Cubs Game Post 8/15


Series preview is here.


Thursday: 6:05 PM CT on MLB Network/WGN/670AM



1. Anthony Rizzo (L) 1B
3. Kris Bryant (R) 3B
4. Kyle Schwarber (L) LF
5. Ian Happ (S) 2B
6. David Bote (R) SS
8. Yu Darvish (R) P


1. Rhys Hoskins (R) 1B
2. Bryce Harper (L) RF
3. J.T. Realmuto (R) C
4. Corey Dickerson (L) LF
5. Jean Segura (R) SS
6. Cesar Hernandez (S) 2B
7. Scott Kingery (R) 3B
8. Adam Haseley (L) CF
9. Drew Smyly (L) P
Bullpen Usage

Lineups and Bullpen Usage via Baseball Press.

Opposing pitcher

Scouting Reports from Brooks Baseball.

Drew Smyly: Drew Smyly has thrown 11,179 pitches that have been tracked by the PITCHf/x system between 2012 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 (77mph), also mixing in a Cutter (87mph) and Change (83mph). He also rarely throws a Sinker (92mph).

His fourseam fastball has much less armside movement than typical, has essentially average velo, results in somewhat more flyballs compared to other pitchers’ fourseamers and has some added backspin. His curve has primarily 12-6 movement, has little depth and results in somewhat more flyballs compared to other pitchers’ curves. His cutter has good “rise”. His change has surprising cut action, results in more flyballs compared to other pitchers’ changeups and has a lot of backspin. His sinker 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 little sinking action compared to a true sinker and has slightly above average velo.

Sean’s Note: Smyly was on the Cubs roster last year while recovering from elbow surgery. He never pitched for Chicago before starting the 2019 season with Texas. They released him after a poor first half and Philly grabbed him in July. It hasn’t gotten better in the National League, he has a 6.96 ERA and is walking over 12% of hitters. The biggest problem is the home run, 23 bombs in just 75.1 innings pitched. Basically he surrenders nearly three jacks per nine innings.

Final Thoughts: The Phillies blasted the Cubs Wednesday night, scoring 11 in an easy victory. Chicago’s offense also completely sputtered for the second consecutive night. Joe Maddon‘s solution is to inexplicably bat Albert Almora leadoff again. Almora is hitting under .200 against left handed pitchers and has a sub .300 on base percentage. Smyly is a very bad pitcher, but the lineup is not optimized for success. I will be happy to be proven wrong.

Filed under: Game preview

Tags: Albert Almora, Joe Maddon


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  • Sean, I agree with why does Maddon have Almora leading off. Last night he had Kemp leading off. Kemp has a .200 OBP with the Cubs also with zero walks. I know it is a small sample size but still.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    Kemp at least has some history of drawing walks and some OBP threat. He was also pressed into service last night given the Heyward situation. That one I think is at least slightly defensible. Almora is nonsensical at this point given track record, current production and the situation.

  • In reply to Mike Banghart:

    Kemp has a .317 career OBP. That to me does not scream leadoff man.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    No he shouldn't be a regular leadoff hitter and he isn't going to be. But he is a year removed from posting a .351 OBP and unlike Almora is not allergic to walking.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    Kemp's minor league OBP was .389. He has pretty good athleticism, speed, listed at 5 foot-6, & enough power to keep pitchers at least a little honest. Has he ever been given regular at bats in the majors? I have watched enough, of the other options. Would like to see Kemp be given at least a short tryout as the leadoff hitter, at least part of a platoon for the leadoff spot.

  • In reply to Naujack:

    Maybe he should be in the minor than.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    *Maybe he should be in the minor leagues than.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    I caught your drift. Maybe sometimes players deserve a chance? The Cubs cannot afford to give him a 100 bat tryout, & hope he can get comfortable enough, & maybe have the talent to fix the multi-year leadoff problem? More than likely he will fail like everyone else the Cubs have tried since 2017. At least try something different.

    I always thought Tommy Lastella should of been given a chance to leadoff against RHP starters for the Cubs. His career minor league OBP was .392.

  • In reply to Naujack:

    I don't understand why you keep bringing up players minor league numbers. They mean nothing. It's what they do in the major leagues that counts. I think Kemp might be released once Zobrist is ready

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    If players are never given a real chance to play regularly in the majors. How do you really know what a player can do? Other playoff teams sometimes find no name players, who seem to perform well. I look at the Cubs, and think they are a good team. I also think they are much closer to the Diamondbacks/Mets/Phillies than Dodgers/Braves in terms of talent. I hope some players get real hot, or lucky the rest of the season. I don't care if they are a big name, or no-name players who help the Cubs win more.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    From Matt Clapp on Twitter:

    Of 154 MLB hitters with at least 100 plate appearances vs lefties this year, Albert Almora ranks...

    152nd in OPS: .528

    152nd in wRC+: 37... 36 is the worst

    152nd in OBP: .248

    152nd in SLG: .280

    The Cubs, desperate for wins, are choosing to bat him leadoff.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Yeah, that's not good. He has much better career numbers. Not sure why this year he is so bad.

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    In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    I don't understand either. I'd rather see Schwarber leading off, he's certainly better than Albert.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I came to the conclusion about a month ago that it's just not happening this year. He needs to be a defensive replacement and emergency spot-starter the rest of this season, and certainly not leading off. Reassess and regroup this offseason.

    That was supposed to be in reply to 2016 Cubs, but I'm too lazy to re-do it.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Everyone seems to want to pick on Almora but lets look at the facts. Almora hits against RHPs better but lately, Joe sits him against RHPs and plays him against the LHPs. Sure, Almora has been a letdown but what about our core players whom we should rely more on? They have definitely been a letdown also.

    Another thing that is NOT working is Joe's "ARMY" lineup (left, right, left, right, etc.). We have certain players that hit LHPs better (Nicky2Bags, KB and Contreras) with Rizzo close to 50-50. Why not bat these 4 players together in order to give us more of a chance to string some hits? This way we would be stronger against all the opposing starting pitchers and the matchup against the relievers when needed.

    Again, the left, right, left, right lineup is NOT working! Why not try something different and give it a chance?

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    I meant to include Caratini also against LHPs which is his strong side.

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    5 of the first 6 batters in todays lineup are right handed. Maybe Maddon read your mind. Maddon also has Schwarber in lineup. But it really does't matter if the pitcher is a righty or a lefty, he can't hit either. Also, Rizzo hits righties much better than lefties.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    It's NOT a matter of all right handed either. I said Nicky2bags, KB and Contreras or Caratini should bat in order because they are stronger against LHPs with Rizzo following.

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    Atta boy Albert, one pitch, one out !

  • In reply to ronvet69:

    OMG Almora got a hit and an RBI with RISP.

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    So did DeScalzo earlier in the year.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    If you've got nothing better to say, why do you even bother?

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    Your man crush on Almora is strange. For the last year covering over 500 at bats he is one of the 5 worst hitters in all of baseball and you keep defending his performance which is clearly indefensible. He should get no more than 25-30 at bats the rest of the year and come in for defense in the late innings. He has hit his way out of a big league starting job. Just being objective on who he is.

  • In reply to rbrucato:


  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    Seems only fair that ronvert would have noted that. Almora is 8th in RBI on the team, he has to get them somewhere.

  • In reply to stix:


  • In reply to stix:

    Yeah, tied with Pittsburgh ! In all fairness to Albert, not to long ago Albert was batting in the high two hundreds but something happened and he went down hill. Why ? Who knows, but it's up to him and the Cubs hitting coach to figure out what's wrong. Changing hitting coaches every year can't help.

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    Why don't you sign him ! Do you honestly think you would face Drew Smyly in a playoff game !

  • In reply to ronvet69:

    Seriously, guys, we're all on edge. We're all Cubs fans, and there aren't many rules here. We kinda police ourselves. One good guideline is when we start picking at each other rather than focusing on the game, or the overall picture. A good rule of thumb is if you'd rather make a negative comment about a fellow Denizen than talk baseball, don't.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    You're right ! Back to the game !

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Sorry BP but that is what I have been doing.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Go Cubs!

  • In reply to ronvet69:

    Nope but just tired of everyone beating up on Almora when the whole team has been under performing. I, for one, never expected him to do much better than he has been doing. But there are a whole bunch of other Cubs players and manager that I did expect to do better.

  • I recall Theo, a week or so before the trade deadline, finally admit we might need a leadoff man, not only for the spark but to hit everyone else in more comfortable spots. Good teams have them. We tried. I guess nothing was available.

    I know Jonathan likes the Janis lyrics, and this is how we all feel looking around and seeing that we have something missing:

    "Oh Lord, won't you
    Buy me a Mercedes Benz.
    My friends all drive Porsches.
    I must make amends.
    Worked hard all my lifetime,
    No help from my friends.
    So Lord, won't you
    Buy me a Mercedes Benz."

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to BarleyPop:

    I just got home but listened to the 9th inning. See Janis is the only good thing about this game. Thanks BP.

  • I think Almora will break out in a big way today. Same with the other not so great bats in our lineup. We will win big today and everybody will kinda forget that this team is bad, because they are maintaining such a “good” runs scored to runs against. The real record is all that matters, and it’s just not that impressive.

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    I started reading your comment and shook my head in agreement. Then got excited. Then it kinda brought me down. Then reality set in.

    Kinda like our season.

    Go Cubs!

  • Prayerfully Javy taking a much deserved day off, which moves Almora Jr. to 9th and Rizzo to leadoff, will be a blessing in disguise............

  • In reply to Treebeard:

    I think Rizzo currently is better suited to leadoff. His power numbers,especially his homers, have been nonexistent for almost two months but he has improved his batting average by becoming a singles hitter.

    Hope Javy only down a day or two. The cubs can’t score and now they are missing Heyward and Javy. Not a way to run a railroad or even a baseball team.

  • In reply to stix:

    Rizzo looks like Rickey Henderson batting leadoff.

  • Kris Bryant looked awful in that plate appearance.

  • In reply to Squareburgers:

    Bryant's last 8 games .400/.471/.733 wOBA.492 wRC+208 3 HR 8RBI. I'd say he has looked pretty good the last 8 games.

  • Maybe we should blame it on Almora? LOL

  • Boy I didn’t realize how short handed this lineup is today bote at SS that should be interesting. This team can’t hit lefties as it is but no javy no contreras, and now they really don’t match up well. Smiley is very hittable but this lineup isn’t pretty. Need almora to step it up against lefties he doesn’t have much value to this current roster if he doesn’t get it done against lefties. These bench guys have to contribute more, although it would certainly help if Bryzzo got it going as well

  • I’m Hungry!

  • Maybe Almora’s Long hair is having an anti-Samson effect. Cut that nest off and maybe he starts to hit.

  • In reply to Oldno7:

    If that is the case, they should all get a haircut.

  • In reply to Oldno7:

    Maybe Schwarber needs to get a haircut too !

  • Caratini 3-23 in steal attempts. I hope he and Darvish work the game well because they sure can’t stop the track meet.

  • Hungry!!

  • In reply to Wickdipper:

    This isn't ideal, but I think Philly may be dining on meatloaf tonight.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Kinda agree.....not the best but we’ll take it.

  • So far so good. Let's lock this sucker down.

  • Where would they be the last month without the contributions of Quintana and Darvish?

  • Nicky-not-2bags.:(

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    A-bag and A-tag there......:(

  • Catching Yu must be like going to the Dentist. Yu's shaken off more pitches than Carter's got pills.
    I really hope the Cubs can hold on to Nicolas Castellanos, so it isn't a trade in vain.

  • As wick said where would they be without the improvement of darvish and Q. It seems like those 2 are the wrecking boys for any starting rotation criticism when frankly they’ve been pitching as well if not better for some time now. It seems like every time yu gives up a run even lately while pitching well he gets bashed by someone here. So much for darvish not being able to hold a lead, as if this offense has given him much help lately. I can rarely recall this lineup ever giving darvish a 4+ run lead. I get darvish has left scars on this fanbase, but it’s time for his critics to give him his due for how well he’s pitching lately. His K:BB ratio has been probably as strong as any pitcher in baseball since July 1, which tells me the recent success is sustainable.

    Honestly I think hamels is fine and just trying to find his command/arm slot on his fastball coming off a lengthy absence. I also wouldn’t be surprised to see Lester turn things around down the stretch as he has before. But if anyone isn’t holding up their ends in this rotation it’s Lester, Hendricks, and at least recently hamels although Cole was great before his injury. Hendricks and Lester are supposed to be the top dogs in this rotation. Those guys have obviously earned my trust and love as a fan. But their numbers are vastly inferior to what they gave the cubs back in 2016. This rotation is deep but just isn’t getting that ace caliber production from any 1 guy. The team needs those 2 to find their top forms, otherwise even Quintana and darvish’s resurgence won’t take them far. Personally I’m more worried about Lester over Hendricks, but we’ve heard fans call Lester a declining pitcher prematurely before

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to kkhiavi:

    So the guy with the best era on the starting staff isn't holding up his end of the rotation?

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    Hendricks has given up more than 2 runs once in his last 8 starts. His last one. He has a 2.35 ERA in the 7 games before his last start. I do agree Darvish and Q are pitching very good. But, Hendricks? One bad outing in last 8 starts is good also.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    Yeah I agree I’m being too harsh on Hendricks I should reiterate that I see him as the teams #1 starter, and he’s the one guy I have zero concern over. But at the same time my expectations are frankly the highest for him. Lester’s peripherals have been in decline for some time, so I’m not shocked his numbers are down a little. But to me the ace baton has been passed from Lester to Hendricks. He’s having a good season, but statistically this hasn’t been one of his better years so far. You guys are correct though that so probably shouldn’t have lumped him in with the others. Despite a rough start he’s easily the starter I have the most confidence in nov picture wise. Honestly too I think Lester and hamels turn it around as well. I’m just Moreso illustrating that Q and darvish have stepped up in a bit of a downturn from the teams rotation excluding Hendricks

  • Looks as if Joe is planning to use Strop to close tonight. Hopefully the cubs have at least 4 run lead when he comes in.

  • Cards losing going into bottom of 8th at Cincy 2-0 with only 1 hit. Yesterday they were no hit through 6 but still won at KC.

    Wish the cubs could win more games when they don’t get many hits.

  • From Cubs twitters:

    Yu Darvish has not issued a walk in four consecutive starts.

    He is the first Cub since at least 1908 with 8+ strikeouts and no walks in four straight starts.

    He was also the first Cub to do it in three straight.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    As one of his biggest, IN SEASON, detractors, allow me to say how incredibly shocked (and impressed) I have been with Yu's turnaround. He has been absolutely lights out and shockingly consistent over the past few weeks. Good for him and the Cubs. Oh, and good for me since I have him in fantasy baseball !!!!

  • "Where have you gone,
    Javier Baez?"

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    That was a joke, but now it isn't. Run prevention.

    "Where have you gone,
    Javier Baez?"

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Too bad we have no middle infielders you can count on in the 9th. Don’t like Strop against thev#1&2 hitters this inning.

  • In reply to stix:

    Cubs do have a middle fielder they can count on. He is in Iowa. Tearing it up.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    Doesn’t work tonight.

  • Strop coming in. This will be tense. Don't like this move, but we will see.

  • It's bad enough that Bote can't hit, but when his normally sure hands start making errors, it's time to sit this guy early and often !!!!

  • In reply to INSaluki:

    No ss besides Baez.

  • C'mon, ol' Bang Bang!

  • I've said it a million times. 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. Run prevention isn't sexy, but it won us a Championship.

    I don't have confidence that we can turn a double play with this alignment.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    And that is exactly why Russell needs to be on this team. He is so much better than either Bote or Happ. He needed a breather, he needed to be reminded of his desire to play the game. Either release him or bring him back.

  • I can't believe Joe brought Strop in and left him in to load the bases.

  • It would be nice to see Javy at 2nd in the ninth ! Hold on to your hats !

  • This one is on Maddon!

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    You think every loss is on Maddon. This loss is on Bote & Happ not making plays they should & Strop and Holland unable to pick them up. It’s actually funny you blame this loss on the manager

  • In reply to Cubpack:

    Yes I do. Strop has been off all year. Maddon sets him up for the closer role. Seriously! Maddon has no clue managing a bullpen.

    That said I loved reading how Maddon is so sure he is coming back for a couple years. It will be great to see he is not and watching him eat crow.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    I don’t agree. Maybe he should have left Wick in but he had just given up back to back hits and was over 30 pitches. Strop was really his only other option.
    If Joe is back next year, will you eat crow or just quit watching?

  • unreal. This stuff is getting stupid.

  • Wow......just wow. Another road loss and a crushing one at that. This team desperately needs to get healthy. I still believe Bote's error opened the door and, with this BP, that's all the Phillies needed.

  • Well that totally f*-"*ng sucked.

    Chicks dig the long ball. I get that. Winning teams play D and RUN PREVENTION! It ain't sexy, but damn it wins games.

    We lost.

  • I understand that javy and russell aren’t here or weren’t available. But why in the heck was tony kemp not put into the game after pinch hitting for darvish? Happ and bote have to be one of the poorest middle IF tandems in the game no way you leave them in for 9 innings. I literally assumed kemp was in the game after pinch hitting for yu, just shocking he wasn’t defensively subbed. The injuries certainly tied his hands and the players need to do better. This one isn’t on joe it’s on the players, but he made a mistake sticking with happ and vote once darvish left

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    Maddon also made the mistake with not sticking with Wick and bringing Strop. Strop is not Strop of the past. Everyone but Maddon knows that. This is on Maddon for 2 reasons. 1 Bringing in Strop and 2 Not having Russell on the roster.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    Calling BS on this one. Wick thew in the 8th. Joe sent him back out there in the 9th and he threw some terrible pitches. Had to go get him. People on here complain about Russell and don't want him on the team. Bottom line is if he were at second base in the ninth, we win this game. Joe had no Javy, No Willy, No Cishek, No Kimbrel, No Kintzler and limited Jhey. Pieced together a win. Somebody, anybody in the bullpen does their freaking job and we win. Nobody did. And Happ is not a second baseman period.

  • In reply to KJRyno:

    Strop should not have been in that game at that time. I call BS on you fellow denizen and I mean that respectfully.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    Did you see how Wick started the ninth? He was done.

  • In reply to KJRyno:

    It did watch. But, anybody but Strop in that situation. Hey Strop has been amazing for the Cubs in his career just not in 2019. He should not be put in high leverages this year.

  • In reply to KJRyno:

    His stuff wasn't there. It happens. Dugout has to be aware.

  • Darvish can’t buy a W lol

  • fb_avatar

    The team played Screw Yu in the ninth, lol. Seriously, terrible loss, but still in first place. Get em tomorrow.

  • In reply to John Winter:

    LOL Good one. I actually did laugh out loud.

  • Javy having the flu cost us this game. Put that in your WAR pipe and smoke it.

  • fb_avatar

    I feel totally blah now. I was listening on the way home when the 9th inning cratered and I didn't even let loose with any profanity. I don't feel excited about this team. Something is missing and lots need to be changed next year. What we have now are a lot of talented
    "names" but they aren't producing. They do now and then but not enough. I seriously doubt that all four of the core will be here next year and the pitching staff has to change too, both starters and relievers.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Your probably right Jonathan and I feel that way somewhat too. But I’m just not ready yet to give up on this year. Cubs just need to get healthy, then hot right before the playoffs start and go on a run. It can happen

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    If Kimbrel was healthy they probably win.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Cubs09:

    That's more than likely true, but if ifs were wings we'd fly. That's the problem with this season, someone hits when it isn't necessary or is injured or sick at the wrong time.
    I've been a Cub fan for over 60 years and still am of course, just that I don't feel that ummpf right now. But--if they start winning maybe I'll feel excited again.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I agree it could be an interesting offseason.

  • Nothing like a road trip to take the rose off of the glasses.

    The sun will rise. Let's play two.

  • Amazing to me how guys like Edwards, Maples and Strop have absolutely no command over their breaking balls this last year.

  • In reply to Wickdipper:

    Strop is the only one of the three that has had a prolonged period of time where he did have control of it. Edwards was on again off again. Maples has a nasty that he never has had under control.

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