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

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)


-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.


-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.
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!

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