Red Alert!--Mets 10 Cubs 2

Okay the title is a little dramatic. The season is hardly over and this blip might merely be annoying by the end of the 2019 campaign. However, the Cubs have blown a chance to get back on track against two sub .500 teams and today in spectacular fashion in this team loss. And I am publishing this late and so forgive me for being slightly click-baity to make up for the fact that a lot fewer people tend to read after both a weekend game and a blowout loss.

WPA CHART
me src="http://www.fangraphs.com/graphframe.aspx?config=0&static=0&type=livewins&num=0&h=450&w=450&date=2019-06-22&team=Cubs&dh=0" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" height="450" width = "450" style="border:1px solid black;">
Source: FanGraphs

The graph really does show how this one went. Pete Alonso homered with one out to give the Mets a quick 1-0 lead again. Jose Quintana walked Todd Frazier with two outs but managed to work around the free base runner to keep the Cubs in it. Kyle Schwarber and Kris Bryant each jumped on the first pitch they saw from Zack Wheeler in the bottom half to put two runners on. Javier Báez grounded into the double play and after that the Cubs never seriously threatened to win this game. Willson Contreras struck out for the first of five punchouts from the power righty.

The rules of baseball were temporarily changed as Wilson Ramos was the beneficiary of the new 4 strike rule in earning a base on balls to start the second inning. Amed Rosario doubled to move Ramos to third inning. Juan Lagares and Zack Wheeler struck out as the rules reverted to the more traditional 3 strike rule. Jeff McNeil hit a grounder that cleared the bases. McNeil was tossed out trying to advance second, but the damage had been done by this point.

The Cubs offense kicked back into gear against the struggling right hander. Jason Heyward had the Cubs third hit of the game to start the frame, and an error by Jeff McNeil allowed Albert Almora Jr. to reach. But Wheeler retired the next 15 batters. That took the Cubs offense into the seventh inning with a goose egg still on the board.

The Mets offense had none of these issues. J.D. Davis singled with one out and Todd Frazier hit one into the stands to extend the Mets lead to 5-0. Amed Rosario led off the fourth inning with a base hit. Q managed to retire the next two batters, but McNeil delivered in the clutch once again with a run scoring double. The team loss was amplified by Victor Caratini's error to start the fifth inning allowing J.D. Davis to reach second. Michael Conforto singled to score Davis. Wilson Ramos homered to put the Mets ahead 9-0 and ended Q's afternoon.

Rowan Wick was inserted into the game and retired four straight batters. Wick allowed yet another two out run to score in the sixth inning. The Mets scored in each of the first six innings. The Cubs relievers combined to post three zeroes on the board to finish the game. Brad Brach and Kyle Ryan each worked around a single base runner and the Cubs finally got a clean inning from Victor Caratini. The highlight for the Cubs was that clean inning and a nice defensive play from the Victory Carrot to help end the inning.

The Cubs did finally break through the seventh inning. Willson Contreras singled to the start the inning against Wheeler. Jason Heyward kept things going with a single and Carlos Gonzalez walked to load the bases with no outs. Victor Caratini "drove" in a run by grounding into a double play. David Bote hit a ball hard to end the inning. Jason Heyward doubled to start the ninth inning. A passed ball and a wild pitch allowed J-Hey to score the Cubs second run. And that was it.

Random Reference
Jeff McNeil has had a hell of a series that is the latest highlights in a breakout season. He certainly would look good at the top of the Cubs lineup with his extreme bat to ball skills to set the table. So Mets:

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  • Theo promised he'd shake things up last year after seeing this crap, well Theo the hall is rented, the band is fired up, now it's time to dance.

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    In reply to Squareburgers:

    I think everyone expected the Cubs to be a dynasty, myself included. But with all the analytics and technology nowadays, building a dynasty is near impossible. Just look at all the good teams out there the past few years. It's not just the Yankees and Sox spending insane money to win anymore. There are way more small market teams that can be legit contenders any given season. Before the technology windows were bigger. Now they have gotten smaller due to analytics, tech, spin rate, cameras, launch angles, exit velo, stat cast, etc. The list goes on and on and every team has the ability to use it. I believe this is why there is so much new young talent popping up everywhere in baseball. Think about it. 10 years ago there was never this abundance of great-elite players. I can name over 100 superstars easily right now. In the 2000"s I could name maybe 25-30. Jmo.

  • In reply to Wrigley0923:

    I was hopeful they would be good for a long time, but not super confident. In 2016, I was definitely an advocate for trading whatever it took to maximize the chance to win that season, as opposed to holding back.

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    In reply to Cubs09:

    They are still a very good team imo. It's just that when Theo & Co. built this team, he was way ahead of the pack when it came to analytics & technology. Luck plays a big part in baseball also, but until someone devises a new way to build a super team you're going to see many different small window teams. Am I just talking crazy, or does that make sense?

  • In reply to Wrigley0923:

    They’re decent. But the rotation is old. Q and Darvish aren’t that good. The bottom of the lineup is brutal and the bullpen has issues. To me, the over/under is still 88 games.

  • In reply to Cubs09:

    Darvish is very good. Have you been watching? Remember he was sidelined for an entire year with elbow injury. He is getting stronger as season progresses which is a good sign after a long layoff. Dude throws 97 and looks like he is getting a little attitude too. Bullpen gets Kimbrel within a week and keep your fingers crossed I read morrow is throwing again. Look for Theo and company to make another splash before deadline and lookout!

  • In reply to Oldno7:

    Darvish is mediocre at best. Who cares how fast he throws? Means nothing. Dude can't pitch will a lead, either. Getting Kimbrel, even if he is the Kimbrel of old, isn't going to make that big a difference if there aren't many save chances. If we had him on the club the last month, it wouldn't have made a difference. It's not like they've been blowing late leads. Lester is regressing, Q isn't good, Hendricks is hurt, and once again the offense is bipolar. Boy, getting rid of Chili sure made a difference, huh? Lucky for the Cubs the rest of the division is as mediocre as they are. Atlanta or L.A. would dispose of this team easily in a playoff series. Maddon will be gone after this season, and other big changes will come too. Then Theo will be on the clock. I guarantee Ricketts isn't happy.

  • In reply to Oldno7:

    Darvish is very good at giving up leads. Friday he managed to do that twice. That makes 6 or 7 times this season so far. Kimbrel or anybody else can't change what Darvish does himself. It doesn't matter if he throws 97mph if he can't hold a lead.

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    In reply to Cubs09:

    I completely agree about trading whoever in 2016. With the championship that season, I have no qualms about the Torres Chapman trade. The Soler Davis trade was a good trade. Q for Eloy/Cease was even a reasonable trade at the time. The OF was locked up(although Heyward signing didn't pan out).

  • In reply to Wrigley0923:

    I didn't expect a dynasty, I expected them to be a good team every year and they have been. That's the only reasonable expectation you can have in baseball. The rest comes down to decisions working out, injuries, luck and those peskily unpredictable human beings we call players. I'm just grateful that someone came along and made this franchise into something less than a joke. After Dallas Green was launched I wasn't sure that would ever happen.

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    I know it's not even half way through the year but the way the roster is currently constructed I don't see the cubs winning the division this year. You have Darvish and Q who you are lucky to get four innings out of each game and a lineup that against good pitching is gonna put up a run or maybe two 3-5 times a week. Gonna have to bite the bullet and make some trades to get rid of some of the dead weight! and I know some of you are gonna tell me that Darvish is pitching great and Q is a solid starter blah blah blah. We had a great 3 weeks in May and other than that we've been a .500 team.

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    I am honestly tired of hearing about Darvish and his plethora of different pitches and his two minutes between pitches. I realize it is just one big league appearance but I LOVED how big Bert Azolay simply got the ball, looked in for the signal and threw the damn ball. All the fielders appeared ready and itt was fun to witness.

  • In reply to John Nesbit:

    Couldn't agree more. I would also add about Darvish. John Smoltz made a telling observation about him in a game 6-8 weeks ago. He said if you watched any high level pitcher throw warm ups, they always throw like there's a better in the box. Darvish just lackadaisically tosses his warm ups like they don't matter. Great arm with head problems.

  • In reply to John Nesbit:

    Sorry some of you are using darvish as a scapegoat for the teams recent struggles. I know the media group talk is to overblow any darvish related news, so I think a lot of the lack of acknowledgement at his recent improvement is media group talk. I thought he was clearly pitching poorly early on when he led the league in walks through April, and he’s taken a big step forward with his command the past 8 starts, and his peripherals are strong over those past 8 starts (under 3.50). Recently he’s throwing strikes, pitching efficient, getting his Ks, not walking guys, and eating up innings. Jon Lester once said if you’re doing all of those things then you can’t worry too much about the results, because in baseball they preach process before results. If he keeps throwing strikes then he’ll continue to get improved results the guys form has clearly progressed recently. The primary issue the last month is Quintana and Lester are struggling mightily (they can improve), the pen is below avg thus far this year (not gonna be the same pen soon), and the offense has gone cold pretty much since javy got injured. I feel like they’ve underachieved thus far, but let’s see how the team does after they get through their longest overall stretch of baseball without many days off by early July. The schedule eases up later. They’ll have a lot of new faces as they move through the year most likely. I’m not jumping off the ship yet, and I think darvish will continue to contribute more now that he’s in midseason form. If he regresses with his strike throwing again is the only reason that I’d be extremely concerned about his future performance really. His current and recent performance is at least sustainable, but his bad April performance with the crazy high walks wasn’t

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    My comment was about nothing but Darvish. Not sure where the using him as a scapegoat thing is coming from. And John Smoltz is not Joe Buck or some other mouthpiece who never played the game. It was an insightful comment from a hall of famer with serious credibility. And with Darvish consistently giving up leads, I think now is the time to be concerned.

  • In reply to Ronson54:

    My comment wasn’t replied to you it was more in general. The guys progressing let’s see how he does now that he’s found command of his pitches. I agree about him giving up leads he needs to do better about having shutdown innings. But his career numbers indicate a pitcher that actually pitches better when ahead, like most pitchers I think that issue as a major long term concern is overblown. My issue with his performance was early on when his walk rate was astronomical. Recently like I stated he’s throwing strikes, pitching efficiently, getting his Ks , avoiding walks and eating up innings which was a concern the 1st month. As a pitcher you can’t always control results the Mets top of the order is clearly scorching hot this series. The only point others and I are making is he’s clearly progressed, he can’t change past results. Over the past month to me he’s easily outperformed Lester and Quintana, not that I don’t expect Lester and Q to a lesser extent to bounce back. The offense has had a brutal month. In my view darvish hasn’t been the problem recently. I do think it’s time for him to take another step forward in his performance now that he’s in midseason form

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    Agreed that he's doing much better than last year and the start of this season. A little more offense would certainly help him hold leads. Because he is pitching overall better than Q and Lester, it's that much more critical he shuts teams down when he gets a lead. Well, like we all know, it's a long season.

  • I don't think that it is helpful to single out individual players. It seems more like a team problem to me. Poor base running, inconsistent offense, inability to hold leads, and mental mistakes all have contributed. The rough patch doesn't bother me so much as the of games that were ours to win, that have just gotten away this year. Too many!!

  • In reply to 44slug:

    We do have some holes, but they might not be easy to fill at the trade deadline. We are in the mix and one good run away from winning the division. Just about every team can say that.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Collectively yes, you are right on Slug.....it isn’t or hasn’t been just one player. But I am hoping this kid just lights the Braves up and gives the team a much need enthusiasm boost, they need that and along with Kimbrel, if he performs, could make a huge difference.

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    Darvish holding batters to an .899 ops after the cubs take the lead! Sick of him and Q nibbling around the plate all the time. Agree on Adbert loved the way he got the ball and pumped strikes!

  • Happy Ryne Sandberg Day!

  • With the taxed and injured pen, I wouldn't be surprised to see a move soon. I bet Burnette gets the call.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Barnette, dang it. Spell check will learn.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Barnette is called up and added to the 40-man. No corresponding move that I've seen there, yet. Wick sent back down.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Only took 1 1/2 hours for your prediction to come true. Good sources or just an educated guess?

  • In reply to stix:

    Little bit of both. :)

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    In reply to BarleyPop:

    Wasn’t the Tim Collins DFA the corresponding move?

  • Something is missing with the offense. The pitching isn’t great, but it hasn’t been that bad except for blown saves, which the FO addressed. There is no reason this club shouldn’t be scoring 5-6 runs a game. Situational hitting is nonexistent. I don’t have the answer. Who to keep? Who to get rid off? I know Theo traded Nomar from Boston and got a championship. Garciaparra was an icon in Boston. It may take a bold move here. If not, this team maybe makes the playoffs and a quick exit.

  • http://www.chicagonow.com/cubs-den/2016/07/make-it-stop-mets-10-cubs-2/

  • In reply to Richard Beckman:

    That is a funny trip down memory lane and does fit nicely with the larger point that this both could be nothing or the beginning of the end. My money is on blip but we will only know looking backward. Thanks for the (my?) perspective.

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