The Cubs did not fare well on their tough road trip to Colorado and Los Angeles. The 2-5 record is a bit misleading as Chicago dropped a pair of one-run games. Perhaps more importantly, the Brewers went 2-4 over the same stretch and are only a half-game up over the North Siders.
Now the Cubs head home for the quasi-rivalry with the crosstown White Sox. The young Sox are hanging around .500 at 34-36, far behind the first-place Twins. José Abreu is still the big hitter in the heart of the order with 17 home runs. Tim Anderson is having a break out season at shortstop with a team leading 76 hits.
Pitching has been a real problem for the Pale Hosers in 2019. Lucas Giolito has been Cy Young quality this season with a 2.22 ERA and 95 strikeouts. The rest of the staff, not so much, the team ERA sits at 4.99. The winning formula for the South Siders has been to outscore their opponents.
I'm never really sure what to call this annual set of games. As someone who does not live in Chicago, it never really feels like a true rivalry. Being in different leagues is probably a big reason why that is. The White Sox fans and players seem more invested in it of late, perhaps because of their current rebuild. Either way, the Cubs need these games as they fight for the playoffs; so go get that Crosstown Cup boys!!!
Tuesday: 7:05 PM CT on NBC Sports Chicago/670AM
Wednesday: 7:05 PM CT on ABC-7/670AM
Lineups and Bullpen Usage via Baseball Press.
Scouting Reports from Brooks Baseball.
Ivan Nova: Ivan Nova has thrown 18,608 pitches that have been tracked by the PITCHf/x system between 2010 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 Curve (81mph), Change (87mph), Fourseam Fastball (93mph) and Slider (87mph).
His sinker has an obvious tail, results in many more groundballs compared to other pitchers' sinkers and has some natural sinking action. His curve has primarily 12-6 movement, is slightly harder than usual and results in somewhat more flyballs compared to other pitchers' curves. His change has an obvious armside fade, generates fewer whiffs/swing compared to other pitchers' changeups and is much firmer than usual. His fourseam fastball has heavy sinking action, has essentially average velo, results in somewhat more flyballs compared to other pitchers' fourseamers and has slight armside run. His slider has much less depth than expected, has primarily 12-6 movement and is much harder than usual.
Sean's Note: The Cubs saw Nova a lot in Pittsburgh and tended to struggle against him. Ivan has been horrible in 2019 with a 6.28 ERA in 77.1 innings. He has just 51 strikeouts, an incredibly low 14.9% K rate. His line drive rate is a career-high 26% and he has given up 14 homers. Lefties have mashed .349 against him this year.
Lucas Giolito: Lucas Giolito has thrown 5,409 pitches that have been tracked by the PITCHf/x system between 2014 and 2019, including pitches thrown in the MLB Regular Season and Spring Training. In 2019, he has relied primarily on his Fourseam Fastball (95mph) and Change (83mph), also mixing in a Slider (85mph) and Curve (80mph).
His fourseam fastball generates more whiffs/swing compared to other pitchers' fourseamers, results in somewhat more groundballs compared to other pitchers' fourseamers, has slightly above average velo and has some added backspin. His change generates more whiffs/swing compared to other pitchers' changeups and has a lot of backspin. His slider generates a high number of swings & misses compared to other pitchers' sliders, is an extreme flyball pitch compared to other pitchers' sliders and has less than expected depth. His curve has an exceptional bite, is basically never swung at and missed compared to other pitchers' curves, has primarily 12-6 movement and results in somewhat more groundballs compared to other pitchers' curves.
Sean's Note: Giolito struggled to an ERA over six his rookie year. This year could not be more different for the former top Nationals prospect. 95 strikeouts in 81 innings translate to 30% K rate in 2019. He has allowed just five homers all season long. In his last eight starts, he has surrendered a grand total of six runs.
Filed under: Series Preview