Series Preview: Pittsburgh Pilates (63-68) at Chicago Cubs (69-60)

In Uncategorized by myles129 Comments

That joke in the title is a bit of a stretch. /dadjokes

The Pirates have been a hot and cold team this year, but they've been cold lately. After climbing to 58-58, they've been 5-10 in their last 15 with many of those games being non-competitive. Furthermore, the Cubs miss both Cole and Taillon, instead getting the pitchers on the team that are…not great (and they haven't been that great either this year). The Pirates are a bad team, worse than their record indicates, and the Cubs should absolutely crush them. Problem is, the Cubs aren't all that great right now either. If they find some consistency on offense, they'll be good. If they can find some competent relief pitching, they'll be even better.

Team Leaders

Cubs

  • OBP: Kris Bryant (.404) (up 4 points from last series)
  • ISO: Ian Happ (.266) (up 4 points from last series)
  • HR: Anthony Rizzo (30) (up 2)
  • R+RBI: Rizzo (171) (up 10)
  • wRC+: Bryant (143) (up 2)
  • BSR: Javier Baez (3.0) (no change)
  • SP K/9: Jose Quntana (10.37) (up 77 centistrikeouts)
  • SP BB/9: Jon Lester (2.79) (no change)
  • SP FIP: Lester (3.78) (down 1)
  • RP K/9: Carl Edwards Jr  (13.07) (up 1 decistrikeout)
  • RP BB/9: Brian Duensing (2.24) (down 5 centiwalks)
  • RP FIP: Duensing (3.13) (no change)
  • WAR: Bryant (4.9) (up 3 centiwins)

Scalliwags

  • OBP: McCutchen (.372)
  • ISO: Josh Bell (.230)
  • HR: McCutchen (23)
  • R+RBI: McCutchen (152)
  • wRC+: McCutchen (126)
  • BSR: Ser Gregor of House Polanco (2.6)
  • SP K/9: Jameson Taillon (8.75)
  • SP BB/9: Ivan Nova (5.92)
  • Star Wars BB-8: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BB-8
  • SP FIP: Taillon (3.56)
  • RP K/9: Felipe Rivero (10.72)
  • RP BB/9: Wade LeBlanc (2.35)
  • RP FIP: Rivero (2.48)
  • WAR: McCutchen (3.3)

 Injury News, transactions, blood pacts, etc.

Addison Russell is starting to work his way back from his foot injury, and could be back sometime next week. Lester is down with shoulder fatigue, and Willson is still out with his hamstring injury. No word on when either of those guys are returning, from last I've seen.

Literally copied and pasted from last preview.

McCutchen has been one of the worst players in baseball over the past 2 weeks, which brought his numbers down considerably. Unfortunately for the Pirates, the reason he isn't the worst over that timeframe is because David Freese is on the team (.175/.209/.300).

Pitching Matchups

Monday (7:05pm): Mike Montgomery (3.43 ERA, 4.11 FIP, 102.1 IP) vs Trevor Williams (4.40 ERA, 4.09 FIP, 122.2 IP)

Tuesday (7:05pm):  Jake Arrieta (3.49, 3.87, 152.0) vs Chad Kuhl (4.52, 3.99, 129.1)

Wednesday (7:05pm): Jose Quintana (a thousand, a million, too many) vs Ivan Nova (3.97, 4.39, 165.2)

Will the Cubs Win?

lol

 

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Comments

  1. Rizzo the Rat

    I wish Happ had tried to steal second. It would have been better than waiting for the inevitable double play.

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  2. BVS

    I hope Russell is back soon. I like the D with both him and Baez up the middle. Plus if he’s 90% he’ll help on O too, not that that as been a huge issue lately.

    Someone mentioned in the last thread that they weren’t for him anymore because he was a wife beater, but I think that conclusion is still duper premature. The allegation was from a friend of his wife on social media, so that’s extremely thin evidence and with little detail. I think if there had been something to it, MLB would have said something by now, or the white house would have leaked it.

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  3. dmick89

    BVS,

    I’m looking forward to getting him back too. I also agree that MLB would have gotten involved if there was much to the allegation. That doesn’t mean he didn’t do it, but the evidence (if we can even call it that) is pretty fucking thin.

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  4. SK

    dmick89:
    BVS,

    I’m looking forward to getting him back too. I also agree that MLB would have gotten involved if there was much to the allegation. That doesn’t mean he didn’t do it, but the evidence (if we can even call it that) is pretty fucking thin.

    I thought MLB has gotten involved? Some kinda investigation currently etc,? Waiting for decision etc.?

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  5. dmick89

    SK,

    I’m pretty sure they investigate any allegation, as they should, but it’s been a long time. It’s going on three months. I could be wrong, but I think MLB has usually handed down a suspension fairly quickly if evidence suggests they should.

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  6. dmick89

    I tend to side with the abused when they come forward, but I’ve had a difficult time doing that in this case. Apparently I draw the line at friend reporting the incident on Instagram after husband is caught cheating. Maybe it happened, but I’ll need more evidence. Since his wife won’t speak with MLB, even after filing for divorce, I don’t see how this moves forward.

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  7. Author
    myles

    Most domestic violence never goes reported by the victim, so the fact that there hasn’t been a full-throated investigation (that we’ve heard about – could easily be one that isn’t in the public sphere!) doesn’t really factor into my assumptions about what really happened. The most logical conclusion I can draw is that random friend of Melisa Russell isn’t randomly lying and defaming a professional athlete and that she was told by Melisa to delete that post because she doesn’t want that sort of thing making it out into the public (either for personal reasons or for legal ones). Frankly, I’m a little surprised that you guys are as dismissive of it as you are. I’m not saying he’s 100% guilty, and that he should be thrown in the Des Moines jail, but I think that there being substance to that allegation is certainly the most reasonable interpretation.

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  8. Author
    myles

    dmick89:
    I tend to side with the abused when they come forward, but I’ve had a difficult time doing that in this case. Apparently I draw the line at friend reporting the incident on Instagram after husband is caught cheating. Maybe it happened, but I’ll need more evidence. Since his wife won’t speak with MLB, even after filing for divorce, I don’t see how this moves forward.

    I don’t particularly care if it moves forward with the MLB. The MLB as a regulatory agency isn’t something I give even the slightest of shits about. I care about whether or not he hit his wife. She isn’t talking to the police for whatever reason. One reason is that it never happened. There are plenty of others. Maybe she has a financial incentive not to. Maybe she doesn’t want to see her personal life enter the public sphere. Maybe she’s afraid. Maybe she blames herself. We will never definitively know and we can’t. All I have to fall back on is my intuition based on the events as they unfolded. They haven’t changed and they make me deeply uneasy about Addison as a person.

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  9. Edwin

    In these types of public cases I find it very hard to side with the accused, simply due to the accused having such vast resources and advantages over the alleged victim. Russell has tons of financial assets, and has organizations in the Cubs and MLB which have a pretty big financial interest in making sure Russell keeps a good image. I don’t think there’s any coverup going on, but the league has a strong interest for keeping this thing as quiet as possible, because it lets fans forget and not have to wonder if they’re cheering for a woman abuser or not.

    Floyd Mayweather went to jail for beating his ex-girlfriend in front of their kids, and he just got one of the biggest paydays in sports and got the royalty treatment from sports networks.

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  10. dmick89

    myles: Frankly, I’m a little surprised that you guys are as dismissive of it as you are.

    Look, if he hit his wife, he deserves to be sent to prison. I’m not dismissive of it and I’m not dismissing the possibility, but of the 25 players on this team, half or more of them are likely not very good people. If there’s no evidence to charge Russell or no evidence for MLB to suspend him, I want him back on the team because he’ll help them win games. I have zero emotional attachment to any of the players and while you’re uneasy about Russell, I’m just as uneasy about each and every one of the others.

    I’m not sure where you get that I’ve been dismissive about it.

    I’m looking forward to getting him back too. I also agree that MLB would have gotten involved if there was much to the allegation. That doesn’t mean he didn’t do it, but the evidence (if we can even call it that) is pretty fucking thin.

    and

    I’m pretty sure they investigate any allegation, as they should, but it’s been a long time. It’s going on three months. I could be wrong, but I think MLB has usually handed down a suspension fairly quickly if evidence suggests they should.

    I tend to side with the abused when they come forward, but I’ve had a difficult time doing that in this case. Apparently I draw the line at friend reporting the incident on Instagram after husband is caught cheating. Maybe it happened, but I’ll need more evidence. Since his wife won’t speak with MLB, even after filing for divorce, I don’t see how this moves forward.

    If you would have asked me last June if I thought Russell hit his wife my answer would have been “I don’t know.” I still don’t know. I don’t know which of the Cubs players hit their wives or which ones don’t, but odds are more than one does it.

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  11. Author
    myles

    I’m not just as uneasy about the others, because (to my knowledge) none of the others have had even whispers of domestic violence. Surely, some of them are terrible people. Until I have a reason to distrust any one of them specifically, I either have to give them the benefit of the doubt in the complete absence of evidence or just not follow sports. If Russell did it, I don’t want him on the team even if there’s not enough evidence to charge him. And you’re right that I don’t know. That’s why I’m uneasy.

    dmick89:I don’t know which of the Cubs players hit their wives or which ones don’t, but odds are more than one does it.

    I’m not sure why this is relevant.

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  12. Edwin

    My friend invited me to his fantasy football league. 12 team league, and apparently you get to keep 3 players, with no draft penalties or anything. The team I took over had Odell Beckum, Mike Thomas, and Michael somebody from the Saints who is also a good WR or something. I don’t know the NFL.

    Anyways, I was feeling pretty good about my team, since I essentially had my WR position locked up. I asked if I needed to do anything to select the players I wanted to keep, and I was told it would be handled at the draft party. No details on time given, or anything else.

    So I show up to the draft party about 15 min before the draft, and I’m told “Oh, by the way, it’s too late to keep those players, you would have had to be here earlier”. So I lose those 3 players, and don’t get to make extra picks until the end of the draft.

    That’s fucked up, right?

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  13. Smokestack Lightning

    myles:
    If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that the Cubs won the 2016 World Series in 7 games after coming back from a 3-1 deficit.

    Dodgers_in_5 might have something to say about that.

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  14. Author
    myles

    Edwin:
    My friend invited me to his fantasy football league.12 team league, and apparently you get to keep 3 players, with no draft penalties or anything.The team I took over had Odell Beckum, Mike Thomas, and Michael somebody from the Saints who is also a good WR or something.I don’t know the NFL.

    Anyways, I was feeling pretty good about my team, since I essentially had my WR position locked up.I asked if I needed to do anything to select the players I wanted to keep, and I was told it would be handled at the draft party.No details on time given, or anything else.

    So I show up to the draft party about 15 min before the draft, and I’m told “Oh, by the way, it’s too late to keep those players, you would have had to be here earlier”.So I lose those 3 players, and don’t get to make extra picks until the end of the draft.

    That’s fucked up, right?

    Get new friends.

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  15. dmick89

    myles: If Russell did it, I don’t want him on the team even if there’s not enough evidence to charge him.

    I don’t know how I feel about this. Russell is good, but far from great. He’s probably at his best right now since I don’t see him improving much offensively. He’s replaceable. He’s easily replaceable since the Cubs have Baez who may be as good as he is anyway. If it was someone better than Russell, an MVP caliber talent, that’s a much more difficult decision. I accepted a long time ago that if I was going be a sports fan that I was going to have to accept the fact that I’d inevitably be rooting for the worst of the worst to succeed so that the team could. That was a decision I made 20 or 30 years ago. So I might agree with you here on Russell, but I definitely wouldn’t if it was a much better player than him.

    If I knew someone was guilty of beating their wife, my first hope would be that law enforcement would take the issue out of the team’s hands and the player would be sent to prison though.

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  16. BVS

    I guess I got the Addison wife-beater discussion started. Generally I’d say ditto to pretty much what dmick has said above. If it comes out that Addison is a wife beater, then I hope there is an appropriate punishment and I’d be happy for the Cubs to move on. Also, I hope that he gets some anger management therapy.

    But, I don’t think Occams razor suggests at all that we should default to believing an IG post from a friend of the ex. The allegation could be true. But friend could just as easily also be trying to cause trouble out of vindictiveness, knowing that pro sports leagues have these issues in the cross hairs. “I’ll get him” is as easily believable response as “He did it” in my opinion. There are other examples, Duke lacrosse, the UVA case in Rolling Stone, the Indians pitcher who was the abusee…

    It very well could be that he is guilty and it is all quiet because no one wants laundry aired out. Great. If they have wotkes it out, it is none of our business anyway. TMI is far too common these days. Public figures really do deserve privacy in their private lives, no matter what Baron Trump wears on AF 1.

    But for me to assume Russell is guilty as charged, I’d need some real evidence. Trial in the court of public opinion based on IG sounds like a pretty awful slippery slope to anarchy to me.

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  17. BVS

    BVS: Generally I’d say ditto to pretty much what dmick has said above.

    Except that I think Russell will still improve quite a bit with the bat. Moreso than Baez.

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  18. BVS

    dmick89,

    I thought his hitting improved as the year progressed last year. July and Aug ’16 were better than earlier, but he did tail off in Sept. April ’17 was pretty good, then began to tank. Willing to give him a pass on this year with plantar fasciaitis and personal issues, Plus youth, lots of youth.

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  19. Rizzo the Rat

    Addison is still at the age where one would expect his hitting to improve. That said, it’s far from a guarantee, as we saw with Starlin.

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  20. dmick89

    Rizzo the Rat,

    Isn’t the biggest improvement at 19-23? Been awhile since I looked at those charts, but yes, he should still improve some, but probably about as much as his defense declines. I don’t think we should expect his overall value to increase, but anything is possible.

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  21. BVS

    Have any of you been to games at PNC Park? I’ve seen more games there than in Wrigley, because we lived about 90 min away for a couple years, so I’d go every time the Cubs were in town. It’s an Excellent place to watch baseball, and good fans too.

    But one of my most excruciating days to watch baseball ever came there. May 2004, Cubs at Pittsburgh for a double header. Rob Mackowiak hits a walk off slam in game one, and a game tying HR in 9th inning in game 2.

    I think about that day every time I see the Cubs/Pirates on TV.

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  22. BVS

    My H2H fake-ball opponent this week has Arrieta and Davis. I’m happy to cede the points for a W for Jake, but let’s pour on some runs so we don’t need a save tonight.

    (I have Avila, KB, and Rizzo)

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  23. Perkins

    BVS,

    I was at PNC for Gerrit Cole’s debut in 2013, as well as a Pirates/Cardinals game later that summer. Absolutely wonderful ballpark. I’d say only AT&T Park in SF is objectively hotter.

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  24. BVS

    dmick89,

    Interesting, but what the aging curve shows is the cumulative effect on all hitters, if I understand correctly. I’d be much more interested in the quintile performances and performance by position (thought that may only matter for C). The wRC+ curve appears to be static until age 26 and possibly 27 due to survival bias in the method.

    The math suggests that by the time one reaches the majors, they can’t learn anymore. I think that’s probably true for a majority of players, but I bet some substantial portion–maybe a third–still can learn/improve.

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  25. Rizzo the Rat

    Rizzo the Rat,

    That said, Jake didn’t look nearly as impressive as the game wore on. His velocity went down, the strikeouts stopped coming and his command was inconsistent.

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  26. SK

    dmick89:
    Rizzo the Rat,

    Isn’t the biggest improvement at 19-23? Been awhile since I looked at those charts, but yes, he should still improve some, but probably about as much as his defense declines. I don’t think we should expect his overall value to increase, but anything is possible.

    Comment thread disclaimers are my jam.

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  27. Rizzo the Rat

    I don’t like how Rivera is getting a start against a righty. He’s pretty inept with the bat, even for a backup catcher (though tolerable against lefties). Maybe Joe figures Quintana could use the help of a better pitch-framer?

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  28. Rizzo the Rat

    I feel as though 2016 is the only year in recent memory the Cubs didn’t get too many at-bats from a terrible-hitting catcher. (And then, only because David Ross was magically good for a year.)

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  29. SK

    Bruce Miles‏ @BruceMiles2112 5m5 minutes ago
    More
    Addison Russell will not play at Iowa tonight. Felt soreness in foot. Will head back to Chicago to get checked. #Cubs

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