The Reds can’t hurt the Cubs any more this year. So at least there’s that. It was an 8-11 season series loss for the Cubs – the first time they’ve dropped that particular series in five years. I can’t help but wonder if new Reds pitching coach Derek Johnson, formerly of the Brewers and formerly-formerly of the Cubs’ farm system, had something to do with it.
- Tyler Mahle has good stuff – we’ve seen it before – and it must match up well with the Cubs, in particular. Let his dominance last night be a reminder that the Cubs’ lineup just gets shut down by certain types of pitchers (fastball/slider righties, and junkballing lefties seem like the trick), and more diversity is necessary. When Anthony Rizzo is out, the grinding thins even further.
- Oh, by the way, tonight’s starter Jack Flaherty is one of the best fastball/slider righties going right now, so … maybe a good time to sit the guys who struggle the most against the slider? Among the current Cubs regulars, that would actually be Nick Castellanos and Jason Heyward, and Albert Almora has been even worse. Tough outfield options tonight. On that basis, and by the fact that he’s actually been pretty good against righty sliders, it would be a good night to at least get Ian Happ in the starting lineup (second best on the Cubs behind Anthony Rizzo). Both Willson Contreras and Victor Caratini have been handling them well this year, too.
- Interesting data when you start looking about how teams, overall, perform against certain pitches. The Cubs are strongly negative against sliders (and it gets worse when you take out Rizzo), but so are virtually all teams. But if you’re effective as a team against sliders, holy crap you’re effective – no surprise at the top:
- About that wild moment in the 9th, with Amir Garrett striking out Kyle Schwarber and celebrating, and then Schwarber losing his cool: it was pretty much entirely fine throughout! First, the moment if you didn’t see it:
- First, on Garrett, his reaction to a big strikeout in the 9th inning was perfectly fine. He was pumped to strike out Schwarber, as he should be. Second, on Schwarber’s reaction, yeah, he went a little too far in shouting down a dude who wasn’t even looking at him, but you *do* understand a frustrated competitor, especially when it’s a guy in Garrett who has a little history of beefing with the Cubs. Remember when he and Javy Baez got into it last year because Garrett held a grudge about a Baez celebration the year before?
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) May 19, 2018
- So, you consider that there’s history there, you throw in a big moment where Schwarber was ticked to strike out, and when the adrenaline is flowing, sometimes you can’t help yourself. I’m not *defending* it, mind you, I’m just saying I can see how it happens, and I don’t really have a problem with Schwarber there. And then Garrett’s reaction to Schwarber telling him to, eh hem, head back to the dugout? Running off and putting his hands up? That was awesome. Set aside your Cubs fandom for a moment – that was just funny and good.
- As for Schwarber, after the game he said he knows he shouldn’t have reacted:
Schwarber on Garrett’s antics: pic.twitter.com/i5CsumQ3Hl
— Mark Gonzales (@MDGonzales) September 19, 2019
- There is a “strong possibility” that Craig Kimbrel (elbow) is back as soon as today, though I can’t help but wonder how the Cubs will choose to work him into the mix. They need every contributor they can get, but would Joe Maddon put Kimbrel right out there to hold a one-run lead against the Cardinals after missing three weeks, with no rehab outings? I think that would not be the preference, but if that situation arises, I think we might nevertheless see it.
- He’s not wrong:
Kolten Wong on the #STLCards 0-6 record at Wrigley Field earlier this year and the upcoming series: “Doesn’t mean shit. We’re coming to play ball. We know how tough that team is to play at Wrigley, but you know, that’s what this is all about. https://t.co/RvXRzXItWS
— Mark Saxon (@markasaxon) September 18, 2019
- Fall lawn care stuff is among the Deals of the Day at Amazon today, so if you have needs, peruse.
- The Arizona Fall League is under way (sans Nico Hoerner, though I suppose he’s probably at a slightly more challenging level now), and Miguel Amaya started off with a good one:
The “Now We Can See How Good A Hitter Miguel Amaya Is Because He’s Playing In A Halfway Decent Offensive Environment” tour has begun.
Still working on the name of the tour.
Amaya went 2-for-3 with a double, walk and 3 RBI for the Solar Sox. Zack Short went 1/3 with a BB.
— Cubs Prospects – Bryan Smith (@cubprospects) September 19, 2019
- Too bad this came in a loss, because it’s a great shot:
— MBDChicago (@MBDChicago) September 19, 2019
- Speaking of Nick Castellanos there, he continues his march toward 60:
Most doubles since 1950:
59: Helton (2000)
57: Delgado (2000)
56: Castellanos (2019), Ramirez (2017), Roberts (2009), Anderson (2002), Garciaparra (2002), Biggio (1999)
— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) September 19, 2019
- Eff this:
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) September 19, 2019