Tuesday, August 7, 2007

On 'Holliday'

Hello all,

Real life personal issues have come up and I won't have the time to make the usual previews. Some things have come up that I need to address and I don't think I'd have the ability to sacrifice the time. Instead of rushing these things and doing a sloppy job, I've decided to just drop the thing for now. I don't even think I'll be around on the board as much for the next several days. I'll try to pickup the previews again after this road trip ends in full force. I hope you folks understand. Thanks a million,

-M.B.

Monday, August 6, 2007

8/07/07 CHI @ HOU Game 2 Preview!

Definitely not a good path to take offensively when one of your all-star bats goes down huh? The offense really had trouble tonight, this is true; I'm wondering, however, if it's more because they faced a lefty who's unstoppable at home or that they truly took a large morale hit with Soriano out. The Cubs will hit something like 5-6 straight right handers now, so that should really put a scope on how the Soriano-less offense will produce. On the bright side of things, the pitching looked wonderful and Hill had a really nice confidence building start. The bullpen was doing well but the Astros simply beat them by doing a nice job of manufacturing the winning run. I, of course, am still not anywhere near calling this season lost. Go Cubs, and Keep the Faith.

* 8/07/07 - 7:05 PM CDT: Chicago Cubs (58-53, 2nd NLC); (28-25 Road W-L) @ Houston Astros (49-63, 4th NLC); (29-25 Home W-L)

-Weather Forecast-
Forecast : 90°F
Feels like: 100°F
Sunset: 8:10 PM
Probability of Precip:20 %
Outlook: Sunny with Wind From the S at 9 mph (Out to right-center.)
Overall: Going to be a scorcher pre-game around the park.

Pitching Match up: Sean Marshall *LHP* (5-5, 3.86 ERA;1.34 WHIP) vs. Woody Williams *RHP* (5-12, 5.37 ERA;1.42 WHIP)

Analysis:

-Woody Williams-

  • Introduction: Age- 40, 07' Salary- $6,000,000, Astros are 9-14 when Williams takes the mound.
  • Baserunners: Williams allows base runners at a poor rate of 1.42 per inning and strands an OK 69.4% of them. Baserunners are 8 for 12 (.667%) against Woody in the steals department.
  • Contact: Williams is every bit a contact pitcher with a lousy 4.5 K's per 9 innings. Of that contact given up, 18.3% of it goes for a line drive. Overall, he's allowed 161 hits in 139 innings of work: Not a good rate. He does combine this with a 2.3 Walks per 9 though, which is a big reason why he's not doing any worse.
  • Homerun Prevention: Williams is a flyball pitcher with a 38.5% groundball rate. Of the flyballs given up, a high 13.5% of them have left the yard. In 139 innings of work this year, he has surrendered 25 homeruns (A horrible 1.62 per 9). To put it simply, he's terrible at keeping the ball in the yard.
  • Overall: Overall we have an aging contact/flyball righty who gives up plenty of hits and way too many homeruns. He can limit the walks however.
  • Home/Road: Williams hasn't been too good at home this year. In 9 home starts, he is 3-4 with a 5.33 ERA and .299 Opponent's batting average. 12 of his 25 homeruns have been surrendered at home.
  • Career vs. opposing club: In 18 Appearances and 17 starts against Chicago, Williams is 3-9 with a 4.42 ERA and .275 Opponent's batting average (106 innings).
  • Season vs. opposing club: In 2 starts (both at Wrigley) against Chicago this year, Woody is 0-1 with a 2.77 ERA (13 innings).
  • Recent: In 4 starts since the All-star break, Williams is 1-2 with a 5.54 ERA and .302 Opponent's batting average. In his last start at Atlanta, he went 5 innings while surrendering 7 earned runs on 13 hits and 0 walks to 2 strikeouts.

-Sean Marshall-

  • Introduction: Age- 24, 07' Salary: $400,000, The Cubs are 7-6 when Marshall takes the mound.
  • Baserunners: Marshall allows baserunners at an average rate of 1.34 per inning and strands an ok 73.4% of them. Runners have 5 stolen base attempts against Marshall this year, and were successful in 4 (.800%).
  • Contact: Marshall has a solid 6.2 K's per 9 and allows an average amount of contact. Of those batted balls given up, 17% of them go for line drives. Overall, he has 74 hits allowed in 72.1 innings: Not bad, but not good. He has a 2.9 walks per 9 and gets in trouble when combines that hit rate with a few too many walks.
  • Homerun Prevention: Marshall is more of a groundball left with a nice 46.7% groundball rate. Of the fly balls he does give up, only 8.6% of them have gone for homeruns. Overall, his homerun prevention has been very good at 7 homeruns allowed in 72.1 innings (0.87 per 9).
  • Overall: Overall Marshall is an average contact lefty with a good groundball rate that leads to very good homerun prevention. He does allow too many baserunners VIA the walk and base hit though.
  • Home/Road: Marshall has been wonderful on the road this year. In 6 starts away starts, He is 3-1 with a 2.60 ERA and .227 Opponent's batting average. 4 of his 7 homeruns have been allowed on the road. He never had a start at Minute Maid Park. In 2 starts (14 innings) at Minute Maid park, Marshall is 1-1 with 0.64 ERA.
  • Career vs. opposing club: In 3 starts against the Astros, Sean is 1-2 with a 3.00 ERA and .262 Opponents Batting Average (18 innings).
  • Season vs. opposing club: Marshall has not faced the Astrps this year.
  • Recent: In 4 starts since the All-star break, Marshall is 1-2 with a 4.79 ERA and .294 Opponent's batting average. In his last start against Philadelphia, Marshall went just 2.2 innings while giving up 7 earned runs on 9 hits and 1 walks to 2 strikeouts.

--OFFENSE--

-CUBS- Yet another loss to a lefty starter for the Cubs. This time the Cubs got shutdown by a lefty starter who's practically unstoppable at home. Can the Cubs still fare well against righties with Soriano out? They have the talent in the middle of the order, and they're hoping Theriot can keep it up.

-I- Who's hot?: Jacque Jones is 8 for his last 22 (.364) with 4 doubles and 4 RBIs.
-II- Who's not?: Angel Pagan is 4 for his last 27 (.148).

-III- Killer Kendall: Jason Kendall is 18 for 35 (.514/.553/.657) lifetime against Williams with 2 doubles, a homer, and 4 stolen bases. Cliff Floyd is 10 for 27 (.370/.393/.630) with a double and 2 homers. Derrek Lee is 10 for 31 (.323/.400/.419). Ramirez is 13 for 43 (.302/.333/.488).
-IV- DeRo no HeRo: Mark DeRosa is 1 for 10 (.100/.100/.10) lifetime against Williams.

-Astros- The Astro offense didn't really show up in game 1 either. They have the talent in the middle of their order but not much surrounds it.

-I- Killer B's?: Chris Burke is 5 for 7 (.714/.714/1.143) lifetime against Marshall with a homer. Craig Biggio is 3 for 9 (.333/.400/.444).

-I- But not this one: Lance Berkman is 2 for 9 (.222/.300/.333) lifetime against Marshall with a double.

-III- Who's hot?: Carlos Lee is 10 for his last 26 (.385) with a pair of homers and doubles during that stretch.
-IV-
Who's not: Brad Ausmus is batting just 8 for 49 (.163) since the All-star Break.

What to hope for:
- The Soriano-less offense can still take of business against Right-handed starters.


What to watch for:
- Sean Marshall supposedly had an "eye" problem during his last start. The Cubs will face their first righty starter since Soriano went down. Here comes the real test.

Projected Lineup: (Putting a lot of risk in 1-2 tonight.)
1- Theriot SS
2- Patterson LF
3- Lee 1B
4- Ramirez 3B
5- Floyd RF
6- DeRosa 2B
7- Jones CF
8- Kendall C
9- Marshall P

Go Cubs!

Sunday, August 5, 2007

8/06/07 CHI @ HOU Game 1 Preview!

I'm a bit too speechless tonight to make the usual opening comments. At least Wood looked nasty, eh? I'm also going to start my own version of the Mailbag and post it up on the blog. If you want to be a part of things and ask a question, ask for a stat, ask for my opinion, or just strike up a conversation - drop me an E-mail at st33lwolf@yahoo.com.

Keep the Faith.

* 8/06/07 - 7:05 PM CDT: Chicago Cubs (58-52, 2nd NLC); (28-24 Road W-L) @ Houston Astros (48-63, 4th NLC); (28-25 Home W-L)

-Weather Forecast-
Forecast : 87°F
Feels like: 96°F
Sunset: 8:10 PM
Probability of Precip:20 %
Outlook: Partly Cloudy with winds coming in from the S at 11 MPH (Out towards Right Center)
Overall: Looks like a hot and humid night at Minute Maid.

Pitching Match up: Rich Hill *LHP* (6-6, 3.67 ERA;1.21 WHIP) vs. Wandy Rodriguez *LHP* (7-10, 4.72 ERA;1.30 WHIP)

Analysis:

-Wandy Rodriguez-

  • Introduction: Age- 28, 07' Salary- $406,000, Astros are 10-11 when Wandy takes the mound.
  • Baserunners: Rodriguez allows base runners at an ok rate of 1.30 per inning and strands a poor 65.2% of them. Baserunners are 8 for 14 (.571%) against Wandy in the steals department while he has 3 pickoffs on the year.
  • Contact: Rodriguez has a strong 7.8 K's per 9 innings rate which does help the lefty limit his contact. Of that contact surrendered, Wandy allows a solid 17.9% of those batted balls as line drives. It doesn't quite add up to his 125 hits in 124 innings though. Wandy has a nice 2.6 walks per 9 inning though he sometimes has control meltdowns.
  • Homerun Prevention: Rodriguez is an average groundball/flyball pitcher with a 42.9% groundball rate. Of the flyballs given up, 11.8% of them leave the yard. In 124 innings of work this year, he has surrendered 16 homeruns (1.16 per 9). Overall, his homerun prevention is decent considering that he's a lefty in Minute Maid Park.
  • Overall: Overall we have an average Flyball/Groundball lefty with a strong strikeout game and solid walk rate. His hit rate is a little high as well, though the numbers don't exactly add up to such a rate. The lefty is prone to the occasional blow-up and doesn't have good homerun prevention.
  • Home/Road: Wandy has been an utterly dominating pitcher at home this year. In 10 starts at home, he is 6-2 with a 1.76 ERA .202 Opponent's batting average. Just 4 of his 16 homeruns were surrendered at home.
  • Career vs. opposing club: In 6 starts against Chicago, Rodriguez is 2-4 with a 6.09 ERA and .294 Opponent's batting average (34 innings)
  • Season vs. opposing club: Wandy had one start at Chicago this year on July 15th. In it, he went 3.1 innings (loss) while surrendering 7 runs on 9 hits and 2 walks to 2 strikeouts.
  • Recent: In 4 starts since the All-star break, Rodriguez is 1-3 with a 9.31 ERA and .325 Opponent's batting average. In his last start at Atlanta, he went 4 innings while surrendering 8 earned runs on 6 hits and 5 walks to 4 strikeouts.

-Rich Hill-

  • Introduction: Age- 27, 07' Salary: $400,000, The Cubs are 9-12 when Hill takes the mound.
  • Baserunners: Hill allows baserunners at a nice rate of 1.21 per inning and strands a strong 79.9% of them. Runners love Hill and are 16 for 20 (.800%) against him in the steals category.
  • Contact: Hill has a very nice 8.3 K's per 9 innings and the strikeout is crucial to his success. He has a poor line drive rate of 21.5% and limits hits by limiting contact. With that said, he doesn't give up too much contact and has a nice 111 hits in 127.2 innings to show for it. One of his problems is his walk rate, which is at an ok 3 walks per 9.
  • Homerun Prevention: Hill's most glaring weakness is his homerun prevention. He's already a big time fly ball pitcher with a groundball rate of 34.8%, but 14.3% of those flyballs leave the yard. This amounts to a very poor 21 homeruns allowed in 127.2 innings (1.48 per 9).
  • Overall: Overall Hill is a flyball lefty with terrible homerun prevention but a very good strikeout game and low hit rate because of it. He is a bit shaky with the walks though and tends to run up his pitch count early.
  • Home/Road: Hill has been a better pitcher on the road this year. In 11 starts away starts, Hill is 3-4 with a 3.49 ERA and .219 Opponent's batting average. 12 of his 21 homeruns have been allowed on the road. He never had a start at Minute Maid Park.
  • Career vs. opposing club: In 2 appearances against the Astros, Hill is 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA and .125 Opponents Batting Average (2.1 innings).
  • Season vs. opposing club: Hill has not faced the Astrps this year.
  • Recent: In 4 starts since the All-star break, Hill is 1-0 with a 3.04 ERA and .264 Opponent's batting average. In his last start against Philadelphia, Hill went just 4.2 innings while giving up 4 runs (3 earned) on 8 hits and 3 walks to 5 strikeouts.

--OFFENSE--

-CUBS- Another loss to a lefty starter for the Cubs. The team had a couple of good offensive innings but overall looked sloppy. To top it all off, Soriano may be gone for a good chunk of the season. How can the Cubs handle losing his presence? How serious is his injury? Is Pie on the way back and can he be the player we hope he'd be? The Cubs don't hit another tough string of games until Late-August, Early-September: Will they be prepared for it?

-I- Who's hot?: Jacque Jones is 8 for his last 22 (.364) with 4 doubles and 4 RBIs.
-II- Who's not?: Angel Pagan is 4 for his last 23 (.174).

-III- UnbeLeeveable: Derrek Lee is 6 for 9 (.667/.733/1.556) against Rodriguez lifetime with 2 doubles, 2 homers, and 5 walks. Matt Murton is 4 for 11 (.364/.417/.909) with a pair of homers.
-IV- Oh man A-Ram..: Aramis Ramirez is 2 for 11 (.182/.182/.182) lifetime against Rodriguez.

-Astros- The Astro offense has been working well as of late, managing 30 runs scored in their last 4 games. With big batters such as Carlos Lee, Lance Berkman, and recently acquire Ty Wiggington, the Astros have some good pop in their lineup.

-I- and -II-: No sufficient At-bats for career 'hot & cold against Hill' numbers.

-III- Who's hot?: Lance Berkman is 8 for his last 31 (.258), but has 4 homeruns during that stretch.
-IV-
Who's not: Brad Ausmus is batting just 7 for 48 (.146) since the All-star Break.

What to hope for:
- Soriano's injury is minor and has a quick recovery.


What to watch for:
- The Cubs destroyed Wandy Rodriguez at Wrigley earlier in the year, but Rodriguez is lights-out at home. It'll be interesting to see what split shows up tomorrow.

Projected Lineup:
1- Theriot SS
2- Cedeno 2B
3- Lee 1B
4- Ramirez 3B
5- DeRosa RF
6- Murton LF
7- Pagan CF
8- Kendall C
9- Hill P

Go Cubs!

Saturday, August 4, 2007

8/05/07 NYM @ CHI Game 3 Preview!

Hello folks! Once again I'm going to stray away from the previous game review and random thoughts tonight to bring up something I got in an E-mail. I recently got an E-mail saying, "Hey Matt you should have your own version of the Cubs mailbag thing and answer E-mail questions and such about stuff.". I wouldn't mind doing something like that, but I'll post up a poll and see what you folks think. Now, I don't have the extreme 'inside sources' Muskat has or anything like that, but I think I'd be able to at least give my take on things. I don't know, it's entirely up to you fans what to ask. Go Cubs and Keep the Faith!

* 8/05/07 - 7:05 PM CDT: New York Mets (62-48, 1st NLE); (32-25 Road W-L) @ Chicago Cubs (58-51, 2nd NLC); (30-27 Home W-L)

-Weather Forecast-
Forecast : 84°F
Feels like: 90°F
Sunset: 8:06 PM
Probability of Precip:30 %
Outlook: Cloudy with chance of showers and moderate winds coming in from WSW at 14 MPH (Blowing out to Right field.)
Overall: Looks to be a wet one with a nice breeze but game should get in.

Pitching Match up: Jason Marquis *RHP* (8-6, 4.22 ERA;1.32 WHIP) vs. Tom Glavine *LHP* (9-6, 4.38 ERA;1.38 WHIP)

Analysis:

-Tom Glavine-

  • Tom Glavine has been waiting a long time for this, 20 years to be exact. These past 11 days have to feel just as long for him. Glavine takes shot number 2 at 300 career victories tomorrow in the finale and rubber match of this 3 game set. The 41 year old is earning a cool $7.5 million this year and is in search of his 10th win of the 07' campaign. The Mets are 14-9 when this veteran lefty takes the mound this season.
  • Baserunners: Glavine allows base runners at a league-average rate of 1.38 per inning and strands a decent 73.3% of them. Baserunners are just 3 for 10 (.300%) against Glavine in the steals department while the crafty lefty has 2 pick offs on the year.
  • Contact: Glavine has a low strikeout rate of 4.05 Ks per 9 innings, but what news is this? The lefty gives up a lot of contact and has a pretty bad 21.3% line drive rate, but his hits per 9 isn't exactly terrible. He combines this with a 3.2 walks per 9 rate, which is a little up from from his last couple of seasons.
  • Homerun Prevention: Glavine was usually a bigger groundball pitcher in the past, but the last several years has seen his grounball rate fall. As of now, his groundball rate is 41.8% so he does give up a good amount of flyballs this year. Of those flyballs, 11.8% leave the yard: not a great mark. In 137.2 innings of work, Glavine has surrendered 18 HRs (1.18 per 9).
  • Overall: Overall we have an experienced and intelligent crafty left-hander who pitches to contact and allows his fair share of runners VIA both the walk and base hit. He's constantly becoming more of a flyball pitcher while his homerun prevention worsened accordingly.
  • Home/Road: Glavine has been terrible on the road this year with a 3-5 record and 5.53 ERA in 13 away starts. 11 of his 18 homeruns allowed have been on the road and he sports a .286 Road Opponent's batting average. In 15 career starts at Wrigley (94.1 innings), Glavine is 6-5 with a 3.43 ERA and .230 Opponent's batting average.
  • Career vs. opposing club: In 34 starts against Chicago, Glavine is 14-13 with a 3.64 ERA and .236 Opponent's batting average (220.1 innings.)
  • Season vs. opposing club: Glavine had one start against Chicago this year in New York on May 14th. In it, he went 6 innings (No decision) while surrendering 4 runs on 6 hits and4 walks to 2 strikeouts.
  • Recent: In 4 starts since the All-star break, Glavine is 2-0 with a 4.50 ERA and .259 Opponent's batting average. In his last start at Milwaukee, Glavine went 6 strong innings surrendering just 1 earned run on 2 hits and 5 walks to 2 strikeouts.

-Jason Marquis-

  • Jason Marquis has been plagued with inconsistency since mid-May but is looking to use his latest quality start as a platform to get back into things. The $4.75 million dollar contact righty is looking for his 9th win on the season in tomorrow's finale. Despite Marquis being woefully inconsistent, the Cubs are 14-8 when Jason takes the mound.
  • Baserunners: Marquis allows baserunners at a rate of 1.32 per inning and strands a poor 69.8% of them. Runners are nearly perfect against Marquis in steals, going 12 for 13 (.923%).
  • Contact: Marquis has a pretty low 5.06 K's per 9 innings and is a fairly high-contact arm. Marquis does have a strong 16.5% line drive rate however, and has done a fine job of limiting hits. One of Marquis' downfalls this year is his walk rate, which is at a pretty poor 3.7 walks per 9 rate.
  • Homerun Prevention: The 2nd reason for Marquis' troubles this year is his poor homerun prevention. Despite being a groundball pitcher with a nice 48.1% groundball rate, Marquis has 17 homeruns surrendered in 128 innings (1.2 per 9) this year. His 12.1% HRs per fly rate definitely contributes to that, and he has surrendered at least 1 homerun in each of his last 6 starts (8 total).
  • Overall: Overall Marquis is a pitch-to-contact groundball righty with resurfacing control troubles and inability to stay away from the homerun ball. If he can limit the walks and homeruns, Marquis' nice hit rate would kick in and he'd potentially be a pretty good pitcher.
  • Home/Road: Marquis has been a better pitcher at home this year. In 12 starts at Wrigley, Marquis is 6-2 with a 3.79 ERA and .231 Opponent's batting average. 6 of his 17 homeruns have left the yard at Wrigley.
  • Career vs. opposing club: In 19 appearances and 12 starts against the Mets, Marquis is 5-4 with a 4.17 ERA and .270 Opponent's batting average (77.2 innings).
  • Season vs. opposing club: Marquis has not faced the Mets this year.
  • Recent: Are we seeing a trend here? In 4 starts since the All-star break, Marquis is 2-1 with a 6.75 ERA and .287 Opponent's batting average. In his last start against Philadelphia, Marquis went 6 solid innings giving up 3 earned runs on 8 hits and 3 walks to 4 strikeouts.

--OFFENSE--

-CUBS- The Cubs' offense put together an impressive two-out rally in game 2 of this 3 game set. They displayed patience, key hitting, ability to capitalize on opponent's mistakes, and more patience during that rally. The Cubs have the talent to score plenty of runs but there are still questions to be answered about it: Will they regain their power dimension of offense? Can they beat the crafty lefties, or even lefties at all? These Cubs will be put to the test tomorrow when a determined left-handed vet takes the mound in search of number 300.

-I- Who's hot?: Jacque Jones is 8 for his last 21 (.381) with 4 doubles and 4 RBIs.
-II- Who's not?: Angel Pagan is 3 for his last 19 (.158). Angel hasn't seen a start in a while now either.

-III- A-Ram and out!: Aramis Ramirez is 11 for 22 (.500/.571/.955) with a double and 3 homers against Glavine lifetime. Cliff Floyd is 13 for 33 (.394/.444/.636) with a pair of doubles and homers. Derrek Lee is 15 for 52 (.288/.393/.500) with 5 doubles, 9 walks, and a pair of homers. Alfonso Soriano is 7 for 18 (.389/.476/.611) with a double, homer, and 3 stolen bases.
-IV- Common' Kendall..: Jason Kendall is 8 for 40 (.200/.220/.400) lifetime against Glavine, but has 2 homeruns. Mark DeRosa is 1 for 10 (.100/.250/.400).

-METS- The Mets threatened a fair amount of times in game 2 but never capitalized on their opportunities. To break it all down, the game was pretty much: Moises Alou - 2 vs. Chicago Cubs - 6. The Mets still have a very dangerous lineup with a patience that will surely test a wild pitcher like Marquis.

-I- The Wright way: David Wright is 6 for 17 (.353/.333/.529) lifetime against Marquis with a homer. Ramon Castro is 5 for 11 (.455/.500/1.091) with a double and 2 homers. Castillo is 7 for 19 (.368/.455/.368). Green is 7 for 23 (.304/.407/.435).
-II- Alooouuuser: Moises Alou is just 1 for 11 (.091/.231/.364) lifetime against Marquis with a homer.

-III- Who's hot?: Moises Alou is 7 for his last 14 (.500) with 2 homers and a double.
-IV-
Who's not: Luis Castillo is batting 4 for 20 (.200) as a Met.

What to hope for:
- An umpire that won't squeeze the heck out of the strike zone. Glavine is a guy who can easily get around that while Marquis is a guy that would proceed to throw beach balls over the heart of the plate if that happens.


What to watch for:
- Kerry Wood has to debut tomorrow, no? The last game of this home stand, a pitcher who doesn't figure to go too long even when on, and Lou already saying the guy was going to come out in game 2: The game outcome is more important however.

- Tom Glavine goes for career win number 300 in game 3 of this 3 game set. Let's hope the Cubs help him on his way to 200 career losses.

Projected Lineup:
1- Soriano LF
2- Theriot SS
3- Lee 1B
4- Ramirez 3B
5- Floyd RF (I'm risking it on Lou noticing his career numbers vs. Glavine.)
6- Fontenot 2B
7- Pagan CF
8- Hill C
9- Marquis P

Go Cubs!

Friday, August 3, 2007

8/04/07 NYM @ CHI Game 2 Preview!

Instead of the usual prior game review and random thoughts I'd like to just address the Lou/9th/Dempster drama. Put yourself in Lou's shoes (Pure poetry) during the top of the 9th against the Mets with a 2-2 tie: Marmol and Howry have been used. Wood is fresh off the DL and hasn't pitched in the Majors for over a year. Wuertz is spent, he threw 2 innings in yesterday's game. Eyre's been worked the past 2 days and Ohman got shelled yesterday. Dempster didn't pitch in yesterday's game either while he hasn't allowed an earned run since June 10th. Who's pitching the 9th? I don't see why Lou is getting so much angst for going with his closer in a tie game at Wrigley during the top of the 9th against one of the NL's best offenses. Dempster had a blowup, and it's the 3rd time this has happened for him in a non-save situation. Other than these three blowups, Dempster has 17.1 innings of non-save work and hasn't allowed a run. It really stinks that Dempster had a melt-down today, I'm not going to lie. However, I'm not ready to blame Lou for this or go along with the "Cut ties with Dumpster" nonsense. Anyway, go Cubs and Keep the Faith.

* 8/04/07 - 2:55 PM CDT: New York Mets (62-47, 1st NLE); (32-24 Road W-L) @ Chicago Cubs (57-51, 2nd NLC); (29-27 Home W-L)

-Weather Forecast-
Forecast : 79°F
Feels like: 80°F
Sunset: 8:06 PM
Probability of Precip:10 %
Outlook: Partly cloudy with light breeze from ESE at 7 MPH (Coming in from right field.)
Overall: Shady cool and comfortable weather for a baseball game at Wrigley. Should be a nice lake breeze coming in.

Pitching Match up: Ted Lilly *LHP* (11-5, 3.60 ERA;1.12 WHIP) vs. John Maine *RHP* (12-5, 2.92 ERA;1.13 WHIP)

Analysis:

-John Maine-

  • The young break-out Maine is looking to continue going strong in a season where he could be an easy Cy Young candidate. The 26 year old is making a minuscule $380K in 07' and is in search of his 13th win. The Mets are 14-7 when Maine takes the mound.
  • Baserunners: Maine allows base runners at an impressive rate of 1.13 per inning and strands a strong 79% of them. Baserunners are 10 for 13 (.769%) against Maine in the running department.
  • Contact: Maine has a really nice 7.8 K's per 9 innings and that does do it's part in limiting contact allowed. Of the contact allowed, only 15.3% of those batted balls for line drives. With a strong K/9 and low line drive rate, Maine does a great job at limiting runners VIA the hit. Maine still has an average 3.1 walks per 9 and does get into walk trouble sometimes.
  • Homerun Prevention: With a 36.7% ground ball rate, Maine is a pretty big flyball pitcher. Of those flyballs, only 9.2% of them leave the yard. That said, he has a pretty good homerun prevention and has allowed 14 homers in 132.1 innings of work (0.95 per 9).
  • Overall: Overall we have a flyball pitcher with a good homerun and hit prevention. He has a strong strikeout dimension and a better-than-not walk rate that is more of an off and on thing.
  • Home/Road: Maine has been dominate on the road so far in 07'. In 10 road starts, he has a 7-1 record with a 2.59 ERA and a .194 Opponent's batting average. He's been to Wrigley once in a relief appearance and allowed no runs on 1 hit.
  • Career vs. opposing club: In 3 appearances and 2 starts against Chicago, Maine is 0-1 with a 2.08 ERA and .234 Opponent's batting average (13 innings.)
  • Season vs. opposing club: Maine had one start against Chicago this year in New York on May 15th. In it, he went 5 innings (loss) while surrendering 3 runs on 7 hits and 3 walks to 4 strikeouts.
  • Recent: In 4 starts since the All-star break, Maine is2-1 with a 3.97 ERA and .213 Opponent's batting average. In his last start against Washington, he went 5 shutout innings on 1 hit and 0 walks to 5 strikeouts before the game was called due to rain.

-Ted Lilly-

  • Ted Lilly looks to get back on track tomorrow after suffering his 1st loss since June 5th in his last start. The $5 million lefty is in search of his 12th win on the year, which would be the 4th time in his career in which he achieved that mark. The Cubs are 12-11 when Lilly takes the mound but are 6-1 in his last 7 starts.
  • Baserunners: Lilly allows baserunners at a strong rate of 1.12 per inning and strands 73.6% of them. Runners are 7 of 10 (.700%) against Lilly in the steals category, and he has 2 pickoffs on the year.
  • Contact: Lilly has a solid 7.3 K's per 9 innings so he doesn't exactly allow a ton of contact. Of contact given up, 17.7% of those batted balls go for line drives. When you combine the aforementioned dual stats, you have a guy who's alright at limiting the hits. What's been strong for Lilly this year is his 2.3 walks per 9, a mark he hasn't really seen in his career.
  • Homerun Prevention: With 35.1% of batted balls against Lilly taking the ground route, Lilly can be considered a big flyball pitcher. His homeruns per fly is a strong 9.4% however and his homerun prevention overall is pretty good for a flyball arm. He's allowed 16 homeruns in 137.2 innings of work (1.05 per 9) this year.
  • Overall: Overall Lilly is a flyball lefty with a solid strikeout rate that helps him limit contact. When he combines that lowered contact level with his strong walk rate, it reflects upon his good WHIP. Lilly has certainly improved his homerun prevention and walk rate this year to become a good #2 starter.
  • Home/Road: Lilly has been a better home pitcher this year overall. In 12 starts at Wrigley, Lilly is 6-4 with a 3.42 ERA and .229 Opponent's Batting Average.
  • Career vs. opposing club: In 3 appearances and 2 starts against the Mets, Lilly is 0-1 with a 6.52 ERA and .229 Opponent's batting average (9.2 innings).
  • Season vs. opposing club: Lilly has not faced the Mets this year.
  • Recent: In 4 starts since the All-star Break, Lilly is 3-1 with a 3.24 ERA in 25 innings of work. In his last start against Philadelphia, Lilly went 5 innings (loss) while surrendering 4 earned runs on 7 hits and 3 walks to 3 strikeouts.

--OFFENSE--

-CUBS- The Cubs' offense managed to muster just 2 runs of support in game 1 of this series and looked pretty lost against El Duque. Derrek Lee can be considered "back" in my opinion when you take note of his recent power surge (Pacing to hit 20+ in the 2nd half), so that's a positive. They still have the talent to put up big offensive numbers.

-I- Who's hot?: Derrek Lee is 6 for his last 12 (.500) with 4 doubles, a homer, a stolen base, and 2 RBIs.
-II- Who's not?: Angel Pagan is 3 for his last 19 (.158).

-III- Cliff Hanger: Cliff Floyd is 2 for 3 (.667/.667/.667) against Maine in his career. Jacque Jones is 2 for 8 (.250/.333/.625) with a homer.
-IV- A very Branyan Fonzy: Alfonso Soriano is just 2 for 15 (.133/.278/.533) in his career against Maine with 5 strikeouts, 2 walks, and both hits leaving the yard.

-METS- The Mets showed a patient side to their offense in game 1 when they drew 11 walks but didn't capitalize on them until the 9th. When rested starters such as Milledge and Alou return for game 2, the Mets will have a very scary vs. LHP lineup.

-I- Green-a-phobia v.2: Shawn Green is 2 for 4 (.500/.500/1.500) against Lilly with a homerun.
-II- Mendoza Carlos: Carlos Delgado is 2 for 10 (.200/.333/.300) lifetime against Lilly with 5 strikeouts.

-III- Who's hot?: Jose Reyes is 13 for his last 42 (.310) with 2 homers and a trio of stolen bases.
-IV-
Who's not: Luis Castillo is batting just 2 for 16 (.125) as a Met.

What to hope for:
- Lilly to eat up a good amount of innings. The bullpen is spent and could put another day of rest to good use.

- The offense to remember how they beat Maine the last time they faced him. Hmm, they won without the use of a homer. How trendy.


What to watch for:
- The bullpen is spent, but there's still a guy in there with 3 days of rest going into tomorrow. Watch for the return of Kerry Wood.

Projected Lineup:
1- Soriano LF
2- Theriot SS
3- Lee 1B
4- Ramirez 3B
5- Floyd RF
6- DeRosa 2B
7- Jones CF
8- Kendall C
9- Lilly-'chiro' P

Go Cubs!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

8/03/07 NYM @ CHI Game 1 Preview!

The first place Chicago Cubs failed to capitalize on a great opportunity in the finale of the Phillies series. Marshall just wasn't himself and dug the Cubs a hole that they fought to get out of but couldn't. Fortunately the Brewers lost as well, and the Cubs are still atop the Division as the Mets roll into town. If there is a positive to take out of this game, it's that hopefully the Phillies offense caught fire because of the beating they gave the Cubs today and carries it over to our friends up north. After losing game 1 of this series, you have to feel good about splitting considering how hot the Phils were beforehand. Zambrano and Lilly lead off the Mets' series, Wood most likely makes his emotional return, and the Brewers continue to melt down (Aren't they fist-fighting in the dugouts now?). Feels like a really good weekend coming up, doesn't it? Keep the Faith.

* 8/03/07 - 1:20 PM CDT: New York Mets (61-47, 1st NLE); (31-24 Road W-L) @ Chicago Cubs (57-50, T-1st NLC); (29-26 Home W-L)

-Weather Forecast-
Forecast : 85°F
Feels like: 85°F
Sunset: 8:07 PM
Probability of Precip:10 %
Outlook: Sunny with light breeze from N at 7 MPH (Coming in from 3rd base dugout)
Overall: Another sunny comfortable game at Wrigley.

Pitching Match up: Carlos Zambrano *RHP* (14-7, 3.47 ERA;1.23 WHIP) vs. Orlando Hernandez *RHP* (7-4, 3.02 ERA;1.09 WHIP)

Analysis:

-Orlando Hernandez-

  • The 37 year old Orlando Hernandez looks to continue his strong 07' season for the Mets tomorrow in search of his 8th win. El Duque has a modest $4.5 million 2007 salary and seems to be earning every penny of it. The Mets are 11-6 when Hernandez takes the mound this year.
  • Baserunners: Hernandez allows base runners at a stellar rate of 1.09 per inning and strands a stunning 80% of them. Baserunners love this guy though and are 14 for 17 (.824%) against him in the steals category.
  • Contact: Hernandez has a strong 7.3 K's per 9 innings and limits a good amount of contact because of it. He has the best line drives per batted balls rate in the game at an amazing 12.0%. These add up to his allowance of just 73 hits in 104.1 innings. El Duque still has a shaky 3.5 walks per 9 innings, so patience is usually the best way to approach him.
  • Homerun Prevention: Hernandez is more of a flyball pitcher and doesn't have the best homerun prevention. With 40.6% of batted balls taking the groundball route, Hernandez allows a good amount of flyballs. Of those flies, 11.6% of them have left the yard. All together, he has 13 homeruns surrendered in 104.1 innings (1.12 per 9).
  • Overall: Overall we have a good flyball pitcher with a strong strikeout dimension. His ability to limit baserunners VIA the base hit is among the best in baseball right now, although he does tend to walk a handful.
  • Home/Road: Hernandez hasn't been as good on the road, but still has solid numbers. In 10 away starts this year, Hernandez is 4-3 with a 3.64 ERA and .208 Opponent's batting average. He's been to Wrigley once in his career and surrendered 5 earned runs in 1.2 innings (27.00 ERA) in that game.
  • Career vs. opposing club: In 1 career starts against Chicago, Hernandez is 0-0 with a 27.00 ERA and .583 Opponent Batting Average (1.2 innings).
  • Season vs. opposing club: Hernandez has not faced Chicago this year.
  • Recent: In 4 starts since the All-star break, Hernandez is 3-0 with a 2.42 ERA and .163 Opponent's batting average. In his last start against Washington, he went 7 strong innings surrendering 1 earned run on just 3 hits and 2 walks to 8 strikeouts.

-Carlos Zambrano-

  • 'Big Z' looks to help the Cubs rebound from a previous loss yet again in game 1 as he takes the mound in search of a majors-leading 15th win. Zambrano is getting a tiny $12.4 million dollar salary in 07' and the Cubs are 14-9 when Zambrano takes the mound and 9-2 since his "2nd season began".
  • Baserunners: Zambrano allows baserunners at a rate of 1.23 this year while stranding a solid 77.6% of them. Baserunners haven't tested Z this year, as he has 1 stolen base allowed in 1 attempt this year.
  • Contact: Zambrano has a strong 7.66 K's per 9 innings this year, though that rate is much higher in his "2nd season". He has a dominant 15.6% line drive percentage this year and really reflects that with his 120 hits allowed in 150.1 innings. Big Z has big walk totals however, and has a walks per 9 at 3.9 this year.
  • Homerun Prevention: Zambrano is pretty average when it comes to being a groundball/flyball pitcher and has a nice 44% groundball rate. His homerun prevention overall this year has been decent with an 11.0% HRs per fly rate, and he has 17 homers surrendered in 150.1 innings (1.02 per 9). However, he has just 4 homers allowed since his "2nd season" began on June 6th (76.2 innings; 0.47 per 9) and hasn't surrendered a long ball since July 8th.
  • Overall: Overall Zambrano is a big inning-eating power righty who gets walk-happy sometimes but limits contact and hits overall. He's more of a groundball pitcher when he's on and as of late, his homerun prevention has been stellar.
  • Home/Road: Zambrano hasn't been too good at home this year overall with a 4.26 ERA and 5-5 record, but has been untouchable at home since his "2nd season" began. In 5 home starts since June 6th, Zambrano is 4-1 with a 0.78 ERA.
  • Career vs. opposing club: In 5 appearances and 4 career starts against the Mets, Zambrano is 3-1 with a 3.60 ERA and .228 Opponent's batting average.
  • Season vs. opposing club: Zambrano has not faced the Mets this year.
  • Recent: Zambrano was recently honored with NL pitcher of the month for July, and deservedly so. In 6 July starts this year, Big Z went 5-1 with a 1.38 ERA and .143 Opponent's batting average.

--OFFENSE--

-CUBS- Although the Cubs failed to win game 4 of their series against the Phillies, they still managed to post 6 runs on 13 hits. The top 3 of Soriano, Theriot, and Lee combined for 7-14 (.500) in that game as well. The offense has been good as of late and should be fairly well rested for game 1 tomorrow. With the big bats of Soriano, Lee, and Ramirez as well the hot Ryan Theriot and clutch Mark DeRosa, the Cubs can give their guys on the mound plenty of run support.

-I- Who's hot?: Ryan Theriot is 9 for his last 23 (.391) with a homer, 2 stolen bases, and 6 runs scored.
-II- Who's not?: Angel Pagan is 3 for his last 19 (.158).

-III- Swingin' Soriano: Alfonso Soriano is 5 for 12 (.417/.462/.917) against Hernandez with 3 doubles, a homer, and 2 stolen bags. Jacque Jones is 8 for 24 (.333/.385/.417).
-IV- No fun for Floyd: Cliff Floyd is just 1 for 5 (.200/.333/.200) against Hernandez.

-METS- Despite losing Beltran to the 15-day DL, the Mets offense has been firing on all cylinders as of late. After managing just 2 runs against the Brewers in the series opener of their 3-game set, the Mets shelled Brewer pitching for 10 runs in the last 2 games.

-I- Green-a-phobia: Shawn Green is 4 for 11 (.364/.533/.909) against Zambrano lifetime with 3 doubles and a homerun. Luis Castillo is 5 for 10 (.500/.688/.500). Carlos Delgado is 3 for 13 (.231/.412/.462).
-II- No way Jose: Jose Reyes is 2 for 10 (.200/.200/.300) against Zambrano with no stolen bases. David Wright is 1 for 9 (.111/.182/.111). Marlon Anderson is 1 for 9 (.111/.200/.111).

-III- Who's hot?: Jose Reyes is 12 for his last 37 (.324) with 2 homers and a pair of stolent bases.
-IV-
Who's not: Luis Castillo hasn't fared too well as a Met so far, and is batting just 2 for 16 (.125) so far.

What to hope for:
- Age to creep up on Hernandez and remind the guy how old he really is.

- Zambrano goes deep to preserve that bullpen. They really need it and it'd probably mean a victory anyway.


What to watch for:
- The return of Kerry Wood may take place tomorrow. If so, take a moment to observe the energy jump in Wrigley when Wood trots out to the mound.

Projected Lineup:
1- Soriano LF
2- Theriot SS
3- Lee 1B
4- Ramirez 3B
5- Floyd RF
6- DeRosa 2B
7- Jones CF
8- Kendall C
9- Zambrano P

Go Cubs!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

8/02/07 PHI @ CHI Game 4 Preview!

Doesn't it feel great? After a season of doing nothing but looking up. After a point in late May where it looked like the season was over. After doing nothing for weeks on end but saying "Man, the Cubs are just X games out!". After many thrilling wins and heart breaking losses, we can all finally say it. The Chicago Cubs are in first place. Keep the Faith.

* 8/02/07 - 1:20 PM CDT: Philadelphia Phillies (56-51, 3rd NLE); (27-28 Road W-L) @ Chicago Cubs (57-49, T-1st NLC); (29-25 Home W-L)

-Weather Forecast-
Forecast : 89°F
Feels like: 91°F
Sunset: 8:08 PM
Probability of Precip:10 %
Outlook: Sunny with light breeze from WSW at 9 MPH (Coming in from 1st base dugout)
Overall: Another sunny comfortable game at Wrigley.

Pitching Match up: Sean Marshall *LHP* (5-4, 3.10 ERA;1.25 WHIP) vs. Kyle Lohse *RHP* (6-12, 4.58 ERA;1.34 WHIP)

Analysis:

-Kyle Lohse-

  • Recently acquired righty Kyle Lohse will look for his 1st win as a Phillie tomorrow in the 1st day game and the finale of this 4 game set. The $4.20 (Something's up there) million dollar man will make his first start since July 25th as a member of the Cincinnati Reds.
  • Baserunners: Lohse allows base runners at a rate of 1.34 per inning and strands a low 66.4% of them. Baserunners are a decent 6 of 10 (.600%) against Lohse on the base paths this year while he has just 1 pickoff.
  • Contact: Lohse is managing just 5.47 K's per 9 this year so he does give up a lot of contact. He sports a high 21.6% line drive percentage and the total hits given up this season (143 in 131.2 IP) reflects that. Lohse does have a low 2.26 walks per 9 so he does throw strikes. He compares pretty well statistically in this category to a right-handed Jamie Moyer.
  • Homerun Prevention: Considering the big-time flyball pitcher Lohse is (Just a 35.5% groundball rate), his homerun prevention isn't as bad is it could be. Although he has 16 homers given up in 131.2 innings of work(1.09 per 9), he has a pretty solid 9.6% HRs per fly rate. For a guy like Lohse, you have to give him credit for that.
  • Overall: Overall we have another flyball pitcher with an underwhelming strikeout prowess that pitches to contact. He still throws a lot of strikes and limits the damage VIA the walk, but his strikes do get ripped for hits more often than not. Statistically compares to a right-handed version of Jamie Moyer.
  • Home/Road: Lohse is terrible on the road this year with a 6.42 away ERA and a 2-9 record to show for it. In 1 career start at Wrigley (this year), he went 8 shutout innings.
  • Career vs. opposing club: In 3 career starts against Chicago, Lohse is 1-1 with a 3.63 ERA and .292 Opponent Batting Average.
  • Season vs. opposing club: In 2 starts against Chicago this year, Lohse is 1-0 with a 1.26 ERA.
  • Recent: In 4 July starts this year, Lohse went 2-2 with a 3.81 ERA and .237 Opponents' batting average. In his last start against the Brewers, Lohse went 5.2 innings while allowing 2 runs (1 earned) on 5 hits and 0 walks to 2 strikeouts.

-Sean Marshall-

  • Coolcat looks to keep on cruising this year in search of his 6th win. Despite producing a 3.10 ERA, Marshall has just 5 wins in his 12 07' starts. The $400K lefty has been a victim of poor run support for a stretch but hopes the Cubs 8 run pounding at Cincinnati last Saturday carries over into his game 4 start.
  • Baserunners: Marshall allows baserunners at a rate of 1.25 this year while stranding a solid 77.6% of them. Baserunners are 4 for 5 (.800%) against Marshall in the running game while Sean has no pickoffs on the year.
  • Contact: Marshall has a solid 6.2 Ks per 9 and gives up an average amount of contact. He sports a stellar 16.7% line drive rate though and can limit the hits well when on. His 2.8 walks per 9 is pretty average but he has worked around this well so far this year.
  • Homerun Prevention: Save for one shelling Marshall took in Texas, his homerun prevention has been top notch. He gets a good amount of ground balls at a 47.4% rate and surrenders just 8% of his flyballs as homeruns. He has 6 homers given up on the year in 69.2 innings (0.78 per 9) this year, but has not allowed a homerun in his last 6 starts.
  • Overall: Overall Marshall is an average contact lefty with a good groundball rate and a knack at limiting the extra base hits.
  • Home/Road: Marshall is pretty solid at home this year, though he is much better on the road. In 6 home starts this year, Marshall is 2-3 with a 3.60 ERA and .259 Opponent's batting average.
  • Career vs. opposing club: In 1 career start against Philadelphia, Marshall went 3.1 innings giving up 6 earned runs (16.20 ERA)
  • Season vs. opposing club: Marshall has not faced the Phillies this year.
  • Recent: Marshall has been great his past 4 starts, going 1-1 with a 2.31 ERA and .236 Opponent's batting average. In his last start at Cincinnati, Marshall went 6 strong innings giving up 1 earned run on 6 hits and 1 walk to 3 strikeouts.

--OFFENSE--

-CUBS- The Cubs rested a couple of key starters in game 3 and still managed to churn out 5 runs for the victory. You have to feel great about winning such a huge game knowing full well that Ramirez, Theriot, and Floyd received a nice amount of rest in the process. The offense should be locked and ready tomorrow with some big bats returning to the lineup.

-I- Who's hot?: Ryan Theriot is 7 for his last 18 (.389) with a homer, 2 stolen bases, and 6 runs scored.
-II- Who's not?: Angel Pagan is 3 for his last 18 (.167).

-III- Killer Quartet: Alfonso Soriano is 11 for 27 (.407/.407/.704) against Lohse lifetime with 2 doubles, 2 homers, and 2 stolen bases. Mark DeRosa is 6 for 11 (.545/.614/818). Aramis Ramirez is 5 for 5 (1.000/1.000/2.000). Cliff Floyd is 3 for 8 (.375/.375/1.000).
-IV- Joker Jones: Jacque Jones is 0 for 6 (.000/.000/.000) lifetime against Lohse.

-PHILLIES- The Phillies had a lot of chances in game 3 but still managed to produce 4 runs. Despite losing key players such as Utley, Victorino, and Bourne, the Phillies still have a scary offense capable of putting many runs on the board.

-I- No sufficient sample for Phil batters against Marshall (hot)
-II- No sufficient sample for Phil batters against Marshall (cold)

-III- Who's hot?: Tadahito Iguchi continues to fill the big shoes of Chase Utley for the Phillies. Iguchi is 8 for 18 (.444) with a homer and 2 stolen bases so far with Philadelphia.
-IV-
Who's not: Carlos Ruiz is 2 for his last 19 (.105).

What to hope for:
- The Killer quartet of Soriano, Ramirez, DeRosa, and Floyd continue their dominance of Kyle Lohse.

- Sean Marshall not to get chased early. Not only does it jeopardize the chance of a win, but the bullpen needs it.


What to watch for:
- The top 6 of the Cubs' order. It contains some strong numbers against Lohse as well as The hot-hitting Riot and re-surging Derrek Lee.

Projected Lineup:
1- Soriano LF
2- Theriot SS
3- Lee 1B
4- Ramirez 3B
5- Floyd RF
6- DeRosa 2B
7- Jones CF
8- Hill C
9- Marshall P

Go Cubs!