#Cubs Haren faces Brewers in series opener

Dan Haren makes his first start at Wrigley Field with the Cubs on Tuesday night to open a three-game series against the Brewers. Here’s the lineup:

Fowler CF

Schwarber LF

Coghlan 2B

Rizzo 1B

Bryant 3B

Soler RF

Montero C

Haren P

Russell SS

*The Cubs have won 10 of their last 11 games, and their starting pitchers are 8-0 with a 2.23 ERA in that 11-game stretch. For the season, Chicago’s starters now boast a 3.40 ERA, fifth best in the Majors

*Haren posted a 2.71 ERA in 11 starts at Marlins Park this season and a 4.26 ERA in 11 starts in all other stadiums. In his Cubs debut last Wednesday, the right-hander gave up four runs – three earned – over five innings vs. the Pirates.  He’s looking for his first win since July 12.

*Kris Bryant has 15 home runs, the most by any Cubs player in his first Major League season, surpassing Mandy Brooks’ 14 homers in 1925 and Vince Barton’s 13 blasts in 1931.

*The Cubs swept a four-game series against the Brewers at Miller Park July 30-Aug. 2, and held Milwaukee to eight runs over the four games.

20 Comments

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That lineup looks so much stronger without Castro and his .270 OBP.

The Cubs obviously have no interest in giving Szczur a real chance. They should trade him to a team that will. That hurts me to say that.

I have been hoping they would put Szczur in CF & the leadoff spot for at least 14 consecutive games and see how he does.
Fowler was signed to play CF and bat leadoff because of last seasons OBP. His OBP is back up to a respectable .332, but still down over 40 points from last year. It has gotten much better the last month.

I guess now that Junior Lake is gone, Matt Szczur takes over as the #1 guy people want to see in the lineup all the time just because. I mean, I’ve always thought that it’s pretty obvious that Matt Szczur’s ceiling is a MLB 4th outfielder, so can someone please tell me what it is I’m missing?

Just giving him a chance Doug. Sure a guy can be projected as a 4th OF’er, but you never know until he gets a chance.
In this case, the time has passed. Fowler was in a pretty bad rut through June with his OBP as low as 311. But he has been doing well raising it back up to 332, so there will be no switching no matter what the fans want.
So for me, I just wanted to see him get a chance.
Don’t know what your profession is Doug, but what was your ceiling before you got a chance?

If the scouting and player development strategy of a Major League Baseball team is “just give him a chance to see if he’s any good or not” then you’ve got a pretty terrible scouting a player development department! And if the manager of a team that’s 14 games above .500 and in the thick of a playoff race decides to bench a regular for someone who he’s not sure is any good or not, then you’ve got a pretty horrible manager. Yes, as fans we might want to see it for ourselves, but the Cubs have hired people whose whole jobs are to determine whether a player has the skill level and the potential to deserve a chance. So I will let those people make the call on whether or not Matt Szczur deserves to be inserted into the everyday lineup in the middle of a playoff race or not. As for me and my job, I’m not a professional athlete and I don’t work for a pro sports team, so how my employer evaluates me and talent in general is irrelevant to how the Cubs do it.

So we have a difference of opinion. Of course Scouting, Coaches and even IT have a lot to say about projections and most times probably correct.
I see nothing wrong with giving a guy a chance, especially if another player goes into a slump.
What were the scouting projections before the season on Coghlan playing 2B? Glad he was given the chance so Schwarber can play LF.

They have never put him out there for multiple games in a row. He played in quite a few more games than Lake, and yet, has only two more at bats. Szczur has an excellent OBP at AAA, and 7 home runs, in spite of bouncing back and forth between Chicago and Iowa. All I say is he deserves an opportunity. If he proves to be a fourth or fifth outfielder, okay, but he hasn’t had a chance to prove otherwise.

Szczur deserves nothing…. in his opportunities he has a whopping .606 OPS…. thats freaking terrible his OPS+ is 67 thru 131 Plate appearances in his career. 100 is average…… Szczur is not good… is nothing more than a 4th OF at best. His defense WAR is negative showing that he really isn’t even an asset in the field. There is no reason to play him more than what he has been given. IF he start to produce in his spots of playing time then he should gain some PT BUT he hasn’t done that yet.
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Also why the heck would we play him just to give him a chance??? Is this little league where everyone should get their playing time? We have 5 OFers better than Szczur on the Cubs right now…. he is not needed and probably never will be. We are in the middle of a freaking playoff run and you want to give a guy a chance….. unbelievable

You were okay with Russell overcoming his slow start. You were okay with Fowler playing through his awful slump. You were not willing to put Szczur in center while Fowler was injured or slumping? His performance at AAA warrants a chance during either Fowler’s slump or injury. 60 at bats sprinkled over 30 or so games is a joke. Fonzie states things well.

Thank you Mat B. Hang in there, we all have “our guys” in the minor leagues as well as on the major league team we want to see do well. You are obviously a big Szczur fan, I can understand. Some may have Baez as “their guy” and are wondering why HE isn’t being given the chance to play 2B when there is an OBVIOUS need for a second baseman when considering an OUTFIELDER is now playing 2B. It is because there really is no need, the Cubs are playing high caliber ball, Maddon is working his magic…Coghlan and his bat at 2B? Hererra/Castro for late inning defense? Schwarber (our “catcher of the future”) and HIS bat as our regular left fielder? All THAT my friend is “Maddon The Magnificent Majestic Magic Show” now playing at Wrigley Field. We are enjoying an incredible run, no boat rocking allowed right now. The Fowler slump has come and gone and with it the one logical opportunity for Szczur. His time is not now but September and possibly next spring training….or with another club. This is what happens to good teams that are run by smart front offices, front offices that take much into consideration and not just the moment in time, yet the many moments in the time to come.
I like your spirit Mat B and your admiration for Szczur. Have a great day.

You know why I am fine with those guys playing through their slumps??? Because they have proven to be great players. Russell had some great stats in the minors and was a highly touted prospect. I am willing to give that a chance PLUS he plays valuable defense NOT below average like Szczur. Fowler I am fine with because he is a proven MLB player with great past performance who is also our only option at leadoff….
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Its laughable you are comparing Szczur to those two guys. Szczur has very little going for him. His career OPS at AAA is .691. In AAA…. thats not good…. Fowler has that in CF in the MLB even with his month slump in there.
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As for Baez, he would be up on the Cubs if he didn’t break his finger. Thats been stated numerous times by management. He has had 60 at bats since coming back from injury and has had some K problems again and seems to be in a little bit of a slump. I am perfectly fine waiting for him to get comfortable again and hopefully see him in action in September. He will get his shot but its way too soon right now. We have been playing incredible right now with out him so I see no reason to force the issue.

to petrey 10, not sure who you are replying to, you replied to Mat B’s comment but mention it being laughable to compare Szczur to Baez and Russell?? But since Mat B did not mention Baez…it must be me you are directing your laughable remark? My intention was to compare the three players only in regard to them all being young and or rookies, not talent. Not laughable at all. If to say Szczur is in the same talent league as Russell and Baez I would agree that is laughable so I just want to make sure that is clear. Just trying to give some credibility to both Mat B and jasper, both think giving Szczur a chance (at one time) is/was justified, as do I. Whether or not you agree he deserves a chance or nothing as you state. He’s made it this far in the minor league system and has been deemed worthy by the FO for a couple of cups of coffee in the majors, hence he is deserving of much more than nothing. At least he is deserving of respect.

Below average defense? That’s funny. Did you know that Szczur, I believe, is still in the midst of a 12 game hitting streak at Iowa? He’s hitting .295 with an OBP of .360? Did you know his OPS is .811? Did you know he has 6 outfield assists and no errors at Iowa. You should really be somewhat informed before you spout something that will embarrass yourself.

Below average defense please look up the saber metrics …. Errors aren’t end all be all…. And a recent hot streak ? You really should look at a bigger sample size but hey if you want to make up arbitrary ends points go ahead. It still means nothing… He sucks end of story

Did you also know that Roosevelt Brown won two batting titles at AAA in the 90s? So that means he must have been one of the best hitters in the Majors once he got called up, right? I mean, the while point of my post is anyone can look up a guys OBP at AAA, but the people in charge of determining whether or not someone should have a chance at the Major League level need to go beyond looking in the paper to see what a player’s batting average is or how many games in a row they’ve hit safely in.

You bring up great points Mat B, the bottom line is if he didn’t get a chance in June, hes not going to get one. Fowler is on a roll and his OBP is going up & up.
Will Szczur get a chance next year? I highly doubt it, Management don’t seem to be to high on him. They will need a CF’er next year, I don’t see them resigning Fowler. Probably want to much with too many years.
The Cubs are playing great ball. Already excited to see what happens in the off season, while in the midst of a Playoff Run. lol
Management has done a wonderful job putting this team together and I am sure their not done, nor will they be done.
Lots of trading chips in the system as well as money for FA’s. Just think if they do go deep in the Playoffs.

You use the word we like your Management. Mat B put out there a chance, I agree but if they were going to give Szczur a chance, it was in June, not now. Seeing as how it is opinion, even hind sight now, I don’t see your rant as anywhere near relevant.
Now we have all been wrong before, you, Doug, myself, K.g., jhosk and many others. So whats the big deal with Mat B having an opinion? Its not like he is insisting on Castro stay at SS.

Szczur should have been given a chance during one of the worst stretches by Fowler all season and nobody is stating he (Szczur) should have been given the chance to unseat Fowler from day one. Big difference. It made sense to give Szczur his 14 day stretch during Fowlers big slump not only to do some big league evaluation (for next season?) but to gain a spark should Szczur show some better offense than the slumping Fowler. All worked out as Fowler is rebounding and the club sticks with a sound plan that included Fowler. But I think Szczur should be considered for at least a big league evaluation at some point and possibly be in the running to take over CF next season after Fowler exits. I do not think Fowler’s game is worth signing him beyond this season as he is not that much superior than what we have coming up the pipeline whether Almora, Szczur or McKinney?? Mat B, don’t give up on Szczur being in the mix just yet, he is young, the Cubs are playing good ball right now and there is really no reason to infuse him or Baez for that matter in the mix at this point and create a domino effect. Same can be said of the rumors for getting Chase Utley…why? Szczur’s time with the Cubs may still come and if not it will then be with a different club as it will for MANY of the talented minor league players in the system. The system is blessed with many players projected with high ceilings and a bunch of them will have no future with the Cubs except as trade bait. That’s a good thing for contending teams in need of a stud major league player during the trade deadline. Something we may see in 2016 instead of the “Dan Haren” type of deal. Which by the way I think was a good move for THIS particular season.

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