W! -- Cubs 8, Cardinals 2

The Chicago Cubs finally snapped their loser streak with an 8-2 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday night.

Kyle Schwarber hit a two-out double off of Cardinals starter Dakota Hudson but was not able to score, as Willson Contreras struck out swinging for the third out (the first came on a Tony Kemp strikeout and a groundout to second from Ben Zobrist).

Alec Mills had a successful bottom of the first for the Cubs. Dexter Fowler had a strikeout in the leadoff spot, followed by a single from Tommy Edman. After striking out Paul Goldschmidt he gave up a walk to Marcell Ozuna, but Yaider Molina flew out to center field and Albert Almora Jr made an excellent catch to end the inning.

The Cubs had a chance to score in the third, with the bases loaded with two outs after consecutive walks to Kemp, Zobrist, and Schwarber, but Contreras struck out to end the threat.

Matt Carpenter put the Cardinals on the board 1-0 in the fourth inning with a solo home run.

Giovanny Gallegos replaced Hudson in the six inning and gave up a leadoff home run to Ian Happ to tie it at 1-1. Almora grounded into a forceout and advanced to first but appeared to pull something in his knee on the play. Javier Báez came in to pinch run for him. Kemp grounded out back to the pitcher to end the inning.

Defensive switches for the Cubs in the bottom of the sixth included Kemp moving from right to center field, Zobrist moving from second to right field, Robel García remaning in the game at second after pinch hitting, and Steve Cishek relieving Mills. Mills went five innings with five hits, one run (earned), two walks, and nine strikeouts.

Cishek faced Molina first, who lined out to center field. Carpenter followed with a walk, but Paul DeJong grounded into a forceout with Carpenter out at second. After walking Harrison Bader, Cishek was pulled and replaced by Brad Wieck. Wieck got a swinging strikeout from pinch hitter José Martínez for out three.

The Cubs broke it open in the seventh. Zobrist got it going with a walk from new pitcher Andrew Miller. Contreras then singled, and Happ doubled to score Zobrist. Contreras then scored on a wild pitch from Miller and the Cubs were ahead 3-0. Victor Caratini was hit by a pitch and Miller was then replaced by Ryan Helsley. Nico Hoerner singled to score Happ, and after a flyout from pinch hitter Jonathan Lucroy, García homered to put the Cubs ahead 7-1. Kemp doubled, and in his second at-bat of the inning, Zobrist singled to score Kemp. Now down 8-1, Helsley was pulled and Genesis Cabrera came in to pitch and finally recorded the third out on a flyout to center from Schwarber.

Kyle Ryan took the mound in the bottom of the seventh for the Cubs, Kemp moved from center to right field, Happ moved from third base to center field, and David Bote replaced Lucroy, playing third base. Ryan got Fowler to ground out to first base for the first out but then walked Edman and gave up a single to Ozuna after a flyout from Goldschmidt. Rowan Wick took over on the mound after the Ozuna single and gave up an RBI single to Molina to bring the score to 8-2. Wick then hit Carpenter with a pitch but got DeJong to fly out to center to end the inning.

Mike Mayers replaced Cabrera in the top of the eighth and got flyouts from Contreras and Happ and a called strikeout from Caratini.

Pedro Strop had a 1-2-3 bottom of the eighth, with a groundout from Bader, a strikeout from pinch hitter Rangel Ravelo, and a flyout from Fowler.

The Cardinals sent Junior Fernández to the mound for the ninth. He got a groundout to short from Hoerner but followed by hitting Bote with a pitch. García grounded into a forceout with Bote out at second for the second out, and the Cubs half of the inning ended on a strikeout from Kemp.

Addison Russell entered the game at second base and Brandon Kintzler took over pitching. He got two quick outs, with a lineout to right from Edman and a strikeout from Goldschmidt. Bote made a diving stop to snag a ball in play from Ozuna, but Caratini was unable to recover the ball at first and Ozuna was on board with a single. Molina singled in the next at-bat, but Carpenter flew out to center to end the game.

 

WPA CHART

Source: FanGraphs

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    Hmmm....tough choice would we like to see the Brewers or Cards win the division?!

  • In reply to Scott Tomkiewicz:

    Tough choice, but I really despise the Cardinals. I hope Mills gets a serious look next spring for a spot on the staff, maybe even starting. I know it’s a small sample size, but he has 9.2 innings with 7 hits, 1 earned run, 4 walks, and 15 strikeouts against a Cardinal team playing with a lot on the line. Can’t wait for next season. Go Cubs

  • In reply to 1945AD:

    I agree on Mills. He's been really good in the pen and starting.

    And I would really love to see the Cubs knock the Cardinals off from the division perch. I dislike the Brewers, but really despise the red birds. It would be a sugar sprinkled on the sh*t sundae that has been the last two weeks of the season.

  • In reply to Scott Tomkiewicz:

    Given my first game in person as a yute was Brewers-Orioles at County Stadium (with Gramps) in Robin Yount's rookie season I'll be pulling for the Crew for the duration. Besides that they're a scrappy lot that should have been toast early this month.

  • In reply to Cubmitted:

    I too saw Robin Yount in his rookie season. I took my grandfather to a Sunday game, cold as hell. Sat in the Mezzanine for the first and only time. I’ll also pull for the Crew and the Twins.

  • In reply to Scott Tomkiewicz:

    A no brainer. Knock cards out of 1st place would be great.

  • In reply to Scott Tomkiewicz:

    I live in WI. And Brewers fans are horrible if you happen to be a Cubs fan living up here. Very rude and condescending
    So, never thought I’d say it, but I’ll be rooting for the Cubs to lose the next two. And then rooting for the Nats to destroy the Brewers in the wild card game

  • I dont’ know if was a health thing or not, but Strop has been really good his last handful of outings. Making a play to return next year.

  • Is a final little streak by Happ enough to raise a little stock in his trade value?

  • In reply to JohnCC:

    He certainly has trade value. In less than 150 PAs, he is a 1 WAR player this year. That's about a 4 WAR player if he played a full season. Even more telling, he has an .851 OPS, which is very good and close to excellent for a hitter. Even higher than Javy's, if you can believe that. I know people like to rag on him, but yes, he has value.

  • In reply to HefCA:

    He isn’t going to bring much in return by himself. His 1 WAR doesn’t mean anything.

  • In reply to JohnCC:

    I'll say it again. SH's with pop aren't falling out of trees. He was rushed to the show. One more year of TC with three ARB years left. My hope is the FO keeps their powder dry on that one.

  • In reply to Cubmitted:

    I've rooted for Happ but honestly I've never liked his game. His swing is so long and seems slow. He's not a second baseman, nor a center fielder. How does he fit a contending team? He isn't a starter or even a platoon starter, in my opinion. He was rushed to the majors and now stuck in a similar position that Schwarber was last year; young player with pedigree, shows flashes of a high ceiling bat but in underdeveloped and not good enough to start on team with championship aspirations.

    They Cubs stymied themselves in 2017 and 18 with too many players like this that could not bring themselves to trade due to all of the potential. If Happ's potential value can be traded in part for current MLB talent then it has to be done.

  • In reply to JohnCC:

    Couldn't agree more. Everyone knows the Cubs need more contact bats, but nobody wants to sacrifice a current player to get them. I wouldn't say he's a "must trade," but I certainly make him available.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Everybody also knows that the Cubs need some players who can drive in runs.

    SSS, but Ian has driven in 26 runs in 148 PAs this year. Over a full season, that would lead the 2019 Cubs and be right up there with NL RBI leaders Rendon, Freeman, Alonso, and Arenado.

    Unless someone blows us away with an offer, I would hold onto Ian Happ for at least one more year.

  • In reply to DropThePuck:

    Doing the "on pace" average for Happ's small hot streak and extrapolating that he could be Rendon, Freeman, or Arenado is more than a reach.

  • In reply to JohnCC:

    What's wrong with Ian's defense?

    His lifetime fielding percentages are .980 (at 2B), .984 (.CF), and .983 (total).

    Compare that to Javy's lifetime .978 (at 2B) and .971 (total) or
    Jason's .987 (CF) and .988 (total)

    And you do realize that his modified swing has allowed him to reduce his K rate from 2018's 36% to this year's 25%.

  • In reply to DropThePuck:

    Fielding percentage isn’t a be-all barometer of defensive ability, but I don’t agree with people’s assessments that he’s a butcher. I don’t think you want a team full of Happs in the field, but you can certainly live with one.

    I do think that Happ’s limitations highlight the Cubs deficiency in development at the minor league level. As stated in the above post, this front office has consistently rushed players through the system, and there are going to be consequences to that. I hope that Hoerner is not a victim of that deficiency, as well.

  • In reply to DropThePuck:

    To compare Happ and Javy by using fielding percentage highlights the deficiency of the stat. Javy gets to balls that few others can and he makes plays that no one else does. I did not call Happ a butcher at either position but his range at 2B is limited, he isn't fluid or quick. If he could hit like Chase Utley it would be on thing, but he doesn't. At CF I want more natural athleticism and speed, instinctive jumps, Happ isn't a natural CF to me. Plus, isn't CF one of the only positions that the Cubs can potentially upgrade with some speed, contact, and OBP? Happ will never be a leadoff man.

    The OPS stat is problematic for me. Just as BA is problematic on it's own, it tells a limited story about a hitter. Happ's OPS of .800 or 850 that was referenced early is a good number, for certain, but watching Happ hit you know that he is close to a true three-outcome hitter. He walks a lot, K's a lot, and rarely puts the ball in play. To me, Batting Average and OPS should be considered together, one without the other can be too misleading.

  • In reply to JohnCC:

    OPS is a very accurate barometer for a player's offensive value. It is nothing like BA. It combines a person's ability to hit with power (slugging) with the ability to get on base (OBP), both of which are better than BA. You can quibble that they should be weighted differently, but that is a very small quibble.

    If you don't believe me, check out the top 10 NL hitters in BA (with qualifying appearances) on the ESPN web list, and then compare that list with the top 10 OPS hitters in the NL. Sure, there are very good hitters in the BA list, but some mediocre hitters in it, too. But the OPS list? That is the cream of the league in offense. Always will be.

  • In reply to DropThePuck:

    Happ is good enough to be on the roster, not good enough to be traded. He may improve next year; let’s see.

  • I must confess that I opted out of the 2nd half of the game to go see a movie (a very interesting and sweet film -- "Yesterday") so I missed all of the excitement. Looking forward to a 7th inning breakfast.

  • In reply to wthomson:

    Ole Lady dragged me off to see Downton Abbey......it wasn’t too bad actually.....turned the game off when Hudson had 10 K’s and we were down 1-0......nice surprise when we got home.....

  • In reply to Wickdipper:

    Wonderful that your "lovely bride" was able to expose you to a bit of culture on a Friday night. ;-)

  • In reply to Cubmitted:

    She runs the show.....I’m good with it :)

  • In reply to wthomson:

    The peach pancakes were excellent; the 7th inning even better!

  • Headline should read Iowa Cubs 8 St. Louis 2.

  • I believe that the Cubs should do a restructuring after the last two failed seasons. I haven’t logged in for a few years but find this off-season intriguing. We need major changes in the starting rotation and bullpen. Along with the position players.

    We can easily be an excellent team going forward but as I use to say to John and Michael, we need to develop our own and quit spending the big bucks for free agents.

    My first thought for the Starting pitchers; Let Cole Hamels go FA, do not bring back Q. Let the AAAA pitchers and upper minor pitchers compete for the 4th, 5th, 6th starters. If someone wants Lester, trade him.

    I love What Joe Maddon has done for this team but... we need a young manager that can relate to the players better. (Ross or DeRosa) for example.
    Hopefully they will utilize a bullpen better.

    Relievers; let all the FA go. Let’s build our own bullpen thru the minors. We developed many closers in the 80s. Too much money was spent on so-so has beens.

    Position players;

    Offer extensions to Javy and
    KB. If they won’t consider it. TRADE Them. Extend Rizzo. Move Heyward. His offense is not worth the $$$. Let’s find more hitters like Niko for CF and 2B. Let’s try to sign Nick C. And Anthony Rendon. I think Schwarber and Happ are just learning to be professional hitters. Almora is great defensively but he needs to relearn to hit like Niko. If he can’t ... trade him.

    The front office has a tough task. May have to release GM Hoyer also.

    We are at a major turning point. Let’s do this right!!

    Well. I haven’t logged in for a few years since John’s passing.

  • In reply to TROS:

    I agree with a lot of your ideas. Changes need to be made to the rotation, for sure, but until September Quintana has been a very good pitcher this year. They will listen to offers for him, but won't be letting him go. Maddon is definitely gone, the FO is just giving him the respect of not firing him, instead they just aren't renewing his contract.

    I agree that they will try to extend their best players in Javy and KB, even Rizzo if they can afford it. All three probably isn't going to happen, though. If they sign Rendon, as you mention, how would they even afford 2 of those 3?

    But you are right, there will be changes this offseason, and more than last offseason. The FO will be busy.

  • All of a sudden Happ is Barry Bonds.
    It's a good time for him to become Barry Bonds.

    I'm rather enjoying watching the (S)C(r)ubs right now.

    But why was Hamels yanked after 67 pitches when he's cruising?
    This makes no sense whatsoever. He's never going to pitch another game for the Cubs.
    I would've run him out there 120 pitches an long as he was effective.

    Now we get to watch the Cubs relievers suck again.
    Hopefully 6 runs is enough. I have zero confidence.

  • In reply to hoffpauir6:

    Cardinals get 3 off this dreck.
    Oh well, the manager that thought it was a smart idea will be gone after Sunday.

    Thank you, Tony Kemp.

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