Not Dead Yet--Cubs 2 Dodgers 1

There finally was a pitcher's duel in this series. Yu Darvish and Walker Buehler went pitch for nearly pitch for seven straight innings. Darvish was on the losing end due to Alex Verdugo's solo blast, but the two starters combined for 16 strikeouts over those seven frames. Both clubs could manage just two hits against the two starters with electric stuff. And it looked like another long, unproductive night in LA for the Cubs. And then Bryzzo happened.

WPA CHART

Source: FanGraphs

Walker Buehler dominated the Cubs lineup all night. He retired the first ten batters he faced and was in the midst of striking out three in a row prior to Kris Bryant's second trip in fourth inning. Bryant was the first Cub to reach but a home town scoring ruled it an error with the no hitter still in play. The no hitter would finally be broken up by back to back singles by Addison Russell and Kyle Schwarber in the sixth inning. Buehler retired Bryzzo to keep his shutout temporarily in tact. The Cubs only other base runner against the young Dodgers starter came in the seventh via another Dodger error.

Yu Darvish did not have the drama of a no hit bid. Max Muncy hit a clean single with one out in the second, but Darvish struck out the next two batters. Darvish pitched a clean third inning, but Verdugo led off the fourth with a solo blast. Cody Bellinger drew the only walk issued by the starters, and he would advance to third on a stolen base and a fielder's choice. But Matt Beaty grounded out to the shortstop to end the frame. Darvish pitched three straight 1-2-3 innings to finish his quality start.

Pedro Báez was the first reliever to enter the game, and for the first time in the series it was a Dodger reliever the first to enter. Báez issued a walk to David Bote before he was erased on Addison Russell's double play. Brandon Kintzler did not have quite the same luck. Kike Hernández singled to start the inning, but was picked off by Kintzler. The pickoff occurred after Austin Barnes flew out, but David Freese singled to keep the inning alive. Kyle Ryan was summoned to face Chris Taylor. Another groundball single to threaten to extend the Dodgers lead, but Verdugo bounced the ball back to Ryan to end the inning.

It was Kenley Jansen time, and that usually means ballgame over. However, Kris Bryant earned first base the hard way once again to start the inning, and then Anthony Rizzo flipped the game by launching a no doubt game winning blast. Jansen reverted to form by retiring the next three Cubs hitters but the damage had been done.

Pedro Strop was given the ninth as we are still in the PKE. Justin Turner bounced the ball to Rizzo and it required an athletic play by Strop to make the grab and holding onto the bag for the first out. Cody Bellinger struck out swinging before Max Muncy kept hope alive with a base on balls. Matt Beaty looked like an overmatched rookie finally and also struck out swinging to end the game.

Random Reference
All that needs to be said at this point.

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    Yu Darvish, you take the seat at the head of the table, and your good friend Anthony Rizzo will be joining you. Have a pleasant meal.

  • Darvish’s best game as a Cub!!!

    Rizzo is this century’s Mr. Cub!

    Rizzo’s HR. Biggest and best moment of the season!!!!

    Biggest and best win of the year so far!!!!!

    Gosh. Dang. That was great!

    Yes!!!!!

  • Outstanding win. And for those that were eyeing alzolay to make his debut. Sounds like you all were right the suntimes is reporting that the cubs are “eyeing” alzolay to start in Hendricks turn. Can’t wait he’s really throwing the ball well in AAA. Nice to have a pitching prospect debut that we can have some excitement about

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    In reply to kkhiavi:

    That's going to be a first too--this might be the first pitching prospect under Theo that will start a MLB game that wasn't by a trade. The start of many coming up.

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    In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Tseng?

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    In reply to Joel Mayer:

    I forgot about him. Good catch Joel.

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    In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I wasn't sure if he fit the criteria. I was pretty sure he was signed by Theo (though not "drafted"), and I thought he started but maybe he was a reliever.

    Overall he was pretty "forgettable." Though, for some reason I always liked reading about him in minor league recaps.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    Underwood as well

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    He put up some solid seasons in the minors and there was some fanfare when he was signed. Unfortunately it appears like it was a case of a guy more advanced than his competition as you see many times with no name former college seniors tear up low minors than get exposed against higher level competition. Michael, when he has a chance, probably can speak more authoritatively than I on the subject though.

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    In reply to Mike Banghart:

    That sounds like what he usually says...and is right more often than me.

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    It makes sense, then if he does well it allows you to to 6th man or IL Lester when Hendricks comes back. This has been the Dodgers secret sauce for two years. Make sure you have 7-9 arms who can start an rest your guys. I know we talk about Alzolay here but it would seem a lot of Cub-dom have no idea who he is. He’s a fairly safe bet to be a #3 on a good staff and not a terrible bet to be better than that. I get that the high K/9 is a recent development but if it’s real? 12+ K/9 is sexy.

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    btw, right now Iowa is tied 5-5, but Maples pitched one inning and struck out 3. I sure would like to see him up here.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I noticed no one was moved up to Iowa, even though we called up Collins and then Wick; is there a chance anyone is going to be moved up?

  • In reply to Treebeard:

    Not sure about the Collins move but I saw Mark Zagunis was activated from the Iowa IL in response to the Wick move.

  • Is the league going to review Bryant's hit that was ruled an error, and make a change? He would've beat the throw even if it was on target, from what I saw............

  • In reply to Treebeard:

    I'm shocked that it wasn't changed that night after the back to back singles broke up the no-no bid.

  • They called up Wick? Yu Darvish got extra meat on his Sub Sandwich. Now if Q can break out of that Funk. Lester, Hendricks, Q, Darvish, seem to be mired in one. At least Hamels has been better than I thought he would.

  • Rizzo is just getting the job done!

    If Darvish continues his recent trend, watch out.

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    That was an ace level performance. Watching him his last several starts you knew it was coming but when? If he’s a TOR this staff rivals LA. In some ways it already does but that seals the deal.

  • In reply to TC154:

    Last seven starts all got into the 6th inning, two 5.1 others three, 6 IP now two 7 IP totaling 42.2 IP, 47 K's 12 BB, 19 ER;s, 4.02 ERA. He is not the ACE yet but if he continues on this trek eating innings, dominating the plate he could emerge in the 2nd half as the ACE we all thought was signed.

  • Oh, and last night is why I’m a poor indicator of what casual fans want to see. That’s my favorite kind of ballgame to watch bar none. I didn’t miss a pitch and was riveted the whole time. High scoring games I might get up, get a snack and multitask but pitching like that is what ultimately makes this game fun for me. When I describe the object of the game I say to make the other team score less than you. I’m in the minority but that makes me sad. I wish others could see the game like that.

  • In reply to TC154:

    I’m with you TC. Pitching and defense are what I love most in the game. This was a great game to watch.
    But if it’s game 7 in the World Series, I’d prefer a no hitter by Lester and Cubs offense puts up 10 runs early to keep my stress level down

  • In reply to TC154:

    Yes, sir. High drama.

  • Another loss would have been untimely. It's only the second win of the six games on this trip west, but really an important one. Darvish shut down an extremely hot talented offense, and Riz had that 'I got this' looki in his eye in the ninth. Also, the first out in the bottom of that inning was not easy, Rizzo Strop just made it look that way.

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    In reply to 44slug:

    In the end, though, the Cubs have only 1 game left on this road trip. And then I think they are done with the Dodgers. And at this point are tied with MIL at the top of the NLC. Worst case scenario they are 1 game back after a hellish road trip against quality opponents.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    National spotlight tonight again Cubs can split the series, walk away from Dodger stadium bloodying their nose in a counter punch of their 25-7 home record going into the series and further take the in-season series 4-3.

    Like to see Quintana get his FB/Change working as Darvish did.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Also, Strop really craved up Bellinger in the ninth. Back door slider for strike one, strike two fast ball on the hands, a couple show me pitches, and the bottom drops breaking ball to ring him up. Masterful!!

  • In reply to 44slug:

    It was a beautiful thing. Now imagine hitters seeing that in the 8th and Kimbrel, who even with control issues remained unhittable, in the ninth. It will be glorious

  • My take: I have family members I call Eeyore Cub fans, they are so scarred emotionally that their angst before a game is all over the place. When I called and texted two of them about Hendricks IL designation they both exclaimed that Darvish is pitching today also! Then watching again Darvish improve steadily with each successive start this time beginning to command his FB up and down in and out going thru the 7th inning with one run given I was touched. And unlike last night when two efforts by Rizzo and Baez fell short just in front of the LF fence, this time Rizzo jacked it for the win. Tonight the Cubs can salvage the road trip with a win and split of the series, one they gave away with Monday's loss that they had 4 run lead.

  • I decided to give up last night after six. Buehler? Buehler? Buehler? Oy, he was so good. Javier Baez has reverted to his selfish self, swinging stupid at every pitch, without remorse. I really think he should be benched for awhile until he starts being halfway intelligent at the plate. If I am the Dodgers I walk Rizzo every time with two outs and throw Javy hard stuff a foot off the plate and head high. And bring up Garcia and Maples after Alzolay gets a start. I don’t want to see Cargo, Adduci or Zagunis again. And DeJong or Story is my All Star shortstop, not Javy.

  • In reply to Swarf:

    Why the Javy hate? This is who he is. He's going to go through periods like this because he wants to do too much and then he's going to figure out it's not working and show his version of patience again. I actually love the individual makeups of our "big five" for the fact that they each are so different. Schwarber is the big link who has believed his whole life that there is nothing he can't do and the worst thing he can think of is letting his teammates (or his grandma) down. then you have Bryant who knows he is innately gifted and all he has to do is just keep on keeping on and the results will follow. Rizzo is like Bryant's big brother, he has the same belief in his obvious talent but he also knows that he's going to have to bail out his little brother(s) (teammates) from time to time. You can almost hear the heavy sigh when he goes to bat with that thought and we saw that last night in spades. Then you have Javy the most instinctual ballplayer I have ever personally witnessed in my life. He'll flail away tilting at windmills (or being the windmill) because he knows that eventually the vision will be clear to him and he'll produce. Then you have Contreras, the hothead of the group. His nature decries patience and yet it's only when he gives into that patience that he truly shines. He's not as talented and the middle three but he has the drive and he won't be stopped.

    Are these simplistic psychological sketches? Absolutely they are but think about them and watch and you'll see I'm not far off the mark. In the end these guys are all about helping their team win which is why, when I hear people call Javy selfish, that I bristle. This guy is not a selfish player. None of these guys are and they have a manager that understands each of them. When those five are clicking I don't think their is another 1-5 in the game that can beat them and that includes the uber talented Dodgers.

  • In reply to TC154:

    Javy's first 149 PAs of the season:
    .321/.356/.657/1.013, 12 2B, 1 3B, 11 HR, 27 RBI, 8 BB, 42 K
    .386 BABIP, 0.870 WPA.

    Javy's last 146 PAs of this season:
    .254/.295/442/.737, 6 2B, 1 3B, 6 HR, 19 RBI, 8 BB, 48 K
    .345 BABIP, -0.734 WPA.

    He played really under control for the most part for the first half. Got out of control at times and reigned it in quickly. But even in his hitting streak, I saw a confidence/arrogance in his ABs that started getting pull/power happy at times. I voiced my concern, which wasn't met with much acceptance. I warned he'd go downhill if he keeps that approach up. It's snowballed out of control. That approach does not support the team concept. It looks too much like he's up there swinging for his machismo. After Rizzo hit the game-winning HR last night, I new Javy would be taking some real hacks. He struck out trying to hit the ball further than Rizzo as if that would seal the victory. He didn't come close to hitting any of the 3 pitches.

    I know it's not a popular opinion, but I watch unbiased eyes. I am so tired of having to hear the national broadcasters laugh and chuckle at Javy's free swinging every time. You'll probably get to hear some of that tonight...

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    Also, the last 9 games of Javy's big hitting streak were included in the stats for his last 146 PAs. The post-Javy hitting streak numbers are far worse...

    103 PA, .212/.243/.434/.677, 2 2B, 1 3B, 6 HR, 16 RBI, 4 BB, 34 K
    .254 BABIP, -0,801 WPA.

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    In reply to TC154:

    The Cubs 1-5 as a boy band. You have the bad boy (Contreras), handsome one (Bryant), the leader of the pack (Rizzo), the exciting one (Javy), and the guy there by force of will (Schwarber). You can change the titles if you want but that's fun.

    Javy "is what he is." I'll say it again. He hits the ball hard enough for a really high BABIP and this fuels a decent BA (.280-.310), plenty of power, strikes out a ton, plays really good defense. Similar to how people say Hendricks has little margin for error because if Less than stellar fastball Javy has little margin for error because he strikes out a lot without enough BB. But like Hendricks he DOES succeed. Because he has the ability to do what he does so we'll that he can function despite small margin for error.

    I also disagree with charges of selfishness. He wants to win. Sometimes he tries too hard. I wasn't surprised that he overswung after Rizzo's HR. Not because he's selfish but he was riding an emotional high. He was excited. And if he'd made contact on some of those swings it would now be entering the orbit of Saturn.

    Cubber, thanks for the data. Javy is a streaky hitter. "He is what he is" and that's a really talented player. But we have to watch him struggle from time to time. That's why I don't canonize him when he's hot and try not to pile on when he struggles.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    The “not selfish, but emotional high” take, I can understand at times. But too many times in situations unlike last nights 9th inning, I still see that same poor approach. And as an athlete, he needs to not let his emotions get the best of him. In that regard he is beating himself then, just as we’ve seen Contreras do that a lot.

    That kind of game won’t play well in the postseason. He will be at risk of making lots of outs when trying too hard, especially against the best pitchers from the better teams in the league. There is a textbook out there for how to help Javy make outs. It’s low and away and anywhere up above the zone. And when I say low and away, even strikes on the bottom outside side portion of the strike zone is very successful in getting him out, yet the pitchers are allowed to miss off the plate and he’ll still swing.

    I still think back to last year while he had his hot start and MLB fans knew he was reaching a new level, in a post game interview after being asked about taking walks. He said something to the effect of “I’m not being paid to take walks” and something about “he’s supposed to take big swings and hit home runs.” It really kinda turned me off, because he’s basically rejecting the notion that being selective will allow him to take even more advantage of his bat speed and power. This year, his opposite field approach seems to be more refined than it even was last year, but in interviews he’s rejected the notion that he’s trying to shoot the ball over that way. It’s beginning to make me think he just went though a really lucky streak that spanned over one full baseball season and now maybe that streak is over. He’s still a good offensive player, and with his defense and base running skills, along with his great in game instincts, he’s still a great player, but at this point I don’t think he’ll ever be regarded as one of the elite players of our time. It’s just disappointing because he has all the tools, but offensively (standing in the batters box), there’s a big disconnect that won’t only hold him back, but holds the entire team back.

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    In reply to Cubber Lang:

    Selfish vs Overexcited: I agree with where he ends up (overswinging in tense situations) but ascribe it to a different trait. A different reason. You're right that Contreras does it too. Though both of them can carry the team when things are right.

    Any of the "Big 5" can carry the team. All of them go into prolonged slumps. When they are slumping they look like marginal MLB players. But when streaking they look like HOF.

    My guess with Javy is that the split will continue between those who look at his numbers and see a very good but not elite player and those who "watch" him and will insist he is one of the best player's they've ever seen.

    As for the "they pay me to hit HR" I have heard that from a lot of players from the Carribean area. There's even a saying, "You can't walk off the island." I don't interpret it as arrogance. I see it as a distinct approach. You and I both admire BB and value them. But HR are the most efficient way to score runs. HR can forgive a lot of sins.

    I stand by what I said, "Javy is what he is." And what he is is a very good baseball player. Someone I'm glad is on my team. Part of what makes an elite player is that he has weaknesses but they are not obvious. Or they are almost impossible to exploit. By definition, "elite" players are rare. In Javy you have a very good player but probably not elite in either of our opinion. He is human. He has flaws. What makes elite players so special is that they don't have particular flaws. All the Cubs stars have flaws. Bryant is OK, not particularly good, on defense. Rizzo is good at the plate and in the field but an elite defensive 1B is still a 1B, arguably the easiest position on the field to play. Contreras has a canon of an arm, but struggles with "framing" pitches. Schwarber lacks grace and athleticism in the field. And you covered Javy's weaknesses.

    I disagree that he holds the entire team back. His performance is more positive than negative. Yes, they'd be better if he didn't have his flaws. But that could be said for everyone.

    Different topic, for Father's Day I went to a ball game of a local wood bat league. No elite prospects but guys who just want to keep their skills up over the summer. My home team is probably the best in the league (though not a particularly strong league) and we were playing probably the worst team. But our 2B had a "Javy effect" on the game. Early on there was a runner at 1B and a textbook line-drive hit was lofted to RF. The 2B, all 5'6" of him, turned and ran with all his might and leaped with his glove extended. The baserunner stopped completely and turned and took 2-3 steps back to 1B so as not to get doubled off. The ball cleared the 2B glove by 3-4 feet. The RF came charging in and scooped up the ball and threw it to 2B for the force. I could imagine Javy doing that and getting away with it. And, yes, it was captured in the box score. The team got an out that they shouldn't have.

    Then, late in the game there was a runner at 1B. The batter hit a screaming LD right at the 2B. As soon as he saw its trajectory he started walking toward the dugout "knowing" it would be caught. The poor baserunner didn't know what to do. So he just stood there. The 2B folded his glove and let the ball bounce off his fingers, scooped it up and flipped it to the SS who lazily threw to 1B (the batter was still not half way down the line and trotting--no "Respect 90"!). The umpire completely blew the call. He called the batter out and awarded the baserunner 2B. At that point the HP umpire had seen enough and over-ruled him saying, "You can't give the runner 2B." The conclusion they came to was that the batter was out and the baserunner "should have" stayed at 1B so they send him there and awarded only 1 out. I argue that "infield fly" shouldn't apply because there was no runner on 2B (I don't know WHY the rule requires a runner at 2B but it is a dumb rule so any dumb parts of it aren't relevant). Also the ball was definitely a line-drive so "infield fly" doesn't apply. The 2B should have gotten a DP out of the deal. But he didn't. But I appreciate head-up play by a middle infielder.

  • Baez needs to be benched. Russell and Bote can handle short and second. He needs to study video and see the lunacy of swinging for the moon. He has the most raw talent but he will squander if he continues to just swing at anything going for homers. Maddon tried the leadoff man jumpstart tonight so he is showing concern.
    Once Kimbrel joins the team they can drop one relief drone and either bring in Robel Garcia or find a sprinter who can not embarrass himself. Where is Billy Hamilton now? Houston has Straw as a designated runner, Gore is on KC. There must be Jesse Owens type somewhere who can replace a flatfooted Almora in a game situation. If not now, in September.

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