Cubs vs Nationals Series Preview: (8/23-8/25)

cubs-nationals-nlds-game-4-watch-online-live-stream

The home Cubs were at it again against the Giants. A three-game sweep improved their record at Wrigley Field to 44-19. They have again climbed to their season-high of 11 games over .500. Now the red-hot Washington Nationals come in for a big weekend set.

The Nationals were left for dead in the first half after a very disappointing start to 2019. A 22-15 second half has them atop the Wild Card race in the National League. The offense has been a huge factor in their surge to the playoffs. Anthony Rendon, Juan Soto, and Victor Robles, among others, are having big years. The Nats have scored a whopping 91 runs the last ten games.

The starting rotation is another strength, especially with the return of Max Scherzer from injury. Their 3.53 rotation ERA is the third best in all of baseball, trailing only Tampa and the Dodgers. The bullpen is a massive weak spot, a 6.09 ERA is basically tied with the Orioles for dead last.

The Cubs pitchers will have their hands full with the explosive Nats lineup. They will have a chance to feast on a horrible 'pen late in the game. No leads will be safe this weekend, so buckle up those seat belts everybody.

Watch/Listen

Friday: 1:20 PM CT on MLB Network/ABC-7/670AM

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

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

Lineups

Nationals

1. Trea Turner (R) SS
2. Adam Eaton (L) RF
3. Anthony Rendon (R) 3B
4. Juan Soto (L) LF
5. Howie Kendrick (R) 1B
6. Kurt Suzuki (R) C
7. Brian Dozier (R) 2B
8. Victor Robles (R) CF

Cubs

1. Jason Heyward (L) CF
3. Kris Bryant (R) 3B
4. Anthony Rizzo (L) 1B
5. Javier Baez (R) SS
6. Kyle Schwarber (L) LF
8. Tony Kemp (L) 2B
9. Jon Lester (L) P

Bullpen Usage

screen-shot-2019-08-23-at-10-40-48-am

screen-shot-2019-08-23-at-10-40-21-am

Lineups and Bullpen Usage via Baseball Press.

Opposing pitchers

Scouting Reports from Brooks Baseball.

Anibal Sánchez: Anibal Sanchez has thrown 28,740 pitches that have been tracked by the PITCHf/x system between 2008 and 2019, including pitches thrown in the MLB Regular Season, the MLB Postseason and Spring Training. In 2019, he has relied primarily on his Cutter (88mph), Change (82mph) and Fourseam Fastball (91mph), also mixing in a Sinker (90mph) and Curve (77mph). He also rarely throws a Slider (83mph).

His cutter has good "rise", results in somewhat more flyballs compared to other pitchers' cutters and has strong cutting action. His change has slightly below average velo. His fourseam fastball has less armside movement than typical, results in somewhat more flyballs compared to other pitchers' fourseamers and has slightly below average velo. His sinker has less armside run than typical, has little sinking action compared to a true sinker, results in somewhat more flyballs compared to other pitchers' sinkers and has slightly below average velo. His curve has primarily 12-6 movement, results in many more groundballs compared to other pitchers' curves and has little depth. His slider results in many more groundballs compared to other pitchers' sliders.

Sean's Note: The veteran Sánchez has had a decent year with a 3.99 ERA in 121.1 innings. He doesn't strike out hitters like he once did and he doesn't create many outs on the ground. Left handers do much more damage on him than right handers do. His money pitch has always been his change up.

Joe Ross: Joe Ross has thrown 5,191 pitches that have been tracked by the PITCHf/x system between 2014 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 (94mph), Fourseam Fastball (94mph) and Slider (88mph), also mixing in a Curve (81mph) and Change (88mph).

His sinker generates a high number of swings & misses compared to other pitchers' sinkers and has slightly above average velo. His fourseam fastball has some natural sinking action, results in somewhat more flyballs compared to other pitchers' fourseamers and has slightly above average velo. His slider is thrown extremely hard, has less than expected depth and has primarily 12-6 movement. His curve generates an extremely high number of swings & misses compared to other pitchers' curves, has primarily 12-6 movement, has little depth, is slightly harder than usual and results in somewhat more flyballs compared to other pitchers' curves. His change generates fewer whiffs/swing compared to other pitchers' changeups, is much firmer than usual and has slight armside fade.

Sean's Note: Ross hasn't pitched much in 2019 just 46 innings of work. He has struggled to a 5.48 ERA with a very high walk rate. Home runs have been limited to just six and he has a decent ground ball rate. His ERA as a starter in ten, that's right ten runs lower than his reliever ERA. Left handed hitters have a dramatically higher average against him.

Stephen Strasburg: Stephen Strasburg has thrown 22,427 pitches that have been tracked by the PITCHf/x system between 2009 and 2019, including pitches thrown in the MLB Regular Season, the MLB Postseason and Fall/Winter Ball. In 2019, he has relied primarily on his Fourseam Fastball (94mph) and Curve (81mph), also mixing in a Change (88mph) and Sinker using a Two-seam Fastball grip (94mph). He also rarely throws a Slider (88mph).

His fourseam fastball generates more whiffs/swing compared to other pitchers' fourseamers, has some natural sinking action and has slightly above average velo. His curve generates more whiffs/swing compared to other pitchers' curves, is slightly harder than usual and has slight glove-side movement. His change dives down out of the zone, generates a high number of swings & misses compared to other pitchers' changeups, is much firmer than usual, results in somewhat more groundballs compared to other pitchers' changeups and has slight armside fade. His sinker results in somewhat more groundballs compared to other pitchers' sinkers, has slight armside run and has slightly above average velo. His slider (take this with a grain of salt because he's only thrown 12 of them in 2019) is thrown extremely hard and has less than expected depth.

Sean's Note: Strasburg has been very good again in 2019 with a 15-5 record. He still strikes out a ton of hitters 28.4% of them to be exact. 19 home runs have contributed to his 3.65 ERA this year. His 49.5% ground ball rate is a career high for the big righty. He dominated the Cubs in May, allowing just two runs in eight strong innings of work.

Filed under: Series Preview

Comments

Leave a comment
  • Why does Maddon keep playing Kemp and not Russell. Kemp can't hit his weight and he is not that big. With Descalso not on the 25 man roster Kemp might be the worst hitter in the MLB.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    give me Happ, Russell, Zobrist or Bote but not Kemp, please.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    Kemp's only been here a month ! Cut him some slack ! What's with the Cub uniforms ? Is today Good Humor day ? The first 10,000 fans get a free Good Humor ?

  • In reply to ronvet69:

    A month too long. There is a reason the Astro's were releasing him.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    Who did you want ? Jose Altuve ?

  • In reply to ronvet69:

    Why don't you reread my first post. That might give you a clue.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    I did read your post. You need to check batting averages before you make statements.

  • In reply to ronvet69:

    Move along now.

  • I kinda liked the jerseys the cubs wore in the little league classic last week. Now these ones are about the worst I have ever seen. But I am interested in seeing the white Cubs jerseys get some dirt and grass stains all over them from making great defensive plays and some extra hustle and sliding into bases.

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    They ARE terrible......wth

  • Nice double play... Javy!

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    Javy will get hot pretty soon.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I hope so. I was actually talking about him turning the double play on defense. As for him hitting into it, he's been doing that quite a bit recently, so much that I looked it up and he's already GIDP 16 times this season. Most he's ever had previously was 10. I'm feeling like I've seen him take that big long loopy swing way too much this season and the result is always that he'll keep rolling over on the outside pitches with that swing, just like he did there. Last year, and this April, he was much shorter to those pitches and would just drive or punch them down the RF line. I'd like to see more of that.

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    He’s also swinging at the first pitch almost every time up and the pitchers aren’t going to give him anything to hit. Too bad he can’t figure it out. He could have elite numbers if he would learn the strike zone

  • Let’s get this bum! Glad we didn’t sign him in past free agency. Unfortunately we got Edwin Jackson. Ouch!

  • We gotta run up his pitch count and get to tha Nats pen, not good so far

  • All those singles...

  • Grrrr.....we’re gonna get blown right outta here today.....2 hits in the last 11 innings ain’t makin’ it...

  • In reply to Wickdipper:

    I'm waiting to see the Cubs second time around facing Sanchez. I gotta think we can figure him out.

  • In reply to Wickdipper:

    One of those was sun aided drop. Cubs only score on home runs and with this wind you can forget it.

  • In reply to TheSarge#36:

    We've scored 7 of our last 13 without the HR. So to say we "only score on home runs" is being quite dramatic.

  • Great play by Javy... WOW!!

    I wanna see more grass stains though.

  • This is going to be an amazing come from behind win.

  • UGH... Why bunt Bryant?

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    It was a good time to bunt. Hit one to the wall the previous at bat. Third baseman was back deep. Need runners. Now then if you want to complain about something, the execution sucked. :)

  • In reply to KJRyno:

    Well... I never think it's a good time to bunt when you're the first of the 3 best hitters about to bat. Wind blowing in, why not just choke up and try to hit a single with the outfielders back.

  • I long for the days when Terry Mulholland could hold and pick off runners. With Greg Maddox on the mound you had a fifth infielder to bolster the defense.
    I'm sure the front office is well aware that the Cubs have to work on holding base runners and cutting down on walks, which they have done lately.

  • Strop get in that doghouse!!!

  • In reply to DarBar15:

    Should Strop be shut down for the season, or just put on the IL for like 3 weeks?

  • In reply to Treebeard:

    IL til Sept. Bring Zagunis back up to pinch hit in the meantime. I don't like the short bench.

  • In reply to DarBar15:

    Definitely, he or Aducci don't need at bats in Iowa right now............

  • In reply to DarBar15:

    I don't trust Strop at all anymore. I wouldn't want to see in the postseason bullpen.

  • In reply to JohnCC:

    Me neither. We need to be able to give him a chance to get right, but the problem is we can't let him cost us more games, so it's tough to really access his situation and if he's got anything left to help benefit the Cubs for 2019.

  • Getting one hit by anibal Sanchez. Pathetic. Cubs draw Sanchez and the mighty joe Ross to open series. Would’ve been great to win today as Strasbourg looms in the shadows and they missed mad max this time around.

  • In reply to Oldno7:

    Would have been better to see Mad Max he was pitch limited and gone after 4 yesterday.

  • fb_avatar

    Ho hum. Another game the Cubs forgot to show up for. Lucky to get a W yesterday.

  • Looks like weak ground ball to second baseman Heyward is back.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    He really never left. Did his usual 20 games or so when everyone thinks “good Heyward “ is back. So tired of everyone defending this guy, He was a 180 million dollar mistake who happened to make one good clubhouse speech. Good grief he stinks!

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Oldno7:

    His numbers have been good all year. 20 games is simply wrong.

  • In reply to John Winter:

    Good as to what? Totally hypothetical, if he was a free agent after this year with his pathetic numbers, would you sign him for the 20+million he is going to get for the next four years? I don’t know about you but 18 homers and 49 rbi doesn’t cut the mustard for me at his price.

  • In reply to Oldno7:

    That's an interesting perspective on Heyward's season. You'd think it was still really bad. This team has nosedived since the beginning of June, they are looking to bounce back, but maybe it won't happen.

    Here are probably the 5 best hitters on the Cubs (not counting Castellanos as he hasn't been here long), so let's take a look how they've all fared since June 1st.

    Player A: .290/.374/.506/.880
    Player B: .285/.345/.481/.826
    Player C: .266/.286/.511/.797
    Player D: .291/.401/.486/.887
    Player E: .234/.317/.532/.849

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    Actually before this game the Cubs were the most games over .500 all year. Not sure how that’s a nosedive.

  • In reply to stix:

    Like my post reads, "they are looking to bounce back" which was included because they are doing a little better in August. For the record, they were 7 games over .500 at the end of May. Now they are likely only 10 over .500, so they haven't really done much but tread water and drift 3 games better than they were back then.

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    If they were at their best record as of this morning, what are they looking to bounce back from? Usually you bounce back from a low point not a high point but maybe I don’t know what bounce back represents??

    Tomorrow they can bounce back from today’s loss.

  • In reply to stix:

    On June 1st they had a .564 win%, as of today, they have a .539 win%, so tell me, is their record better today than it was on June 1st?

    They were 7 games over .500 then, if they held that pace, they'd probably be 16 or 17 games above .500 now, but like I said, they're treading water and have barely extended further above the .500 mark from then.

    To say this another way, they were 7 games over .500 on June 1st, but for all of June, July, and up to know on Aug 23rd, they are only 3 games over .500 for that span. I'd like to see them bounce back and play at a rate of 10 games over .500 from. this point on out.

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    I’ll concur with that.

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    Not a reply to myself, but to stix because there was no reply button under his comment. I'm glad you see what I meant now...

    I was rather distracted as I made that last post. An even better way for anyone else to really see what I mean would be to just post this...

    Mar/April and May: 31-23, .564
    June and July: 26-26, .500
    Aug: 12-9, .571

    We can say they've bounced back if they at least maintain what they've done this month. The Cardinals don't have as much talent as we have, but they're plenty capable of outplaying us over the last 6 weeks of the season. That scares me.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Cubber Lang:

    So which of the five players is which?

  • In reply to John Winter:

    I'm just looking for honest opinion and analysis of what the players are doing for our offense.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    Hey, maybe you can get Strope to play second. What's his batting average ?

  • You mean, ‘ho hum, another game against a GOOD team, and another beat down.’

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Squareburgers:

    Tomato, tomoto?

  • Every one of their 9 with hits today......let’s just take our asswhippin’ and come back tomorrow....

  • Lester really depends on that slightly-off the outside corner call against righties. If an ump isn't calling it on a given day, or say robo-umps become a reality, he struggles to be effective.

Leave a comment