Passage of Time--Pirates 9 Cubs 5

Nothing ultimately changed after tonight's loss. The Cubs fortunes in 2019 and 2020 are exactly the same as they would be if they had won, but the extended goodbye to a golden era of Cubs baseball continued. This time it was Jose Quintana's possible turn. It was once an unthinkable notion, but the potentially cash strapped Cubs might be in the position to decline the club friendly options they hold on Quintana. If that was Q's last start it was a fitting if disappointing note to end his Cubs career on. Nothing was learned tonight one way or the other about the 2020 Cubs, and it is a hard goodbye to continue to have to make this season.

WPA CHART

Source: FanGraphs

Q continued his downward spiral with a first inning lead surrendered. Jose Quintana retired the first two batters he faced but Melky Cabrera and Jose Osuna hit back to back singles to extend the inning. Pablo Reyes tripled the pair in to give the Pirates an early 2-0 lead.

Joe Musgrove dominated the Cubs lineup once again. The Cubs could not manage a base hit for four whole innings against the big right hander. Robel Garcia drew a two out walk in the first inning. That would be the only Cubs base runner until David Bote singled with one out in the fifth inning.

The top of the Pirates order delivered in the bottom of the third inning. Kevin Newman led off with a single. Adam Frazier singled back up the middle. Cabrera struck out swinging, but Jose Osuna's double extended the Pirates lead to four runs. Pablo Reyes singled but Osuna was thrown out at the plate for the second out. Jacob Stallings ripped a single to score Reyes making it a 5-0 game.

The Pirates continued their odd inning trend with Osuna and Reyes combining for a two out rally. Reyes ground rule double put the pair in scoring position. Jacob Stallings reached on a tough luck error on Addison Russell. Jake Elmore singled, and that put the Pirate advantage to seven runs.

Daniel Descalso pinch hit for Quintana in the top of the sixth inning and he reached base on catcher's interference. Tony Kemp drew a walk from Musgrove. Ian Happ doubled and the Cubs had two runs with no outs. Garcia struck out swinging for the first out. Victor Caratini singled and Jonathan Lucroy drove in Happ on a groundout. David Bote was caught looking to end the inning with the Cubs now down 7-3.

David Underwood Jr. was tasked with keeping the Cubs in the game, but Corban Joseph smacked a pinch hit double to start the bottom half of the frame. He scored on Adam Frazier's one out single. Melky Cabrera doubled to score Frazier to push the Pirates back to 9 runs against Cubs pitchers. Underwood managed to retire Osuna and Reyes for the first time to end the inning, but it was a 9-3 ballgame.

Addison Russell greeted new pitcher Chris Stratton with a single. Albert Almora Jr. and Daniel Descalso flew out for the next two plate appearances, but pesky Tony Kemp roped a double into left to score Russell. Nico Hoerner dumped a single into shallow center to score Kemp making it a 9-5 game. Williams Jerez struck out Robel Garcia to end the seventh.

Dillon Maples pitched a clean seventh for the Cubs. Jerez faced two batters in the top of the eighth issuing a one out walk to Jonathan Lucroy. Parker Markel was summoned and got David Bote to hit into an inning ending double play. That at least made Rob Manfred happy with a few quick innings to shave some time off the clock. James Norwood worked around a one out walk and two out single to give the Cubs a chance in the ninth.

The Cubs could not even muster a tease rally against Parker Markel in the ninth. The Cubs went in order as they lost their ninth straight game. The Cubs leave Pittsburgh still in free fall.

Random Reference
There is a certain awful symmetry to the 2019 campaign. The season began with a terrible skid and it is going to end with an even bigger thud. The streak of 90 plus wins and playoff appearances is history. The losing streak meanwhile has hit nine.

Comments

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  • Is the game over...? Man I can’t watch this. It’s a bummer & I love the Cubs. But I can’t watch it. I watched enough bad Cub baseball to the bitter ends in my life, that I just can’t put this mess on. I’ll root for them from afar to get a better draft pick. I’ll root for them to make some great off season moves. But I can’t watch them getting whooped like they are now.

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    I feel the same way. It's my team, but it's embarrassing to publicly admit it right now.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    I know. Next spring training can’t get here soon enough. I do look forward to seeing what’s going to happen in the hot stove season, but getting to that point now is going to be a drag. Go Braves...? I dislike the other NL options.

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    I love the Cubs been a fan since late 80's. Normally I agree

    Not me I am ready for a baseball break. There was so much with this season to me was wrong. Don't need to beat dead horses on any of examples. But yeah hopefully for a much better next year

  • On a brighter note, Descalso had 3 ABs. Got to first on a catcher's interference, and only struck one of his other two at bats. Wait'll next year. I predict he'll be better than his .175 BA. Why is he even playing?

  • I think it’s OK to save yourself some time and skip the player links, Mike. No one is going to click on those to read more information. :-(

  • On the upside, Theo' s strength is reviving programs. He has done it in Boston and on the north side. This one needs reviving. Signing free agents and trading is a crap shoot. Sometimes it can go sour. Of late, he has had some hits and misses, but Theo is going to be here and can be a quick learner. Personally, I'm glad we still have him. Let me be the first to predict a 2020 World Championship!

  • The next 3 games at St Louis is now the Cubs playoffs.

    Maddon's initial comments were not encouraging however I will hold my powder to see if this team has any pride left.

  • In reply to MilwaukeeRoad:

    Looks like the players quit on Maddon. There must be a lot going on internally.

  • wish the cubs could at least ruin the cardinals season and let the brewers take the NL Central from them. so their weak offense gets exposed in a one game playoff vs strasburg or Scherzer or Corbin but the cubs look like they have given up smh.

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    Nice write up about the cubs inability to draft and develop pitching thru the draft and the cards ability to draft pitching and develop them.
    It seems the main difference is the cards use their high picks on pitching and the cubs use their top picks on hitters, the cards lead all of baseball since Theo has been here with roughly a 25 war and the cubs have a 2 war over the same period, finishing 25th. I've been adamant about our drafting position players the last few years, couldn't figure out why we didn't draft young pitchers with our top picks, all the way back to Almora over Giolito, I gues the cards are just smarter than our top people, irregardless of their
    extra picks for so called small market...

  • In reply to tater:

    The more & better picks a team has the better chance of getting more that are decent. Since 2014 where have the cards finished? The Cubs beat em in the playoffs. This is the 1st time since that they have even sniffed a division title. With all of those successful draft picks, they still hadn’t done very well. I’ll take the last 5 years of Cubs vs the last 5 of cardinals.

  • In reply to tater:

    The Cardinals also have multiple players from the mid rounds who developed. They seem to do that multiple years in a row. Cardinals just picked, and developed more players than the Cubs.

    I like the idea about draft bats early, I agree with the strategy about less risk. I wish the Cubs would pick more hitters in the 1st and 2nd rounds. If the Cubs develop a few more bats, they would be able to have at least 3 high price pitchers in their starting rotation. They should be a player when top notch pitchers hit the free agent market. That said they need to develop back end starters, and power arm relief pitchers regularly.

    It looks like to me as a complete outsider the Cubs reach for guys then pay them slot or near slot value. Where is the value in that?

    It seems like the Cubs have gone out of their way to avoid drafting power arms.

    This years draft, is like most Cubs drafts after the 1st round.
    Draft college relief pitchers in the 3rd and 4th. 5th year college senior in the 7th and paid him $50K, other teams pay 5th years seniors between $2,500 to $10,000 most of the time... Didn't sign the 10th and 11th round draft pick. Maybe everyone they picked is a great player.

    It looks like they are remaking that department, & better late than never. They have developed David Bote after the 1st rounds, and zero pitching.

  • I never like the Quintana trade and have no confidence when he pitches. Hes a 5 at best. Awful trade. I hear some want to get rid of Epstein and I disagree. How many have won more.I still like Maddon also but..I'm afraid they will tear this team apart. We have a lot of great players here and I'd like to add more not subtract. Of course if trades help us we should trade. We need pitching for sure and we should look at whats available. We need starters but for sure but for the bull pen I think Igleses from the Reds could be had. I think he could close. I'm just frustrated and need to rant.

  • In reply to rockyje:

    A lot of great players...?

    I would say we have a number of Ok players and 2-3 who are above average but I don’t see any greatness here.

    Báez is a very good all round player. A number of others still have potential but which of the players are true leaders...? Players who hold this others accountable and push the others to give their best. All I have seen this year and last is coasting. Players playing on their reputation rather than to their potential.

    How many are going to get close to HOF...?

    As I said earlier, this year it was more fun to go to South Bend than Wrigleyville. And that is a damning comment on players who didn’t play hard or display any baseball-smarts.

  • 33 wins in about 2 1/2 yrs. seems to be better than a 5. Pitched very poorly in September but was better earlier this yr. if you can find the cubs a pitcher for his salary, they’d be happy to hear from you.

    He came as a 3 and at worst is a 4.

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