Cubs vs Padres Series Preview: (7/19-7/21)


The Cubs finally achieved the impossible, that's right they beat the Cincinnati Reds in a series. The Reds have been a pain in the neck for the last two seasons. A series of good pitching performances and some timely home runs allowed the North Siders to win two of three and move eight games over .500 at 52-44.

Anthony Rizzo, despite a head scratching lack of homers, has really started to come on in the second half. Kyle Schwarber has gone deep his last three starts. Also dual threat Jon Lester has gotten things done on the mound and with the lumber. The Cubs next welcome the Padres for a three-game set at what is expected to be an extremely hot Wrigley Field.

San Diego has improved from it's 90 loss 2018 as they kick their rebuild into high gear. The first step was adding Mr. Manny Machado via free agency. Machado and fellow veteran Eric Hosmer anchor a young and exciting lineup that has displayed prodigious power at times. Despite the home run barrage the team batting average of .243 is a bit low.

The pitching has been good at times and struggled at others, as reflected by the 4.60 ERA. It's a young starting staff, with all involved under age 30. Kirby Yates has been a standout in what has otherwise been a shaky bullpen. Keep an eye on Andres Muñoz, the young reliever has been touching triple digits in his small sample size in the bigs.

The Friars have hit a cold patch, including losing two of three to the Marlins. At 45-50 they are probably a year and a couple arms away from contending. That being said, don't sleep on them this series, their lineup is capable of putting up some numbers. The Reds have demonstrated what a team with a lot of talented hitters can do to the Cubs.


Friday: 1:20 PM CT on MLB Network/NBC Sports Chicago/670AM

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

Sunday: 1:20 PM CT on WGN/670AM



2. Manuel Margot (R) CF
3. Manny Machado (R) 3B
4. Hunter Renfroe (R) LF
5. Franmil Reyes (R) RF
6. Eric Hosmer (L) 1B
8. Ian Kinsler (R) 2B
9. Eric Lauer (R) P


2. Javier Baez (R) SS
3. Kris Bryant (R) LF
4. Anthony Rizzo (L) 1B
5. Addison Russell (R) 2B
6. Jason Heyward (L) RF
7. David Bote (R) 3B
9. Jon Lester (L) P

Bullpen Usage



Lineups and Bullpen Usage via Baseball Press.

Opposing pitchers

Scouting Reports from Brooks Baseball.

Eric Lauer: Eric Lauer has thrown 3,436 pitches that have been tracked by the PITCHf/x system between 2018 and 2019, including pitches thrown in the MLB Regular Season and Spring Training. In 2019, he has relied primarily on his Fourseam Fastball (92mph) and Cutter (88mph), also mixing in a Curve (77mph). He also rarely throws a Slider (84mph) and Change (86mph).

His fourseam fastball has essentially average velo and results in somewhat more groundballs compared to other pitchers' fourseamers. His cutter has slightly above average velo and has strong cutting action. His curve generates fewer whiffs/swing compared to other pitchers' curves and has primarily 12-6 movement. His slider is a real worm killer that generates an extreme number of groundballs compared to other pitchers' sliders. His change is an extreme flyball pitch compared to other pitchers' changeups, generates fewer whiffs/swing compared to other pitchers' changeups, is much firmer than usual and has a lot of backspin.

Sean's Note: Lauer is in his second year in the majors and has been very stingy with the home run ball. The lefty strikes out hitters at a below average rate. He has had bad luck stranding runners so his 4.03 ERA might be better than it looks going forward. The Cubs scored five on him last July in a 7-4.

Joey Lucchesi: Joey Lucchesi has thrown 3,628 pitches that have been tracked by the PITCHf/x system between 2018 and 2019, all of them occuring in the MLB Regular Season. In 2019, he has relied primarily on his Sinker (91mph) and Change (80mph), also mixing in a Fourseam Fastball (91mph) and Curve (79mph).

His sinker has surprisingly little armside run and results in somewhat more flyballs compared to other pitchers' sinkers. His change has surprising cut action, dives down out of the zone, generates a high number of swings & misses compared to other pitchers' changeups, results in somewhat more flyballs compared to other pitchers' changeups and has slightly below average velo. His fourseam fastball has much less armside movement than typical, results in many more groundballs compared to other pitchers' fourseamers, has some natural sinking action and has essentially average velo. His curve has very little depth, has primarily 12-6 movement, generates more whiffs/swing compared to other pitchers' curves, results in more flyballs compared to other pitchers' curves and is slightly harder than usual.

Sean's Note: Lucchesi is also a left handed pitcher in his second season. He has a much higher strike out rate than his teammate Lauer. He relies heavily on his excellent change up which generates a lot of swings and misses. He throws it 37.7% of the time nearly as much as his fastball (49%). Last season he struck out nine Cubs in 5.2 innings at Wrigley Field in a Padres win.

Cal Quantrill: Cal Quantrill has thrown 834 pitches that have been tracked by the PITCHf/x system between 2017 and 2019, all of them occuring in the MLB Regular Season. In 2019, he has relied primarily on his Sinker (95mph), Fourseam Fastball (95mph) and Change (85mph), also mixing in a Slider (87mph). He also rarely throws a Curve (79mph).

His sinker has well above average velo and has little sinking action compared to a true sinker. His fourseam fastball results in many more groundballs compared to other pitchers' fourseamers and has slightly above average velo. His change has surprising cut action and has a lot of backspin. His slider generates more whiffs/swing compared to other pitchers' sliders and results in somewhat more groundballs compared to other pitchers' sliders. His curve is basically never swung at and missed compared to other pitchers' curves, has primarily 12-6 movement, results in more flyballs compared to other pitchers' curves and has little depth.

Sean's Note: The rookie Quantrill has made just eight major league starts. He doesn't strike out many hitters and uses his power sinker to generate a 50% ground ball rate. He throws harder than the two lefties in the rotation. Left handed hitters do very well against him hitting .311, while right handed batters hit a paltry .182.


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  • Not a fan of AA leading off.....smh....
    But........let’s get these guys!

  • Why does Joe keep saying that Almora and Bote hit LHPs? Their stats say the opposite and it ain't even close.

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    Plus, with the wind blowing out to right; how are Schwarber and Garcia, and maybe even Caratini not playing? Schwarber hits a game winning home run, but hasn't started the 2 games since; weird.......

  • Sean’s note says Lauer strikes out hitters on less than average. Cubs have proven that concept wrong for today.

  • Is Schwarber hurt? He has not started since Tuesday.

    This is one weak lineup. Almora leading off and Russell hitting 5th.

  • If you look at the stats prior to this season Almora & Bote both hit LHP fairly well. Almora has over 300 PA prior to this season vs. LHP, and in those he's a .309 hitter with a .816 OPS. Bote has a smaller sample (just 60 or so PA), but he was even better (.876 OPS) in his opportunities.

    I'd argue that half of one season is not enough to label anybody. But, I am particularly even-keeled when it comes to fandom. I'm conservative to a fault.

  • In reply to RizzowiththeStick:

    Almora has almost 200 PAs this year against RHPs. What would his stats be if you add His 300+ PAs prior to this season to his 74 PAs this season against LHPs? Then add his prior season PAs against RHPs to his 191 PAs this year and compare. I will bet it will show that he doesn't hit LHPs any better and that's a bigger sample.

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    Aloma has a better career numbers against lefties than righties. Bote has better numbers against righties.

  • Well that's what I was concerned about with Lester not looking like he has his best stuff today. Leave one up and it's gonna go far.

  • I think Maddon looks at the team and says....hey who has the greatest chance of striking out to start the game. Who is hitting at or below .260 with a sub .330 OBP? But........they may get into one and hit an HR. Not a great strategy to put a poor hitting, low OBP, but power guy in the lead off..... but that's just my opinion.

  • In reply to INSaluki:

    I think Maddon goes more on hunch than anything else.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    The Cubs analytics division runs all sorts of numbers on their players vs. the other teams projected starting pitcher 2-3 days in advance. These numbers include the likelihood of success vs. the pitcher at different places in the batting order. It also defines the best time to bat the pitcher 8 or 9. Almost Every team does this now. It’s the catalyst for allowing managers with no experience to get the opportunity. Joe is not putting his finger in the air to determine the lineup. Also, barring illness or injury, all position players know 1 game in advance if the are starting. Today’s lineup was posted before the last game against the Reds.

  • In reply to TexasCubsFan:

    And to think all this time I thought Joe was managing the team.

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    are you saying that all a manager does is set a line up? I think there may be a few things you left out.

  • In reply to TexasCubsFan:

    I didn't say that. Is that what you read?

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    So, tell me what you wrote and what you meant?
    It’s obvious you did not read and comprehend well. the interaction between the analytics group and the manager was clear. Or as you would say, can’t you read?

  • In reply to TexasCubsFan:

    Both what I wrote and what I meant is still there plain as day for you to read again or can't you read?

  • In reply to TexasCubsFan:

    I think there is a bug in their software for todays game. Russell hitting 5th and Bote hitting 7th are 0 for 6 with 6 K's

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:


  • Don't look now, Heyward is almost at .280 Still hitting!

  • In reply to KJRyno:

    Heyward could've driven in Russell the inning before.......if Russell would've let Lauer walk him............

  • Does the fact that Bote signed that 5 year 1
    $15M contract take away his options, or is he still eligible to be optioned to the minors? I'd like to see him swapped out for Happ, while Happ's hot; it'll give Bote a chance to get consistent at bats, and we can see if Happ is able to ride the wave of his recent hot streak............

  • In reply to Treebeard:

    That's a good question and idea. I have a feeling once the MLB contract is signed, that means the player can't be sent down without his permission. And why would Bote agree to that now?

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    I am pretty sure he can go down. Fangraphs says he has 2 options left.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    As I understand it, Any player with fewer than five years of Major League service time and an option year remaining can be optioned to the Minor Leagues. Players with more than five years of service time must consent to being optioned. Once a MLB contract is signed, the player must be paid his MLB contract salary.

  • In reply to TexasCubsFan:

    That sounds good. I wonder if Descalso would consent to be sent down to work on his hitting. I would imagine the Cubs have already asked.

  • In reply to Treebeard:

    I think better yet DFA Descalso and call up Happ. The Cubs are basically playing with a 24 man roster. Maddon has finally stopped playing Descalso.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    I think in DD’s situation, he would need to be DFA’d and pass through waivers. At that point he could accept a minors assignment or be released to find another gig. The signing team would only be responsible for the pro rated MLB minimum with the Cubs paying the rest.

  • In reply to TexasCubsFan:

    I believe that is true. Not sure anybody would pick him up. I think he is done. Stick a fork in him. The guy is hitting about .110 for overthe last 3 months.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    That's a better idea, it just seems like Delasco's going to be sitting on the bench forever............

  • Good job Javy on freezing and making the play way closer than it should be. Don't know what the final call will be, but that all should've been avoided and an out made. Urgency!!!

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    Javy--that was like him looking at a long fly ball thinking it's out. Maybe he was getting a better hold on the ball, but he was taking his time. I'd like to save Lester from having to throw any extra pitches.

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    I was just looking at the DSL scores and noticed that one of our signees from last year, Jose Lopez, walked 5 times today and stole 4 bases and scored 2 runs. I thought I'd share.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I remember a lot of conversation about him recently, where are you able to find the DSL box scores?!?
    I'd definitely like to be keeping track of these guys on my own, so I can have more to bounce off of Michael.......

  • There ya go Javy... Oppo Taco!

  • How can you not.....on an off day, go out there early and practice dribbler throwing to first base?

  • Unless Almora were part of package with a big return, I think he's a pretty solid 4th OF. But this team really needs right handed OF bat. I don't mind KB out there so much, but Bote is not a starter on a playoff team. I like him, he's a good bench guy, not a starter.

  • That was Javy looking at a long fly ball thinking it was out.And it was!
    If only he would respect 90, instead of watching 400.
    What problems we have with our less than perfect first place club.
    I’ve been watching the Cubs for over 65 years. This is the best 5 + years of excellence I have witnessed during those decades. Just some perspective for all the complainers .
    Opps....... Maldonado just threw the ball away. Can’t wait for the experts to complain about the trade the FO made for him. Get rid of Theo, Madden , Borzello, etc. And trade as many of these core players on the team with the most wins for the past 4-5 years.
    This is a hard sport. It’s a long season. Sit back and enjoy the completion and the skill involved. And if Machado beats Lester, try not to rip Madden for not having the insight to pull his most experienced pitcher.
    That last sentence was written before the strikeout, which was a thing of beauty. ENJOY!

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    In his last 30 games Bote has an OPS of .628 and he’s hitting .194. Even today’s heat can’t unfreeze him.

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    In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    His last 15 games it’s in the .400’s.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    He just is not an everyday player. I like the kid, I think he can be a good utility guy with one or two starts a week and pinch hit when needed.

  • How many times Joe? How many times? Ol Bang-Bang does it again.

  • In reply to veteran:

    We can set our watches to time when you are going to come in here and bitch about ain’t over yet......

  • In reply to veteran:

    And as usual one of the R. Moan brothers comes in here......we just don’t know if you are p... or b....
    Game ain’t over yet......

  • In reply to Wickdipper:

    We got this.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:


  • In reply to Wickdipper:

    We got Kimbrel.

  • In reply to Wickdipper:

    Bahahhaha.....ok......obviously somebody let my first comment through (kudos song meister).....
    My apologies Veteran.....I was out of line.

  • Strop just not have it this year. Maddon needs to stop using him in the eight inning.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    Tend to agree but who’s your 8 inning set up man? Cishek ? If so who in the seventh. Most of these guys are ok but not good consistently.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    Everyone’s gonna hate this idea and I wouldn’t put him in crazy high leverage spots right away. But maybe try out CJ while strop is struggling with Cishek and kintzler as the main guys. I know how can we trust Edwards? But he seemed to be in good form at AAA and he tends to be a streaky pitcher. He has the ability to good you some good months when he’s on. That doesn’t mean he’s a set up answer but right now I just don’t trust strop

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    Ability to give you

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    I see your point and agree to get him back in there to see. Edwards and Almora are similar to me in that they both now have been given plenty of time to figure it out.....time to step up.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    That being said I’m venting about strop right now but the run he gave up was on the 1st pitch of the inning. At least he turned things around and kept it tied

  • Strop losing 3-5 MPH his fastball makes him pretty mediocre and hittable. This is not the same guy the last 4 seasons.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    Problem is Maddon doesn't seem to want to realize that. Strop cannot be trusted any longer. Use him in blowouts for awhile, see if he figures it out or gets his velocity back.

  • In reply to cubbustible:

    Wouldn't it be great to have Morrow return right about now?

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    Yep. I'd be more than happy if somehow Morrow was back and healthy, by September 1.
    Good thing Kinzler still around. I sure hope - just one young P at Iowa, can contribute down the stretch.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    I agree I’m not saying jump to drastic actions but it maybe time to demote strop to being one of the set up men, and not their highest leverage set up men of that makes sense. For me it’s not so only the results as it is the clear and obvious reduced velocity. Something for theo to keep an eye on as well, because if strop is declining this set up core isn’t looking as good we expected. They need him to be more consistent as he mostly has been in the past

  • Not the way I drew it up, bit I'll take it!

  • Of course Bo-scalso couldn't do some damage. We got lucky to get a run.

    Why is he playing everyday? I missed that memo.

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    This is why we signed Kimbrel. It’s still in the 9th but we wanted a shut down closer and now we’ve got one. One out.

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    Maldonado seems to be dropping a lot of balls. That may be because he doesn’t know our pitchers or Willson is really really good at catching them.

  • Guts by Jon Lester. Best ever free agent for cubs. Kbryant in the 3 hole is brilliant. Check his metrics if that is correct term. Big run he is on. How bout them Cowboys!!!

  • KKK imbrel. Nice! W!

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    Thank you Craig!!

  • Now that’s what a real ace closer does. I’d give kimbrel the day off tomorrow though as he’s now pitched 3 of 4 days. He’s looking good though at a time they need him with strop not looking good this year

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    Most of my Red Sox fan friends, and I have a bunch, hated him for just that kind of drama. One of them turned the game off every time he came in the game. He gets it done but it often ain't pretty. He just nails it down. That's enough for me.

  • In reply to TC154:

    Lol I’m with you TC we’d all love a josh hader or younger kenley Jansen type that can easily eat multiple innings. But for me with the cubs non ideal closing situation the past 1.5 years kimbrel feels like a luxury from our perspective. He’s way too inefficient to go multiple innings and I don’t think he’s comfortable doing that. But just having that extra impact reliever is making a big difference with strop not having his best cubs season

  • In reply to TC154:

    I’m interested too to see how the Red Sox pen situation holds up too. I also have some Red Sox fans and they’re upset they didn’t keep him, because now that pen is a bit thin

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    I don't think it was being a one inning guy that bothered the guys I know, he just very rarely goes 1,2,3 with 3 Ks. It's not who he is. He either strikes you out, walks you or, when he's really on rarely, gives up a HR. He's extremely difficult to hit outside of that occasional dinger. His BB/9 is usually over 3. He's a great closer, likely a HoF closer, he's just not for the faint of heart.

    That said most of them are pissed that Dombrowski didn't get another guy to close.

  • In reply to TC154:

    That was a Marmol save. K, BB, K, K. It ain't pretty, but it's effective.

  • In reply to TC154:

    Misses bats. Weak contact. Hard to HR off of. Brass balls. My kinda closer.

    I like that he hit 97 a couple of times today. Means his arm strength is good and getting better.

  • In reply to TC154:

    Chapman was the same way, but always slammed the door.

  • Sing the song!

  • In reply to TC154:

    "Go Cubs Go!"

  • Ol Bang-Bang gets the win. Somehow that's not justice. Twice in this homestand.

  • In reply to veteran:

    See blown saves don’t equate to losses, do they?

  • Great W and these are the types of wins playoff teams with SD frankly out hitting them
    At the plate. Difference is SDs inexperience showed at times in this game

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    *playoff teams win

  • I wonder if the heat had anything to do with the errors/mental lapses on both sides, but a W is a W..back to 9 games over .500.

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    Nice job Kimbrel.. Bit confused as to the drama mentioned in regards to CK, at least for today .. That was about as clean a save as I have seen in awhile.. Smart not to pitch to that enormous right fielder who crushed the ball today ..
    Any chance Garcia can play some third? Bote has been terrible,, for awhile .. He doesn't even make contact most at bats

  • In reply to John Nesbit:

    Robel has been working out at 3B. We'll see.

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    In reply to BarleyPop:

    Good to hear,, Thanks for the info buddy

  • I love good defense. It wins games. And I love taking advantage of poor defense. That also wins games.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Yep. Santa Claus came to Wrigley today. I’ll tell you though San Diego could, with a couple of pitchers added, be a contending team next year. They’re impressive

  • In reply to TC154:

    They do have a nice lineup......

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    Bote's last 40 at bats: 23 strikeouts and 2 r.b.i..

  • In reply to John Nesbit:

    DeScalso said, “Don’t you dare compare Bote to me. He’s got nothing but K’s on me.”

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