Cubs Game Post 8/17

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Series preview is here.

Watch/Listen

Saturday: 12:35 PM CT on MLB Network/ABC-7/670AM

Lineups

Cubs

1. Jason Heyward (L) CF
3. Kris Bryant (R) 3B
4. Anthony Rizzo (L) 1B
5. Javier Baez (R) SS
6. Addison Russell (R) 2B
7. Ian Happ (S) LF
9. Jon Lester (L) P
Pirates
1. Kevin Newman (R) 2B
2. Bryan Reynolds (S) LF
3. Starling Marte (R) CF
4. Josh Bell (S) 1B
5. Melky Cabrera (S) RF
6. Colin Moran (L) 3B
7. Elias Diaz (R) C
8. Erik Gonzalez (R) SS
9. Steven Brault (L) P
Bullpen Usage
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Lineups and Bullpen Usage via Baseball Press.

Opposing pitcher

Scouting Reports from Brooks Baseball.

Steven Brault: Steven Brault has thrown 4,248 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 (92mph) and Slider (83mph), also mixing in a Change (85mph) and Sinker (91mph). He also rarely throws a Curve (72mph).

His fourseam fastball has some natural sinking action and has essentially average velo. His slider generates more whiffs/swing compared to other pitchers' sliders, has short glove-side cut and has some two-plane movement. His change has surprising cut action, dives down out of the zone, generates fewer whiffs/swing compared to other pitchers' changeups and is slightly firmer than usual. His sinker is basically never swung at and missed compared to other pitchers' sinkers, results in many more groundballs compared to other pitchers' sinkers, has less armside run than typical and has some natural sinking action. His curve is basically never swung at and missed compared to other pitchers' curves, has sweeping glove-side movement, is an extreme flyball pitch compared to other pitchers' curves, has below average velo and has little depth.

Sean's Note: Brault started the season in the bullpen, but has been pressed into the rotation. He has actually been good as a starter with a 3.74 ERA in 53.1 innings. Right handers hit .284 off of him compared to .194 for left handed hitters. The Cubs tagged him for four runs in May in his only appearance against them.

Final Thoughts: Please just win a game, that's all I ask. Anyway you want to win is fine just win once.

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Comments

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  • A laugher would be nice, but as Sean says, just win one.

    A decision is expected today on Kimbrel, whether activated on the team or a rehab assignment. I was hoping it would be before game time, but it's getting late. I haven't seen any transaction news.

    Billy Hamilton was DFA'd by KC yesterday, and he should clear waivers. He'd be a nice Terrance Gore-like addition to a contending team, while also playing as a CF defensive replacement late in games. We'll have competition to sign him, I really think it will come down to where he wants to go. I wouldn't be surprised to sign him to a minor-league deal and call him up in September. This team likes having that stolen-base threat in the postseason (if we make it), and with Almora going down he could take his spot. Something to keep an eye on.

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    In reply to BarleyPop:

    Everyone knows I like speed but with Almora being sent down we don’t have any quality CF replacement for him. I’ve read that he might have lost a step but his defense hasn’t suffered any and he’s still much faster than anyone we have.
    Right now we need quality defense since we’ve seen lately how it can cost us games.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Thought I saw something that graded out Almora as -.1 WAR as a defender. If that was accurate, he’s no great loss.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Almora Jr. will be back up in September, but I'm just thinking of the potential postseason roster. Neither one can hit, so I think Hamilton could be a better option as a base-stealer and defensive replacement. I do expect Almora Jr. to be gone this offseason. We can carry a glove-first CF with an offensive juggernaut, but we ain't that. I like him, but it's not working.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Given Heyward’s iffyness, I would think this pickup would be worth a shot.

  • Win, meh. I’m more interested in seeing the creative way they lose!

  • 3 hard hit outs gets Lester out of the inning.

  • Another road game - another no hitter watch for the Cubs.

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    This guy has an era over 4. Joe has to go

  • What part of the offense does Joe control when the batters are the ones not hitting.

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    In reply to stix:

    Sarcasm

  • Never know these days.:):)

  • Bad Heyward is back. 8 of his last 52 in Aug.

    We gotta find that other consistent OBP guy to set up more scoring.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    Air Happ is back also.

  • Well I guess Bote would have made that play??? No offense, no defense not a good combination.

  • In reply to stix:

    It's hard to get behind the idea of a guy with a .922 fielding % at 3b this season doing better than the guy with a .963 fielding %. Also, if you combine Bote's minor and major league experience at 3b, that fielding % becomes even lower.

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    Should have used smiley faces. All I was trying to do was indicate that even Bryant doesn’t make all the plays.

  • In reply to stix:

    If Bote was in that situation everyone would be all over the mgr. for not playing Bryant at 3rd.

  • In reply to stix:

    Yep.

  • In reply to stix:

    Sorry Stix.... I'm not lost on the irony of KB's next error, though that was a much tougher play being stuck on the in-between hop.

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    Great man once said “errors like runs and hits are part of the game” there is little time for anything but complaining the way the Cubs are playing.

  • So what line of code does Petcoda have that our computer doesn’t?

  • In reply to Squareburgers:

    Old pitchers who are expected to decline

  • C'mon Big Jon! Get out of this mess.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Great job to get out of that mess with no runs....

    Let's score some here and get some momentum.

  • Would anyone get someone warming up after walking the pitcher. Just asking for good discussion

  • In reply to 523WSC:

    No, not with our options. Big Jon has been through this plenty of times, and I would have stuck with him regardless of the results.

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    Maybe that great escape will spark the team.

  • In reply to John Winter:

    Well that didn't take long to answer that...

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    In reply to Cubber Lang:

    Yeah, I guess not, lol.

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    Bryant determined to give the Pirates this game

  • Trying to get Bote at 3rd and back in the outfield.:):):)

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    In reply to stix:

    The reverse curse strikes again!

  • Not so much.

  • I'm gonna go out on a limb and say the only way we win this game is if Lester hits a HR before exiting and the bullpen miraculously holds a 1-0 lead.

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    Close Bryant instead of Lester.

    Now do you leave Lester in or go with Chatwood for 3 innings?

  • In reply to stix:

    I'd leave Lester in. Let him be the one to lose the game. Not saying I want him to lose it, but our BP is garbage.

  • Thank you KB.

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    In reply to Cubber Lang:

    Thank John Lester for pitching out of two jams due to Bryant errors

  • We can't win if we don't score. I never did not "thank" Jon Lester.

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    In reply to Cubber Lang:

    Yep but if big Johns pitching out two of two jams due to Bryant errors. Bryant’s solo home run wouldn’t mean diddly

  • Jon pitched well enough to earn the win in the game, errors or not. So maybe Jon could've pitched a complete game shut out if the errors weren't made, but that's highly unlikely and we'd still need to score a run...

    Jon was not dominant in this game. There was a lot of contact, and hard contact at that, not to mention all his walks. Like I said, because I didn't "thank" "big John" like you are so adamant about, it doesn't mean I didn't appreciate his gutsy performance today.

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    In reply to Cubber Lang:

    Gutsy performance by Jon I don’t think he is ever as you say dominant . He is a smart pitcher and a tip of the hat pitching out of base loaded no outs and two on and no out situation. I might add caused by errors by Mr Bryant who I like but he does hit a lot of solo Hrs . Check out his hr and rbis and Baez has and rbis and Bryant hasn’t done a very good job with runners in scoring position. Again I like Chris but hey he hasn’t produced with runners in scoring position. Probably driving Mr Boros (?) crazy.

  • Criticizing a player for hitting solo homeruns is a very silly thing to do. Would you rather he choke up and try to slap a single? Or bunt?

  • Let's go Javy... We sure can use another solo HR. It's what we do best!

  • It worked out for Bryant there, but our approach of first pitch swinging is not doing it fo runs again.

  • Mr. "Can't-hit-in-the-clutch" gives the Cubs the lead...

    Jon Lester is pitching his heart out today. C'mon boys, show some support.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Maybe Mr “can’t field” making up for some of that.

  • In reply to stix:

    That's "Mr. Granite Glove" to his friends...

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    If I'm playing behind him I'm inspired. Ain't no "lack of fire" with him on the mound.

  • Wait! They're going to the bullpen! NO-O-O-O-O!

  • I think the Cubs batters are too caught up in "launch angle" (especially our core). The launch angle promotes the "HR or nothing" mentality along with the strikeout which is what has plagued the Cubs offense for years.

    Our core doesn't need the launch angle. Just a natural swing will give enough of a launch angle especially with the "juiced ball" today. Think about it, the hands start up with the bat above the shoulders, then come down to hit the ball and that forces you to bring them back up to finish your swing. That is plenty of a launch angle.

    Concentrating on raising your launch angle makes you more susceptible to the low pitches because you can swing up more easily. How many Cubs go after the real low unhittable pitches regularly? In addition, concentrating on your launch angle also promotes the HR mentality. Both of these attributes will create more strikeouts and popups which neither will move the runners along.

    The Cubs need to go back to the "old days" of trying to swing more level with a short, quick swing and meet the ball with the bat. This will increase their hits and decrease their strikeouts and they will still hit plenty of HRs with the "juiced balls". They need to do away with their Homerun Derby.

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    Joe has been calling for that approach most of the year. Apparently not easy to change your swing mid season.

  • In reply to stix:

    Sorry but who has he been calling it to? The media? He is the manager and if he insisted upon something, it should get done or players need to be benched or even replaced. The Cub players that have the most launch angles are most of the regular starters.

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    So you want to bench them or replace them if they can’t change their swings mid season. Any obvious replacements you have in mind?

  • In reply to stix:

    Just about anyone when they aren't doing much. Don't have much to lose , if anything. What's your answer? Keep doing what doesn't work?

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    If the BP doesn’t have 7 blown saves with 8 th inning leads, launch angle is not an issue. They’d be about 20-25 games over. Team game, all need improvement but obviously none of the Cubs mgmt has your insights. Perhaps they just need to insert you into the mgmt to correct all that is wrong.

    I’m just a fan with observations but no answers. You still have not indicated WHO replaces the hitters. Maybe it’s because there are no alternatives on roster or the minors and the trade deadline is past.

  • In reply to stix:

    You are just a fan just like me but I am trying to offer solutions unlike you. You seem to want to start something between us fans. I can oblige you if that is what you want.

    Anyone with a brain to think would come to the conclusion when your offense can't score 2 runs or more, its a whole lot easier to blow saves and will happen more often. How come we don't cause the opposing teams to blow their saves as much?

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    I appreciate your passion and probable frustration but the comment that it’s broken , fix it just adds to everyone’s frustration. You don’t seem to think mgmt is trying to fix it or knows how to, and I don’t accept that. They only have a 40 man roster and on the road there are more duds than positive results and that leads to the fans frustrations. Do you think the team isn’t frustrated?

    Same team at home doesn’t seem to suffer nearly as much. What do they do so well at home that they should do on the road except score more runs than the opposition?

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    One thing that helps them win games at home is they have last at bats which helps in a number of situations whereas the opposing team has the last at-bats on the road. This, alone adds to the pressure put on the bull pen.

    This launch angle problem has been going on for years and I do think the team and management are frustrated which just adds to the problem. I also believe the launch angle may have been good at one time but now with the juiced ball, it is not needed and only causes more strikeouts. I have watched all the blown saves this year and most of them are caused by errors, walks and hits, not HRs and all the hitters are not launch anglers. However, just like you have said, it is not easy to change your swing but you have to start somewhere.

    I don't claim to be smarter than anyone and I will admit when I am wrong but nothing has shown me that I am wrong. One thing I am sure of and that is WHEN YOU WANT THINGS TO CHANGE, THEN CHANGE THEM.

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    Just a minor correction......concentrating on raising your launch angle makes you more susceptible to high pitches, not low pitches. The goal is that the bat is already on the upswing when it meets the ball. That's much harder to do with a high pitch than a low pitch. It's one of the reasons the Astros teach their pitchers to throw fastballs way up in the zone.
    Your overall point that strikeouts are way up (across the league) because of launch angle/home run philosophy is correct.

  • In reply to TexasCubsFan:

    I agree with what you are saying. Maybe I used the wrong wording. I meant that the low pitches look more desirable to the launch anglers because it allows them to use a "golf swing" at the ball. As a result, their eyes get big and they are more tempted to swing.

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    yep

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    Chili Davis stressed using the whole field, and less focus on launch angle.

  • In reply to Naujack:

    And???

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    And they didn’t score many runs the last month of the season. It’s not the launch angle swing that’s the problem. Babe Ruth was considered the first to use it. Then Ted Williams perfected it. My baseball coaches growing up used to teach “swing level”, but the problem with that is the baseball isn’t coming in “level”. It’s moving down. So smart baseball people realized Ted might have known what he was doing and started teaching the upper cut, or launch angle swing again. Because that is how you keep the bat on the same level as the incoming baseball the longest, which gives you the best chance of hitting a ball hard.
    I believe the biggest problem with modern day hitters is they don’t change their approach with 2 strikes or based on the game situation. Swinging hard & hitting home runs us what will get them paid

  • In reply to Cubpack:

    And how is that "Swinging hard & hitting home runs" working for the Cubs? Doesn't anyone remember today that this is a TEAM game and NO individual should be above the team. I am old and probably from the "old school" but some people like to drop names so I will also. Micky Mantle, Ryne Sandberg, Mike Schmidt, Sammy Sosa, and so on did not use the so-called launch angle and hit HRs just fine and also even got hits. Davis was a problem because the Cubs players didn't want to do what he was teaching. How did that work out?

    BTW, a normal swing is the way to keep your swing on the same level as the pitch. Only a very few can throw a ball that drops more than a normal upswing (25 -30 degree angle).

    I grew up playing baseball in one form or another from the time I was 6 years old (fast pitch hardball, fast pitch and slo-pitch softball and slo-pitch mushball) until I was 50 years old and I was usually the best hitter on my teams. I hit HRs but never lead any team. After I retired from playing baseball, I coached my kids all the way through High School. I am talking with experience. It is really comical watching these launch anglers swinging at the high strikes.

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    That why I said it’s the approach that is the problem, not necessarily the swing. Mantle, Schmidt & Sosa all used launch angle swings, they just weren’t called that then

  • In reply to Cubpack:

    A normal swing is a launch angle swing but it is only a natural upswing of around 25-30 degrees). Its the steeper launch angle swings that are the problem.

    Watch KB. Sometimes, his launch angle is what I would term more normal even though his swing is going up. However, he has some steep swings that are plenty more than a normal upswing and usually his back shoulder dips with it. This angle is needless. He has plenty of power to hit a HR without swinging at such a steep angle. I believe that's why he hits so many real high pop flys.

    Rizzo is genuflecting on his back knee now just to get low enough to hit a low ball with a higher launch angle. Why? He doesn't need a high launch angle to hit a HR and neither does Baez and they do not and should not even swing at those low balls. When Schwarber first came up to the majors, he swung short and straight to the ball. Now, he has more of a loop in his swing.

    I could be wrong but Happ is swinging more level now compared to when he was sent down. Almora's swing level changed to a higher launch angle probably because they wanted him to hit with more power. Well, it worked but it also ruined his batting average.

    As I said many times above, a normal swing from the bat above the shoulder down to the pitched ball and up on the follow through is a launch angle. Anything steeper is a problem and makes it much harder to put the bat on the ball.

  • Chatwood. What a conundrum. I'm not big on nicknames, but I'm starting to mentally call him "Peace Frog". I'll explain later when I make sense of it all.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    There's still a part of me that believes Chatwood should be our closer. He's got good stuff, but it can be all over the place at times, yet that kind of stuff manages to work in the 9th inning when the opponent is swinging the bat trying to not lose.

  • Time again for the armchair mgrs to indicate their preference to pitch the last two innings.

  • In reply to stix:

    I agree stix. There should be a rule that in order to state your case after the game, you need to state your case of what you'd do in real time during the game.

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    I'm no armchair manager, but I'm fine if Chatwood finishes this game.

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    But you are a fine arm chair GM. LOL!!!!

    And we all are!!!! Ha!

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    Hahahaha... omg that's funny. The truth is sure, I may be looking more and more correct about the proclamations I made a month ago, but I'm not happy for it one bit. I'd much rather have witnessed this team kick it into high gear and prove they are one of the best in our division. I guess there's still time. But realistically, we are in the middle third (somewhere between the 11th and 20th best team in baseball), and that's exactly where Theo used to preach you don't want to be.

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    Well, here we are. Hopefully third time’s the charm!

  • Wicks pitching as well as anyone but how about Phelps getting closer opportunities. I’ve been suggesting him for days he’s a veteran and I just trust his poise more than the kids. I don’t understand why he hasn’t gotten more consideration with the pen so thinned our

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    I kinda like Wick as a closer. I would love to see Phelps own the 8th.

    But those two seem to have enough “stuff” to get through.

  • "One, nothing wrong with me.
    Two, nothing wrong with me.
    Three, nothing wrong with me.
    Four, nothing wrong with me.
    One, something's got to give.
    Two, something's got to give.
    Three, something's got to give now! "

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Big, deep breath after a little controlled aggression. We can still do this.

    W, Baby!

  • The long, national nightmare is over!

  • In reply to IVYADDICT:

    One of them, anyway.

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    I've heard of this before, it's called a "win?"
    Great 9th inning by Wick. Good job Cubs.

  • Good win today. Pitching picked up the defense, and Bryant hit a ball hard enough with his Ted Williams/launch angle-esque approach.

  • I'm certain there are more than a few who will bash Joe for using Wick instead of leaving Chatwood in to pitch the 9th. It seems to me that Joe allowed Wick the opportunity to be the closer today to see if he has closer mentality. His work today will afford him that role until Kimbrel returns.

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    In reply to TexasCubsFan:

    Great move by Joe. Anyone who has watched Chatwood pitch knows one walk usually leads to following walks.

  • Chatwood and others. Unless one is pitching around a batter, he must come in throwing strikes, especially late in tight game. It's so much harder pitching from behind or with a leadoff walk.

  • Huge win sometimes when club morale is at its lowest you need your veteran starters to come through. And more importantly Jon Lester needed an outing like this. With the resurgence of Quintana and darvish I can see this starting rotation going on a run if Lester and hamels can rediscover their form.

    I’ve seen maddon getting 2nd guessed on practically every call these days and not just on cubs den. I’ve been a 2nd guesser before I still believe that they win that rubber game in philly if tony kemp was defensively subbed for Ian happ. But he doesn’t have many easy decisions when it comes to the bullpen as it is currently. Kintzler didn’t look good last night and I question whether we’ll see the same dominant form from him moving forward after that injury. I’ve all but given up on strop as a high leverage reliever. Other than Phelps they’re relying on a bunch of inexperienced pitchers that were in AAA at the start of the year. Not easy managing this pen right now. I’m hoping kimbrel and cisheks return brings some stability to that group

  • Nice win and we are still in the mix. Let's get one tomorrow and go from there.

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