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!

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