Cubs vs Brewers Series Preview: (7/24-7/26)

kyle-hendricks-wrigley-field-empty-seats-cubs-photo-by-jonathan-danielgetty-images-gettyimages-1257142787-1024x512

There were more than a few times when it looked like the 2020 season would never happen. Covid-19 restrictions put spring training on hold and baseball was in a holding pattern for four months. After painstaking negotiations over pay, health protocols, and even spitting the Union and the Owners begrudgingly agreed to a 60-game season and a 16-team playoff bracket.

Since the National League was chartered in 1876 there has never been a championship season of fewer than 100 games. There is no precedent for the season about to be attempted, if should be attempted with the current health emergency is a different issue for a different day. This is a very long winded way to say no one has any clue what is about to unfold, but this correspondent is eager to find out.

Other than some bullpen shuffling, the Cubs roster looks very similar to the disappointing 2019 version that won 84 games. David Ross looks to get more consistency and accountability from a team that could seem lost at times. With free agency looming for several key position players like Kris Bryant, another bad year could mean the end for Chicago's young championship core. Just adding pressure to a year that is already basically starting in a pennant race.

The Cubs first opponent at an empty Wrigley Field is the Milwaukee Brewers who come in for a three-game series. The Brewers have revamped the roster after a heart-breaking Wild Card loss. The rotation has a high upside, but is very young. While it's offense is down a couple of impact bats. Of course, any team with Josh Hader and MVP Christian Yelich still is a threat.

Anyway, enough talking already, all we've been doing is talking baseball. Let's play ball!

Watch/Listen

Friday: 6:10 PM CT on ESPN/Marquee SN/670AM

Saturday: 12:15 PM CT on FOX/670AM

Sunday: 1:20 PM CT on Marquee SN/670AM

Lineups

Brewers

1. Eric Sogard (L) 3B
3. Keston Hiura (R) 2B
4. Justin Smoak (S) 1B
5. Ryan Braun (R) DH
6. Avisail Garcia (R) RF
7. Omar Narvaez (L) C
8. Lorenzo Cain (R) CF
9. Orlando Arcia (R) SS

 

Cubs

1. Kris Bryant (R) 3B
2. Anthony Rizzo (L) 1B
3. Javier Baez (R) SS
4. Kyle Schwarber (L) LF
6. Jason Heyward (L) RF
7. Victor Caratini (S) DH
8. Nico Hoerner (R) 2B
9. Ian Happ (S) CF

Bullpen Usage

screen-shot-2020-07-23-at-8-58-20-pm

screen-shot-2020-07-23-at-8-58-48-pm

Lineups and Bullpen Usage via Baseball Press.

Opposing pitchers

Scouting Reports from Brooks Baseball.

Brandon Woodruff: Although he has not thrown an MLB pitch in 2020, Brandon Woodruff threw 3,670 pitches that were tracked by the PITCHf/x system between 2017 and 2019, including pitches thrown in the MLB Regular Season and the MLB Postseason. In 2019, he relied primarily on his Fourseam Fastball (97mph) and Sinker (96mph), also mixing in a Slider (89mph) and Change (87mph). He also rarely threw a Curve (82mph).

His fourseam fastball generates a high number of swings & misses compared to other pitchers' fourseamers and is blazing fast. His sinker generates a high number of swings & misses compared to other pitchers' sinkers, is blazing fast and results in many more groundballs compared to other pitchers' sinkers. His slider is thrown extremely hard and results in somewhat more flyballs compared to other pitchers' sliders. His change is much firmer than usual and has slight armside fade. His curve has very little depth, has primarily 12-6 movement, is much harder than usual and results in more flyballs compared to other pitchers' curves.

Sean's Note: The hard-throwing Woodruff generated a ton of whiffs in his first full season as a starter. He struck out a whopping 10.56 batters per 9 innings of work. Left handed hitters hit for a much higher average and slug more against him than right handers.

Corbin Burnes: Although he has not thrown an MLB pitch in 2020, Corbin Burnes threw 1,622 pitches that were tracked by the PITCHf/x system between 2018 and 2019, including pitches thrown in the MLB Regular Season, the MLB Postseason and Spring Training. In 2019, he relied primarily on his Fourseam Fastball (96mph) and Slider (88mph), also mixing in a Curve (82mph). He also rarely threw a Sinker (96mph) and Change (91mph).

His fourseam fastball has much less armside movement than typical, results in many more groundballs compared to other pitchers' fourseamers, has some natural sinking action and has well above average velo. His slider is thrown extremely hard, generates an extremely high number of swings & misses compared to other pitchers' sliders, has short glove-side cut and has some two-plane movement. His curve generates an extremely high number of swings & misses compared to other pitchers' curves, results in more flyballs compared to other pitchers' curves, has little depth, is slightly harder than usual and has slight glove-side movement. His sinker is basically never swung at and missed compared to other pitchers' sinkers, is blazing fast, has less armside run than typical, has little sinking action compared to a true sinker and results in somewhat more flyballs compared to other pitchers' sinkers. His change is thrown extremely hard, generates a high number of swings & misses compared to other pitchers' changeups, results in more flyballs compared to other pitchers' changeups and has some natural sink to it.

Sean's note: Burnes worked mainly from the bullpen in 2019 and struck out an eye popping 12.86 hitters per 9. The home run ball bit him very hard with 17 allowed in just 49 innings pitched. Lefties posted a whopping 1.272 OPS off him in 18.1 innings.

Freddy Peralta: Although he has not thrown an MLB pitch in 2020, Freddy Peralta threw 3,085 pitches that were tracked by the PITCHf/x system between 2018 and 2019, including pitches thrown in the MLB Regular Season, the MLB Postseason and Spring Training. In 2019, he relied primarily on his Fourseam Fastball (94mph) and Curve (78mph). He also rarely threw a Change (90mph).

His fourseam fastball generates an extremely high number of swings & misses compared to other pitchers' fourseamers and has essentially average velo. His curve has a sharp downward bite. His change is thrown extremely hard, generates fewer whiffs/swing compared to other pitchers' changeups and results in somewhat more flyballs compared to other pitchers' changeups.

Sean's note: Peralta, like his teammates is a big strikeout pitcher with a K/9 of 12.18. Most of the contact against him is in the air with just a 32% ground ball rate. Right handed hitters actually fare better off him than lefties.

Filed under: Series Preview

Tags: David Ross, Kris Bryant

Comments

Leave a comment
  • Great to be back and rearin' to go!

    Go Cubbies!

  • I seriously thought if sitting this season out. I honestly didn’t think the season would happen and I’m still not sure the season will finish. All that said I was fooling myself. I could no more skip following a season than I could cut off my arm. This will be my 52nd season following the game as an active fan and I’ll be just as excited this year as any other when the ball hits the bat. What this team is going to be is impossible to predict but let’s have fun finding out, shall we? Play ball!

  • Am I sensing something close to normalcy? A real, live Cubs game that actually means something? With a real, live game thread and everything?

    I may as well make it official:

    "Sometimes the light's all shinin' on me.
    Other times, I can barely see.
    Lately, it occurs to me...
    What a long, strange trip it's been."

    GO CUBS!!

  • In reply to Mike Pilbean:

    Excellent! It’s either that or “strange days indeed, most peculiar mama whoa”

  • In reply to TC154:

    "Strange days have found us.
    Strange days have tracked us down.
    They're going to destroy
    Our casual joys."

    I think it's going to take a Javy-bomb to snap me out of it.

  • In reply to Mike Pilbean:

    No, no....

    “Spread the word around. The boys are back in town!”

  • In reply to Cubs09:

    This works.

  • Who's the suit's announcing the Cubs game tonight?

  • If there was one person I wasn't worried about being off his game or rattled by the insanity of the past few months, it was Kyle Hendricks.

    One of these days we will hear of a truly scandalous tale of The Professor, like wearing white after labor day or leaving cracker crumbs in his bed.

  • fb_avatar

    Happ--y days are here again.

  • Good ball by rossy going with happ and Nico. I think some other managers could’ve made the case for Kipnis and almora. Personally I’ve maintained that I think Nico should be in the lineup most days, and I’d like to see happ play against most righties. Happ had almost a .900 OPS in limited action last year, and I think almora needs to prove that he can still hit at this level after a rough 2019 season.

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    *good call by rossy

  • fb_avatar

    As much as I like a good 99 mph FB, watching Kyle pitches much more enjoyable. He looks the same every pitch and watching that move up and down and down and away is like a great artist who paints with a single line and gets everything down. He's a treat to watch.

  • July 24th, and we have the biggest matchup of the season so far, Hendricks vs. Yelich in a tight game.

  • 'Scuse me, while I K this guy!

  • Does a crowd matter?.....hmmmm.
    I would be surprised if we see any kind of baseball brawl this year....
    Who is going to boo?

  • fb_avatar

    I’d like to see Kyle finish the game unless he starts throwing a lot of pitches in the 8th. He dealing and if Ross wants to separate himself from Joe just let him pitch.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Lol Rossys already differentiated himself going with Happ at CF, and letting Hendricks go that long on opening day also of all times to extend your starter. Nice 1st game from him I’ve been saying for years why are we so quick to pull starters when they’re dealing like Hendricks was tonight. What an outstanding effort by Kyle also. That’s what you call a pitcher. There’s plenty of throwers these days around mlb, but only so many pitchers.

  • fb_avatar

    I tried to listen to Pat and Ron, but the radio is about 2 seconds behind the TV broadcast. I found out about the single to left by Arcia while Kyle was still looking at the plate. I'll have to listen while I'm driving somewhere, but in these times, really, where am I going to go?
    Take us home Kyle!

  • Well, that was fun. Baseball is back, baby!

  • Last year the Cubs started 1-5 and I believe the bullpen blew all 5 losses.

    This feels way better, way to go Rossy and Hendricks.

Leave a comment