Cubs @ Dodgers: Series Preview (6/13-6/16)

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Well I have returned from my trip to see the Cubs take on the Rockies in Denver. The two games I attended did not go great, so feel free to apply the blame to me. Chicago was able to salvage the final game of the series and remain just half a game behind Milwaukee.

The road trip certainly doesn’t get any easier for the North Siders as they head to Los Angeles for four-games against the mighty Dodgers. They are tied for the best record in baseball at 45-23 and are 25-7 at home.

LA has a team batting average of .263, best in the National League. They lead all of baseball in on base percentage. Cody Bellinger continues his MVP level pace from early in the year. Currently, Max Muncy is on a power tear with three homers the last three games.

The Dodgers 3.33 team ERA is second best in baseball. Hyun-Jin Ryu is making a strong Cy Young push with a 1.36 ERA. Walker Buehler has been dominant the last month plus. Oh yeah, they also have that Clayton Kershaw guy.

This series is not going to be easy, to say the least. The Cubs have struggled on the road in 2019, I really think a split would be huge. Surviving a trip to Denver and Los Angeles with a 3-4 record feels like an accomplishment. Let’s see if they can make it happen.

Watch/Listen

Thursday: 9:10 PM CT on NBC Sports Chicago+/670AM

Friday: 9:10 PM CT on WGN/670AM

Saturday: 9:1o PM CT on MLB Network/ABC-7/670AM

Sunday: 6:08 PM CT on ESPN/670AM

Lineups

Cubs

1. Kyle Schwarber (L) LF
2. Kris Bryant (R) RF
3. Anthony Rizzo (L) 1B
4. Javier Baez (R) SS
7. Addison Russell (R) 2B
8. Jon Lester (L) P
9. David Bote (R) 3B

Dodgers

2. Justin Turner (R) 3B
3. David Freese (R) 1B
4. Cody Bellinger (L) RF
5. Chris Taylor (R) SS
6. Max Muncy (L) 2B
7. Alex Verdugo (L) CF
8. Austin Barnes (R) C

Bullpen Usage

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Lineups and Bullpen Usage via Baseball Press.

Opposing pitchers

Scouting Reports from Brooks Baseball.

Clayton Kershaw: Clayton Kershaw has thrown 35,179 pitches that have been tracked by the PITCHf/x system between 2007 and 2019, including pitches thrown in the MLB Regular Season, the MLB Postseason and Spring Training. In 2019, he has relied primarily on his Slider (87mph) and Fourseam Fastball (91mph), also mixing in a Curve (74mph). He also rarely throws a Change (85mph).

His fourseam fastball is straight as an arrow, generates more whiffs/swing compared to other pitchers’ fourseamers, has essentially average velo and has some added backspin. His slider is thrown extremely hard, is a real worm killer that generates an extreme number of groundballs compared to other pitchers’ sliders and has much less depth than expected. His curve has an exceptional bite, is a real worm killer that generates an extreme number of groundballs compared to other pitchers’ curves, generates more whiffs/swing compared to other pitchers’ curves, has primarily 12-6 movement and has slightly below average velo. His change generates an extremely high number of swings & misses compared to other pitchers’ changeups, is an extreme flyball pitch compared to other pitchers’ changeups, is much firmer than usual, has slight cut action and has an extreme amount of backspin.

Sean’s Note: After missing time early with injury Kershaw is back and pitching well. He still gets over half his outs on the ground and his walk rate is below 4% so far in 2019. He strikes out fewer hitters and his hard contact rate is up. That being said, he remains one of the best pitchers in baseball.

Rich Hill: Rich Hill has thrown 12,852 pitches that have been tracked by the PITCHf/x system between 2007 and 2019, including pitches thrown in the MLB Regular Season, the MLB Postseason and Spring Training. In 2019, he has relied primarily on his Fourseam Fastball (91mph) and Curve (75mph). He also rarely throws a Sinker (89mph), Slow Curve (65mph), Change (83mph) and Cutter (85mph).

His fourseam fastball generates an extremely high number of swings & misses compared to other pitchers’ fourseamers, results in more flyballs compared to other pitchers’ fourseamers and has essentially average velo. His curve has an exceptional bite, has sweeping glove-side movement, generates a very high amount of groundballs compared to other pitchers’ curves and generates fewer whiffs/swing compared to other pitchers’ curves. His sinker generates an extremely high number of swings & misses compared to other pitchers’ sinkers, is an extreme flyball pitch compared to other pitchers’ sinkers, has slight armside run, has slightly below average velo and has some natural sinking action. His change is basically never swung at and missed compared to other pitchers’ changeups, is an extreme flyball pitch compared to other pitchers’ changeups and has some natural sink to it. His slow curve is a real yakker that’s separated from his other curveball due to its big drop and slow speed. His cutter is basically never swung at and missed compared to other pitchers’ cutters, has extreme cut action, is an extreme flyball pitch compared to other pitchers’ cutters and has some natural sink.

Sean’s Note: Stop me if you’ve heard it before, but injuries have limited Hill this year. He still gets a lot of whiffs on his big looping curve, thus his 26% strikeout rate. His hard contact is actually down this season. He is always hard on the Cubs.

Walker Buehler: Walker Buehler has thrown 3,817 pitches that have been 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 has relied primarily on his Fourseam Fastball (97mph), also mixing in a Slider (87mph), Cutter (93mph), Curve (82mph) and Sinker (97mph). He also rarely throws a Change (93mph).

His fourseam fastball is blazing fast, generates more whiffs/swing compared to other pitchers’ fourseamers, has slightly less natural movement than typical and has some added backspin. His slider is a real worm killer that generates an extreme number of groundballs compared to other pitchers’ sliders, sweeps across the zone, is much harder than usual and has some two-plane movement. His cutter is blazing fast, has extreme cut action and results in more flyballs compared to other pitchers’ cutters. His curve has an exceptional bite, generates more whiffs/swing compared to other pitchers’ curves and is slightly harder than usual. His sinker is thrown at a speed that’s borderline unfair, has little sinking action compared to a true sinker and results in somewhat more groundballs compared to other pitchers’ sinkers. His change is thrown extremely hard, is basically never swung at and missed compared to other pitchers’ changeups, results in more flyballs compared to other pitchers’ changeups and has some natural sink to it.

Sean’s Note: Buehler has allowed one or fewer runs in three of his last four starts. He has an above average strikeout rate and excellent control. Home runs haven’t been a problem for him with just eight in 75 innings. He pitched well against the Cubs this year, until Javy Báez got him for a three-run homer at the end of his start.

Hyun-Jin Ryu: Hyun-jin Ryu has thrown 10,643 pitches that have been tracked by the PITCHf/x system between 2009 and 2019, including pitches thrown in the MLB Regular Season, the MLB Postseason, The World Baseball Classic and Spring Training. In 2019, he has relied primarily on his Fourseam Fastball (91mph), Change (80mph) and Cutter (87mph), also mixing in a Sinker (91mph) and Curve (73mph). He also rarely throws a Slider (83mph) and Slow Curve (65mph).

His fourseam fastball has some natural sinking action and has essentially average velo. His change generates a very high amount of groundballs compared to other pitchers’ changeups, has slightly below average velo and has some natural sink to it. His cutter generates more whiffs/swing compared to other pitchers’ cutters, results in somewhat more groundballs compared to other pitchers’ cutters, has slightly above average velo, has some natural sink and has strong cutting action. His sinker results in somewhat more groundballs compared to other pitchers’ sinkers. His curve has sweeping glove-side movement, has below average velo, has a sharp downward bite and results in somewhat more flyballs compared to other pitchers’ curves. His slider generates an extremely high number of swings & misses compared to other pitchers’ sliders, results in more flyballs compared to other pitchers’ sliders and has some two-plane movement. His slow curve is a real yakker that’s separated from his other curveball due to its big drop and slow speed.

Sean’s Note: After being sidelined with shoulder injuries for part of 2018, Ryu is dominating in 2019. His 1.36 ERA is the best for any starter in baseball. He has walked five hitters in 86 innings, a 1.4% walk rate. The fact he has stranded 97% of base runners means some regression is likely, but he has still been awesome. For some context, in 58.2 innings in May and June the Korean native has allowed a grand total of 4 runs.

 

Filed under: Series Preview

Comments

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  • How would people feel about Bote leading off or in the 2 hole?

    When will Kimbrel be ready?

    Should be a great series.

    Wish direct tv/ fox would get it figured out.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Kimbrel is traveling with the team, throwing bullpen sessions, and working with the coaching and medical staffs. He'll be throwing live batting practice in LA and should soon begin a rehab/spring training-type assignment in Iowa very soon. Maddon said he'd like Kimbrel to undergo a typical spring training schedule of approximately three weeks in Iowa, but everything I've seen says he was in great shape when he signed and the coaching staff is impressed. I'm guessing about two weeks from today.

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    I read on Arizona's column that Edwards is on the IR (back) and Tim Collins is his replacement. I don't know much about him.
    Go Cubs!

  • I hate these West Coast swings. Thank God Banghart will immediately have the full recap of game after the Cubs win tonight. I'm leaving my phone on for notifications. ;-)

  • Anyone ever heard of Salvador Andricson? He's a LHP we signed to a minor league contract on 6/11.......

  • In reply to Treebeard:

    I think it is Andricson Salvador. All I know is he is an 18yr old IFA.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    Makes sense, I guess we'll see how he turns out............

  • Well, this is a test. The Dodgers are a great team. As much as it pains me to say, they are better than us, for now. I fully expect this to be the NLCS matchup. As Sean noted, the Dodgers are dominant at home, and we've struggled on the road. I'd be thrilled to split this series.

    Big blow to the pen, with Edwards Jr. heading to the IL. He has been on a tear since returning from Iowa. Cishek is likely out tonight, but could be available later in the series.

    Go Cubs!

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Dang auto-correct. I meant I'd be thrilled to *sweep* this series. :)

  • I’m likin’ this big!

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    Good first inning, but it seems like this team runs into a lot of outs.

  • In reply to John Winter:

    More like Rizzo runs into a lot of outs.

  • In reply to stix:

    And Willson. I read a comment from Theo a couple weeks ago saying he loves the aggressive baserunning, but a player or two need to be reigned in a bit. I'm sure he was talking about Contreras. Not everyone is Javy.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Probably right a couple of weeks ago but Willy hasn’t been on base much since then so I doubt he’s running into outs currently. Seems as if Rizzo gets one or two a week.

  • In reply to stix:

    Good point on Willson. I haven't checked any numbers, and it's probably just that I'm such a Javy fan, but it seems to me that Rizzo makes an inordinate percentage of third outs with Javy on deck. I might check into that.

  • Cody Bellinger is such a natural athlete.

  • In reply to Skidoorunner:

    I regret saying that now.

  • I just heard that Ohtani hit for the cycle today, becoming the first Japanese player to ever do so. Good for him, but I'm shocked Ichiro never hit for the cycle.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Ichiro played over 2600 games only had 96 triples and 117 HR . Not too surprising he didn’t get a cycle.

  • In reply to stix:

    The triples total surprises me with his speed and all-fields hitting approach, though he often went opposite-field, which is down the LF line and harder to get a triple. I know he didn't hit many homers, but he reminds me of Ty Cobb in that sense. Both could have hit more home runs if they wanted to, but weren't willing to make that sacrifice to their offensive approach. I'm just surprised that a hitter as accomplished as Ichiro, with his speed and massive number of hits relative to his ML playing career, never hit for the cycle.

  • Bryant!

  • In reply to Skidoorunner:

    I hate this. I peeked into this game before going to bed because I have to up early tomorrow and now I know my morning is going to be hell as I’m all in for this game now.

  • In reply to Skidoorunner:

    That probably qualifies you as a diehard fan. Good luck tomorrow morning.

  • In reply to stix:

    Since 1972 and I have the scars on my heart to prove it! I remember $5 bleacher seats and $2.50 beers. Right field sucks! :-)

  • In reply to Skidoorunner:

    RIGHT FIELD SUCKS!

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I think we may be showing our age. There should have been some retaliation by them by now....Buehler? Buehler? Buehler? :–)

  • In reply to Skidoorunner:

    How about $.50 bleachers in 1966.

  • In reply to stix:

    They were $2.00 for me in the late 70's, but I was a kid. We always sat in the LF bleachers with our gloves to catch the batting practice home runs.

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    In reply to Skidoorunner:

    You can’t complain yet. The Cubs are starting out strong and as much as I respect Kershaw he’s not as good as he once was. He is like Lester and Hamels though and can get through a game. We can’t be giving up runs like Rizzo running into one. I didn’t like Javy swinging on the first pitch but Schwarber did and look what happened. The big at bat was Albert. He needed to get bat on the ball.
    Still, Kershaw’s pitch count is up and if we can continue that he won’t pitch deep into the game.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    And I also didn’t mind watching Kershaw running hard to first. Keep it up boys!

  • In reply to Skidoorunner:

    I'm the opposite. I planned on missing this game because I had to get up at 5 AM. I had a late scratch for that job, so I grabbed a six-pack and headed out to the woods.

    Go Cubs!

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Slow down BP, we’re only in the fourth. -:)

  • In reply to Skidoorunner:

    Touche.

  • I can't believe I missed this, but happy 34th birthday to Pedro Strop. He hasn't pitched much lately, for good and bad reasons, and I hope he has a nice, relaxing night off tonight.

  • WOW! Raptors! Congratulations!

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    Man, if it was Darvish on the mound coughing up the lead, this thread would be lighting up.

  • In reply to John Winter:

    Perhaps, but Lester has earned our patience and respect.

  • In reply to Skidoorunner:

    Five of the last six games have been extremely poor. He probably has earned his respect but at least Darvish ends up with no decisions.

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    In reply to stix:

    This is about as big as regular season games come, at Dodger Stadium opposite Kershaw. Staked to a 3-0 lead, I think giving him a little heat is okay.

  • In reply to Skidoorunner:

    I'm not watching the game (not by choice), but someone said Lester started to give up hits after taking a liner to the leg?

  • In reply to Treebeard:

    Gave up 4 runs on 7 pitches after getting hit in the foot.

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    In reply to Treebeard:

    That may be a fair point. In that case, I wish he hadn’t waved off the trainer.

  • In reply to John Winter:

    That’s Lester’s mentality. Not sure if he was hurt but Joe gives him the respect he’s earned but sometimes discretion is the better part of valor.

  • In reply to John Winter:

    I'm not watching either, just listening on the radio. I guess the liner went off his left foot, and things went downhill quickly. That would be his push-off leg. It will be interesting to see how his velocity was affected, and the movement on his pitches if he was relying more on arm strength after that.

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    We need baserunners and Albert swing at 2 ball 4s, one in the dirt and one above the zone. I know it’s easy to criticize from the couch but he’s paid to recognize balls and strikes.

  • How can we expect Almora Jr., Baez, etc. to play off pitches that are outside the strike zone, when those pitches are called strikes!
    Robo ump!!!

  • It's a little bizarre, but I'm praying that Kershaw pitches another inning............

  • Just heard another interesting tidbit from Pat Hughes. On this date in 1973, the legendary Dodgers' infield quartet of Garvey, Lopes, Russell, and Cey played a ML game together for the 1st time. That group set the gold standard for quality and longevity.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Well that sucked.

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    In reply to BarleyPop:

    Get used to it.

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