Friday, July 27, 2007

7/28/07 CHI @ CIN Game 2 Preview!

Well it finally seems as if the streaking Cubs are hitting a little funk. Everything was going wrong until the top of 9th when the team showed they still have the fire to go out and fight through all the downs. The offense is surely slacking now, but the 9th inning outburst may be a turning point for these bats. They really need that too as it's only going to get harder tomorrow night. The bullpen is looking shaky all of a sudden but it's not this bad and we should have faith in those guys to fix their problems. The bullpen didn't step-up today while the offense didn't put things together until the last frame. We've seen what this team is capable of and tonight they at least showed they wouldn't roll over and die when all seemed lost. The talent is there, the desire is there, and the attitude remains. They gotta dig in, look ahead, and go out fighting tomorrow. Keep the faith.

* 7/28/07 - 6:10 PM CDT: Chicago Cubs (53-48, 2nd NLC); (26-24 Road W-L) @ Cincinnati Reds (45-59, 5th NLC); (24-27 Home W-L)

-Weather Forecast-
Forecast : 83°F
Feels like: 88°F
Sunset: 8:54 PM
Probability of Precip:30 %
Outlook: Mostly Cloudy with chance of isolated T-storms. Wind coming in from NE at 7 MPH (From 1st base dugout to left field)
Overall: Looks to be a better night for baseball than game 1 was - shouldn't be any delays but may be wet.

Pitching Match up: Sean Marshall *LHP* (4-4, 3.25 ERA;1.26 WHIP) vs. Aaron Harang *RHP* (10-2, 3.45 ERA;1.18 WHIP)


-Aaron Harang: There's usually two things guaranteed when Harang steps on the mound: He's going to go deep and he's going to give the opposing team a hard time. This towering righty is everything that comes to mind when you think of a staff horse. Harang has a strong 8.2 Ks/per 9 and a really nice 2.3 Walks/per nine. Harang is a bit of a flyball pitcher with a 40.5% grounball %, but has a 7.1% HRs per fly rate (7th In the National league) so his homerun prevention is pretty good. The thing that stands out with Harang is how deep the man can actually go into the game. He leads the league in innings pitched with 151 1/3 IP and averages about 3.9 Pitches per Plate Appearance. Harang is 5-1 at home this year with a 3.00 ERA in 11 starts. In his 11 career starts against Chicago, Harang is 6-1 with a 4.23 ERA. In two starts this year against the Cubs, Harang is 1-0 with a 4.09 ERA (He shut them out at home though). In his last start against the Brewers, Harang went 10 complete innings while allowing just 1 earned run on 7 hits and no walks to 10 strikeouts.

-Sean Marshall: Coolcat continues his '07 campaign tomorrow looking his first win in over a month. Despite not having a win since June 24th, Marshall's numbers remain pretty solid. He's allowed base runners a 1.26 per inning rate, but strands 76.8% of them. The 6 foot 7 lefty is in between when you talk about being a flyball or a groundball pitcher; His 48.7% groundball % is complimented well by a 8.9% HRs per fly. All in all, Marshall's homerun prevention has been stellar save for a blowup in Texas in which he allowed 3 long balls. Marshall's line drive % is 5th best in the NL at 15.7%. His 6.4 K/per 9 is rather average while he has had some control issues with a 3.5 BB/per 9. Overall, Marshall is a soft tossing lefty who limits the big hits for the most part but walks a bit too many batters for the amount of contact he gives up. On the road this year, Marshall is 2-1 with a 2.83 ERA while he has never been at the G.A.B or faced the Reds. In his last start against Arizona. Marshall suffered the loss while going 6 strong innings and allowing just 1 earned run on 5 hits and 2 walks to 5 strikeouts.


-CUBS- To put it simply, the Cubs' offense hasn't been getting the job done. Guys are out there hacking away at the plate like a bunch of lumberjacks. On the bright side, the offense really came to in the final frame of game 1 and hopefully for them they can carry that over into game 2 and get things going. I wouldn't be surprised if we see some kind of shakeup in the lineup tomorrow, I think Lou is going to try his damnedest to stop the bleeding offensively.

-I- Who's hot?: It's getting tough to hand this award out as the options aren't really as stand-out as they have been recently. Im going to give this DeRosa who returned from his
-II- Who's not?: Alfonso Soriano is 4 for his last 29 (.138) with 1 run scored and nary an RBI. His defense has been sloppy as well recently.. I'm finally going to agree with the Cubs' MB on this one - Soriano needs to ride the pine tomorrow.

-III- Lee Loves it: Derrek Lee is 10 for 28 (.357/.419/.643) against Harang with 2 doubles, 2 homers, and 3 walks. Jacque Jones is 4 for 11 (.364/.385/.455). Matt Murton is 4 for 13 (.308/.308/.769).
-IV- Flailing Floyd: Cliff Floyd is 1 for 8 (.125/.222/.125) against Harang lifetime. Soriano is 2 for 10 (.200/.200/.300). Ronny Cedeno is 1 for 9 (.111/.111/.111).

-REDS- The Red's offense hasn't been as prolific as some have been as of late, but they have the timely hitting and consistency to back up how well they're playing right now. How many game-ending RBIs have they had this past week or so? These Reds may not be pulling off Yankees @ Tampa numbers but the timely hitting and 'getting enough to win' idea is strong for them at the moment. A 21-7 win is no better than a 5-4 win with a walk-off single to win it: A win is a win and the Reds are doing a lot of it currently.

-I- & -II-: Reds haven't faced Marshall.

-III- Who's hot?: Jeff Keppinger is 11 for last 26 (.423) with a homer and 8 RBIs.
-IV- Who's not: Griffey Jr. is 5 for his last 32 (.156) with a homer and 2 RBIs. He has been getting the production as of late and is still getting on base VIA the walks.

What to hope for:
- Cubs' offense remembers what worked in the top of the 9th in game 1 and carry over to today.

What to watch for:
- I have the feeling there's going to be a slight lineup shakeup, be it Soriano finally sitting out for a day or Murton getting a start against the righty.

Projected Lineup: (I admit I'm going out on a limb and a gut feeling on this one)

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

Go Cubs!

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