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)


-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.


-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.
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!

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