Cubs @ Giants Series Preview: (7/22-7/24)


The Cubs took two out of three from the Padres to complete an impressive 7-2 home stand out of the All-Star Break. They now sit at 54-45, within shouting distance of their season-best 11 games over the .500 mark.

Chicago has an impressive 36-18 record at Wrigley Field in 2019. The road is different story, with an ugly 18-27 mark. The North Siders now face a difficult nine-game trip, including games against the rival Cardinals and Brewers.

Before those crucial division contests take place, the Cubs head to the Bay Area for three with the Giants. On June 29, San Francisco sat dead last in the NL West with a 35-47 record. They have gone a remarkable 15-3 since to reach .500 at 50-50.

While Chicago is much better at home, the Giants actually have a losing record at Oracle Park 23-27. The .236 batting average is third worse in all of baseball and 106 homers are fifth worst. Brandon Belt and Buster Posey are still dangerous, just not nearly the threat they once were.

The 4.40 team ERA is right in the middle of the pack in baseball. Madison Bumgarner is still the ace in San Francisco, although he is not the same dominant pitcher he once was. Will Smith has been good as the closer, but the overall bullpen is not remarkable.

The Cubs are going to have to improve their performance on the road if they want to win their division. The next three series will be huge for them. The Giants are playing their best baseball right now. Let’s see if the North Siders remembered to pack their home momentum for the trip.


Monday: 8:45 PM CT on WGN/670AM

Tuesday: 8:45 PM CT on ABC-7/670AM

Wednesday: 2:45 PM CT on MLB Network/NBC Sports Chicago/670AM



1. Kyle Schwarber (L) LF
2. Javier Baez (R) SS
3. Kris Bryant (R) 3B
4. Anthony Rizzo (L) 1B
5. Robel Garcia (S) 2B
6. Jason Heyward (L) RF
9. Alec Mills (R) P


1. Brandon Belt (L) 1B
3. Pablo Sandoval (S) 3B
4. Stephen Vogt (L) C
6. Kevin Pillar (R) CF
7. Austin Slater (R) RF
8. Joe Panik (L) 2B

Bullpen Usage



Lineups and Bullpen Usage via Baseball Press.

Opposing pitchers

Scouting Reports from Brooks Baseball.

Shaun Anderson: Shaun Anderson has thrown 1,087 pitches that have been tracked by the PITCHf/x system in 2019, including pitches thrown in the MLB Regular Season and Spring Training. In 2019, he has relied primarily on his Fourseam Fastball (93mph) and Slider (86mph), also mixing in a Sinker (93mph) and Change (86mph). He also rarely throws a Curve (78mph).

His fourseam fastball is a real worm killer that generates an extreme number of groundballs compared to other pitchers’ fourseamers, is straight as an arrow, has some natural sinking action and has essentially average velo. His slider generates fewer whiffs/swing compared to other pitchers’ sliders, has short glove-side cut, results in somewhat more flyballs compared to other pitchers’ sliders and has some two-plane movement. His sinker has surprisingly little armside run and results in many more groundballs compared to other pitchers’ sinkers. His change has slight cut action, is slightly firmer than usual and results in somewhat more groundballs compared to other pitchers’ changeups. His curve is basically never swung at and missed compared to other pitchers’ curves, results in more flyballs compared to other pitchers’ curves, has a sharp downward bite and has primarily 12-6 movement.

Sean’s Note: The rookie Anderson has made 12 starts in 2019. His strike out rate is very low at 14.4% and he allows over 40% hard contact. He has some natural sink to his pitches, but his line drive rate is way up at the big league level. He has no noticeable splits between right handed or left handed batters.

Madison Bumgarner: Madison Bumgarner has thrown 29,357 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 and Spring Training. In 2019, he has relied primarily on his Fourseam Fastball (92mph) and Cutter (87mph), also mixing in a Curve (79mph) and Change (85mph). He also rarely throws a Sinker (89mph).

His fourseam fastball generates more whiffs/swing compared to other pitchers’ fourseamers, has essentially average velo, results in somewhat more flyballs compared to other pitchers’ fourseamers and has slightly less natural movement than typical. His cutter generates more whiffs/swing compared to other pitchers’ cutters, has slightly above average velo, has some natural sink and has strong cutting action. His curve is a real worm killer that generates an extreme number of groundballs compared to other pitchers’ curves, has sweeping glove-side movement, has little depth and is slightly harder than usual. His change is basically never swung at and missed compared to other pitchers’ changeups, is slightly firmer than usual, results in somewhat more flyballs compared to other pitchers’ changeups and has some natural sink to it. His sinker (take this with a grain of salt because he’s only thrown 2 of them in 2019) is basically never swung at and missed compared to other pitchers’ sinkers, is an extreme flyball pitch compared to other pitchers’ sinkers, has surprisingly little armside run, has slightly below average velo and has some natural sinking action.

Sean’s Note: Bumgarner has been the subject of frequent trade talk in 2019. His strike out rate (24.3%) is up to the highest it’s been since 2016. His walk rate is down too and yet his ERA is up this season. The culprit is the home run ball, he has allowed 17 this season after allowing just 14 all of 2018. He has been red hot of late, surrendering just five runs his last 29 innings.

Tyler Beede: Tyler Beede has thrown 1,372 pitches that have been tracked by the PITCHf/x system between 2015 and 2019, including pitches thrown in the MLB Regular Season, Spring Training and Fall/Winter Ball. In 2019, he has relied primarily on his Fourseam Fastball (95mph) and Change (84mph), also mixing in a Curve (80mph). He also rarely throws a Cutter (87mph) and Slider (87mph).

His fourseam fastball has some natural sinking action, has slight armside run and has slightly above average velo. His change generates more whiffs/swing compared to other pitchers’ changeups, results in many more groundballs compared to other pitchers’ changeups, has slight armside fade and has some natural sink to it. His curve has an exceptional bite, generates an extremely high number of swings & misses compared to other pitchers’ curves, results in more flyballs compared to other pitchers’ curves and is slightly harder than usual. His cutter generates an extremely high number of swings & misses compared to other pitchers’ cutters, has heavy sink, is an extreme flyball pitch compared to other pitchers’ cutters, has slightly below average velo and has strong cutting action. His slider has primarily 12-6 movement.

Sean’s Note: Beede in his second year has thrown 59 innings in 2019. His strike out rate is slightly below league average. His home run rate is slightly above the league average. He throws hard in the mid 90’s and gets a fair amount of ground balls. Left handers fare better against him than do righties.


Filed under: Series Preview


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  • Good ole West coast time zone... Maybe the Cubs come out bats blazing & can go to bed early & happy tonight.

  • Hamels lining up for a rehab start with the Triple-A Iowa Cubs as soon as tomorrow.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    That's good news.

  • Here we go. This road trip will tell me who we are. I am the eternal optimist, but I have doubts. I see a lot of speculation, and fans mortgaging the future for player so-and-so. If we were one player away I'd say sell the farm, but we aren't. We will deal and we will add, but this isn't a 2016 scenario of "if not now, when?"

    BTW, Edwards has been optioned to Iowa and Wick is up. I haven't seen that reported here yet.

    This road trip will be definitive. 3 in SF, 3 against the Crew, and 3 against the DirtyBirds (and then another 3 against the Crew at Wrigley). This will make or break our season, or at least our deadline approach, IMO. We will not sell, I've said that forever, but this could guide us in how hard we buy. This stretch of games is significant for every other team, as well, as the new hard deadline forces everyone to make a quicker decision on their path and fate.

    There are so many teams within striking distance of the wild-card. Dabs had some interesting thoughts the other day about how it may take several years to get a grip on how to deal with the new hard deadline. I agree, but for this first year, I think teams will have to make a hard decision to buy or sell at an earlier date than they are comfortable with. The ones who have ice in their veins, one way or the other, probably win this year. There will be many teams who are unsure, who can't walk and chew gum (balance the buy/sell deals on a moment's notice) at the same time. Those FO's who aren't out in front will be left behind in this new landscape, IMO:

    "Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right,
    Here I am, stuck in the middle with you."

    Go Cubs!

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Agreed completely and when I propose trade speculation it isn’t to say they should make this and this deal, as much as it’s just deadline discussion. For me at least I frankly expected at least a 7-2 home stand. The schedule was favorable (plus they’re rested), their history is strong after the ASB, and the cubs usually give theo reason not to sell before the deadline. This trip against a red hot giants team and Milwaukee should tell us much more, although offensively we have to factor willsons absence in some ways. I think at this point they’re almost assuredly buying but if they don’t have a good week theo May well not go all in trading his best trade chips. Although I admit I am wondering if all this soogard, castellanos, and peralta speculation is a bargaining ploy to at least attempt to make it seem that they have alternatives to merrifield. But those guys at the same time won’t cost the teams future, so in that sense it would make sense that they’d want to rebuild the farm

  • The Giants recent hot streak coincided with the acquisition of Alex Dickerson. I think he’s hurt now.

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    I believe the cubs have to win 7-8 of these games to be in the buy mode, otherwise a .500 road trip or worse puts them in sellers market,Theo will only have 4 years left after this year and if they fail he will in all likely hood try to rebuild in the next 2-3 years.
    It's time for his players to put up or shut up, no more excuses...

  • In reply to tater:

    They’re going to win the division, even if they go .500 on the trip. That makes them buyers.

  • In reply to TC154:

    If they only go .500 on this trip, that means they put absolutely no separation between them and the Cards/Brewers, and further, they haven't proven anything about an ability to go deep into the postseason. First off, I think they need to sweep the Giants and put them in their place, on the road. Secondly, take 2 of 3 from the Brewers and then same with the Cards. That would tell me they're worth maybe some mortgaging (none of our top prospects still) to add to our team.

    Frankly, I think this team does have enough talent to win it all in 2019, with some minor changes. I've said it more than once in the last week to expect at least 4 guys currently on our roster to not be on it anymore past the deadline. CJ going back to AAA so quickly is already 1 down (although when I made me statement he was on the DL, so should he count?). There's gonna be at least 3 more roster changes in my estimation, not only to help in our chances in winning now, but to show the remaining players that the FO isn't taking this situation lightly, and if their performance isn't going to match expectations, their tenure in the city of Chicago on the Cubs baseball club is in jeopardy. Albert Almora and Addison Russell may end up back in Iowa too if they aren't wanted by other teams. I wonder what these players actually think is worse? Being traded or sent down? Either way, it's not like they'll be traded to teams with current World Series aspirations...

  • In reply to tater:

    Put up or shut up. I agree with that (and I think I resemble that remark), but we will not sell and rebuild within this competitive window. I don't know how else or how many more times to say it. We have been built with core talent and FO contracts to run through at least the 2021 season. We will not sell during this period. I don't know how else to say that.

    WE WILL NOT SELL AND REBUILD PRIOR TO 2021. I don't like caps lock, sorry.

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    In reply to BarleyPop:

    If we fail with this team to get in the playoffs, who do you see as the core your going to build around, you must remember these pitchers aren't getting any younger, the last 4 drafts were not very bountiful with replacement players, the money will start becoming due for Bryant, Baez and Contrares and not to mention Rizzo, you have
    a new tv contract coming, but how much do you want to pour into a failed playoff run for 2 years now and not a lot on the market to build with, especially if we would drop to like 3rd place and not make the run he's looking for...

  • In reply to tater:

    The core of this team is KB, Baez, Rizzo, and Contreras. That has become clear. Schwarber is still on the fence, and Almora and Happ are fading. Russell is already gone.

    I love Heyward.

    The pitching staff is getting old, but that was to be expected by design. We targeted young hitters and veteran pitchers.

    This current group, and I will again add the FO contracts, run through 2021. We will not rebuild before then.

    I think we agree on the price tag of this year's potential acquisitions. I don't give up much, because we are not in a dominant position. We will add supplemental pieces, and maybe a significant pen arm, but we are not going all out.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    The core 4 will stay and Theo will buy usual...and with that tv money? They’ll be rollin’ in it...

  • In reply to Wickdipper:

    And I want to be rolling in it...

    Snow angels 2.0.

    I'll post video this time if my team hooks me up.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I’m hungry!

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    So you don't think that Ricketts would meddle and look out for the future of his investment and favorite sports team? Theo got tired of Red Sox ownership meddling and that relationship soured. If Ricketts and Theo aren't on the same page and feel the relationship will end, wouldn't it be in Ricketts best interest to intervene with the the FO and make sure its assets aren't milked all for nothing over the next 2 years? Theo had to intervene with Hendry and tell him how to draft in 2011 because he knew that was the last year where the system could be taken advantage of. Hendry listened and got us Baez and Vogelbach, who both played their parts in the World Series.

    I'd like Theo and Co. to stick around longer, yet at the same time, I could understand the relationship ending after 10 years, and if ownership feels the moves Theo makes in this next year or so, are not in line with keeping current and future interests in proper balance, he will intervene, and it will be Theo's job to do as his boss asks.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Yeah, there will be no rebuilding going on. If they stumbled this year then there will be a few moves for sure, but building around the core.

    I also just don't see Merrifield coming over either. If the Cubs didn't have a huge hole at 2B/CF this year, no one would ever be talking about trading major prospects for this guy. I really think that Theo is planning on Zobrist returning to - hopefully - fill that void at 2B, along with the addition of an OF that mashes lefties and lefty arm that mashes lefty bats they may see how it goes.

  • My contrarian trade proposal. Cubs trade Kyle Schwarber straight up for Michael Lorenzen of Cincinnati. Kyle goes home and the Cubs get a remarkable two way player who helps solve their weakness against lefty pitchers, and a 7th, 8th inning power pitcher just coming into his prime. Lorenzen was an All American outfielder at Cal Fullerton. He has big time POP, and throws 96.
    The 2 way player is the unknown wave of the future.

  • I do like the fact that Addy hasn't played since his absolute embarrassment of a performance the other day. I was also impressed with Joe calling him out. I'm not one to hope for blood, but we needed that bit of accountability.

    Good for Joe.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Addison and CJ, both. I was pleasantly surprised to hear Joe call out both of their performances.

    They are both borderline DFA in my book.

  • Hello sea lions. My name is Robel.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    I was typing another comment when the ball slashed down. You summed it up well.

    I'd like to add something since we're speaking of marine mammals:

    "I am the walrus.
    Goo goo, g'joob."

    I miss you, John.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    Lol.....that was one of the better lines in here this year ^^^^^5.

  • Merrifield who??

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    Love it. Robel!

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    If the Cubs come out of this road trip with a 4 game lead I’d be very satisfied. Remember the although the Maldonado trade was necessary we are getting absolutely nothing offensively from him. I don’t know when Willson is coming back but when he dies return it will be like we traded for an AS catcher. That will help us a lot.
    As down as I’ve been on Theo for not developing pitchers it seems like in the next year or two we’ll see our minor leaguers come up. Alzolay and Richan and possibly Jensen too. Our lower to mid minors have talent, and we still are a young team.
    Going going gone Garcia.

  • Robel obliterated that ball. It was DEEP into the water over the heads of the kayakers. Wow!!!

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    454 ft

  • In reply to stix:

    454 very happy feet.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    You can find a lot of negatives with Robel, you cannot say the guy does not hit the ball hard.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    And wet feet.

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    Maldonado just crossed his arms signaling something to the infield. Does anyone know what that means?

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I can’t hit, so someone make a play on D so I can watch Schwarber hit a HR.

    I think that is what he said.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    Harsh, but true.

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    In reply to rbrucato:


  • You know Javy will swing out of his shoes after that show.

  • Giant pitcher has a 14% k rate coming in to game . Now @40% this game. Unfortunately typical cub hitting.

  • In reply to stix:

    Good thing we have an 18% HR rate against him.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    And as usual a 0% non HR rate. Homers or nothing for this team.

  • Mills is looking REAL good....

  • Go figure, Almora got a hit off a RHP.

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    A big hit with two outs and the pitcher deck.

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    Blind squirrel found a nut

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    Yep, he has now found 50 of those nuts in 196 ABs. Seems we could use some more of those blind squirrels, huh?

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    65 wRC+ in the last year. 3rd worst hitter in baseball with over 400 at bats in that span. If you can’t admit he has been awful for the better part of a year, then we aren’t watching the same guy.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    Have you been out Cherry Picking again?

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    Nah, just trying to help out those not paying attention. Cubs09 posted it earlier today. Not sure you can cherry pick anything from a full year.

    Keep defending him though. It is admirable. I’ve given up he will become the player I said 3 years ago would win gold gloves, hit .280+ with at least 15 HR and a lot of doubles. He looks like a good 4th or 5th OF. I was wrong with my prediction for him. I also hope he proves me wrong on me giving up on him.

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    He has about 5 more games to get RED HIT or he is likely to find himself on the bench rather permanently.

  • In reply to rbrucato:


  • In reply to rbrucato:

    And all this time I thought the "Red Hot" hitters sit the bench.

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    No, only Schwarber gets that treatment.

  • Goldschmidt just earned some money:(

  • In reply to Wickdipper:

    I was actually happy to see Woodruff go down for 6 weeks.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    But their pitching really sucks now......
    I’ll give ‘em last year but now those dawgs might as well just stay on the porch....

  • In reply to Wickdipper:

    LMAO. Never heard that one. I will have to save it for future use. Nice!!!

  • In reply to Wickdipper:

    Pirates have scored 3 in the bottom of the inning.too bad Goldie hit GS

  • In reply to stix:

    Just had tying run thrown out at home.

  • In reply to Wickdipper:

    As did Sox castoff Tyler sardino. I believe 2 slams in two nights.

  • In reply to Oldno7:

    What's up, Oldno? Good game. I'd feel more comfortable with another run or two.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    No doubt Barley. Time for cubs to add on and turn it over to the red rooster!

  • In reply to Oldno7:

    I know you’re a doors fan so maybe lil red rooster!ha!

  • Slater is a potential star.

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    Why did Mills swing at all in his at bat? That last pitch was clearly outside, he had a 3-0 count, just let the pitcher throw 3 strikes. Not smart, and he's been very good tonight.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Thought the same thing but the ump called the outside pitch against the giants a strike. No harm no foul by swinging or not.

  • Cubs defense looks good tonight.

  • Bryant 3-0 swinging and pops out to 1B swinging late on a 91 mph fastball. C’mon!!!!! Horrible.

  • The Cubs lead the division. They’ve played pretty well since the ASG. I don’t get why people are so negative.

  • In reply to Cubs09:

    Because that’s what some people tend focus opposed to the fact that they lead the division and are playing well since the ASG.
    There’s an old saying..... “Don’t try to teach a pig to sing; you just frustrate yourself and irritate the pig.”
    Some people keep focusing on the negative. Relax , enjoy the games , and appreciate your not a fan of @ 20 teams who are just playing out the season with not much hope.

  • In reply to Cubs09:

    That seems to be what this fan base is now. I have no idea how people actually enjoy the game like that but to each their own.

  • I was about to say arrgh, but I'll take that DP.

    And then, of course, El Mago.

    I don't want to go off on a rant here, but perhaps I will. I see so many people putting up offensive numbers that say Javy isn't the greatest of all time. I know that. He is a GG-caliber SS. I do remember Maddon saying Javy will be Manny Ramirez with good defense and everyone laughed. Silly Joe.

    I've said a thousand times, to the point of pissing myself off, the only numbers that truly matter in baseball are the ones under the "R" column at the end of the game. There are many ways to get there.

    We are watching one of the greatest middle infielders in the history of baseball. He should move from good to all-time great within the next few years. I'm going to enjoy it.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I feel how you do. It’s rare you see a guy with his instinct. You can’t coach it. That is why I admire his play on the field.

    He is special. And I am glad he is on our team.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    He has to continue that for more then a few years to be in the conversation for best SS of all time.

  • They just showed Almora’s bad route on replay. He stepped to the side and slightly back before breaking. Direct route and he catches Belt’s bloop.

    Now it’s cost us at least 1 run.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    PHew... the Cubs are still winning 3 -2 thanks to that blind squirrel finding that nut.

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    I will take it any way we can get it. Love 2 out hits.

    Still doesn’t mean it was a good route on a blooper.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    Yeah, me too, especially a RISP.

  • Ryan looks good dealing on the edges so far.

  • Suarez not only hits HR vs the cubs he just hit a 2 run HR in the 9th to give the reds the lead vs the crew.

  • In reply to stix:

    Awesome. Sonny Gray left after a gem only for their pen to give it up. Nice!!!

  • In reply to stix:

    Reds just won

  • Maldonado has yet to get a hit as a Cub correct?

  • In reply to Wickdipper:

    Yep, just two walks.

  • In reply to Wickdipper:


  • In reply to Wickdipper:

    And the Cubs have been winning most every game. Shows the importance a good defensive catcher.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Good point.....he probably has saved a good 3-5 runs...

  • Bullpen may be getting the job done sure making it interesting. Strop or Kintzler in the 8 th?

  • In reply to stix:

    Guess the answer should have been Kintzler. Strop is no better than CJ anymore.

  • KB with the D! They need to add on now! I hate when they go quiet with a small early lead.

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    The more I watch baseball, and especially the Cubs, the more I realize that the difference in so many games is defense. We won in 2016 because we had good hitting great pitching and a superior defense. That can help in so many ways--you don't need to get that extra run because we didn't let them get that run to begin with. Look what KB did in the last inning, and what Javy has been doing his whole career, but especially the no look tag the other day. Defense wins championships--I know I'm not the first one to say that.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Unfortunately defense can’t win w/o offense. Never saw the defense score a run. It sure helps to have a good defense but it doesn’t win in baseball.

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    In reply to stix:

    No but it saves a lot of runs. If AA was a bit faster he might have caught that ball over his head.

  • Yep yep! That is PRO ball right there!

  • I think it was a week ago I wrote here, Strop cannot be trusted any longer in close games - when Cubs are winning or tied. Why is he pitching 8th innings? Joe, wake up.

  • In reply to cubbustible:

    Had a 3 run lead?

  • Stick a fork in peter he's done. how maddon had no one else warming is pitiful. peter should be relegated to mop up duty. theo needs to get some real arms in pen.

  • Disgusting 8th.

    Strop is no longer an 8th inning guy. 93 mph heater and less spin and bite on that slider. Almora with the no doubles non-defense. Terrible.

  • In reply to LAX2ORD:

    There is a whole lot to blame this loss on instead of Almora's defense.

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    Ok. How about Almora’s offense. He’s been the statistical worst regular hitter in MLB the past calendar year.

  • In reply to LAX2ORD:

    Schwarber and Garcia left 2 guys on base. And Maldonado can’t hit at all.

  • Chatwood couldn't have done any worse, why not throw him in there especially in a Mills start he had to be ready for long relief.

  • In reply to Fuzzy59:

    I'd rather see Maples at this point. At least it'd be trying something new. Strop has been bad for sometime now.

  • Joe Maddon should be given his walking papers for mishandling the pitching staff. When Strop started throwing batting practice, Maddon should have pulled Strop immediately. If Joe doesn't know Pedro's tendencies by know , he never will.

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    Strop has lost 3 or 4 mph on his FB and his location is off too. He’s not dependable and we need to find someone else in the 8 th.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    His legs are shot. One too many hammy injuries. Joe had to give him another shot but that’s done now. No more high leverage situations. Tough loss, get ‘em tomorrow

  • Well, it's too bad, because the team really played a good game.

  • Tough one to lose......

  • Trade Schwarber for Michael Lorenzen as I wrote earlier.

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    Well, hell.

  • What could possibly the excuse for bringing in Strop to pitch the 8th inning, let alone keeping him in after the first 2 hits? This is why it is so hard to just enjoy watching this team play.

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