Jr. and striking out his opposite to end the first down three.

Yu Darvish got some spectacular defense to start the game. Albert Almora Jr. made a diving catch to rob extra bases from Curtis Granderson. Brian Anderson struck out and it looked like Darvish might settle in for a nice stress free evening. Starlin Castro hit an infield single and Neil Walker hit a solid single to keep the inning alive. Darvish lost Miguel Rojas on a 3-2 pitch, but Austin Dean struck out swinging to preserve the Cubs three run lead.

Trevor Richards settled in to pitch a 1-2-3 in the second inning. Unfortunately Yu Darvish could not match his counterpart. Back to back walks against the Marlins order started the inning. Trevor Richards obliged Darvish with a tailor made double play ball, but Báez rushed a throw which turned two outs and no runs into a one out with a runner in scoring position and a run in. Granderson made an out he actually deserved but moved Richards to third. Brian Anderson grounded out to prevent a big inning from occurring, but the Marlins were now down 3-1.

Richard and Darvish retired everyone in a row until Chad Wallach unloaded a first pitch fastball with one out in the fourth inning. The Marlins couldn't get any closer before Darvish made it through four innings. Kris Bryant's one out double in the fifth was the first Cubs base runner since the first inning. Rizzo flew out for a second out, but the wheels fell off for Richards at this point. Báez hit a pop fly into shallow right field and Starlin Castro ranged deep into the outfield to make a play. The ball dropped just out of reach of Castro's glove and Bryant raced home for a run. The throw bounced away and Javy made a heads up base running play to reach third. Jason Heyward walked and Willson Contreras was hit by a pitch to load the bases. David Bote hit a slow roller to Miguel Rojas who casually flipped it to Castro. The call initially was safe but a review overturned it to give the Cubs their fifth run of the game and chase Richards from the game. Austin Brice managed to retire Almora to end the inning.

Darvish retired the first two batters of the bottom of the fifth inning and it seemed like the struggling righty might be cruising. Castro drew a walk and then Neil Walker bounced a single through the left side. A passed ball allowed the pair to advance into scoring position and trouble was looming when Miguel Rojas got two favorable ball counts to start the at bat. Darvish came back with a narrative busting strikeout to keep the score 5-2.

Brice worked around some trouble of his own creation but put a zero on the board in the sixth inning. Darvish was lighting up the gun at 99 several times including hitting Lewis Brinson with two outs. That ended Darvish's night. Kyle Ryan came on and struck out pinch hitter Rosell Herrera to end the inning.

Willson Contreras remained hot crushing a bomb to dead center in the seventh inning, but hard throwing Drew Steckenrider worked around the mistake to keep the Marlins in the game. Kyle Ryan got another out to start the eighth, but the fifth free pass issued by a Cubs hurler on the night was enough for Joe Maddon. Steve Cishek entered the game and did his thing facing Starlin Castro. The former Cub rolled over into an inning ending double play. Cishek would pitch a scoreless frame in the eighth inning as he remains dependable as ever.

The Cubs added a tack on run against Wei-Yin Chen in the ninth inning. Rizzo and Báez each made a nice base-running play after reaching base to start the inning. Contreras drove in Rizzo with a soft single to make it 7-2. Chen retired Bote and Almora to leave Báez stranded at third. Dwarven southpaw Tim Collins recorded his first big league strikeout of 2019 and kept the Marlins off the board to close out the game.

Random Reference
I'm firmly in the anti-retaliation camp. Throwing a hard object at speeds well over 90 mph at another human being is just a recipe for disaster, and I am glad that the Cubs are very unlikely to respond to the 69* hit by pitches they suffered tonight. Still can't deny that the second time Kris Bryant was hit part of me wanted to be a bad roach. Those feelings were affirmed when Darvish's 99 mph two seamer exacted a little karmic justice as no one was attempting to hit the other side tonight.

*Number may be slightly exaggerated.

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  • Aside from a nice W I think darvish getting his 1st W of the year is really what’s the most important thing for him and the team. It was getting to the point where his every start was heavily scrutinized on the athletic, which is to be expected given his struggles and contract. Personally I know we’re all concerned about him but I honestly think the cure for him maybe as simple as getting some positive mojo going his way on his new team. I think any pitcher that looks at their W-L record and sees a 0 under the win column can’t be feeling particularly confident about the form they’re in. I’m interested to see if we see an improvement in his overall performance if he simply stays healthy, wins some games, and settles into the flow of the season

  • Darkish beat a triple A team tonight, let’s not get too excited just yet.

  • In reply to Squareburgers:

    To me his ERA is very inflated as he’s had amongst the most inherited base runners let in in baseball by the cubs struggling bullpen thus far. But more importantly there was a lot of concern within the media about his early season velocity which has been down about 1.5 mph. The velocity tonight was promising consistently 94-95+ and up to 98-99. Obviously not in my good graces yet but there’s reason to be cautiously optimistic about

  • The Brilliance of Mike Banghart’s recaps will become his best chapter of writing for Cubs baseball. Not because it never was, but because of now this medium will be our only vehicle to receive it.

    Great writers find their way, one way or another, and I’m thrilled we now have him here now exclusively. His journey evolves in front of our every eyes. I predict his greatness is just beginning in the coverage of sports writing.

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    Every win is good, but Yu needed this. He pitched pretty well, and it helped that he had a 3 run lead to start off the game.
    I thought there was no way Albert was going to catch up to that ball. They say he isn't fast but the angles he takes are spot on and that makes up for a lot. He gets to ball the same way Rodman got the ball. Practice, Practice, Practice, that's the key.
    Rollin, Rollin, Rollin with a winner.

  • The people who have committed their time to kept this website alive in memory and in it’s furtherance thorough-out this season are the real people we should be celebrating tonight - alongside those players efforts tonight who brought us this win. A Cubs win without to style and talent of this staff’s writing about it, is like leaving the ballpark alone without a community to share it.

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    In reply to Skidoorunner:

    Excellent point. Thank you for mentioning it.

  • I've heard all this. And now I get to play Debbie Downer. Yeah, ME!

    The Cubs Won! I am so Happy! But I'm not!

    I can now play against dabs Saturday night recap, and I have no desire to do so. Maybe you can. I can't, and I'm sorry.
    FUDGE!

    I'm so glad the Cubs won. But like dabs said last Saturday, a singular thought, a song, has occupied my mind. Something bad happened today.

    I'm not religious. But I don't need to be. I was stunned today as I watched the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris burn to the ground. That structure was built almost a thousand years ago, and housed innumerable and immeasurably valuable historical artifacts. They are (were) a record of human history, and so much of that is now gone. It's hard to celebrate the winning of a baseball game when so much of our culture has been lost.

    Yeah!, team.

  • I'm off. I was.supposed to do a song:

    Ave Maria!
    Maiden mild!
    Oh, listen to a maiden's prayer
    For thou can't hear amid the wild
    This thou, this thou can't save amid, despair
    We slumbers safely tear the Mother
    Though we be man outcast relived
    Oh, Maiden, hear a maiden's sorrow
    Oh, Mother, hear a suppliant child!
    Ave Maria
    Ave Maria, gratia plena
    Maria, gratia plena
    Mari, a gratia plena
    Ave, ave dominus
    Dominus tecum
    The murky cavern's air so heavy
    Shall breath of balm if thou hast smiled
    Oh, Maiden, hear a maiden pleadin'
    Oh, Mother, hear a suppliant child
    Ave Maria
    Ave Maria

  • OK. I think I might be better.

    I have to disagree with dabs. I don't think we were hit 69* times tonight; it only felt to me like 54@. Still too many, but more manageable in my book. Rather than retaliate with potentially dangerous baseballs thrown purposefully towards human flesh with Ill intentions, I propose that Javy gets even for us tomorrow. I say we schedule him for three web-gem tags, a couple swim-slides, THE game-winning RBI, at least two bombs, and a couple of the extra bases he takes, I don't even know what to call them, but you know when he makes their defenders look stupid? Yeah, those. A couple of those. That'll show 'em.

    We won. I'm happy. But I'm sad. I'm gonna break down here. Nobody owes me s**t, but I've brought a lot of people a lot of laughs. Somebody sing me a happy song.

    I'm seriously going down to the thump room and breaking out Fly to the Rainbow, a little something, and a couple beers.

    Cheers! Go Cubs!

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I lied. I didn't do Fly to the Rainbow. In Trance, and Number of the Beast. Back in the.day...

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I wake up to the sound of music
    Mother Mary comes to me
    Speaking words of wisdom
    Let it be.

    (Let It Be Naked version).

  • Solid win. There has been something to like about every Darvish start except the first one (even there the stuff wasn’t awful just the command) but this time he mostly put it together. The walks need to go down but he was challenging guys and trusting his velocity. Of course 99 mph to a dude’s jewels might not be ideal. I was hoping Joe had left him in for that last AB for the quality start, but oh well. KB’s double was nice to see and it was a good win. Let’s get two more and a chance to get to .500 against the D-Backs.

  • In reply to TC154:

    I honestly wonder if that beaning on Louis Brinson was intentional TC with nobody on and 2 outs as well. They hit Contreras once and kris Bryant twice and of those HBPs I strongly felt the 2nd one on Bryant was intentional and the one on Contreras May have been. Mattingly is a bit old school and the marlins head hunt sometimes. I think darvish likely wanted to retaliate for his teammate new pitchers tend to try to get in their teammates good graces and just the speed of the pitch caught my attention too. I like it personally enough was enough with the hbps and clipping the umpire was a bonus he had a real tight strike zone all day against both teams. Crazy highlight but a nice win and good to see darvish progressing with every start.

    #About time Yu do something (couldn’t resist lol)

  • Yeah Yu, good for you!

  • In reply to Roe Skidmore:

    *good for yu

  • With the Cards and Brewers knocking heads today and tomorrow it sure would be nice to sweep these guys......a guaranteed pickup of one game a day on somebody....come on boys.

  • Baez is the catalyst for the cubs , when he goes the cubs go. The problem with that is Baez can be very inconsistent

    Heyward continues to be an on base machine and Contreras continues to mash! Glad darvish got the w

  • In reply to bolla:

    Yeah - I'm not yet convinced that either Contreras is going to generally mash like this (or in a similar, but more realistic way) all year, especially as the grind of the summer starts to catch up with him - OR that Heyward is going to continue to do his Dexter Fowler-like OBP all season,... but this is certainly fun to see.

    Now if only Rizzo, Schwarber and Bryant were to start to hit,... this would be an otherwise unstoppable offense.

    Also good to start to see some consistency from both the Starters, and a bunch of the BP guys.

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    In reply to drkazmd65:

    I don't think Heyward maintains a 18%+ BB% all season. But let's say we take 100 points off his BA/OBP and 200 points off SLG. I will take a guy at .250/.350/.450. Especially with his other skills (leadership, defense, baserunning--though baserunning/defense he is actually a negative so far). Obviously I'd love him to be a 6 fWAR player. But I would settle for a solid 3-4 fWAR.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    Here’s the thing about Heyward, the numbers are real. His BABIP is .306 right in line with his career and while you expect a little fall back, especially in the walk rate as you point out, he’s succeeded in changing how he’s being pitched to and even with some walk rate regression that’s not going to change much right now. Pitchers will adjust some but if he keeps laying off the bad sliders he’s going to be fine. 2015 type offense is not out if the question

  • In reply to bolla:

    Lol remember when Báez was supposedly the primary issue with this team a week ago. Avg was dipping, strikeout rate was alarmingly high (tiny sample???), blah, blah. I feel like the guys just had so many skeptics throughout the year, plus with the aggressive approach that fans are just in denial that this guy is this teams mvp.

    Heyward and Contreras maybe due for regression but Rizzo and Bryant are also due for some major positive regression as well. Russell is coming back I know people don’t want to hear about him but he looked focused and in good form this spring. My concern as it was in the offseason is what to do with this group or OFs and bullpen

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    I'm still hoping that long-term Russell is playing for somebody else and not for the Cubs. I'm glad they stuck by him while he did his suspension and (hopefully) grew up a bit figuring out how not to be an jackhole to women in his life. However, I think both he and the Cubs are better served if he were to go somewhere where he had a relatively clean slate.

    Add to that the Cubs being fairly set with SS/2B guys in the near term with Baez, Bote, Short, Hoerner, Ademan, Happ and Giambrone all likely to be able to fill one or both of those spots,...

    If Russell is solid as a SS/2B guy again, hits decently, and looks like he has his *poop* together as a man and human being,... then he's a potential trade piece, and the Cubs might be able to trade him from a position of strength.

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    I highly doubt they sign resign Russell long term anyways. They can spin it how they want about helping the man but I just think they simply weren’t comfortable with their middle IF depth. Releasing him only really means he’s playing for your rivals. There were rumors that if the cubs released Russell the Yankees and brewers were ready to pounce on him. I think they’ll trade Russell eventually or just let him walk in free agency. Hoerner could be ready next year or just sign someone else. I really wouldn’t feel comfortable investing long term in Russell I’ve already heard about his questionable makeup in terms of his parting habits before any of the other stuff came up about his marriage

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    *partying

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    Agree 100% , I feel there’s a large segment of cub fans who don’t believe in baez and refuse to admit that he’s essential to the success of this team.so they nitpick every bad game or error or his k rate

    He doesn’t have the glamorous saber metrics like others who aren’t nearly as effective(Bryant)

  • On a small side note this hasn’t been reported by the media but I noticed kris Bryant’s clearly made some adjustments with his swing with the off days Saturday-sun. Im no hitting coach but I have a feeling we’re gonna see better days for him soon. I think he’s focusing on flattening out that swing a bit, he was overly focused on launch angle early on. I felt that in some ways these bad habits caused a lot of Ks, ground outs, and lazy fly balls. He seems more committed to hitting line drives now which I think is the 1st step towards regaining his form. I know he only went 1-3 with 2 HBPs but I felt the swing looked a lot better. Time will tell if I’m right and we see some better ABs moving forward

  • Seeing a subtle change, Bryant in LF second day in a row, Bote at 3B. I told my father n law that when Russell returns in early May that if Schwarber doesn't figure it out that he will be sent and Descalso/Zagunis will be regular LF'ers and Zobrist/Heyward sharing RF with Almora and Heyward sharing CF.

    That Schwarber and Happ might be traded before Memorial Day for a backup catcher and reliever.

  • In reply to rnemanich:

    Descalso in the outfield.? What a bad visual.

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