No No-No But Still Good--Cubs 4 Brewers 2

So last night I questioned the realness of this incredible start to the season. This is the best start the Cubs have had since 1907, for the record. There was some discussion in the comments about whether or not this season counts and how real this year being held together with baling wire and duct tape will be in terms of baseball history. But that isn't really what I was mostly concerned with. I am celebrating a title if it happens this year and I don't care if anyone tries to place an asterisks on it. No what I was concerned with was whether or not the Cubs performance was real or not. The Cubs are incredibly hot right now but usually the old cliche of not being as good as your hot streaks holds true.

Or maybe it really was as simple as switching managers.

WPA CHART


Source: FanGraphs

Either way tonight Yu Darvish was marvelous. The trend has been quality starts, but Darvish was special on national television tonight. The Cubs only power pitcher in the rotation struck out 11 over 7 innings, but had something special through 6 innings. He punched out 9 in those frames, but hadn't allowed a hit. The strikeouts, a hit by pitch and 2 walks had his pitch count over 90 after those 6 not hit innings.

The Cubs got on the board in the first inning with a leadoff double against the former Cubs southpaw Brett Anderson. Nico Hoerner was pressed into that spot in the lineup with Kris Bryant being a late scratch. Anthony Rizzo and Javier Baez had back to back groundouts that scored Hoerner with the Cubs manufacturing an old school run.

The Cubs doubled their lead the easy way. Kyle Schwarber hit a bomb to start the second inning. Anderson settled in to pitch into the fifth inning without yielding another run. He walked Anthony Rizzo with one out and that was enough to see him pulled for Corbin Burnes. Javier Baez bounced into an inning ending double play.

Burnes would pitch the rest of the game for Milwaukeee. He walked Willson Contreras to start the sixth inning. Schwarber hit the ball well but it was the first out. Ian Happ ripped a double into the right center gap to score Contreras. David Bote singled to score Happ which extended the Cubs lead to 4-0. Burnes walked two more to load the bases in a long inning of work, but the Cubs couldn't add any more runs.

Darvish punched out Avisail Garcia to start the seventh, but Justin Smoak hit a no doubter into the rightfield stands to break up the no-hitter. Darvish struck out Omar Narvaez and Ben Gamel flew out to end the inning. Casey Sadler took over in the eighth inning and was greeted with an Orlando Arcia single. Brock Holt bounced into a double play to kill the threat and Sadler faced the minimum with an Eric Sogard ground out.

Rowan Wick was summoned for the save opportunity tonight. Wick retired the first two batters, but a little trouble brewed with an Avisail Garcia single. Garcia reached third on defensive indifference and then scored on a Justin Smoak hit a ground rule double. That brought the tying run to the plate but Narvaez popped out to end the game.

Random Reference

Really am running out of ways to describe this team with win night after night. It seems like every game the starters pitch through six innings or more. The offense is able to score three or more runs. It truly is the best Groudhog Day.

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  • “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.”
    -Philip K Dick

  • I quoted Philip K D*ck which I guess the filter didn’t like because it ate it. I hope you’re safe at school.

  • The glue that is part of this teams success to date, not discounting the excellent starting pitching and power numbers, is a team chemistry and joy of playing that stands above any I've seen in baseball!

  • In reply to Ringer:

    And playing tomato cans all season. Great they are tcb(Kramer reference from Seinfeld), but I want to see how cubs really stack up. I know the schedule is what it is but I still want to see yu and Lester face some tougher competition. The season counts in the books but to me it is a large experiment. I hate having dh and runner on second in extra innings. It takes a lot of strategy out of the game. How one manager would use his bullpen compared to another is significant knowing you are probably gonna score that guy from second and knowing you have a dh in the fold. With the trade deadline approaching I doubt we see any blockbuster or significant trades.

  • In reply to Oldno7:

    So who is your tougher competition ? Twins were swept (3games) by the royals . Everyone else in the Central divisions is basically .500 or less. Seems the East and west divisions are stronger but the Cubs won’t play them until the playoffs if the season lasts that long.

  • In reply to stix:

    Exactly my point. Due to this scheduling this year cubs don’t play anyone but the crappy centrals. I’d like to see a 4 game set against the dodgers right know to see how good they are or aren’t. Beating up on Pitt and the royals and the depleted reds doesn’t give me a good gauge of what the cubs can do against better competition.

  • I think it is mostly the manager. I was never a part of the Fire Joe! crowd after every loss over the last several years, but even I reached my breaking point and called for his head just before last season's All-Star Game. It was painfully obvious the players were tuning him out, and if we wanted to salvage a season, he had to go. But, alas.

    All we can do now is hope this season plays out till the end. As dabs mentioned, never too high, never too low, but this is a blast. The Cubs are now 6.5 games up in the NL Central, which would equate to winning the division by 65 games if paced out over a full season. Norway would be out of business by the trade deadline. To put that in perspective, only two other teams atop their division have a 6.5 game lead... over the LAST place team in their division. The DirtyBirds are lucky they're only falling back a half-game per day. Tee hee!

    Darvish was brilliant yet again. We hope the rotation remains healthy, because it is already thin. The offense continues to contribute up and down the lineup, and some of our heavy hitters haven't heated up yet. They will. The defense is steady and baserunning is selectively aggressive. The bullpen is settling in a little bit, and roles are clarifying. This is fun.

    Thank Yu! May I have another?

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    In reply to Mike Pilbean:

    Of course Yu may!!

  • "...Norway would be out of business...".

    Those who don't frequent this board are scratching their heads. LOL. Funny statement if you don't understand.

    Bullpen really rounding into form. Wick showing he can handle a bit of pressure in the closer's role and Jeffress solid in the 8th.

    Stay healthy and stay happy, this could be a fun fall.

  • I think Yu had an eye on that no hitter until the ump squeezed him a bit. Darvish was forced to throw ten extra pitches and he showed his displesure to the home plate ump, but the the calls were on the margin, not terrible. I love Schwarber's opposite field power. He just swats the ball into the seats. Happ is locked in right now. Quality at bats up and down the lineup. Bote' s defense on Yelich late was a key out. Another well played game.

  • 1. The starting pitching has been surprisingly, shockingly outstanding. I expected good, not amazing. The pen, as always, a concern.

    2. I said after the first week of play, it looks like the boys are on mission to make clear not only that missing the post season last year was fluke, but that they are one of the top two or three teams, maybe even, quite possibly, the best.

    3. JHey is our RBI leader. Keep it up JHey!

    4. Is it just me, or does it really look like Ian Happ has arrived?

    5. Is it too early to ask whether Theo should again trade our top two minor league prospects for a month or two of Chapman? Hahahaha!

    Let's Go Cubs!

  • Mike you mentioned Yu is the only power pitcher in the rotation. Where do you classify Chatwood? I don’t think he qualifies as a crafty pitcher.

    Also I haven’t seen much on the potential 5 game 3 day series with the Cards. Seems as if the cubs rotation is going to suffer from the volume. Not sure how else they make up the “COVID out” in St. Louis but it seems to penalize the Cubs twice.

  • In reply to stix:

    Would guess Rea & Quintana start those double headers.

  • In reply to stix:

    Yeah I just forgot about Chatwood. Though him being scratched from his start might make me technically correct.

  • In reply to Mike Banghart:

    Yeah... that's the ticket. I caught that too but didn't say anything. Chatwood doesn't exactly throw junk.

    Quintana is scheduled to go 4 innings in a sim game Sunday in South Bend. He will not be available to pitch any double-headers against the DirtyBirds.

    I hate to sound like a broken record, but he is not ready. He was injured just prior to the beginning of "Summer Camp". He is just now going through what would normally be a Spring Training. This isn't a typical mid-season injury where he heals, makes an appearance in the minors, and then is back into game action. He is still ramping up, from scratch.

    The Cubs starting rotation has carried us, but is thin and partially unproven. I think they take their time with Quintana until he is ready.

    He's not.

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    We have a solid 1-5 starting staff right now. I don't think I'd upset anything when Q is healthy. Happ is coming into his own and now what to do with Albert A. He is a superior CF, and has a very high baseball IQ ( look at the play in the 10th inning taking 2nd on a KB fly to right-center.) But I have come to the conclusion that it would be best to trade him. Ian Miller can play all outfield positions and is faster. I would think a team could use an excellent defensive CF and maybe with a few tweaks he could hit .250.
    Anyway, Go Cubs!!

  • Happ: 326 .456 .609. He’s arguably been their best offensive player. Bryant and Baez have struggled, to a extent. Really low OBP for a team’s 1 and 3 hitters. But in a weird way that’s good, because you have to expect at least one, if not both, will get hot.

  • Cubs fan and popular twitter account Charles the cat posted a tweet on Darvish: “A lot of people were upset that the front office went with Darvish and not Jake. Never mind the fact that Jake turned down a very lucrative offer from the cubs, but let’s get to the point. I preface this with the fact that I love Jake. But one guy is dotting 97 on pitch 102. It ain’t Jake.”

    Love this comment and I can relate to this. Arrieta was one of my favorite cubs ever. But Theos job is to pay for future production, and not past production. There’s no shame in admitting that when you watch Arrieta today he’s clearly not the guy he was in 2015. It would’ve been very easy for Theo to stick with the guy that he knew in Arrieta given what he accomplished as a cub, especially after Darvish’s poor World Series vs the cheating astros. But the front office astutely had the opinion that Darvish would age more gracefully then Jake, and it’s fair to say that was the right call 3 years later. This is a good example of why you can’t be sentimental in this business, and why you have to be careful when you pay for past production for aging players. I know many cub fans don’t like Darvish, despite the fact he’s quite frankly been pitching well for some time now. But I’m just gonna come out and say it that I think this guy is officially a real asset now for this organization. Let’s hope the top 3 starters in this red hot starting rotation stay healthy, and continue to thrive.

  • I believe they said last night that Ross is off to the best start as a rookie Cubs manager since Albert Spalding and Cap Anson, both in the 19th century. There are a slew of HOF'ers on the list in the past 140 years that managed the Cubs (some in as players, others under consideration as mangers), none of whom have done what the 2020 team has already achieved. Enjoy it while it lasts.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Chicago_Cubs_managers

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