Taking Care of Business--Cubs 4 Marlins 0

The Miami Marlins are not a good team. The Cubs are supposedly a very good team. This series has played out exactly the way it should. That feels rare for baseball. Some might want to temper the positives of this two game winning streak, but wins do not come with asterisks in the standings.

The biggest positive was another strong outing from José Quintana. The maligned southpaw has now pitched back to back outings of seven shutout innings. Quintana wasn't as impressive as the last time out, but more importantly he pitched deep into a ballgame. The Cubs plan was to be able to lean on a veteran and expensive pitching staff. The four and five starters for the Cubs dominated an anemic lineup on back to back nights. It does have to be factored that the Marlins lack many real threats, but both Q and Darvish have struggled against weak lineups in a Cubs uniform.

The Marlins had the tying or go ahead run on base in six innings, but apart from the eighth inning it never really felt like the Marlins had a chance. The Cubs have matched their longest winning streak of the season, two.

WPA CHART

Source: FanGraphs

José Quintana and Pablo López traded zeroes for the first couple of frames. Quintana struck out three and López struck out two in those innings, but Quintana was the first one to give up a hit. López gave up single tallies in the third and fourth innings while Q rolled through seven scoreless innings. The Marlins would not reach past first base until two outs in the seventh inning. Austin Dean doubled to snap an 0 fer streak, but was left standing there as Quintana struck out his seventh batter to end the inning.

The Cubs did not have the same issues. David Bote doubled into right field to start the third inning. Albert Almora Jr. and Quintana made two quick outs, but Daniel Descalso was able to pull a ball through the shift to put the Cubs ahead 1-0. Kris Bryant grounded out to end the inning as he is still looking to get on track.

Javier Báez hit a one out single in the fourth inning and reached third base on Jason Heyward's single. Willson Contreras was hit by yet another pitch as he continues his best Anthony Rizzo impression. Bote hit into a fielder's choice, but scored Báez to extend the Cubs lead to two. Almora was intentionally walked and Q struck out again to end the threat.

The Cubs ran into outs in the fifth and sixth inning which ended potential rallies. Pablo López final inning was the fifth and Descalso ripped a ground rule double to start the inning. Descalso attempted to reach third on a Kris Bryant flyout, but was thrown out at third for the second out. Tyler Kinley entered the game in the sixth inning and Báez attempted to stretch a single into a double. He was initially ruled safe on his patented swim move slide but was correctly ruled out on the replay. Kinley was sent back out in the seventh inning and again gave up a single to start the inning. This time David Bote was picked off of first base for the first out. Kinley walked a pair of batters after that, but was again able to keep the Cubs off the board.

Adam Conley took over in the eighth inning and retired Anthony Rizzo fairly easily. Javier Báez unloaded on a pitch to put the Cubs up 3-0. Heyward had another multi-hit game with a sharp hit ball that Starlin Castro was able to knock down. Willson Contreras hit into an inning ending double play.

Quintana went back out there in the eighth inning, but an inning opening single was enough for Joe Maddon. Brandon Kintzler managed to remind why he was a reliever teams actually wanted by quickly getting a double play ball. However, the next batter was Brian Anderson and he obliged with another groundball. Unfortunately it wasn't at anyone and the Marlins inning continued. A Starlin Castro walk meant that trouble was brewing, and Jorge Alfaro hit a deep drive in to the deepest part of the ballpark.

Sergio Romo was the fourth Miami pitcher and he looked like the pitcher the Cubs saw in the 2015 NLDS. He walked David Bote to start the inning and a wild pitch allowed him to reach second base. That would turn into a critical play as the Cubs hit back to back flyball outs to move Bote to third and home. The Cubs manufactured a screw the closer run.

Pedro Strop pitched a stress free ninth inning to give the Cubs their second series win of 2019.

Random Reference
Well the Cubs have done it.

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  • Hey, these are the games they need to fatten up. Quintana was really good again. Bote was good & so was Descalso & Baez. Almora was great on D.

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    Yeah I really should have mentioned the catch Almora made on that ball dipping right at him. Almora hasn't done much at the plate this year, but the glove has looked special.

  • In reply to Mike Banghart:

    It’s all good. You always give a good write up. We’re here just to add our unbiased opinions & insightful commentary. Although, Sometimes it’s incite full... :o)

  • Sure see what a difference good pitching does......keep the pedal down men....

  • In reply to Wickdipper:

    There is just something about being able to roll five guys that give you a chance every day. If Darvish and Quintana can build on these outings then a real run might start here.

  • In reply to Mike Banghart:

    and Yu's bestie Cole Hamels

  • In reply to SFToby:

    At this point I just expect Hamels to continue shoving. The x factor is are we finally going to see the pitchers the Cubs thought they were getting in Yu and Q.

  • In reply to Mike Banghart:

    Not until Bryzzo start to hit. Right now they are going thru some tough times. Note Bryant doesn't even hit the ball to LF anymore. It's like the pitcher who falls in love with his new curve ball and then find his fastball, once at 95 is now 91. KB needs to quit talking to Dad and go back to the old ways.

  • In reply to veteran:

    Bryant's old ways are talking to his dad and doing what he coaches

  • In reply to veteran:

    I think the double on monday was in the LF corner. But I know what you're saying, swing is late and he's missing mistake pitches he usually mashes. Hope he gets his timing back soon!

  • Javy with another day, going 3-4 with a HR, RBI, and 2 runs scored, elevating his season totals to .314/.342/.600 with 5 HR, 14 RBI, 13 R and a wRC+ of 142.

    I pity the fool who continues to doubt the offensive prowess and progression of Ednel Javier Baez.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Yes indeed!!!

  • In reply to bolla:

    This is El Mago entering his prime. It should last several more years. It will continue to punish the opposition, and will continue to rack up the W's. It will be glorious to behold.

    When do they announce the extension?

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I don't know BP... My posts about Javy are definitely in thinking in the long-term of his career. When he gets through his prime athletic years, which I see as probably at least through the 2022 or '23 season, if he never adjusts his hitting approach to the way he's pitched and his quick-twitch prowess begins to slow down just a notch, will he still be the prolific bad ball hitter he is today without his superior bat speed? Further, as he is great at crushing bad balls, how will he help us each postseason when he'll be facing the best pitchers from the best teams in MLB? The type of postseason pitchers he'll face won't be afraid to face Javy, as those types (power pitchers) know how to get him out already. In 2018 (his best season to date), Javy hit .209/.237/.333/.570 against power pitchers in 135 PA, with 3 HR, 11 RBI, 52K, 3 BB, for a 38.5% strikeout rate. So far his career postseason stats are .228/.258/.404/.662, 38K, 5BB, 5 HR, 14 RBI in 120 PA. That's a 31.7% strikeout rate in the postseason.

    This is why settling on Javy's current approach might not be the best for achieving the goal of sustained championships. Is it a big surprise that Javy's best postseason was in the 2016 NLDS and NLCS. We needed that kind of play to propel us to the World Series. He didn't give us anything close to that in 2017 and 2018 postseasons.

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    Interesting post, Cubber, sorry I'm just now responding. Busy day, but yes, I figured you'd catch that little phrase aimed in your direction. :)

    I poke at you and you poke back because it's fun. I know you have your critiques of Javy, which I think are too critical at times. I'll admit to being a bit too effusive with my praise of the greatest baseball player who ever lived. Again, I enjoy the insightful banter.

    That said, I pretty much disagree with all of your long-term assessments. Surprise! We'll continue to debate, I just don't have time right now. I do enjoy the dissent, and maybe I'll work on a feature piece to more fully explain my reasons why.

    I expect to continue to hear the jeers when Javy wails away at a slider in the dirt. I cuss myself. Keep 'em coming!

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    This is just my view cubber but he’s had one bad playoff (2017 before he was mvp javy), one outstanding postseason in 2016 but with a bad WS mixed in, and all I know is he drove in the cubs only playoff run against the Rockies when no one else was hitting.

    But back on topic if he performs like he did last year then isn’t that really a hall of fame type of year anyways? The guy was 2nd in mvp voting and his slugging % is so absurd that it basically mitigates his lack of lower OBP (still carried an outstanding ops last season). I get that we all want to see him reign in his aggressiveness but I think he’s been progressing with his approach drastically. He’s so much better now in 2 strike counts and you look at WAR, OPS, average, home runs, RBIs the kid does it all in addition to the outstanding defense and versatility. All I know is I think 2018 javy already had a hall of fame type of year. I agree though that I do wonder how he’ll age. I’m not as much worried about the bat speed that trait ages pretty well I’d be Moreso concerned with loss of athleticism which would in turn hurt his impactful baserunning and defense

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I hope he can maintain it! Just wish he’d be more consistent. I want him to be hall of fame caliber. Is it so bad for me to want that out of our most talented player?

  • fb_avatar

    Rolling, Rolling, Rolling with a winner!

  • Interesting description of Q and Darvish as 4 and 5 starters. I’ve felt from the beginning that if this team was going to succeed those guys would have to be somewhere in the top 3 starters with Lester pulling up the rear. Yeah, I mean I get it Jon Lester is no one’s 5 but he’s the guy with the least stuff (aside from Hendricks who has always pitched without raw stuff at all) and after an early scare Darvish and Q are showing they have the best raw stuff on the staff, which on paper they should. You have to have guys that miss bats consistently and maybe, just maybe these two guys will do it consistently in 2019. Right now the only starter who has shown me nothing positive is Hendricks, let’s hope that changes.

    As far as the bats go Rizzo doesn’t concern me. The swing is there but the eye is just off. He’ll get there. I have no such confidence in KB right now. I can normally see what’s wrong with a hitter either by watching or a deep numbers dive but I got nothin’ this time. It’s truly frustrating. Right now other guys are pick8ng him up and we’re seeing (gasp) pretty good situational hitting but that won’t last forever and they’ll need this guy. This is a team that frankly needs multiple pieces gelling at the same time to win. Three or four hot hitters, a couple of starters and the bullpen. Everyone is going to have to contribute at one point or another. We’re seeing some of that and I can smell .500 from here, but we need more.

  • In reply to TC154:

    I was using 4 and 5 starter as a description of what Darvish and Quintana are on this roster. Though if we are being honest each has pitched like a 2 at times in the past several years all the way down as a 5 in terms of production.

  • In reply to Mike Banghart:

    Sorry, it wasn’t a criticism and my apologies if it sounded that way. I just used your phrase to make a point. Of course you were correct as currently constructed. No disrespect intended, you just provided a segue to my long windedness. Lol.

  • In reply to TC154:

    No offense taken. I just wanted to clarify what was meant when writing the line.

  • In reply to TC154:

    We all have our quirks and preferences, and you've never shied away from your belief in pitching, especially in the rotation. The 2016 season was magical, with every unit of the team playing at a high level. As much as I love defense, and thoroughly enjoyed watching what was a historically great performance, I think the starting rotation that year was the single biggest factor in winning it all.

    We can crunch numbers till the end of time, and the average fan now has the tools to do so. But the old adage holds true: it all comes down to starting pitching. String together quality starts and the winning streaks will follow.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Run differential is a misleading stat but looking at all the teams and what theirs are it is kind of surprising when compared to the won-lost records.....the Cubs and Brewers are almost the same.

    Has anyone ever destroyed a team the way Yelich is the Cardinals?
    Bahahhahaa......warms my black heart.

  • In reply to TC154:

    Hendricks has often seemed to have trouble early in the season if I recall. It's like he doesn't have a good feel for the ball when the season starts and when the weather is colder. I'll be more worried if the struggles continue into May for him.

    But with Hamels, Q and Darvish all seeming to be figuring it out, and assuming Lester comes back from his minor injury - this is a pitching staff that can carry the team a long way potentially. Even more so once Hendricks gets his thing going.

  • https://www.cubsinsider.com/2019/04/17/willson-contreras-hitting-the-ball-higher-harder-this-season/

    For all those interested this is an excellent article by cubs dens own Sean Holland. The piece basically breaks down some of the differences that we're seeing with Willson Contreras swing this season.

  • The importance of beating the teams you are supposed to beat :

    The Blackhawks lost 2 games each to the bottom 4 teams in the Western conference this year (Kings, Canucks, Ducks, and Oilers). That's 16 points we missed out on. We finished 6 points out of the playoffs. If we had taken care of business, we would not be sitting home right now.

    Go Cubs!

  • In reply to DropThePuck:

    Yikes!

    I meant 16 points (8 games)

    My kingdom for an "edit" button. :)

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to DropThePuck:

    Actually your point makes even more sense w the 8 point analogy. As if they just played better ( not perfect 8-0) and gathered just 7-9 points from those 8 games, how different the season would have been.

    Lets hope our cubbies can take 1 more tonight and start a nice run of solid to good baseball.

    Side note......our ole pal Jake is pitching a gem in Philly thru 6. Not striking out as many as he did as a Cub, but less then 80 pitches heading into the 7 and a 3-0 lead is solid. Next step for a power pitcher is always learning how to "pitch" ie get outs on balls in play.

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Kruk just said the longest 3 outtings of the year for them so far have all been by Arrieta

  • In reply to DropThePuck:

    I got you.

  • In reply to Mike Banghart:

    I see what you did there, Mike! Thanks for the assist.

  • What's wrong with bryant? the reporters kept saying he's 100% healthy , they got rid of the hitting coach yet he's been terrible.I don't understand all the stats told us he's great because of woba and wrc+ but he's an underwhelming hitter who pulls everything and never goes oppo.

    I think I know the answer

    *Over-rated clap clap clap clap clap*

    ALL of theo epsteins 1st round picks who have made the majors are

  • In reply to bolla:

    Don't even look up schwarbers #'s yikes!! Besides stealing millions from the cubs Jason mcleod does what again?

  • In reply to bolla:

    Among the many moves McLeod is generally credited with within the organization, he was seen as being a key person in favor of landing Jake Arrieta.

  • In reply to bolla:

    Stop trolling, bolla. Don't you ever learn?

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Trolling how? Take a hike already and stop acting like the blog police

  • In reply to bolla:

    I'll take your advice. If nobody else sees a problem, then it must be me.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    I Don’t mean to pick sides at all also cliff I just can’t find many cubs sites these days where fans aren’t being critical of Bryant and to a greater extent Schwarber

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    BYE

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    We ALL see the problem Cliff......but most of us know and come here to root on and enjoy our team, disect the flaws, hope for the best, cheer, boo.....whatever. Blow him off....most everyone here does anyhow.

  • In reply to Wickdipper:

    If you really "blew me off" you wouldn't make this passive aggressive post.It's ok to be overly critical of the cubs most productive player in baez on this site but god forbid I say anything negative about golden boys bryant and schwarber then I'm a troll lulz.

    Exactly why your fake outrage won't matter and I'll keep posting

  • In reply to bolla:

    Cristian P territory......keep it up, keep it up......

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    No, it is not you, Cliff.

    Take a deep breath, count to 10. Enjoy fhe 70 degree sunny Alabama afternoons. Celebrate the Cubs sweep. Take an extra 1/2 second to check the poster before reading the comment. Life is too short to waste energy on ...

    I enjoy your posts, my friend. Keep them coming!

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    In his defense he sort of has some bragging rights and I think it’s fair to say that Kyle and KB have been the 2 most disappointing players on the roster thus far relative to their high expectations. Let’s keep in mind KB was supposed to be a perennial all star and Kyle was the best hitter in college and then dominated the minors on his way to becoming a top 10 overall prospect in baseball. Now I think it’s too early to declare victors on this subject but I do think it’s fair to say that those guys have underperformed as bolla warned last season. That being said KB is a good week away from his numbers being where they need to be it’s mid April after all

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Kyles hot start to his career and the playoffs also raised expectations for him. If I’m being Honest I was a Schwarber supporter throughout the years loved him and Eloy more than Almora and happ. But I thought he’d be a way better contact hitter then he’s turned into thus far

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    At the same time though if 1. Almora didn’t make that heads up tag up do they win the WS. 2. Highly doubt they win the WS if Bryant wasn’t mvp and he also had a solid steady 2016 postseason. 3. They don’t beat Cleveland without Schwarber at DH (3-1 with him at DH, 1-2 at wrigley). It’s not Theo and McLeod’s fault that these kids have collectively had a lot of early career success only to regress. Is that theos problem or is joe maddons staff just not doing a good job of developing these hitters, esp with all the hitting coach changes

  • In reply to bolla:

    Let’s give KB some more time you and I have long established that KB is no javy Báez but I’d expect he’s a much better hitter then this when he’s healthy. I’ll still take the 1st 2 years of KB any day even though he messes up more big rbi spots then any all star should.

    But before some go crazy let’s remember that bolla never said KB isn’t a good player he only called him a little overrated and javy Báez underrated in the past. I think it’s fair for him to say Schwarber and KB haven’t lived up to their expectations since 2016. I don’t know if it’s McLeod’s fault or if this wouldn’t be an issue had they just chose Eloy over Almora and happ. I do think he needs to get some credit for javy Báez and Contreras though bolla. You’ve never really given this front office credit for developing those guys but both guys were really tough guys to develop. I personally don’t think either would be nearly as good as they are now if Hendrys guys developed them that regime just couldn’t develop these high upside but raw prospects. Both guys were very raw and went through some extreme struggles trying to alter their plate approaches especially Contreras he really over hailed his swing and approach he wasn’t a very good hitter at 1st

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    *Over hauled

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    Yes I would like to be clear I'm not saying bryant sucks but he's definitely overrated , I know a lot of cub fans don't want to hear the truth about kb because he's the golden boy to them but it's becoming very apparent. Especially with the hype he had.

    Schwarber with his new joey votto batting stance still can't hit!.I'll give the cubs fo credit for somewhat developing baez he had to make some adjustments after 2014 , contreras ehhh I feel like was a late bloomer who has become much better than anyone projected.This same fo left contreras unprotected in the rule 5 draft

    I understand baseball is a very difficult game so I'll be patient but I just don't see much upside in almora he's a 4th outfielder defensive specialist imo. Look at albies and acuna those guys can play, you can see it immediately

  • In reply to bolla:

    Agreed with all points and I hope you’re wrong and these guys get back on track. Baseball is a weird game sometimes who knows maybe your boy Q surprises us and puts up a 4+ WAR season.

    Respectively disagree on Contreras I’m
    Sure Michael can attest to this also but they really overhauled his game a lot he was really raw and poor at the plate at 1st, with no plan or approach. He basically slumped for an entire season trying to implement some of the changes the cubs staff wanted out of him in terms of launch angle, having an opposite field approach, and most importantly with his plate discipline. It’s pretty amazing how far his patience and approach have come from his A ball days. In addition he was a 3B and he wasn’t a good catcher at 1st although his physical traits and athleticism were apparent. I personally think he was one of the biggest success stories of the entire rebuild just based on how far he came and the struggles he needed to endure to get there. I actually think
    The college hitters that they’ve drafted they probably haven’t had to coach that much. A guy like kris Bryant was pretty much already polished and ready to go when they drafted him. He’s had advanced coaching as a kid that came from more entitlement as opposed to javy or Willson.

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    Contreras is my 2nd favorite cub player so I'm glad of the results regardless & .Especially with his start in 2019 he just missed a hr in his 1st ab tonight.

    I'm a cubs fan so I want to see them all be successful, there's no agendas or anything.

  • In reply to bolla:

    Agreed always loved Willson. A lot of fans were down on him last season but he was one of the few that I was confident in to bounce back. I think chili Davis’s anti launch angle approach hurt Contreras the most my source close to the team said KB disliked working with Davis so much that he basically worked with the assistant hitting coaches and his dad anyways

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    I definitely agree with this.I think davis didn't help Contreras at all.He wasn't the same player he had his lowest on base %,slug and ops of his young career.I saw in spring training contreras looked much better and he's continued into the season.

  • In reply to bolla:

    And FYI just a fun fact bolla Rizzo and kris Bryant voiced their concerns about Davis to Theo in edit interviews. So far I think they’re better off without him

  • In reply to bolla:

    you say "see Albies and Acuna can play and you can see it immediately". Well, when you are college baseball player of the year, minor league baseball player of the year, Rookie of the year, then MVP in consecutive seasons, I would think you could have seen that KB "can play" immediately.

  • In reply to KJRyno:

    Plus, he fielded the final ground ball out of the 2015 WS. :)

    And, as any long time Cub fan can remember, Cub infielders have an unfortunate history of misplaying routine grounders during the postseasons! :(

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