Cubs vs Phillies: Series Preview (5/20-5/23)

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Somehow the Cubs survived another crazy series in Washington to win two of three from the Nationals. Chicago's two best starters, Kyle Hendricks and Jon Lester, struggled, but the offense was enough for the series win.

There was a scary moment when Javy Báez suffered a foot injury on a grounder to short on Sunday. Luckily, it was just a minor heel bruise and he will get a rest on Monday. After a 3-3 road trip, the Cubs come home for four-games with the Philadelphia Phillies.

The Phillies are in first-place in the NL East with a 27-19 record, 2.5 games ahead of the Braves. The offense has been inconsistent, with big free agent signing Bryce Harper off to a slow start. Rhys Hoskins and Jean Segura have been the best hitters for Philly in 2019.

The pitching has been good with an overall 3.89 team ERA. Zach Eflin has been terrific with a 2.89 ERA in 56 innings. Hector Neris is a very effective closer with seven saves and a sub 2.00 ERA. Of course, Cubs fans are a buzz as former ace Jake Arrieta makes his first start at Wrigley in a road uniform.

This won't be an easy series for the North Siders, the Phillies are a playoff caliber team. Arrieta's return will add to the charged atmosphere at the Friendly Confines. So it will be a postseason feel for the next four days.

Watch/Listen

Monday: 7:05 PM CT on MLB Network/NBC Sports Chicago/670AM

Tuesday: 6:05 PM CT on ESPN/WGN/670AM

Wednesday: 7:05 PM CT on MLB Network/NBC Sports Chicago/670AM

Thursday: 1:20 PM CT on ABC-7/670AM

Lineups

Phillies

2. Jean Segura (R) SS
3. Bryce Harper (L) RF
4. Rhys Hoskins (R) 1B
5. J.T. Realmuto (R) C
6. Cesar Hernandez (S) 2B
7. Odubel Herrera (L) CF
8. Maikel Franco (R) 3B
9. Jake Arrieta (R) P

Cubs

1. Kyle Schwarber (L) LF
2. Kris Bryant (R) 3B
3. Anthony Rizzo (L) 1B
5. Jason Heyward (L) RF
7. Daniel Descalso (L) 2B
8. Addison Russell (R) SS
9. Yu Darvish (R) P
Bullpen Usage
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Lineups and Bullpen Usage via Baseball Press.

Opposing pitchers

Scouting Reports from Brooks Baseball.

Jake Arrieta: Jake Arrieta has thrown 23,259 pitches that have been tracked by the PITCHf/x system between 2008 and 2019, including pitches thrown in the MLB Regular Season, the MLB Postseason and Spring Training. In 2019, he has relied primarily on his Sinker (93mph), also mixing in a Change (88mph), Slider (90mph) and Curve (82mph). He also rarely throws a Fourseam Fastball (93mph).

His sinker has slight armside run and has slightly above average velo. His change is thrown extremely hard, is a real worm killer that generates an extreme number of groundballs compared to other pitchers' changeups, has an obvious armside fade and dives down out of the zone. His slider is thrown extremely hard, is basically never swung at and missed compared to other pitchers' sliders, has much less depth than expected, results in more flyballs compared to other pitchers' sliders and has primarily 12-6 movement. His curve generates a very high amount of groundballs compared to other pitchers' curves, generates fewer whiffs/swing compared to other pitchers' curves, is much harder than usual and has slight glove-side movement. His fourseam fastball generates an extremely high number of swings & misses compared to other pitchers' fourseamers, is an extreme flyball pitch compared to other pitchers' fourseamers, has some natural sinking action, has essentially average velo and has slight armside run.

Sean's Note: Jake is not the same pitcher he was on the Cubs. His strike out rate has actually been below league average since he came to Philly. He still gets over half his outs on the ground 51%. His home run rate is up, he has allowed eight in 56 innings. Lefties generate more power against him than right handed hitters.

Zach Eflin: Zach Eflin has thrown 4,810 pitches that have been tracked by the PITCHf/x system between 2016 and 2019, all of them occuring in the MLB Regular Season. In 2019, he has relied primarily on his Fourseam Fastball (94mph) and Slider (88mph), also mixing in a Sinker (94mph) and Change (88mph). He also rarely throws a Curve (78mph).

His fourseam fastball generates more whiffs/swing compared to other pitchers' fourseamers, has some natural sinking action and has slightly above average velo. His slider is much harder than usual, has less than expected depth and results in somewhat more flyballs compared to other pitchers' sliders. His sinker has slight armside run, has slightly above average velo and has some natural sinking action. His change generates fewer whiffs/swing compared to other pitchers' changeups, is much firmer than usual, results in somewhat more flyballs compared to other pitchers' changeups and has slight armside fade. His curve generates more whiffs/swing compared to other pitchers' curves and results in more flyballs compared to other pitchers' curves.

Sean's Note: Eflin has had a good start to the season, he has excellent control, just nine walks in 56 innings. He is a fly ball pitcher and is susceptible to the homer. He is primarily a fastball and slider pitcher, rarely using change up and curve. Lefties hit 50 points higher batting average wise off him than righties do.

Cole Irvin: Cole Irvin has thrown 176 pitches that have been tracked by the PITCHf/x system in 2019, all of them occuring in the MLB Regular Season. In 2019, he has relied primarily on his Fourseam Fastball (89mph), Slider (85mph) and Change (83mph), also mixing in a Sinker (90mph). He also rarely throws a Curve (74mph).

His fourseam fastball generates fewer whiffs/swing compared to other pitchers' fourseamers, has some natural sinking action and has slightly below average velo. His slider is basically never swung at and missed compared to other pitchers' sliders, generates a very high amount of groundballs compared to other pitchers' sliders and has less than expected depth. His change is basically never swung at and missed compared to other pitchers' changeups and has some natural sink to it. His sinker generates an extremely high number of swings & misses compared to other pitchers' sinkers, results in more flyballs compared to other pitchers' sinkers and has less armside run than typical. His curve is basically never swung at and missed compared to other pitchers' curves, is an extreme flyball pitch compared to other pitchers' curves and has slightly below average velo.

Sean's Note: Irvin has made two career starts in the majors, a total of 13 innings. He doesn't throw hard or strike out many hitters, instead he gets lots of outs in the air. He did get more grounders in the minors, so it might be a small sample size. He throws a fastball, change, and slider primarily with similar usage of the off-speed offerings.

Aaron Nola: Aaron Nola has thrown 9,804 pitches that have been tracked by the PITCHf/x system between 2015 and 2019, including pitches thrown in the MLB Regular Season and Spring Training. In 2019, he has relied primarily on his Curve (80mph) and Fourseam Fastball (93mph), also mixing in a Change (86mph) and Sinker (93mph).

His curve has sweeping glove-side movement and has a sharp downward bite. His fourseam fastball has some natural sinking action, has essentially average velo and has slight armside run. His change is slightly firmer than usual, results in somewhat more groundballs compared to other pitchers' changeups, has slight armside fade and has some natural sink to it. His sinker is basically never swung at and missed compared to other pitchers' sinkers, results in somewhat more groundballs compared to other pitchers' sinkers and has slight armside run.

Sean's Note: After an outstanding 2018 season, Nola has struggled in 2019. His walks have ticked up and his K-rate has ticked down. Home runs are way up with nine so far in 52.1 innings. He still is the best strike out pitcher on the team and has nasty off-speed pitches.

Comments

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  • fb_avatar

    I know this goes for all pitchers, but the Cubs need to avoid 1st pitch strikes against Jake. If they can get him out of his comfort zone and get ahead in counts, winner winner chicken dinner. As long as Yu and the pen can keep them in check. Even without Willy and Javy starting, I like our chances.

  • In reply to Wrigley0923:

    I was just thinking w/o Javy, Willy & Zo how weak the lineup looks. Hope the others can hit to make up for them missing from the lineup.

  • Bad news Nico Hoerner has just been diagnosed with a hairline fracture in his wrist. Should be out at least a month if not a couple of months. Unfortunate I like his game but he’s looking more and more like an injury prone player by the day. He doesn’t have the strongest looking frame too I hope injuries don’t doom his career, but he just hasn’t been able to stay on the field

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    I have been worried about injuries with Nico for a while, I was also worried about Jorge, Eloy and AA.

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    He was hit by a pitch on the wrist. That’s not injury prone... Hamstring pulls, groin pulls, elbow strains, shoulder issues... That’s injury prone if they keep happening, adding up.

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    Didn’t this fracture occur after the hbp or am I mistaking? Either way the guys a small framed guy that is constantly out I have a level of concern at the very least. Too early to use the word injury prone though but it’s getting there

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    Anywhere other than the wrist/hand, foot, or rib, then I would agree. Those are already fragile spots even for bigger guys. Like an HBP in the leg or arm & it’s broken probably agree. Those are less fragile spots.

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    Last year he had an elbow ligament injury, this year it’s a wrist issue. Sounds like some of each.

  • In reply to stix:

    Hit By Pitch on the wrist. That’s not being “prone”. Is Kris Bryant injury prone?

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    That’s why I said some of each,ligament damage is more the other way from a broken bone.

  • If the Phillies called, would you trade Yu for Jake right now? Contract reasons or near term performance? I believe Jake could opt out after this season... getting paid 25M this season and 20M next season.

  • In reply to stv711:

    Yes because from my perspective I would want withers money off the books to be reallocated to someone else. If they can get out of arrietas deal then that’s the one I’d prefer but he isn’t opting out. Darvish clearly isn’t performing to his deal that can’t be debated. But cub fans completely overrate how good arrieta has been with Philly. If you watch the tape the guys stuff has clearly declined from where it was 2014-16. He’s more of a pitch to weak contact guy now then a guy that overpowers you. He had a 4.26 FIP last year and currently has a 4.67 FIP with a 4.02 ERA. I’ll always be thankful for arrieta the guys a gritty tough player. But I do think it’s fair to say his physical ability has declined Moreso then Yu. I’m 100% sure I’m in the minority here but it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see darvish outperform in over the next 3 years. That said I’d prefer if they didn’t invest a 9 figure deal on either pitcher but hope darvish proves me wrong and pitches to the back of his baseball card

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    He would have helped last year.....this year no. Big money contracts for pitchers come with such a risk that most are not worth it. Whoever Greinke’s agent was sure made out. I don’t fault players for wanting to get paid but it sure looks as if the owners are finally waking up....free agency is in trouble and I really think we see a work stoppage coming.

  • In reply to stv711:

    No.

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    Because there’s other avenues you could probably explore other than your scenario.

  • This is a decent game to sit Contreras. Lefties hit Arrieta better then righties. JHey and Schwarber are trending up, and KB, Rizzo, and Almora are all hot with the bat now.

    I think the Cubs will score some runs tonite.

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    That’s really too bad about Nico. He was doing so well I was hoping he might even come up to the bigs at the end of the year. I also am a bit concerned about his injuries. I know they’re different ones but for two years now he’s been out. I know a fracture is not necessarily injury prone but I look at Rizzo and he has been hit so many times without any broken bones and he wears no protection.

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    I’m surprised that the Cubs game is also in the MLB network with Joe Girardi and Bob Costa’s. Usually it’s blacked out when the local broadcast is on.

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    Are we listening to the next Cubs manager? I hope Joe is back, but there’s been talk about him coming to the Cubs.
    Ok. 2 on no outs, this would be big for the Cubs and big for Yu to get a lead.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Honestly I don’t think Girardi fits the mold that Theo wants. On top of that I’d lay odds that he ends up with the Nats or Mets, maybe this season

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Girardi would have to take serious pay cut from his yanks gig if he wants to have a chance to manage the cubs. He’s actually an old line mgr which aren’t in vogue now.

  • If Schwarber makes the same play Cutch did on the fly ball, many would be on his case for not catching the ball.

  • Terrible the cubs have done everything they can to destroy what should be a real breakout outing for yu. Hope he holds up but his teammates not helping out much

  • Missed Javy there.

  • Now missed Contreras there

  • Not a good defensive inning. Had a DP with javy in, a CS with willson in, and a bad pitch call from a rookie catcher that Realmuto was all over clearly guessed that pitch. Unfortunate for Yu I thought he pitched outstanding I personally chalk this one up to bad luck, but it’s unfortunate that the narrative is gonna be that darvish blew this one

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    Sorry, you walk the lead off speedster and you deserve to give up runs. Also, Russell couldn't have played that any better IMO. This loss, as it looks, goes squarely on the inability to score runs with men in scoring position and less than 2 outs. A constant thorn in this teams side for several years now.

  • In reply to INSaluki:

    Disagree with you both you guys will hate regardless of how the guy does. He completely executed the pitch to Realmuto the guy just outsmarted the inexperienced caratini pitch call sitting on that down and away slider. Other then walking the lead off guy he should’ve gotten out of that inning with no damage. If javy is in that’s a DP and if Contreras is in they don’t get that 1st steal that ultimately was the reason they scored. Overall I think yu will win plenty of games if he attacks the strike zone like he did tonight. No javy and willson is hard for any pitcher to overcome against a good team. Can’t blame the guy for his teammates playing a crappy losing effort

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    You can disagree all you want but there is no way that Javy gets that DP. Russell couldn't have done any better. He flashed across the base and then released it as quickly as possible. A lot of ifs in your statement, but the facts are that Yu walked 2 guys and they both scored. Funny how that happens in baseball. Yu got a QS which is almost a miracle for him so I'll give him that. My over/under was 7 for the season and I'm still betting he doesn't get there.

  • In reply to INSaluki:

    I feel a lot better about his chances if something is clicking with his command Like what I’ve seen these last 2 starts. If his command continues to be inconsistent then I think he’ll continue to see inconsistent to poor results. But if he mostly throws strikes like he has these past 2 games then I think we’ll see better days ahead. If his bullpen case through last game and his backup infested positional group backed him up, then the narrative on this site would be completely different about these past 2 starts. I do think things have clicked for him a bit recently but now he needs to show that his sudden improved command isn’t a fluke

  • In reply to INSaluki:

    Your right that Russell did everything he could, but your absolutely wrong that Javy doesn’t get the dp. If you haven’t noticed the difference in arm strength between Russell and Javy, then you’re in denial. It was a fraction of a second difference. He’s out by a half a step if Javy’s throwing. And the Cubs are still up 1-0

  • In reply to Cubpack:

    Javy throws one of the biggest heaters of any SS in the league while Russell has one of the weakest arms of any SS. Yes Russell’s technique was strong but like caratini that throws coming in way less hot then with the starters at said positions. Unless javy bobbles it 1000% that’s a DP I agree. And frankly the play only stood segura was just about out anyways but original call stood

  • In reply to INSaluki:

    If you induce a ground ball for a DP that erases the walk. Speedster didn’t score.

  • In reply to INSaluki:

    In addition that Realmuto grounder is typically a routine grounder to SS with no shift. The 2 run double was down the line off the end of the bat. I judge by process not just results and of darvish pitches aggressively like he did tonight then that’s a great sign moving forward. Odds were stacked against him without 2 players having mvp type seasons. Once again I ask how they expect to control the run game without pairing willson with darvish? That steal off caratini by segura where he threw a lollipop to 2nd loomed large

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    You forgot to mention a bad inning pitch by Darvish.

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    Naw, I thought Darvish pitched a real good game.....if anyone doesn’t see that they would be wrong.....

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    I was about to start praising Darvish and cheering him on going into the 7th, where he can record his first-ever out in a Cubs uniform. There was some bad luck there, the box score looks worse than his actual performance in the 6th.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I agree Darvish looked good going into the 6th inning. The best 5 innings I can recall him pitching in a Cubs uniform. But, he fell apart in the 6th. 2 walks 2 stolen bases because he does not hold runners very well.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    I think the one to Harper was somewhat being careful but in general I agree control the walks and we’ll see better results. As for the 2nd point they know darvish doesn’t have a good pickoff so shouldn’t him and Lester always be with willson? They only used caratini with Hendricks hamels and Q and it worked well. That steak by segura loomed large. Unfortunate night this could’ve and should’ve been a happy night for yu and the squad.

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    Good game for Darvish till the 6th. You just can't walk guys if you can't hold runners on. Having Contreras catching both Lester and Darvish might be a good idea but, i think it may be the time it takes Darvish takes to get rid of the ball to home is more the reason runners are stealing. Lester has a ver quick release Darvish it looks like not so much.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    Darvish is horrible at holding runners believe me I knew that when he signed them. But this is just my opinion I think Contreras single handedly controls a running game. Keep in mind Lester is fast to home but he can’t even throw the ball to 1st which is why guys get crazy secondary leads on him. Darvish can at least somewhat limit leads he’s just slow to the plate. I think both guys should exclusively pitch to willson for that reason. They both aren’t suited to work with weak armed catchers which is why I’ve constantly been questioning Maddons decision to avoid using willson for Darvish starts

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    Everyone sees things differently, as evidenced by the comments here. I don't disagree about holding runners, but one SB opened up 1B to kind of pitch around Harper. However we see it, the box score will look like Darvish got knocked out by a bad 6th inning, when in reality he wasn't getting knocked around. If he doesn't give up the lead there, he may even have hit for himself and went back out for the 7th. But we had to pinch-hit down two runs.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Phil’s had the least stolen bases in the NL at the start of the game. Now they’re tied with the Cubs with the least. Obviously an unusual inning in more than one way.

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    I agree that Addy did as well as he could on that almost DP but if Javy was throwing it he has a stronger arm and if it was 1/100 of a second faster it would have been an out.
    Now we should have scored more than 1 run but Yu pitched a strong game. Little things make a difference. Harper made a strong throw and got Riz but he had to be sent. The game isn’t over yet.

  • If Almora runs through the bag rather than sliding he’s safe.

  • In reply to Cubpack:

    That’s the common answer but in this case there’s a crash/collision, not sure if we needed that.

  • Dirty Dan!

  • Call that KARMA

  • fb_avatar

    The worm turns.

  • Shoutout to Jon Friedman on calling this one isn’t over. Thank god this site shouldn’t be in negative spirits tonight

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to kkhiavi:

    Thanks kk. We just need 2 more outs.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Where did Brach get this fastball?

  • This game isn't over, so that's beside the point. This is why I don't get worked up over single-game lineups, as in "why isn't such-and-such playing today? This lineup can't do anything!". Over the course of a season that may be true, but in any given game, all it may take is one big hit in an important situation. Any big-league player is capable of that.

  • What? He went. Game over.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    He did go....

  • This game isn't going to extras. We end it here.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Or not. Yay, free baseball? Doesn't feel that way.

    Go Cubs!

  • fb_avatar

    One more walk off HR would be welcome.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Didn't you ask earlier today if Javy would be able to pinch-hit if the game was on the line? I answered 100%. I certainly don't want to jinx anything...

  • Fiddlesticks!

  • Well......he put it right where it was called for......but, why?

  • In reply to Wickdipper:

    Supposed to be up higher but yeah I don’t like the call either fbs up not in Ryan’s comfort zone. From what I’ve seen that kid doesn’t have the stuff or command to last at the ML level. Nothing against the kid but I question how much value he has to this team he’s awful against righties.

  • fb_avatar

    I wanted Ryan to be demoted and Maples to be up here in his place.
    How about 2 more runs. It would do so much for this club.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    We’ve all been saying it Jon this kid joe just ineffective vs righties

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    *this kid is just ineffective against righties

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to kkhiavi:

    Len said on the broadcast that he’s been good against righties.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Winter:

    I’m not saying you’re wrong, just confused by what I heard.

  • In reply to John Winter:

    He's been much more effective vs. righties this season. Lower slash lines across the board. That was just poor pitch selection and execution.

  • In reply to John Winter:

    Unfortunately not many alternatives too thinking about it now until Barnette and strip return. Maybe Rosario he seems to be rebounding in AAA

  • In reply to John Winter:

    The numbers could be worse but he seems to get squared up against righties a lot and doesn’t get exposed to many. I think he’s a loogy I don’t hate the guy he’s getting his share of strikeouts. But I just don’t trust him. His command comes and goes he’s almost effectively wild in some ways.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to kkhiavi:

    No, I get it. He doesn’t inspire confidence in me either.

  • Win some, lose some. Sometimes you steal a victory, and sometimes they are stolen away. This game was over when Cutch swung at strike three.

    This sucks.

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