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 6.3.19

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)

Bullpen Session

Bullpen Session 6.1.19

1st; +0.5
Streak: L

CHC 1- STL 2 *10 innings
The last week has been an all-or-nothing approach — hit it over the fence, or don’t score.

Too many strikeouts.

Not enough contact.

Last 7 games:
3 vs. CIN: 30 K
3 at  HOU: 40 K
1 at  STL: 06 K

76 total strikeouts.
Nearly 11 K per game.

That’s resulted in way too many missed opportunities with RISP, which the Cubs have had plenty of in the past week.

0-for-8 Friday
0-for-23 Last 3 games
3-for-33 Last 5 games

Not every hit needs to be a home run.

Put the ball in play.

Good things happen.

Runs score.

DARVISH: (2-3, 5.02)
6.0 IP — 1 ER, 3 H — 3 BB, 6 K

93 pitches

In short — one of Darvish’s best outings this season.

Much better than his first outing against St. Louis on Sat., May 4 at Wrigley: 5 ER in 4.0 IP.

By Game Score (65)
His 2nd best GSc this season (@ARZ, 68).

Three hits, one a line drive, all singles … the lone line drive ties a season-low (@TEX, MIA) … and in both those games he pitched only 2.2 & 4.0 innings.

Stayed around the strike zone; Cards took only 9 strikes looking … Yu’s 2nd lowest strike-looking total this season … his high is 26 vs. CIN.

By Win Probability Added, this was Darvish’s best outing (0.253) … go figure the Cubs lose and Darvish takes a no-decision, his 6th straight.

Bad night for home plate umpire Laz Díaz. He made a couple of terrible calls in critical situations, mainly in the 10th when he called ball 4 from Dillon Maples on a pitch that clearly struck out Harrison Bader.

Wasn’t even a close pitch. Just a really bad call by Laz.

Umpires are human. Those mistakes happen.

Maples deserves no blame; however, when your pitch command is wildly erratic, chances are you’re not getting the close calls, or even the ones you should get because you fooled the umpire, as was the case last night.

I’m not blaming Maples. His job is to make the ball move and throw it over the plate. He did both. Laz missed the calls.

As Maples gains more pitch command, which I hope he does, there’s less of a chance he suffers the same fate as last night.

RIZZO: (1-4)
12-game hitting streak.
His career high is 14 games (2017).

CARATINI: (1-4, R)
2019: .353/.476/.559
Look at that on-base percentage.
Since returning from a broken hand, has hit safely in 4 of his 6 starts.

104.3 MPH
Jordan Hicks’s fastest pitch of the night, which became the fastest pitch in MLB this season; a sinker Caratini grounded to short to end the 9th.

May: (9-18)
Won back-to-back games for the first time since the end of April.

NEXT – Sat. at STL, 7:15 p.m. CT
Jose Quintana (4-4, 3.73)
Jack Flaherty (4-3, 3.77)