Before the game, the Cubs called up catcher Chris Gimenez and optioned Victor Caratini to Triple A. They also placed Yu Darvish on the 10-day disabled list with triceps tendinitis.
What You Need to Know: It was another frustrating game for José Quintana, as he was pulled after just one out in the fifth inning. He started off the game well, breezing through the first three frames while striking out six. In the fourth, he gave up a two-run home run to Brandon Crawford to tie the game. It was a quick and questionable early pull from Joe Maddon.
The offense sputtered against Chris Stratton, mustering just three runs. They had him on the ropes in the second, loading the bases with no outs, but as has been the case this season, they pushed across only one run on a Jason Heyward walk. Kyle Schwarber and Javier Báez homered, and Anthony Rizzo knocked in a run late in the eighth to bring them within a run.
The Cubs will look back at the bases loaded situation as a missed opportunity and a turning point in the game, as it kept both Stratton and the Giants in the game.
Next Level: Maddon has been quick in pulling his starters so far this season unless your name is Kyle Hendricks or Jon Lester. Some of it has to do with the performance, but tonight Maddon didn’t give Quintana a chance to get out of the inning.
His handling of some of the starters is reminiscent to how he treated Jason Hammel back in 2016. Anytime Hammel got into any sort of trouble, he wouldn’t hesitate in pulling him despite Hammel’s obvious frustration whenever that happened.
He seems to have fallen in love with the bullpen, and, this year, who can blame him? Aside from a few blips, the bullpen has performed really well. As a collective, they sport a 2.83 ERA. However, with how enamored Maddon’s been with his relievers, they are in danger of being gassed by the end of the season.
An overworked bullpen is something the Cubs don’t want if they want to make a deep run in the postseason. At this point, that’s looking like a really big “if.”
Factor in tomorrow’s starter (Tyler Chatwood) it looks like the Cubs will be relying on those bullpen arms in the rubber game. Add Yu Darvish’s injury to the equation, and the strain on the bullpen will continue. At some point the starters will have to start pitching deep into games or eating some innings to give guys like Steve Cishek a break.
Top WPA Play: A Báez home run in the fourth that gave the Cubs a brief one-run lead (+.134).
Bottom WPA Play: Wilson Contreras grounding into an inning-ending double play in the eighth (-.151).
Up Next: The Cubs take on the Giants in the rubber game of this three game series. Tyler Chatwood takes the mound as he tries to bounce back from his less than stellar start against Cleveland.
Lead photo courtesy David Banks—USA Today Sports