Cubs Game Post 9/17


Series preview is here.


Tuesday: 7:05 PM CT on ESPN/WCIU/670AM



1. Josh VanMeter (L) 2B
2. Joey Votto (L) 1B
3. Eugenio Suarez (R) 3B
6. Phillip Ervin (R) LF
7. Brian O’Grady (L) CF
8. Jose Peraza (R) SS
9. Sonny Gray (R) P
1. Ben Zobrist (S) 2B
3. Kris Bryant (R) 3B
4. Kyle Schwarber (L) LF
7. Jason Heyward (L) CF
8. Nico Hoerner (R) SS
9. Yu Darvish (R) P
Bullpen Usage
Lineups and Bullpen Usage via Baseball Press.

Opposing pitcher

Scouting Reports from Brooks Baseball.

Sonny Gray: Sonny Gray has thrown 17,302 pitches that have been tracked by the PITCHf/x system between 2013 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 (94mph), Curve (82mph), Slider (85mph) and Sinker (93mph). He also rarely throws a Change (90mph), Cutter (92mph) and Slow Curve (75mph).

His fourseam fastball has much less armside movement than typical and has essentially average velo. His curve has sweeping glove-side movement, is much harder than usual and has a sharp downward bite. His slider sweeps across the zone and has exceptional depth. His sinker generates an extremely high number of swings & misses compared to other pitchers’ sinkers, has less armside run than typical, results in somewhat more groundballs compared to other pitchers’ sinkers and has slightly above average velo. His change is thrown extremely hard and generates fewer whiffs/swing compared to other pitchers’ changeups. His cutter is basically never swung at and missed compared to other pitchers’ cutters, is blazing fast and is an extreme flyball pitch compared to other pitchers’ cutters. 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: Gray has been outstanding in his first year for the Reds. His strike out rate is up 7% from 2018 and he gets over half his outs on the ground. The Cubs have scored just four runs in 18.1 innings against Gray in three games this season.

Final Thoughts: The degree of difficulty goes up for the Cubs with Gray on the mound. Joe Maddon has the same lineup as Monday, the only change in fact, is Victor Caratini catches and Willson Contreras plays first. Yu Darvish was outstanding his last time on mound amassing 14 strikeouts against the Padres.


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    Just win baby!

  • Beautiful day for baseball. Let's play.

    Kimbrel threw 16 pitches today with Robel in the box. Only 2 or 3 breaking pitches, the rest heat. I've seen the video, he looked good. Waiting on the word of the next step.

    News broke today that Kintzler is dealing with a lat strain. Lovely. He's only made about 3 appearances this month, and none in the last week. Our B-team bullpen has covered, and very well.

    Dabs touched on this last night, the "better late than never" concept. Heyward was asked about rallying around the Rizzo injury and basically said "no thanks, we don't need additional motivation through further injury". Javy, Rizzo, Kimbrel, and so many other top players out, and we're playing our best ball of the year. It makes no sense.

    Our season, and our postseason aspirations, were in peril long before this tsunami took out our finest front. We were done in August, possibly clinging to a postseason dream. That dream crashed with the loss of our best players, and us Cubs fans were full of false hope as our wounded and diminished team was to face the wrath of the far superior teams we were about to play in the last month of the season. We were slumping. We were uncertain. And then, most importantly, we were short-handed and leaderless.

    I usually do lyrics, but I feel a movie reference is in order:

    "I don't know. Part of me thinks the kid's right. What's he done to deserve this? He wants to stay here, fine. Let's leave him and go home. But another part of me thinks, what if we stay, and by some miracle we actually make it out of here alive? Someday we might look back on this and decide that saving Private Ryan was the one decent thing we were able to pull out of this whole godawful, shitty mess."

    Let's fight!

    Go Cubs!

  • Hit again, but I see why. A dirty word in a classic quote from a great film. I think, because the filter has blocked nearly everything I've tried to contribute over the last few days. This is getting personal. Not with Cubs Den, but with the filter.

    Go Cubs!

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Anyway, Kimbrel threw 16 pitches to Robel Garcia in a simulated game today. 2 or 3 offspeed pitches and the rest fastballs. No word yet, but I'm thinking he will be activated in a day or two and kept on a short leash. I hope we see dominant Kimbrel again this season (have we?) but I think we won't. He'll be good, but not THE dominant closer. He can be for the next 2 years.

    Zobrist is at the top of the order again. Rizzo had occupied that spot, and the Cubs said he was there for the rest of this season, but his season was cut short. I've seen some speculation, including from the Cubs' "nerds", about Zo's pace of play. It was well documented that he would not play every day. There is a new theory that he may actually start more games and hit lead-off, out of necessity, and be pulled during the game for defense/rest. Rather than playing every other game he plays half of every game. I don't know, this is all due to injury. We'll see.

  • A naysayer shunned the use of random points by Rizzowiththestick in demonstrating how well Kyle Schwarber has done this season in the game recap. So let's compare Kyles full season to our perennial MVP's

    Kyle: 566 PA, 493 AB, 78 R, 116 H, 23 2b, 2 3b, 37 HR, 88 RBI,
    63 BB, 145 K - .235/.325/.515/.840 111 OPS+

    Javy: 560 PA, 530 AB, 88 R, 149 H, 38 2b, 4 3b, 29 HR, 85 RBI,
    28 BB, 155 K, - .281/.316/.532/.848 112 OPS+

    Now to expand on all this. In Kyle's 566 PAs, he's had 301 runners on base for him and managed 88 RBI. In Javy's 560 PAs, he's had 334 runners on base for him and managed 85 RBI. Sure Kyle has had 6 more PAs, but then how did Schwarber manage 88 RBIs (3 more than Javy) off only 116 hits AND with 33 less runners on base for him, compared to the situations Javy batted in with 334 runners on base? Seems as though, when it comes down to the team contribution of driving in runs, Kyle has been better than Javy at this skill. Yet people have screamed for Kyle to be benched and traded all year long... So if Javy is so great and revered around here, why is Kyle such the whipping boy? Is it time for some to show Kyle alot more respect?

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    And I will ask you again, Cubber, why do you use every available opportunity to attack Javy Baez? I get it, you don't like him. Why come on every thread and bash him, even when he is injured and not even a passing thought in this game? You put effort into those numbers, and the ones you picked make your case look good. I really don't like putting one Cub against another, but let me play your game...

    I get to make a fantasy team. I can clone players. I think the pitcher and catcher are specialized enough to have their own exemptions. They are league average. I get to fill the rest of my 7 position players with any 7 clones of any player.

    My player hits in 7 spots in the order, but holy cow! also had to play all 7 defensive positions. This is a reason I think defense is so overlooked by some modern fans. A team of Javy's vs. a team of Rizzo's probably wins 132-3. A team of Javy's vs. a team of Willson's? 68-7. KB may put up a fight, but goes down 32-4.

    There is more to a baseball player than his offensive stats.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I'm not trying to attack Javy. I'm just providing an example of 2 players we've watched with our own eyes all year long, and showing how one gets bashed regularly by many, while the other is praised. It seems the factual data compiled from these players efforts, and even in almost an exactly the same sample size proves otherwise. I was just making a case that Schwarber has been almost just as productive as Javy, yet you look at it as I was making a case that Javy is as bad as Schwarber. I don't think Kyle's a bad player at all. I think he's pretty darn good actually. So I'm raising him up near Javy's level. Again, I'm not talking about their defense or immeasurables, just the measures we have in offensive data.

    Interesting concept of having 7 Javy's in the lineup. I think that would set a record for most strikeouts in a season by a team, and opposing pitchers could do that while only throwing about 33% of pitches in the strike zone. I'd much rather build my team around 7 Rizzos or Bryants.

    "You put effort into those numbers, and the ones you picked make your case look good."

    I didn't put any effort into those numbers I posted. Javy and Kyle put all their efforts into producing all those stat lines. Are you challenging that they are giving their best efforts? I just posted the recorded data. Don't fire the messenger... Javy's approach gave him those numbers to help define his offensive game. Kyle's approach helps to define his game. I didn't make them do anything they're doing in playing in each of their 560-some plate appearances.

    So what numbers do we need to include about their offense to better tip the scales towards Javy's side? Wouldn't that be cherry picking? I'm just using alot of the basic data that's been around for years and years. For what it's worth, Rizzo has 592 PAs, and Heyward has 557. Would you like to compare their numbers to Javy's or Kyle's and see if that makes you feel better about how good Javy is? Because I think we all know and agree that Javy is a much better player than Heyward, but that's not really saying much...

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    To answer Barley's question in a much more sucinct way, I'm just comparing Kyle Schwarber to greatness, and I'm surprised how similar their production is. So is Kyle really that great? Or is Javy really not that great? Depending on people's opinions of the player (Schwarber) in question.

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:


  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    Kyle's defense has improved dramatically in the second half this year. I'm basing that on the eye test alone. His routes are better. He looks like an outfielder now. Anyone calling him a DH is basing that on old news IMHO.

    As for the bat he's becoming the hitter the Cubs always thought he could be. And frankly I don't think we've seen his best.

    Our 2 Nick's change the dynamic of the lineup. Let's give this a fair chance. And Nick at Nite is way better than advertised defensively. He too has clearly put a lot of work in.

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    In reply to Cubber Lang:

    Kyle has my respect but he also doesn’t provide the defense or base running that Javy does. Javy’s position is also one of the most important on the field.
    Kyle has improved a lot from last year but I’ll take Javy over him. I am one who has wanted to trade Kyle—he’s hot now but has his funk time too. Trade him when he’s hot and he is now and get the most for him. Maybe even a lead off hitter.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Who do you replace Kyle with after you trade him?

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    In reply to stix:

    I don’t know yet.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Fernando Kelli???

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    In reply to cubbustible:


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    It appears that Darvish has caught whatever is affecting Hamels and Lester. Maybe this will be like the Pittsburgh game where they scored 4 in the first, but they didn’t have Sonny Gray pitching.

  • Schwarber doing it again!

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    He's a bum, lol.

  • This will be a very interesting 2 weeks for Bryant. He faced minor league, expanded roster pitching last week that won him player of the week. Now, with two weeks to go against the Cards pitching, the hall is rented, orchestra fired up, now its time to see if he can dance.

  • In reply to Squareburgers:

    He'll dance. Why do you think he won't?

  • No Fred Astaire like moves yet

  • Let’s get yu some runs, they don’t want to waste this start.

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    Well, whatever affected Yu in the first inning is gone now. He’s pitching masterly. I saw the Kerry Wood game and am watching this now.
    By a lot of metrics Kerry’s was the best pitched game ever. His stuff that afternoon was amazing. Yu is doing what he wants now and the Cubs have to back him up. Jake and Kyle are doing what they can but we need more and I know we can do it.
    Btw, Gleyber Torres hit number 38 tonight. I still make that deal.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Who is Jake?

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    In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    I meant Nick.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Oh ok, thanks.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I make that deal again as well. I root hard for Gleyber, and will feel bad when I hear the news of his positive test.

    It's true. Wait for it.

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    In reply to BarleyPop:

    Really? I’ll bet others this year are going to too.

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    I like that Nico is making him pitch. Let Yu get a little rest.

  • Darvish 24 k’s in last 9 innings pitched.

  • Can the Cubs pay Nico extra and hire him as a hitting coach?

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    I hope they feed him major league money and listen to him.

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    Yu has really slowed up. He looks tired and it’s maybe time to get someone up in the bullpen.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    One more inning maybe. Let’s get some runs.

  • Haven't been able to watch since the first inning ended. Noticed that Kyle hit a triple to drive another runner in from first. So he's got 2 2-out RBI, and has driven both runs in at 1st base when he batted. Is he not clutch because that doesn't help his RISP stats? Now I won't be able to watch any more till later tonight.

    Now that I just even saw the replay from his triple, it seems that the outfield was actually positioned and playing him maybe straight up or to hit to opposite field, because the RF'er was nowhere near the RF line. Seems as though his hitting ability is starting to be recognized by the opponents and that may end up in Kyle's and the Cubs favor.

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