Sunday, July 29, 2007

7/30/07 PHI @ CHI Game 1 Preview!

How many of you ever imagined that the Cubs would be 0.5 games out before August back in late May? It's still tough to believe the drastic full circle the Cubs turned after a dirt-kicking tirade by their skipper. Despite a little hiccup in the Cubs' play recently, they've gained 2 games on the 'Crew during this road trip. Hey, if the Cubs keep taking series like this the days of looking up at Milwaukee so far this year are over. Anyway, another solid win today and a dominant performance by Zambrano. Let's hope that ball off his foot doesn't cause anything serious and he can come back strong for his start against the Mets. Soriano and Lee have seemingly found their power strokes again (Lee with 11 of 25+ In my opinion) and just in time, as this Home stand beckons a pair of tough teams. The Phillies step to the plate first and they're En Feugo at the moment, but the loss of Chase Utley is something that'll catch up to them. The only question is, how soon? Bring it on home Cubbies and Keep the Faith!

* 7/30/07 - 6:05 PM CDT: Philadelphia Phillies (55-49, 2nd NLE); (26-26 Road W-L) @ Chicago Cubs (55-48, 2nd NLC); (27-24 Home W-L)

-Weather Forecast-
Daytime High: 86°F
Overnight Low: 66°F
Sunset: 8:11 PM
Probability of Precip:0 %
Outlook: Sunny with light breeze from NE at 9 MPH (Coming in from Right Center Field)
Overall: Nice comfortable Sunny day with that Wrigley breeze.

Pitching Match up: Ted Lilly *LHP* (11-4, 3.46 ERA;1.09 WHIP) vs. Cole Hamels *LHP* (11-5, 3.63 ERA;1.18 WHIP)

Analysis:

-Cole Hamels: Cole Hamels, the Phillies' left-handed changeup artist and arguable staff ace, heads to the North side tomorrow in search of his 12th win. Hamels has a deceptive delivery with a changeup that some consider the best in the majors right now. Hamels has a destructive 8.76 strikeouts per 9 innings (Among the best in the NL) and walks a rather low 2.1 batters per 9. He allows base runners at a rate of 1.18 per inning while stranding a strong 79.3% of them. He gives up his fair share of fly balls with a 40.7% ground ball percentage and if there is one downfall for Hamels, It's his homerun prevention. Hamels allows a NL worst 15.4% HRs per Fly balls and has a whopping 22 homeruns given up in 138.2 innings. The left hander has also allowed 11 stolen bases in 13 attempts (.846%), so runners like getting on base against this guy. His line drive percentage is nothing exploitable at 18.4% per batted balls; Overall Hamels is a tough lefty with a little too much of his contact given up going for extra base hits. In 11 road starts this year, Hamels is 5-3 with a 3.84 ERA and a .264 opposing batting average. In his career 2 starts against Chicago, Hamels is 1-1 with a 7.00 ERA in 9 innings of work. He has faced the Cubs this year, going 7 innings strong while allowing 2 earned runs on 7 hits and 2 walks to 7 strikeouts on the way to a win. In his last start against Washington, Hamels went 7 innings allowing 2 earned runs on 6 hits and a walk to 6 strikeouts while picking up the No Decision.

-Ted Lilly: Lilly continues to justify the multi-year deal he received prior to the 07' season and then some. Winner of his last 6 starts and last 7 decisions, Lilly looks to build upon his dominant July. So far this month, Lilly has a 5-0 record with a 1.83 ERA in 5 starts. Lilly's recent dominance arises from the low number of base runners he has been allowing. So far this year, Lilly has a strong 1.09 base runners allowed per inning while he stranded 73% of them. Lilly is still the strikeout (7.3 per 9) and flyball (35.7% ground balls;17.2% line drives) pitcher he has always been, but his sudden success can be attributed to 3 key changes from his career norm. The first is a pretty obvious switch from the AL East the NL central where he no longer has to face the powerhouses of the AL regularly. The 2nd key is the sharp fall in amount of walks he's given up; Lilly allows an average 2.17 walks per nine this year, a fall of almost 2 walks per 9 from his career norm. Finally, Lilly's homerun prevention has improved rather nicely this year. His HRs per fly has fallen from a 13.3% rate to a pretty solid 8.7% rate. You mix all these improvements together and not only is Lilly's contract justified, but his 11-4 record is as well. In 11 Home starts this year, Lilly has a 6-3 record with a 3.16 ERA and .221 opposing batting average. In 1 career start against the Phillies (Not in 07'), Lilly went 8 innings while allowing just 1 earned run on 3 hits and a walk to 6 strikeouts while picking up the win. In his last start at St.Louis, Lilly went 7 strong innings giving up 1 earned run on 6 hits and 3 walks to 2 strikeouts while picking up his 7th straight winning decision.


--OFFENSE--

-CUBS- The Cubs' offense sure picked a good time to find their power again. With the Phillies and Mets coming to town, the Cubs need that power dimension of their offense to stick around. Leading the power resurgence is Derrek Lee and Alfonso Soriano, both of whom have seemingly regained their power strokes. With those bats accompanied by other big bats and clutch hitters such as Aramis Ramirez, Mark DeRosa, and the speedy Ryan Theriot, the Cubs have an offense capable of putting up some big numbers.

-I- Who's hot?: Derrek Lee is 11 for his last 31 (.344) with 5 homers and 11 RBIs. He's a homer away from matching his 1st half total of 6.
-II- Who's not?: Mike Fontenot is barely over the Mendoza line in July, batting .203 with 5 RBIs.

-III- Old buddies: Alfonso Soriano, former Washing National, is 5 for 16 (.313/.353/.938) against Hamels lifetime with a double, 3 homers, and 2 stolen bags. Aramis Ramirez is 3 for 5 (.600/.600/1.600) with a triple and a homer. Murton is 3 for 4 (.750/.800/.750). Theriot is 3 for 6 (.500/.500/.667).
-IV- No love for Lee: Derrek Lee is 0 for 3 (.000/.000/.000) against Hamels lifetime.

-PHILLIES- The Phillies' offense is nothing short of red-hot. Despite losing Chase Utley to an injury, the Phillies continue to roll. With one-man offensive forces such as Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard and the reviving bat of Pat Burrell, the Phillies have a tough offense to try and contain.

-I- Just in time: Newly acquired 2nd baseman Tagahito Iguchi is 2 for 7 (.286/.375/.714) lifetime against Lilly with a homer. Aaron Rowand is 4 for 13 (.308/.400/.308). Abraham Nunez is 3 for 7 (.429/.429/.571).
-II- Bumbling Barajas: Rod Barajas is 0 for 8 (.000/.000/.000) lifetime against Lilly. Jimmy Rollins is 0 for 4 (.000/.000/.000). Pat Burrell is 0 for 3 (.000/.000/.000).

-III- Who's hot?: Ryan Howard is 20 for 55 in this 2nd half (.351) with 8 homers and 19 RBIs
-IV-
Who's not: Abraham Nunez is 0 for his last 15 (.000).

What to hope for:
- Lilly keeps the ball down and stays true to his dominant July and low WHIP. The Phillie offense is no joke.


What to watch for:
- The steals. The Cubs are going to have to open up the running game against Hamels and if Kendall is starting tomorrow, the Phillies have some big-time (Rollins, Victorino, Bourne) stolen base threats to watch out for.

Projected Lineup:

1- Soriano LF
2- Theriot SS
3- Lee 1B
4- Ramirez 3B
5- DeRosa 2B
6- Murton RF
7- Pagan CF
8- Kendall C
9- Lilly P

Go Cubs!


3 comments:

kurt said...

Great job!

Matthew said...

Thanks!

JasonCubbies said...

Should be a great game... Lilly is on a roll lately. :D