Posted on: August 11, 2008 9:08 pm
Edited on: August 11, 2008 9:20 pm

State of the Cubs: Week 19

71-47 3.5 GMs up on Milwaukee

The Week that Was: The series with the Astros started off a little rainy, the game ended up being called during the middle of the 8th, which killed the Cubs oppurtunity to seek revenge off of LaTroy Hawkins. Then the Cubs offense decided to stick it to Houston the next two days, scoring 22 runs. Rich Harden has his, by far, worst start as a Cubs, Bob Howry picked up a vulutre win (one of 2 on the week) and Kerry Wood would return to pitch a scoreless frame.

The the Cardinals series, which started out with an 11 inning Cubs win in a game they should have lost. Jim Edmonds hit multiple HRs off his former team, Alfonso Soriano gunned someone out at home, the Cubs sniffed out a suicide squeeze and Henry Blanco got the game winning single. Then Carlos Zambrano had a terrrible outing, despite hitting his 15th career HR, and then the Cubs won the rubber match on the arm of Ryan Dempster and a 5-run 6th.

My Prediction: I was off by one game, and Wood didn't get multiple SVs. Soriano is still hot although

The Week that Will be:

The Cubs head to Atlanta to face a team some call the "Richmond Braves". I was talking to a friend of mine who is a big Braves fan, he claims this series won't be close...hopefully he's correct.

Game 1: Rich Harden vs. Charlie Morton This is Harden's second start in Turner Field this year, he had a 7 IP 1 ER 8 K preformence to earn him his second win of the season. Casey Kotchmen is the only Brave to have seen him more than 3 times, and he's 3-12 without an extra base hit against him. Morton has been bad at home this season, going 0-4 with a 8.39 ERA and .324 BAA. He's coming off a win against the Diamondbacks, but had lost his previous 3 starts. No Cub has ever seen him once.

Game 2: Jason Marquis vs. Jorge Campillo Marquis has been bad against the Braves, in the last 3 years he's given up 24 runs in only 11.2 IP, but Jason has been much better on the road this season. Chipper Jones is 4-6 with 3 HRs against him. The Braves 30-year-old rookie Campillo has been very good for the Braves this season, posting a 2.83 ERA. Although he's been worse at home, he has won his last 4 decisions. He threw one pitch in a relief apperance against the Cubs earlier in the year, he got Carlos Zambrano to fly out.

Game 3: Ted Lilly vs. Tom Glavine. Glavine's injury has come full circle. He was placed on the DL with a partially torn flexor tendon, after surrendering 4 runs in 3 IP to the Cubs. In their careers Derrek Lee (17-57 3 HR), Aramis Ramirez (12-25 3 HR) and Alfonso Soriano (9-21 HR) hit him well. Surprisingly Ryan Theriot doesn't, weird one would think that Theriot would crush a pitcher who only throws on the outside portion. Ted is coming off of a string of good preformences and beat the Braves earlier in the year. None of the Braves particularly hit him well.

Then the Cubs head to Miami to face those pesky Marlins, damn those pesky Marlins. They split a series in Wrigley last month. But luckily the Cubs have Z, Demp and Harden to counter.

Game 4: Josh Johnson vs. Carlos Zambrano Zambrano beat the Marlins pretty soundly earlier in the year, going 7 IP while surrendering only 2 runs and his last road start was a great preformence against the Brewers. Josh Willingham is 4-5 against him. The Marlins have yet to lose a game Johnson starts, including a 5.1 IP outing against the Cubs. Reed Johnson is 2-2 with a HR against him.

Game 5: Ryan Dempster vs. Anibal Sanchez Dempster's start against the Marlins was decent, 6 IP 1 ER but 6 BBs. He's still looking to even up his road record, which currently stands at 2-3. Luis Gonzalez (10-19 2 HR) and Wes Helms (5-10) hit him well. This will be Sanchez's 4th start of the year, he's 1-1 and is currently losing to St. Louis. Soriano is 2-11 against him, but those 2 hits were HRs 

Game 6: Rich Harden vs. Chris Volstad These two met up earlier in the year, a 3-2 Marlins victory, both pitchers threw well but neither gained a decision. Dan Uggla and Aramis Ramirez have both hit a HR in limited ABs against the pitchers.

Predictions: Cubs win each series, taking 2 out of 3 from both. They lose Marquis and Harden's starts. Kosuke Fukudome comes up of his slump, hitting above .400 on the week.

Category: MLB
Posted on: June 15, 2008 7:46 pm
Edited on: June 15, 2008 9:31 pm

State of the Cubs: Week 11

45-25 3.5 GMs up on Cardinals

The Week that Was:

  • Game 1- The Cubs got to Tom Glavine early, knocking him out after the 3rd inning (he would go on the DL), for 4 runs. The Cubs scored 10 runs, getting RBIs from 6 players. Derrek Lee (14) and Geovany Soto hit HRs. All of this for Ted Lilly, who went 6.2 IP giving up 3 ER and striking out 8. The 3 runs all came in the first on a Greg Norton HR.  Bob Howry would give up a couple runs later, but it wouldn't be enough for the Braves who lost 10-5.
  • Game 2- This is a game that will be remembered for not the Cubs winning, but for them losing Alfonso Soriano for 6 weeks. Soriano broke his 4th metacarpal off a Jeff Bennet pitch in the 2nd. But the Cubs offense took it out on Bennett, scoring 7 ERs in 2 IP. Kosuke Fukudome (28), Ryan Theriot (18) and Jim Edmonds (15)all had RBIs, including a Kosuke Fukudome 3-run HR in the first, his 5th of his career. Ryan Dempster wouldn't need that much offense though, as he pitched a complete game, allowing only 2 runs and striking out 11. Cubs win 7-2
  • Game 3- It was throwback day at Wrigley Field, both teams in their 1948 uniforms and the throwback WGN telecast. And it would be a good old-fashioned throwback pitcher's duel. Carlos Zambrano only made one mistake, a 2-run HR to Jeff Francoeur. He would go 7 innings, only giving up those 2 runs while striking out 3. The only Cubs offense was a Jim Edmonds sac fly until the 9th. And in the 9th Edmonds hit an opposite field basket HR to tie the game, his 2nd as a Cub., off of Blaine Boyer. Kerry Wood would go on to pitch 2 scoreless innings before he got the win, when the Cubs scored on a walk-off HBP by Reed Johnson. Cubs win 3-2 in 11
  • Game 4- Another 3-2 close game, but this time it didn't go the Cubs way. The Cubs left 11 men on base, scoring only 2 off of A.J. Burnett. Sean Gallagher had a decent preformence, giving up only 2 HRs, for 3 ERs in 5 IP. Cubs lose 3-2
  • Game 5- Going into this game you had to expect a great preformence by one of the pitchers. What you didn't expect was that the pitcher would be Jason Marquis, not Roy Halladay. Marquis went 7 innings of 1-hit baseball before giving up 3 straight hits in the 8th, which put Carlos Marmol in the game. The Cubs would score 6 runs, 3 off the bat of a Reed Johnson HR (3). Cubs win 6-2
  • Game 6- Once again a former Blue Jay has a good game against his former team, this time it was Ted Lilly. Lilly threw 6 innings on 1 hit baseball. The Cubs would jump out to a 7-0 lead off of Jesse Litsch, a Aramis Ramirez 2-run HR (10) and 3 Derrek Lee RBIs (44). Then the bullpen gave some of the lead back. Scott Eyre, Niel Cotts and Kerry Wood all gave up a run or more. Eyre lost his streak of 33 consecutive apperance withough surrendering a run, a franchise record. It wasn't enough as the Cubs won 7-4

My Prediction:  I was correct in Lou moving up Z, Lilly getting 2 wins and them sweeping the Braves. But wrong in them losing 2 out of 3 to the Jays.

The Week that will be:

The Cubs head to Tampa for what looks to be a tough series. The Rays are 40-29 (3rd best in AL) and 26-11 at home. The have the 2nd best defense, Fielding % wise, in baseball. They will be without their 2nd baseman and leadoff man Akanori Iwamura for the final two games of the series. Carlos Pena is expected to return the day after the Rays end their series with the Cubs

  • Game 1- Ryan Dempster vs. Scott Kazmir. For as good as Ryan Dempster has been for the Cubs this season, Scott Kazmir has been better. He is 6-2 with a 1.74 ERA .97 WHIP and he just happens to have given up 1 ER in 26.0 IP for a 4-0 record and .35 ERA. But he does happen to be coming off of a loss. Reed Johnson is 8-31 with 1 HR against him. Dempster will look to get his first road win, although he's been better on the road ERA-wise this season. No Ray has seen him more than 4 times.
  • Game 2- Carlos Zambrano vs. Andy Sonnanstine. Sonnanstine has been the Rays worst starter this season, and has been worse at home (5.36 ERA). He doesn't walk many but gives up a lot of hits, 8 or more in 6 out of his last 7. He hasn't gotten a win since May 16th. There's not much to say about Z, even though he has been worse on the road this season. Gabe Gross is 2-9 against him, Cliff Floyd 2-7, but they have 9 combined BBs.
  • Game 3- Sean Gallagher vs. James Shields. Shields returns from his suspension just in time to face the Cubs...great. He's been great at home this season (1.72 ERA). He's coming off of 2 straight bad loses, but the Rays have lost only 1 game he's started at home all season. Sean Gallagher continues to improve with every start, but is still worse on the road. No Ray has ever seen him.

The Cubs then return to the friendly confines to face the White Sox. The Cubs tooke 5 out of 6 against their crosstown rivals last season. The Sox are 38-31, 17-20 on the road, but they have lost 5 out of their last 6 games against teams with below .500 records. They have the best ERA in baseball. The White Sox could be without 1b Paul Konerko after he strained a muscle near his rib cage before Sunday's game.

  • Game 4- Jason Marquis vs. Jon Danks. The Cubs have won 4 out of the last 5 of Marquis' starts and he hasn't given up more than 3 runs since May 13th. He's pretty bad at home (5.13 ERA) and Orlando Cabrera (8-20), Jim Thome (5-13 1 HR), Paul Konerko (3-7 1 HR) and Joe Crede (3-6 2 HRs) hit him well. Danks has a 1.72 ERA on the road this season and threw 6 scoreless innings last time out. No Cub has ever seen him.
  • Game 5- Ted Lilly vs. Jose Contreras. Lilly will look to repeat his last 1-hitter. He's 4-2 at home and the Cubs have won his last 5 home starts. Toby Hall (9-22 1 HR), Nick Swisher (5-15 2 HRs) and Paul Konerko (6-21 3 HRs) hit him well. Contreas is coming off a beating against the Tigers and is a worse pitcher on the road. Aramis Ramirez (5-11 3 HRs) and Alfonso Soriano (unfortunatly) crush him.
  • Game 6- Ryan Dempster vs. Javier Vasquez. The Cubs haven't lost a game Dempster has started at home all season. Orlando Cabrera (9-28) and A.J. Pierzynski (3-4 1 HR) hit him well. Vasquez has a 4.11 ERA on the road and a 4.63 ERA in night games. He's coming off of 2 straight bad starts. Derrek Lee (16-44 3 HRs), Mark DeRosa (6-19 1 HR) and Jim Edmonds (8-17 2 HRs) have hit him well.

Prediction: This is hard. The Cubs face some very hard pitching matchups so I'm going to have to say that they lose 2 out of 3 to the Rays, winning the middle game. Then they take 2 out of 3 from the White Sox, losing the 1st game. Derrek Lee hits 3 HRs.

Category: MLB
Posted on: June 10, 2008 7:28 pm
Edited on: June 10, 2008 11:21 pm

State of the Cubs: Week 10

40-24 2.5 GMs ahead of St. Louis

The Week that Was:

  • Game 1: Carlos Zambrano had a better day with the bat than on the mound. He went 3-3 in 5 IP with 3 ER. He got the win, because of a Cubs offense that put togther 7 runs, led by Jim Edmonds. Carlos Marmol gave up a 3-run HR, creating the need for Kerry Wood to get his 15th SV. Cubs win 7-6
  • Game 2: The Cubs offense has another great outing, scoring 9 runs, on the backs of Geovany Soto (10), Mark DeRosa (6) and Alfonso Soriano (14), who all hit HRs. Jason Marquis didn't have his best outing (3 ER 5IP), but got the win. Kevin Hart pitched poorly (3 ER .1 IP) creating the need for Kerry Wood to get his 16th SV. Cubs win 9-6
  • Game 3: Ted Lilly pitched what was easily the best start of the series (7.1 IP 2 ER 8 K), but got outdueled by former-Cub and future hall of famer Greg Maddux (7 IP 1 ER) The Cubs offense only recorded 4 hits, and didn't take a BB Cubs lose 2-1
  •  Game 4: Ryan Dempster had only a decent outing on this day (5.1 IP 3 ER), but it wasn't him, it was Bob Howry who got the win. After 2 Jeff Kent HRs, a Kosuke Fukudome single in the 9th gave the Cubs the lead, he had homered earlier in the game (4). Mark DeRosa also hit a HR (7). Kerry Wood got his 17th SV Cubs win 5-4
  • Game 5: Sean Gallagher's 5 IP 2 ER was not enough, as the Cubs couldn't get any offense against Hiroki Kuroda (9 IP 0 R 11 K). The offense only got 4 hits, and no BBs. Cubs lose 3-0
  • Game 6: Carlos Zambrano played like Carlos Zambrano the first 6 innings, giving up only 2 runs and have the go-ahead single. But then his defense abandoned him. An Aramis Ramirez error and a Fukudome missed diving catch allowed the Dodgers to score 5 runs in the inning. Alfonso Soriano homered, his 15th. Cubs lose 7-3
  • Game 7: This was the Jason Marquis we expected to see in April and May. He turned in a very nice 6.1 IP 1 R 0 ER preformence. Mark DeRosa was all the offense the Cubs needed, as he drove in two including a solo HR (8). Carlos Marmol pitched 1.2 scoreless innings, picking up his 19th hold and Kerry Wood recorded his 18th SV.

My Prediciton: Well 1 worse game, Z didn't get his 9th win, Howry did get one, only Soriano hit 2 HRs.

The Week the will be:

The Cubs get the Braves at home for a 3-game set. The Cubs 26-8 home record vs. the Braves 7-21 road record seems like a huge mismatch. (Hopefully it is). Braves' star Chipper Jones will miss at least the first couple games against the Cubs, the Braves are 0-6 without Chipper this year.

  • Game 1 Ted Lilly vs. Tom Glavine. Glavine has actually been a much better pitcher on the road this year (3.48 ERA). He's coming off two straight good starts, although the Braves lost them both. Aramis Ramirez (12-25 3 HR) and Alfonso Soriano (8-20 1 HR) hit him well. This is Lilly's first start against the Braves since he was ejected for beaning Edgar Renteria if I remember correctly. Let's hope he doesn't do that again. No current Braves hit him well.
  • Game 2: Ryan Dempster vs. Jair Jurrjens. JJ has a 4.84 road ERA this season and is coming off two straight bad outings. Jim Edmonds (0-3) is the only Cub who's ever seen him. Dempster, who is looking to tie Zambrano for the team lead in wins, hasn't been hit well by any Braves.
  • Game 3: Sean Gallagher vs. Tim Hudson. Hudson is good wherever, but is slightly worse on the road (3.21). 6 out of his last 8 starts have been very good and is 1-0 with 3.60 ERA in his last 2 Wrigley starts. Jim Edmonds (8-18 1 HR) and Derrek Lee (4-10 1 HR) hit him well. Gallagher has been much better at home this year (3.52) and the Cubs have won all 4 of his Wrigley starts. No Brave hitter has seen him more than twice. (Carlos Zambrano could start here, bumping up everyone in the rotation, skipping Gallagher)

Cubs then head up North for their first interleague series of the year, against the Blue Jays. The Jays are last in the AL-E at 33-33 and are 16-14 at home. They've lost 7 out of their last 9. Unfortunatley the Cubs don't face a lefty, so Reed Johnson might not be able to get back at the team that cut him earlier in the year.

  • Game 4: A.J. Burnett vs. Carlos Zambrano. Burnett has been bad at home (7.54) and is coming off an absolutely horrible start against the Orioles. Jim Edmonds has walked 12 times in 26 career plate apperances against him. Z will try and bounce back, no Blue Jay hits him well.
  • Game 5: Roy Halladay vs. Jason Marquis. Halladay is a great pitcher, and is great at home (3-1 2.70). He hasn't lost a start since May 9th and no Cub hits him hard. Marquis will look to continue what he did two nights ago and what he's done sofar this year on the road (3.97). Brad Wilkerson (5-15 2 HRs) hits him hard
  • Game 6: Jesse Litsch vs. Ted Lilly. Litsch is a very good young pitcher who is very good at home (3-0 2.97). He's coming off a loss against the Yankees and no Cub has ever seen him. Lilly is an ex-Jay and was 9-5 with a 4.08 ERA in his last season there. Shanon Stewart hits him well (5-12)

Predictions: This is one of the hardest weeks to predict, because much relys on Lou's decison on whether to move up Z. My guess is that he does, which results in a sweep on the Braves. But they lose 2 out of 3 in Toronto. Lilly gets 2 wins and Edmonds hits 2 HRs.

Category: MLB
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