Late Inning Heartbreak -- Cardinals 3, Cubs 2

Yu Darvish had 12 strikeouts and almost pitched a complete game for the Chicago Cubs on Sunday afternoon, but unfortunately the St. Louis Cardinals staged a late rally to knock him out of the game and win by a score of 3-2.

Darvish started off strong for the Cubs, striking out Dexter Fowler and Tommy Edman. The third out was recorded on a groundout to short from Paul Goldschmidt.

Cardinals starter Miles Mikolas had a longer inning. Anthony Rizzo lined out to first, but Nick Castellanos singled, Kris Bryant was hit by a pitch, and Kyle Schwarber singled to load the bases. Castellanos scored on a passed ball by catcher Yadier Molina and the Cubs were now ahead 1-0. Ben Zobrist struck out and Victor Caratini popped out to third to end the inning.

Paul DeJong led off the third with a solo home run to tie the game at 1-1.

Bryant exited the game with an ankle injury in the bottom of the third. He slipped on first base and was helped off of the filed. Subsequent x-rays were negative and he was diagnosed with an ankle sprain. Ian Happ replaced Bryant at third base after the injury delay. Edman grounded out to short, Goldschmidt singled, but Marcell Ozuna grounded into a double play for the second and third outs.

Castellanos put the Cubs in the lead at 2-1 with a leadoff homer in the top of the sixth.

Darvish remained in the game to pitch the eighth and got a leadoff groundout from Molina. Matt Carpenter hit a single and was replaced by pinch runner Yairo Muñoz. DeJong struck out a foul tip, and pinch hitter Matt Wieters grounded out to third to end the inning.

Muñoz remained in the game at third for the Cardinals and Randy Arozarena replaced Wieters and played center field for the bottom of the eighth. With Mikolas still on the mound, Darvish grounded out softly to second. Rizzo singled and was replaced by pinch runner Javier Báez. After a two-out single from Happ, Tyler Webb entered the game in relief of Mikolas. Schwarber hit a hard liner right to Fowler in right field to end the threat.

Defensive switches for the Cubs in the ninth included David Bote entering the game at third base, Castellanos moving from right to left field, Happ moving from third to first base, Heyward moving from center to right field, and Albert Almora Jr entering the game in center field.

Pinch hitter José Martinez led off the bottom of the ninth with a triple and was replaced by pinch runner Tyler O’Neill. Fowler was out on a sacrifice fly to center, with O’Neill scoring to tie it at 2-2. Edman singled and stole second with Goldschmidt up to bat. After Goldschmidt doubled to give the Cardinals a 3-2 lead, Darvish was replaced by Pedro Strop. Darvish went 8.1 innings with seven hits, three runs (all earned), no walks, and 12 strikeouts.

The first batter Strop faced was Ozuna, who walked, but he got swinging strikeouts from Molina and Muñoz to end the inning and keep the lead at only one run.

Andrew Miller pitched for the Cardinals for the bottom of the ninth. Zobrist popped out to first, followed by pinch hitter Willson Contreras with a swinging strikeout. Heyward kept it alive with a two-out bloop single to center. Nico Hoerner put up a valiant battle during his six pitch at-bat (with five foul balls), but ultimately flew out to center to end the game.

 

WPA CHART

Source: FanGraphs

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  • Swept at home for first time since 1921 by Cardinals, embarrassing! Maddon should resign and go work at Binny’s.

  • In reply to Roe Skidmore:

    This is not Maddons fault.

  • In reply to Squareburgers:

    He’s the manager, who’s job is to have the team ready to play.

  • In reply to Roe Skidmore:

    Paid professional ballplayers should always be ready to "play". The managers job is to put them in the right situation to use their talents to succeed. Every single one of our hitters and pitchers have been put in the exact spots where they need to just "do their job". They haven't Even Zobrist looking at strike 3 with men on second and third on Sunday with one out. Starting pitchers that have been given the ball the last month and have gone out there and threw a turd. Hitters with men all over the basepaths. Give them the opportunity to succeed. Then it is on them.

  • In reply to KJRyno:

    That is why there is a saying you can't fire all 25 guys.

  • In reply to KJRyno:

    Someone could fire those in Baseball Ops who constructed this flawed roster. But they are deities around here.

  • In reply to KJRyno:

    I agree that paid professional ballplayers "should always be ready to play." The reality, however, is that they aren't. Keeping them engaged and motivated certainly is a part of the manager's job and a large one at that. When Joe loses his job, it'll be on the premise that someone else will be more successful motivating the team to follow fundamentals and perform to expectations, not because of his in-game management.

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    D, you get the recaps up faster than the Cubs give up leads. Sorry for the sarcasm, I’m frustrated.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    A couple of days have passed and I don't want to miss commenting on this because the excellent work done by the staff here at Cubs Den can easily get lost when the Cubs generate emotions associated with a debacle like this game was. I'm sure it takes a great deal of time to follow the game and provide an inning-by-inning recap - and then finish and post it quickly for us to read - even while dealing with the same emotions the rest of us have.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Hear, hear!

  • Rizzo made a miraculous, heroic return from his sprained ankle in what, 4-5 days? How long before "fans" call KB "soft" when he doesn't do the same?

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Two days... but I think it's too late already.

  • In reply to JohnCC:

    I say shut them all down.

    2020, here we come!

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Seriously though, I don't think Javy or KB should play again.

    And I had a question about the "peanut monkey" lyric on the other thread. Is that really the lyric?

  • In reply to JohnCC:

    Rolling Stones "Monkey Man". One of my favorite songs. I've seen them 4 times, and they've done that as an encore twice. The crowd yells for "Sympathy for the Devil", bit they don't like doing that.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    https://youtu.be/4Zbnvh6I4k4

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Funny thing, I was thinking about Monkey Man this morning and it may be the best intro to any Stones song.

  • In reply to IVYADDICT:

    A stadium full of intoxicated fans goes black. The keyboard notes pierce the darkness. The lights work the ascending rhythm and the crowd goes nuts. It's pretty neat.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I haven’t seen them live since 1975 at Chicago Stadium. Incredible show by the most professional of groups.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Such a great song.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I shoulda said that I know the song well, just never heard "peanut" monkey in there. I always sing "fiendin' monkey."

  • In reply to JohnCC:

    "There's a bathroom on the right."

    "Hold on Lucy, and don't let go."

    And the most famous:

    "Excuse me, while I kiss this guy."

    Happens to all of us. I'm still figuring stuff out.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    The calliope crashed to the ground.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I always heard it as "Excuse me, while I piss the sky."

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Hard to argue with that BP, we should use this time to see what we have in a couple of the backups (Garcia, Happ, Kemp, Bote, Almora Jr., Caratini, etc.); and plan for next year.......

  • In reply to Treebeard:

    They already know what they have in the backups - A handful of games changes nothing

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Would seem he’s not soft but injury prone. Compare his time off for injuries to Javy and Rizzo. I’m guessing he leads by a year of injury issues compared to Rizzo and Javy.

    When he’s healthy he’s a good player but not worth what he and his agent are going to demand, so unless he carries them to another W/S appearance , if he’s not traded , he’ll probably be labeled as soft.

    I believe his agent leads to the fans complaints . Javy and Rizz have different agents and the agents’ reputation isn’t impacting fan feelings toward them.

    Just my guess.

  • In reply to stix:

    That's fair. Some people have better physical constitutions than others. We've seen it throughout baseball history, and all of sports, really. It's not a knock on the individual, it's biology.

    I've theorized that KB has a harder time dealing with injuries because he says he's never dealt with them. I've long said we need him to just run in an OF corner like a gazelle and hit like a HOF'er.

  • I could see the team trading a core player or two for prospects and signing a few stars like Anthony Rendon and / or Gerrit Cole. Cubs Network starts next year? Need to do something.

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    A pitcher has one goal ! keep the other team from scoring more runs than your team . Some pitchers have it = Lester , others don't = Darvish .

  • In reply to Ronald Dietzler:

    Can’t see how anyone can fault what Darvish has done in the last 2 months.....

  • In reply to Ronald Dietzler:

    Can't win very many games with a whopping two runs.

  • In reply to Ronald Dietzler:

    I’ve read a lot of dumb comments lately as we’ve all been really frustrated, but this takes first prize.

  • In reply to Ronald Dietzler:

    Really, like his last 10+ starts when he averages 4 innings and 7ER.

  • In reply to MiniMogul:

    Yeah, except, no. His K and BB #'s are incredibly impressive but he has been, IMO, too much in the zone and giving up the long ball.

    Your numbers are way off, and we could discuss this if you would like to.

  • In reply to MiniMogul:

    I’m assuming you mean Lester’s starts, not Darvish

  • In reply to Ronald Dietzler:

    Lol poor Darvish this guy just can't catch a break with the cubs fanbase no matter what he does. I think you and everyone will appreciate him more next year once his outstanding starts actually start turning to wins. He's either leading the league or close to the league lead in no decisions in outings he's given up 0-1 run. Those are gonna start turning into wins once this team actually starts to play better in his outings like they do in Lesters (FYI Lester is getting more run support).

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    First impressions. It's better for a player if he hits the ground running. That goes for free agents, trades, and from the farm. Fans figure it out eventually.

  • "… Oh, I've seen fire and I've seen rain.
    I've seen sunny days that I thought would never end.
    I've seen lonely times when I could not find a friend.
    But I always thought that I'd see you again. "

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    In reply to BarleyPop:

    very apropos. A perfect choice.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Thanks. Glad to see that someone sees a (sometimes) purpose to my insanity.

  • The season is pretty much over, and the buzzards are out in force around this team, so I'd just like to say that these guys will be back. They are winners, and have proved it in the past. They are good teammates, and have been a joy to watch over the last 5 years. Sure, there will be changes next year, and should,too, but they will bounce back.

    Looks at the SF Giants. They won 3 championships in 6 years, and are the closest thing to a dynasty in this era. But they did not even make the playoffs the season following any of those championships. Not once. So let's not get too carried away with personnel changes.

    I will add that the starting pitching staff has been the most disappointing, as far as I'm concerned. Lots of good, yes. Lots of bad, too. Overall a pretty mediocre bunch.

  • In reply to HefCA:

    I agree to an extent but where was our 2018 championship? 2016 was great but since then things are gradually getting worse. Other teams are better right now (Dodgers, Braves, etc.).

    These really good teams seem to have one thing in common. One through eight they are a tough out. The take pitches. They make the other pitcher work. The Cubs were like this in 2016. I have not seen it since. What I see is a boom or bust team that strikes out a lot.

  • In reply to HefCA:

    Starting pitching could be very different next year. Darvish may opt out, not sure Hamels is worth a qualifying offer and Quntana had a rough second half. They may not pick up his option but at $10.5M it is not too expensive.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    Darvish will not opt out
    Hamels will not receive a qualfying offer
    Qunitana will have his option picked up

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    Thanks for clearing this up. LOL

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    Cropdusting...

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Cropdusting? I don't get it.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    The act of disbursing one's stench during a quick visit. Others deal with the smell while the responsible party is long gone.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Or, to put another way, many of us have deep thoughts and we try to articulate them here. By putting ourselves and our ideas out there, we also invite criticism. When confronted with criticism we have to further articulate our thoughts and possibly defend them against an opposing point of view. Like, debate, and defend our views.

    Or you can do a drive-by critique and move on.

  • Cubs suffered 5 straight 1 run home losses to end this homestand/season. Tells me 2 things; they can’t hold the lead or can’t finish teams off. I think it’s both. I think Theo and company drops the deadweight(they know who it is) and adds 1 or 2 free agents. Confident he gets it done as I feel,he is one of top three execs in baseball. As they say “there’s always next year.”

  • In reply to Oldno7:

    Losing those 1 run games does not have to reavh either of your conclusions

  • I will abstain from my normal recap of the week. The Cubs are eliminated from the division. The not-so-magic (Elimination) Number for the playoffs is 3. MIL in CIN for 3 starting Tuesday.

    Many have already made similar points; I will add my own. I actually wrote that below before today’s loss.

    In the first three years of Maddon’s tenure as manager, the Cubs owned August and September, with one one of the best records in MLB for those months. These past 2 years, not so much. I wonder actually how much not having Dave Martinez as bench coach is responsible for this. Maddon could have saved his job, and clearly injuries and roster construction this year have made things challenging. However, I think everyone realizes that he will not be back.

    I am admittedly a supporter of Tom Ricketts. I know that a lot of people would have liked him to have spent even more money this year, but I cannot fault him for drawing a line and refusing to incur the harsher penalties of the soft cap. The Cubs have one of the highest payrolls in MLB, and 240+ M$ should be able to buy one of the best teams in MLB, not the inconsistency and 0.500 baseball we have seen from the Cubs since late May. If I were Ricketts, I would be none too happy to have ponied up 240+ M$ for this. Epstein often says that the team’s performance «is on me». I would like to see Ricketts confirm this and put Theo, Jed and Jason on the clock. Let them know that 240+ M$ should be enough for a deep October run without selling the farm (system), and should that not happen, then they won’t be around to see 2021. Yes, I know they are under contract through the 2021 season, but I hope that will not deter Ricketts from cleaning the management house if 2020 is a repeat of 2019.

    BP has alluded to changes already taking place in the FO, I hope he will reveal what he knows before Theo perhaps does so after the season is over.

  • In reply to CubsFanInNorway:

    Nice to see a little more of your thoughts than just a number post, Norway. It sucks that it took reaching the elimination number to bring it out, though.

    You are absolutely dead-on in your analysis. The tightening of the purse strings was in no way the Ricketts being cheap, it was the gradual loss of confidence in Theo's long-term goals. Theo and Co. are under contract through 2021, but that doesn't mean it's guaranteed. I doubt there is a change this offseason, but there is a buzz. The Ricketts will be here longer than Theo and have to protect their investment.

    The reason we won a Championship is the exact, but opposite, reason we hadn't won I over 100 years: competent ownership and competent management. The Ricketts saw an opportunity to build up a decrepit but neglected franchise. They know the business end and went about building the infrastructure of a sound financial investment. Then then did the right thing: they hired the best available baseball minds to run the baseball end. We will stay out of your business. Tell us what you need to build a winner.

    It worked, obviously, and I love it.

    But Theo has a history of not being able to maintain a winning franchise. When his contract is dwindling down and the albatross contracts are piling up, that free reign comes under scrutiny.

    The Ricketts have taken this franchise to the top, in every way. They gave Theo a blank check, an unlimited time frame, and complete autonomy to do his thing on the baseball end.

    That is no longer the case.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Thanks BP and Jonathan. I get where some of the fans clamoring for more spending are coming from, but they are not privy to Ricketts’ books. Someone knows how the debt payments and renovation costs are handled, but I doubt they post on this site. Besides, Ricketts is an investor, which means in bought the Cubs - in part - to make money. Given everything he has done for the organization, I can’t deny him that right. 240+ M$ should be enough to ensure the playoffs nearly every year. Maybe 2019 is just the exception that proves the rule.

    I am sure there a lots of bright minds in other organizations that are ripe for the chance to lead one of MLB’s flagship franchises, hopefully with fresh ideas outside of the group-think box that plauges MLB FOs. I would expect that Ricketts is already giving this due diligence, since the FO has only 2 years left on their contracts. However, Theo also knows his contract situation, and I am sure he would like another ring before he voluntarily or involuntarily cleans out his office. If I were Theo, though, I sure would like to know now what sort of baseball will be used in 2020.

  • In reply to CubsFanInNorway:

    There is only 1 team spending more. The budget is not the problem

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Here's the thing though, he doesn't have the albatross contracts here. Sure Heyward's deal isn't great but he's probably overpaid by $12 mil and that's not a killer. Darvish has proven he can be a #1 starter and I'm honestly not worried about Kimbrel bouncing back. You know what I said about him coming in, I was worried there was an injury and worried that he didn't have a ST. Those things manifested in spades. Besides that there is a ton of money coming off the books. You can't fill all the holes with money though. If you can sign Castellanos then you move Schwarber, if not it gets tougher. Then you're looking at Contreras, Baez or Bryant as the guy to move. Ideally you keep Baez for the energy he brings even though the bat is flawed. I'd move Bryant for the right deal but will someone meet that understandably high ask? That I don't know. His value is three top ten, near ready prospects from a good system with two being top five. That's a lot for a team to give up for two years of KB but it has to be the ask or it's foolish to move him. Unless I'm missing someone there are only two teams that could afford that in Houston and Atlanta. San Diego could too but those prospects aren't ready and he'd be a corner OF for them so it doesn't seem plausible. Contreras would probably net one of those top five prospects and maybe a MLB player and that very well might be what you have to do. Your'e still down to those same two teams though unless you could get the White Sox interested and we know those trades are problematic.

    I guess what I'm saying is that this isn't a team like the 2012 Phillies or current Giants saddled with bad paper and an aging roster. This team had six players over .800 OPS and have assets to move. It's a bad mix not an unfixable team. My biggest issue is this, can this FO adapt? I've been saying all season that the three outcome offense no longer works but does the FO understand that? Joe did but that seemed to me the bulk of the conflict between them. Also this "not believing" in a leadoff hitter has to stop. I bought it for a while, there is a numbers argument to support it, but the proof is in the pudding. You need a high OBP guy to start there for the whole season and a solid base runner would be a plus. I guess the question is can the FO adjust and change their philosophy? They've done it before in Boston but so far haven't had to do it here. Now they do, we'll see if they will.

  • In reply to TC154:

    I agree with almost everything you say TC. The one thing I'm not sure on though is Castellanos. He is very similar to most of the team with around 25% K rate & only a 6% BB rate for his career. Unless they are able to trade Heyward, I don't think he makes sense. When I looked at the Cubs salary for next year, after the arbitration increases, they will be right around the first tax threshold already, and that is without re-signing any of their free agents like Zo, Strop, Cishek, etc. If they sign Castellenos and trade Schwarber, then you increase that salary quite a bit plus give up one of your left handed bats. I think the only way you do that is if you can get immediate help with a high OBP CF that can lead off. I'm just not sure Schwarber is the piece that could get you that.

  • In reply to Cubpack:

    Castellanos has been right around 21% K rate for 3 years. Coincidentally that's what Schwarber has been since the ASB. I agree that's a difficult choice but you have to love Castellanos' drive and the doubles are awfully attractive. Of course you can't lose too many HR either. Difficult choices ahead but lots of MLB assets to work with.

  • In reply to TC154:

    I love everything about the way Castellanos plays. I guess I'm just not sure he makes the Cubs that much better compared to what he will cost. He has been on the team since the All Star break and they've not played any better as a team. But, as usual, you are right. Very difficult choices ahead and lots of assets to work with. I do have confidence the front office will make the best choices

  • In reply to TC154:

    I like your thinking here. I guess that the Cubs rushed Kimbrel a little without ST, even tho they tried not to do so. Also, at one point Kimbrel needed to be used three days in a row, after which his nagging Injuries started. With a good hot stove, I don't see why the Cubs cannot be right back in it. From what I observed from Nico, 'the boys' have one less hole to fill.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I would not count on Nico yet. Should start the year in the minors

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    His ST will determine that. If he excels I'm guessing he breaks camp with the team. He has a good approach we just have to see his adjustment back to the league.

  • In reply to TC154:

    A lot of that adjusting has to do with the individual players makeup and maturity. Certainly some AAA wouldn't hurt, but in a short sample, Hoerner looks ready. He is a little older.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    The problem is that the Cubs can't wait to see if Nico is ready in Spring Training. Either they pencil him into the lineup NOW, or they acquire a 2B during the offseason. That's a really tough decision. Maybe they can find a replacement for Zobrist who can play 2B and then take on a utility role when Hoerner is promoted. Maybe it will BE Zobrist...

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I think the Cubs get a 2b and Hoerner starts the year in the minors.
    Way too small a sample size to say he is ready. How many posters have complained about a number of other Cubs rushed through the minors and then not succeeding in the majors?

  • In reply to TC154:

    Also, the Cubs won't want to spend precious resources over the winter for a hole at second that can be filled from within the org.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I do not believe Kimbrel has pitched 3 days in a row this year. But, he of been over used because of no spring training.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    I could be remembering wrong? Stat guys?

  • In reply to CubsFanInNorway:

    Red Sox won last year and didn’t wait to oust Dombrowski this year. Not sure of the reasons for that but apparently not making the playoffs every yr is not accepted in Boston. Wasn’t Franconia also ousted shortly after winning the W/S.

    Not sure if the fans care but the salary cap does have a financial as well as draft impact. The new network may generate oodles of cash but the fines are heavy . How much of “not my money” fines do the fans expect is reasonable.

    Emptying the farm system makes “retooling” very expensive. Given Theo’s record on FA , i’m not sure he can retool effectively.

  • In reply to stix:

    I agree that retooling will be expensive without emptying the farm system, but, my read on Ricketts (and my personal feeling) is that it may be a conditionery caveat. As in «the more you empty the farm, the highet the bar to keep your job. Trade Nico Hoerner and Brailyn Marquez? Ok, you have to win the WS to be here in 2021.» That sort of caveat.

  • In reply to stix:

    The new network is not going to generate as much as antipated especially early on

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    LOL And you know this how?

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    It has been reported and comment by Crane Kenney

  • I’m not sure any Cub team from all the broken heart years could’ve so perfectly orchestrated a more bitter series sweep and end of a season than this group. 4 one run losses to their biggest rival - at home.

  • In reply to Ronson54:

    That was brutal.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Its really hard to believe. I don’t even think the Pirates would’ve been able to pull that off.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Make that 5 final home games, and each loss but one in the 9th or extra innings. I've been watching Cub games for more decades than I care to admit, and that was the worst stretch in my memory. "Brutal" is the exact word, BP.

  • In reply to Ronson54:

    It appeared that they were celebrating the 50th anniversary of 1969, and then emulated it.

  • Late inning heartbreak...
    Been happening all year, no reason to think it would change now.

  • Who knew that the end of the 2018 season would feel like a walk in the park compared to 2019?

    Yes, you can’t expect to win with two runs, but eight doesn’t work either. They’re doing just enough to lose by one run every day.

    2016 was great, but big changes will be coming in 2020, starting with Joe. And Hamels I think has pitched himself out of an extension.

  • The Cubs are in a very good position, to keep winning. The front office has flaws, but geez Theo traded for, and won the deals for Rizzo, Arrieta, Strop, Hendrix, & Fowler. Drafted Bryant, and helped with the development of Baez, and Contreras. They have a bad track record with high priced free agents, overpaid on some trades, & the most disappointing, done a poor job with amatuer scouting/player development....

    I think any owner would of been hard pressed to find another front office able to turn the pile of garbage Theo inherited, into a world series winner! What this front office is good at is midseason trades, and accumulating assets. They should focus more on accumulating assets, just like when they were building a winner. I'm not talking about a teardown.

    Hopefully the player development, and amatuer scouting will get better with the changes it looks like they are in the process of making.

  • In reply to Naujack:

    Interesting!

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    We need a prototypical centerfielder/ledoffman

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    First of all, I'd like to hear more of Norway's thoughts. You are insightful and knowledgeable and more than just our countdown genie.
    We won because we built up our farm system and scouting division and hired smart people to run them. Our payroll was sufficient it was just misspent in some places. We have not developed our draft choices or IFAs to have at least 1 come up every year and push one of major leaguers. We have had pitchers in the top 5 of our system for years but then they get injured or just don't make it. That has to change. Right now only Marquez is a difference maker I see in our system--maybe Brennen Davis too.
    As much as I hate to admit it, we know that StL does it almost every year. I see someone like Edman come up and succeed and get timely hits. We do that and we'll be in Grant Park again.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    You don't see Hoerner and his line drive all field approach being a difference maker?

  • In reply to KJRyno:

    Not Jonathan, but I don't, at least not yet. I think he definitely is the type of hitter they need more of with his bat to ball skills. But I would prefer to see Nico spend a little time in AAA next year to work on his swing. I haven't looked up the numbers, but he seems to be too much of a ground ball/slap hitter. My bet is his ground ball rate is close to 70% in these last few weeks. I'd love to see him develop more loft in his swing to get more line drives and drive the ball more, especially before two strikes. If he is able to do that and then adjust his swing back to what he does now with two strikes so he can keep his strike outs low, then he can become a difference maker. That is much easier said than done though.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Could not agree more, JF.

    Edman was a 6th round pick in 2016, a replacement for Matt Carpenter who was a 13th round pick in 2009.

    The Cubs just have not had that type of "luck". I don't know if it is mostly a drafting failure or a failure of player development.

    Cards every year seem to find just what they need internally.

  • In reply to MilwaukeeRoad:

    I just looked at the Cardinals 2016 draft- they had 3-1st round picks. They drafted some talent
    D Carlson 1st-of Card #1 prospect
    D. Hudson 1st- rhp-mlb traded to AZ
    Z. Gallen 3rd=rhp-mlb traded to Marlins
    T. Edman 6th-mlb IF/OF
    A. Kinzer 7th-catcher-#3 rated prospect

    Makes me sick.... I don't think the Cubs will end up with close to that much talent from the 15/16/17 drafts combined. Looks like Cubs are shaking up that department, and I can see why.

  • Let me make the case for robo-ump as part of the makeover. In 2016 we had a team designed to master the strike zone, and they pulled it off, robo-ump notwithstanding. Since then, accelerated by the physical changes in the ball, the hitters (particularly YOUNG hitters), frustrated by the poor umpiring and intrigued by the swing plane revolution, made the decision to follow the latter. "If the SOB is going to call me out with pitches 2 inches out of the zone, I'll just take my chances and swing like hell at anything that is close. After all, drives that used to die on the track are now flying out of here at a record pace. And there's nothing quite as exciting as a dinger, besides that's where the big bucks lie."

    I want to reiterate once again that the fault is not with the umpiring per se, but with the higher powers that have given the home plate umpire a job which technology has proven is an impossible job.

    The Commissioner and his minions have the ability to negotiate this problem away, and the sooner they do it, the better off the game will be. Let the outcome of games be decided by the skills of the players and not by the errors of the umpires. This year especially, baseball in general has been very difficult for me to watch, with the three true outcomes dominating almost every game--it's boring and makes my wife's honey-do list all the more attrctive.

  • In reply to wthomson:

    The game will not be better with a robo ump

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    Please elaborate.

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    So do you like umpires poor calls on balls/strikes in games? Missing a strike 3 for what would have been an end to the inning to now be a game changing homer on the very next pitch? Calling strike 3 on a ball out of the zone? Players & managers getting ejected for umpires poor decisions? You like all of that? That’s “better” than getting the calls right, or at the very least, consistent?

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    Don't just go by the "box" on your tv to judge

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    In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    I want the robo ump. It sickens me when I see so many egregious calls during the games, and it’s not just one or two but double digit mistakes during the game.
    It’s funny that baseball replay can take minutes to see if a finger is off the base but won’t correct the position that makes many, many of them each game.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I agree JF, I’m ready for the robo ump. If they’re not going to do that, they at least need to get rid of the box on the tv. My guess is the umps aren’t worse than they were before, but now with the box, we can clearly see every missed call. I enjoyed it more when I thought maybe it was a bad call, but there wasn’t a box confirming it

  • In reply to Cubpack:

    The box is not a accurate representation

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    If it's not an accurate representation, then that is more reason to take it off of the TV screen. I am for the robo ump now, but if not, at least take the box off my screen.

  • I do think there have to be some significant chances within the FO, as well as (probably) on the team. Not a complete makeover, but there needs to be changes in scouting, player development, ability to find talent. The big offensive change at the beginning of the season was letting La Stella go, and trading him in for Descalso. That didn't work out.
    Actual pitching development in the minors is almost nonexistent. I know there are lots of people spending time working with the pitchers, but we are simply not getting positive growth from pitchers. To be fair, the BP pipeline is pretty healthy. But only two pitchers with superior talent (talent that can't be white washed with bad coaching, thank Gawd) are making any kind of progress.

    'Marquez and Alzolay'
    'Then for rain we'll pray'

    But kidding aside, changes need to be made to the talent acquisition, evaluation, and training folks also. Changes to philosophy along with personnel.

  • In reply to HefCA:

    Changing out LaStella a bech player was not a big change

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    Are you referring to LaStella the AL All-Star (;-) ?

  • In reply to wthomson:

    Note that 5 ex-Cubs (Chapman, Vogelbach, LaStella, Torres & LeMahieu--all but 1 traded away) made the All-Star team, while only 3 current (Baez, Contreras & Bryant) Cubs were on the squad.

  • In reply to wthomson:

    This really isn't a helpful comparison. Vogelbach hit a robust .211 this year and looks like a cement mixer doing donuts in the outfield. Torres was swapped for a WS win and worth it. Nobody saw La Stella's improvement, and nobody knows if he'll repeat it. 29 teams whiffed on LeMahieu.

  • In reply to wthomson:

    Not to mention Jorge Soler and his 45 home runs and 110 rbi’s. Not to mention Eloy Jimenez and Dylan Cease? Not to mention Jeimer Candaleria?
    Also, what happened to Carl Edwards Jr who was blossoming under Bosio?

  • In reply to wthomson:

    LaStella is just 2017 Descalso......that was no loss.

  • In reply to wthomson:

    LaStella would have sat on the bench and not have been an all star or had the break out year if he had stayed in Chicago.

  • In reply to wthomson:

    Yes, LaStella that hit 300 this season?

  • In reply to Roe Skidmore:

    The Angels played LaStella because they had no better options.....he would have never started for the Cubs.....and then he benefited from the juiced baseball. Lamenting not having LaStella is unrealistic.....he would have never played here.

  • In reply to HefCA:

    I wouldn’t count out Tyson Miller, Corey Abbott, Riley Thompson. There’s a couple more guys to watch as well. Gallardo, Franklin, Sanders, Jensen & Keegan Thompson to name a few & some others.

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    I really hope you are right, but two years ago you could have replaced those names with Hatch, Lange, Underwood, and last year with three other pitchers who since have not broken through.
    We have been hoping for that next wave of pitchers for at least 3 years now. I'm at the point where I feel the only pitchers who break thru in a big way will be despite the coaching, not because of it. That means only pure talent, which can't be coached away, will make it.

  • I wonder if this might be the time to offer extensions to certain core players. If they don't want to sign one you trade 'em.

    Sign the players that want to be Cubs long term and restock the farm with players that don't. They're not expiring deals, so they'll have value.

    Anyway, I expect plenty of activity.
    Hey, isn't Dave Dombrowski available? Hmmmm...

  • In reply to hoffpauir6:

    I agree - as the amount of control on individual players shrinks, so does trade value. It's a good time to test the waters and make some decisions. You'd hate to see the team make trades only to find out they can't resign the ones they kept!

  • That's how I think it should be approached as well. I really hope they take a step back and ask themselves, "Is the team, as currently constructed, as good as the Dodgers or Astros this year, or Red Sox last season?" Sure, they could make some minor changes and put out a winning team next year, but I really want another super team like 2016. A team with great pitching, defense, hitting, depth, payroll flexibility, and a farm system that can allow them to add a significant piece at the deadline. I'd rather suffer through a down year or two with a goal of a World Series, then root for a team that is in it throughout the season, but is clearly not as good as the other elite teams. I mean let's face it, even if the Cubs has won the division, did anyone really think they could beat the Braves, Dodgers, and Astros?

  • In reply to Cubs09:

    Dodgers & Braves, probably not, but who knows. I didn't think they could have beat the Astros for sure though. But I was watching the Stros Sunday and surprised in how similarly they were built to the Cubs, yet how different it has turned out. They also spent almost all of their draft capital (Bregman, Correa, Springer, Tucker, etc.) and IFA money (Altuve, Alvarez, Gurriel) on position players. The few FA signings like Brantley have turned into gold for them.
    Their rotation is almost all trades with a few FA. Verlander, Cole, Greinke, Miley, Devinski, Osuna, Peacock, Pressley, etc.. I think the only pitcher they've drafted and developed that is helping them now is Josh James. So is it their scouting is that much better? Or is it their player development? My guess is it's the player development, especially at the major league level. Verlander & Cole were just average pitchers when they traded for them. They'll be 1 & 2 in the Cy Young this year. Brantley was always good, but he's been even better this year.

  • In reply to Cubpack:

    They are very similar that they both did total teardowns.

    The astros have picked up MLB pitchers on the cheap, and got them to improve. Astros still have a good minor league system.

    Cubs are closer to teams like the Brewers, Diamondbacks, Rockies, Phillies, & Mets. Cubs are a good team with some great players. Cubs are good, not great.

  • September crash and burn. Is what it is. But kudos to the Crew. Cubs could have put them away. Instead they started the Cubs swan song with the Pirates mirage slipped in there. Now they have a great chance to pass the Nats. Without Yelich.

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    If we want to address who to keep next year I would look at the stats for the last two years but with no names attached. That way we don’t have the emotional way we do when talking about a particular player. I don’t want to look only at BA or OBP but hitting with RISP it 2 outs or late in games, etc.
    Or with pitchers do they walk men with men on base or late in games, etc.
    It reminds me of the opening scenes in Moneyball when all the scouts are talking about “names” and Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill are looking at what’s really important.

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    In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I don’t want to dismiss actually watching players play because that shows many things that aren’t just stats, such as going from first to third, hitting behind the runner, throwing to the right base, etc.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Yeah, but "what's his girlfriend look like?" is probably taking it too far...

  • Something to think about going into the offseason. Once again Scott Boras will be front and center with Rendon, Castellanos and possibly Strasburg and J.D. Martinez if they opt out. Now don’t get me wrong I am in no way a Boras hater, in fact I think he’s good for the game in some ways, but he does hold up signings even with the guys he doesn’t represent because of the finite money teams have to spend. For a team like the Cubs that has to make some quick decisions this may not be a good thing. Heaven forbid it’s another drawn out process like last year

  • In reply to TC154:

    My guess is a drawn out process is going to be the new normal.

  • Jon hey man reporting mark Loretta as favorite for cubs next manager. Thank God if this becomes true. Bye bye grandpa!

  • In reply to Oldno7:

    That's a pretty easy guess to make, but Heyman covered the DeRosa and Ross possibilities, too. It's entirely speculation at this point. The talking heads are interviewing each other while they wait for news.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Agreed. Personally I would prefer Loretta over Ross

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    Go get Gerit Cole. He can be the Jon Lester for this generation. Also, one of the biggest mistake Theo made was not trading for Verlander. He’s still going strong and I think we could have won at least 1 and maybe more titles.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Theo already traded for q about a month earlier. No top prospects left to trade to Detroit. I think astros sent 3 of their top 10 prospects for Verlandet. But yes I wish verlander would have been a cub too!

  • In reply to Oldno7:

    Theo’s biggest regret is the jhey signing!

  • In reply to Oldno7:

    Yeah, and we have him for four more long years.

  • In reply to Oldno7:

    I do think they will try to trade JHey in the offseason. It will take eating 30-35M to make it happen, if you value him as a 2.0WAR player going forward.

    Guesstimate is that the Cubs would have 55-60M to make FA signings this offseason. Its possible they extend Baez or Bryant, but not both. They each have two arb years left.

  • In reply to LAX2ORD:

    I hope so. The good part of his deal was it was front loaded. His salaryis like 20 million per year now. The only hard part of his contract is the deferred compensation. He is set to receive like 5 million a year for 5 years after contract expires I think. Who is on the hook for that?

  • In reply to Oldno7:

    What I have read. Heyward will count $23 million against the penalty/tax cap---for the next 4 seasons 2020 through 2023..

    Actual dollars owed to Heyward
    $86 million from 20-23 ---- plus another $20 million for the deferred signing bonus

    Deferred signing bonus that actual is already factored in his $23 million cap number.
    Heyward can block deals to 12 teams... after this season.

    Why would any team take on much extra payroll, for Heyward?
    Any Heyward deal the Cubs would have to offsets most of the remaining salary with money, and/or bad contracts coming back.

    Maybe the Cubs could do a deal with Seattle

  • In reply to Naujack:

    I assume you are referring to the Milton Bradley for Carlos Silva deal.

  • In reply to Oldno7:

    I was thinking the current Seattle GM loves to make trades, and he also has some less desirable, but shorter contracts like
    D. Gordon & K. Seager.

  • In reply to Naujack:

    Thx for the info! Pretty much untradeable.

  • In reply to Oldno7:

    I think he is tradeable. I personally don't see in this new era, teams taking on big payroll obligations, for guys like Heyward, without additional compensation.

  • In reply to LAX2ORD:

    I’m not sure on that 55-60M. I believe the Cubs will be just north of $200M with the arbitration increases for Bryant, Baez & Schwarber and Contreras & Almora being 1st time arb eligible. That would include picking up Q’s option but not Morrow. It also wouldn’t include any of the FA like Zobrist, Strop, Cishek, Kintzler or picking up Phelps option. So they would have to spend at least a little money on the pen. So they will for sure already be beyond the first tax threshold. And the penalties increase each year you stay above it. So I guess I’m saying I’m not sure they will have much to spend if they want to stay under the 2nd and 3rd tiers of penalties

  • In reply to Oldno7:

    Letting Bosio go truly affected our team. He was brilliant as a pitching coach, revived many a career.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Cole is going to California with a very dark horse being the Yankees. Strasburg might be a possibility if he opts out.

  • In reply to TC154:

    I think it’s impossible to predict at this point. I remember you were as definitive that Harper had to sign with the Yankees or Dodgers because he was all about being a bright lights, big city guy. I don’t believe either team even made an offer. I personally think the fact Cole is from California means very little.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Does Verlander hit with RISP? Does he pitch in the BP on days he doesn’t start? He definitely would be a better pitcher than any of the starters but he still doesn’t pitch complete games. Also do you think the Cubs would have changed his pitching style like Houston did?

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    In reply to stix:

    If it works for Houston why don't the Cubs do it?

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