Bullpen Session

Bullpen Session 6.8.19

T 1st; -.-
Streak: W

STL 1 – CHC 3
Anthony Rizzo hit leadoff on Friday for the first time this season. He’s the 6th player Joe Maddon has inserted into the leadoff spot in 2019, and the first player other than Kyle Schwarber to lead off for the Cubs in the past 21 games.

Rizzo has made several cameos in the leadoff role over the past two seasons, most notably during a stretch last year where he hit leadoff in 27 of 28 games, part of which included a run of 20 games in-a-row. Only Albert Almora led off more games (46) in 2018 than Rizzo (31).

This season Maddon turned to Schwarber in mid-May as his full-time table setter — a sharp contrast to last season when Schwarber led off in only one game. Schwarber had not seen consecutive games batting leadoff since the 2017 campaign when he opened the year as the everyday leadoff man – an experiment that failed miserably and concluded with the slugger hitting .165 avg. at the beginning of June.

Rizzo entered Friday’s game with a career .317 average and .409 on-base percentage from the top spot in the order; numbers which he would improve upon against the Cardinals.

Rizzo led off the bottom of the first with a walk. He stole second and later scored on Javy Báez’s HR to RF for 2-0 Cubs lead.

In his second at-bat, he grounded out to third.

Rizzo singled in his third trip, then was thrown out at the plate trying to score on Kris Bryant’s double.

In his fourth at-bat, Rizzo was intentionally walked.

Stolen base
2 BB

Number of games:
21 – Schwarber
14 – Zobrist
11 – Descalso
09 – Almora
06 – Heyward
01 – Rizzo

NEXT – Sat. vs. STL, 6:15 p.m. CT
Jack Flaherty (4-3, 3.76)
Jon Lester (4-4, 3.32)

Bullpen Session

Bullpen Session 6.7.19

T 1st; -.-
Streak: L

COL 3 – CHC 1
Javy Báez’s RBI single to plate Kris Bryant with two outs in the 6th accounted for the Cubs lone run on Thursday.

It marked Báez’s 40th RBI this season and Bryant’s 47th run scored as both players rank at or near the top of the team leaderboard in each category.

Anthony Rizzo is the only Cub who has driven in more runs (44) than Báez (40) or Braynt (36).

KB leads the club in runs scored (47), while Báez ranks 2nd (41) and Rizzo ranks 3rd (39).

José Quintana (4-5, 3.77) is averaging 4 runs of support per start this season. But in nearly half of his 12 starts he’s received 2 or fewer runs of support five times, including his 7.1 innings of work Thursday afternoon.

Quintana also remains winless in day games falling to (0-3, 5.04) in 4 starts.

NEXT – Fri. vs. STL, 1:20 p.m. CT
Miles Mikolas (4-5, 4.41)
Cole Hamels (4-2, 3.62)

Bullpen Session

Bullpen Session 6.6.19

1st; +1.0
Streak: W W W

Craig Kimbrel makes the Cubs a bona fide championship roster. Chicago was desperate for a closer. They got one of the best. And they kept him away from the other contenders.

Even with Kimbrel on the roster it’s still not a perfect 25. No roster ever is. But Kimbrel does give the Cubs all the necessary pieces to reach and win a World Series.

If the Cubs can add a couple role players at the trade deadline, all the better. But they certainly don’t have to add or part ways with players they’d preferably keep.

The deal is reportedly for 3-years, $43M. The length doesn’t matter. What’s important is this season — 2019. This year’s roster is fully capable of winning a championship. The only piece missing was a legit closer. Kimbrel is that piece. And it only took money to get him. The current roster stays in tact. Win a ring and the Cubs can worry about next year, next year.

Kintzler to Cishek to Strop to Kimbrel has a postseason ring to it. And there’s a chance, however small, that Brandon Morrow makes a return this season. Then imagine if CJ Edwards found his way again.

Kimbrel is an exciting signing, he’s an important signing, and for the best of reasons we can only hope that come October he becomes a historic signing.

Best case scenario is we see Kimbrel join the big club in mid June. Realistically, it’s probably closer to late June or early July.

So, that means we’re looking at a closer by committee over the next two weeks. At least now we know there’s an end to it.

COL 8 – CHC 9
The Cubs have a new closer and a three-game winning streak.

For a game that combined for 17 runs, it was strange considering the scoring didn’t begin until the bottom of the 5th.

German Marquez retired 12 of the Cubs first 14 batters and Yu Darvish set down 10 of the Rockies first 11 batters.

Then the David Bote Show appeared and the base running was underway.

The Cubs have prioritized contact over power the last three games.

Three straight wins.

23 total runs scored.

Single digit strikeouts all three games.

10-for-23 with RISP.

Hooray contact.

BOTE: (4-4, 7 RBI)
Go ahead 3-R HR.
Bases-clearing 2B.
Career-high 7 Ribbies.
All from the 8-hole.

His 7 RBI are the most by a Cubs second baseman since Sandberg’s 7 RBI in the “Sandberg Game” on June 23, 1984.

Last 12 games:
.451 avg.
3 HR
13 RBI

SCHWARBER: (2-4, 2B)
4-game hitting streak:
2 BB, 3 K

CONTRERAS: (2-3, 2B)
Homestand: 4-for-7
HR, 2B
5 Runs

DARVISH: (2-3, 4.88)
5.1 IP — 2 ER, 3 H — 3 BB, 5 K
95 pitches

Another meh start.
Serviceable sure.
Too many pitches.
His 7th straight no decision.

BRACH: (3-1, 5.11)
0.1 IP — 4 ER, 3 H, 1 BB

24.2 IP:
24 Hits
22 BB
At least 1 ER in 5 of last 6 outings.

6 of 8 in save chances.
Allowed ER only 3 times in last 20 appearances.

Rockies send top pitching prospect right-hander Peter Lambert, 22, to the hill this afternoon to make his major league debut.

NEXT – Thur. vs. COL, 1:20 p.m. CT
Peter Lambert (MLB Debut)
Jose Quintana (4-4, 3.78)

Bullpen Session

Bullpen Session 6.5.19

T 1st; —
Streak: W W

COL 3 – CHC 6
Cubs have won consecutive games by cutting down on the strikeouts and mixing contact with power to score 14 runs in two games. Kyle Hendricks struck out 10 and put a stop to the Rockies 8-game winning streak. The Cubs are tied again with Milwaukee for the division lead.

HENDRICKS: (6-4, 3.16)
7.0 IP — 3 ER, 6 H — 1 BB, 10 K
111 pitches

Struck out 5-straight 2nd–3rd.
Season-high pitches: 111
Season-high strikes swinging: 20
Previous season-high StS: 11
2nd double-digit K game this season, 4th career.
Hit go-ahead RBI single in the 2nd.

7 starts:
5-0, 2.09 ERA

6 starts: 1.71 ERA

12 starts:
Allowed 3 ER or fewer in 9 outings.
Allowed 3 BB or fewer in 11 outings.

Pitched a 1-2-3 9th.
5th save in 7 chances.

Cubs kept the Ks under double-digits (8).
One walk, intentional to Addison Russell.
RISP: 2-for-7
LOB: 3

González with an RBI 2B & a sac fly.
Hendricks with an RBI bloop single.
Three big runs in a 3-R game.

3-game hitting streak:
2 BB, 3 K

BÁEZ: (3-4, HR, 2 RBI)
On the homestand:
2 HR
4 Runs
1 K

CARGO: (1-3, RBI)
On the homestand:
2 Runs


Wade Davis: (1-1, 2.45 — 7 saves)
An oblique strain put him on the IL since May 22.
He will miss the Cubs series.

NEXT – Wed. vs. COL, 7:05 p.m. CT
German Marquez (6-2, 3.48)
Yu Darvish (2-3, 5.02)

Bullpen Session

Bullpen Session 6.4.19

2nd; -1.0
Streak: W

LAA 1 – CHC 8
When you make contact good things can happen.

Even when it’s soft contact good things can happen.

A ground out to drive in a run.

A bouncer down the first base line to score two.

A flair down the LF line to score a run.

A sacrifice fly.

It doesn’t have to be HR or bust.

Move the baseball.

Move the runners.

4-for-8 with RISP.

6 LOB and only 7 strikeouts.

That’s a winning formula.

Especially for a slumping lineup that churned out all of 6 runs over the weekend in St. Louis.

Hit. The. Baseball.

LESTER: (4-4, 3.32)
7.0 IP — 1 ER, 4 H — 1 BB, 6 K

108 pitches

Big bounce back for Big Jon.
Previous 3 starts (all losses):
16 ER in 14.0 IP.
ERA jumped from 1.16 to 3.59
All 4 hits Monday were singles.

According to Baseball Reference, Monday was Lester’s 100th game pitching 7 or more innings and allowing 1 or 0 earned runs. The only active pitchers with more games like that are Felix Hernandez, Clayton Kershaw, CC Sabathia, Justin Verlander, Cole Hamels, and Zack Greinke.

GARGO: (1-3, R, BB)
So much talk about Cargo’s bat that we forget about his strong defense. A huge diving catch in the 7th robs Jonathan Lucroy of extra bases and keeps Jonny Lester in the game. It was the signature play Monday and a fine first impression at Wrigley for CarGo.

Started 18 consecutive games at leadoff.
First time in 12 games he did not strike out.

BÁEZ: (2-3, HR, 3 RBI)
First multi-hit outing in 6 games.
First multi-RBI outing in 27 games.
Scored 2+ R for first time in 14 games.

HEYWARD: (2-4, 2 RBI)
6-game hitting streak.
Hit safely in 8 of last 10 games.
First multi-RBI outing in last 35 games.

Breaks 0-for-18 skid.
Last 15 games: 2 multi-hit outings.

RIZZO: (0-4)
Snapped 13-game hitting streak on Sunday.
First back-to-back hit-less games since April 15-16.

2019 DRAFT
Cubs selected two players on Monday:
RHP Ryan Jensen.
INF Chase Strumpf

Fresno State University.
27th overall pick.
Collegiate Baseball:
Second Team All-American.
Mountain West Pitcher of the Year.
Mountain West Tournament MVP.

2nd Rd, 64th selection.
Pac-12 All-Conference Team.
Baseball America:
First Team Pre-season All-American.

The Draft continues today with rounds 3-10 and wraps up Wednesday with rounds 11-40.

(9-1) in their last 10 games.

Tonight’s starter, Jeff Hoffman, was a first round pick of Toronto, 9th overall, in the 2014 draft.

He was part of the Blue Jays return package for acquiring Troy Tulowitzki and LaTroy Hawkins from Colorado in July of 2015.

Hoffman has pitched in 40 games, 26 starts, over his four years in Colorado.

NEXT – Tue. vs. COL, 7:05 p.m. CT
Jeff Hoffman (1-1, 7.20)
Kyle Hendricks (5-4, 3.09)

Bullpen Session

Bullpen Session 6.3.19

2nd; -1.5
Streak: L L L

CHC 1- STL 2
Cubs have dropped 6 of 7.

Last 10: (2-8).

Road trip (1-5).

Offense, defense, relief pitching: M.I.A.

And a sweep at the hands of the Cards, winners of 4 straight, has allowed STL to crawl right back into the division race (30-28, -3.0).

Adam Wainwright rubbed the Cubs noses in the dirt for 8 innings on Sunday.

Fun, fun, fun.

He didn’t go to the stretch until the 6th when Bryant singled for the Cubs first hit.

126 pitches for the 37-year-old.

And a career-high 7 walks, none of which the Cubs could bring around to score.

8 walks in total for the Cubs, 3 hits, and 3 double plays.

1 stinkin’ run.

At least the Cubs kept the strikeouts (9) to single digits.

HAMELS: (4-2, 3.62)
7.0 IP — 0 ER, 2 H — 2 BB, 4 K

84 pitches

A strong rebound for Cole on Sunday after three consecutive sub-par outings.

12 starts:
4th time going 7+ IP.
6th time allowing 2 or fewer walks.

The fun continues this afternoon with the makeup game against the LAA.

A game that was originally snowed out on Sunday, April 14.

Angels traveled from Seattle, and fly back to LA to host OAK tomorrow.

Cubs call up OF Carlos Gonzalez ,33, after two games with Triple-A Iowa.

Even a minimal contribution would help this lineup right now.

Released by CLE after 30 G played:
.210/.282/.276 — OPS+ (49)
2 HR

NEXT – Mon. vs. LAA, 3:05 p.m. CT
Cam Bedrosian (2-3, 3.08)
Jon Lester (3-4, 3.59)

Bullpen Session

Bullpen Session 6.2.19

2nd; -0.5
Streak: L L

CHC 4- STL 7
The 4th inning rain delay (3:37) lasted longer than the actual game (3:04).

The Cubs would’ve been better off had the game been suspended — and they’d still be in first place.

It’s been a tough stretch lately as the Cubs have lost 5 of 6 and dropped three straight series (CIN, HOU, STL).

The starting pitching, aside from Hendricks, hasn’t been good, the bullpen’s been okay, and the lineup is striking out like they’re getting paid by the swing and miss.

14 K vs. 2 walks Saturday night.

Key moment top of the 7th:

Cubs down 5-3.

Bases loaded, no outs.

Schwarber, Bryant & Rizzo due up.

•Infield fielder’s choice.

Half inning over.

Put. Ball. In. Play.

Last 8 games: 90 strikeouts — awful

You can’t win like that.

QUINTANA: (4-4, 3.78)
4.0 IP — 2 ER, 4 H — 1 BB, 6 K

69 pitches — nice

If the rain hurt anyone it was Q.
He was on his way to 6+ innings.

A quick, clean 1.1 IP for CJ Edwards.

Chatwood (2.0 IP) and Ryan (2 HR):

2.2 IP — 5 ER, 8 H — 0 BB, 2 K — 2 HR

RIZZO: (2-3, HR)
13-game hitting streak:
22-for-50 (.440).
Team leading 16th HR.

HEYWARD: (1-2, HR)
Hit safely in 6 of last 7 games.
2 home runs last 5 games.
9 HR passes 2018 season total (8).

BOTE: (1-4, 2B)
Hit safely in 9 of last 10 games.
RBI in 4 of last 6 starts.

Last 5 games:
3 BB
9 K

CONTRERAS: (0-4, 4 K)
0-for-16 skid:
1 BB
10 K

Cards first series win since beating Washington in late April.

NEXT – Sun. at STL, 1:15 p.m. CT
Cole Hamels (4-1, 4.02)
Adam Wainwright (4-5, 4.94)