Posted on: July 28, 2008 1:46 am
Edited on: July 28, 2008 1:50 am

State of the Cubs: Week 17

61-44 1 GM up on Milwaukee

The Week that was:

Important Notes:

  1. Alfonso Soriano is back, and ready to go on one of his tears.
  2. Kerry Wood is on the DL should be back this week, but in his place comes the Shark. Who has been mighty impressive, mixing a nice splitter with a 96 MPH tailing fastball and a good slider. We may have found a new short reliever.
  3. Harden continues to pitch dominantly, without support from the team
  4. Justin Miller, Jeremy Hermida and the rest of the Marlins need to just go away
  5. I saw a win in person for the first time in a long time
  6. Reed Johnson and Mike Fontenot are crushing the ball

My prediction: Not good

The week that will be:

Game 1: Cartsen Charles Sabathia vs. Theodore Roosevelt Lilly I'm not worried about having to face Sabathia. The Cubs hurt lefties pretty bad and he walks quite a few. Plus by now he should be ready to have a heart attack on the mound from all the beer, brats and cheese. I'd be a bit worried about Ted, he had the one bad start against them earlier in the year, but that wasn't this Ted Lilly. But he did struggle with them last year, and they kill lefites more than the Cubs do. Alfonso Soriano (8-25 3 HR), Reed Johnson (8-21 HR) and Aramis Ramirez (3-7) hit him well. Braun hits Lilly well (4--8 HR). Sabathia has a career 34.71 ERA against the Cubs.

Game 2: Carlos Zambrano vs. Ben Sheets. Sheets had one good start (opening day) against the Cubs and one bad one (7 BBs) whereas Zambrano has been much better (13 IP 1 ER). Derrek Lee (16-46 6 HR), Mark DeRosa (6-21 3 HR) and Big Z (5-14) hit him well. Kendell (10-30) and Braun (4-12 HR) hit Z well.

Game 3: Ryan Dempster vs. Manny Parra The Brewers have lost 4 out of the last 5 games Parra has pitched and the Cubs have barely seen him. Dempster has the only 2 wins against the Brewers this year, and Jason Kendell (13-29) hits him well

Game 4: Dave Bush vs. Rich Harden Bush is 1-6 lifetime vs. the Cubs including a shalaking as he surrendered the first win of the season for the Cubs. He happens to be a much better home pitcher, so Ned Yost platoos him. Good call Ned, really helped him in his last start. Aramis Ramirez (7-21 2 HR), Soriano (7-21) and DeRosa (4-11 HR) hit him well. All current Brewers hit harden at a .071 clip

Then back home for Pittsburgh yay

Game 5: Jason Marquis vs. John Van Benschoten. The number to know for JVB is 2.55. No that's not his ERA, that's his WHIP. He's coming off a 1.2 IP 7 ER nightmare. Marquis is 2-0 with a 3.17 ERA vs. the Pirates this year. Jason Bay crushes him.

Game 6: Ted Lilly vs. Paul Malholm Malholm has been the one good pitcher for the Pirates sofar and threw a 8 IP 5 ER preformence vs. the Cubs earlier in the year. He has a 4.60 road ERA this year. Lilly has been ugly against the Buccos this year (8.38 ERA)

Game 7: Carlos Zambrano vs. Ian Snell. If there has been one person this season that I've been most wrong about it's been Ian Snell, I thought he'd be great. Um..no. Snell lost his one start vs. the Cubs this year. Alfonso Soriano (6-12 3 HR) crushes him. Zambrano has been only decent against the Pirates. Jason Bay kills him (14-39 5 HR)

Predictions:  The Brewers are hot, no doubting that, but the Cubs match up really well with them. Expect them to win 3 out of 4, losing the Lilly start in a slugfest. Then we get to face the Pirates, who have just traded Marte and Nady. We'll win 2 out of 3, also losing the Lilly start. Harden finally gets his first win in Cubbie Blue and Alfonso Soriano goes on one of his tears.


Category: MLB
Posted on: July 20, 2008 10:20 pm
Edited on: July 20, 2008 10:53 pm

State of the Cubs Week 16

58-40 2 GMs up on the St. Louis, 3 up on Milwaukee

The Week that Was:

Game 1- There were a whole lot of Cubs in the AS game, so I'll count that as game 1. I'll start with saying that the best part of the game was that I was in Mexico and didn't have to listen to Joe Buck and Tim McCarver. Now onto the game: The Cubs pitching was yay. Carlos Zambrano pitched 2 efficient innings, giving up only a hit, striking out Alex Rodriguez, getting Derrek Jeter to GIDP, and picking off Milton Bradley, all on only 20 pitches. Ryan Dempster pitched an inning, K'ing 3. Which makes him the first AS pitcher to K 3 in the 9th inning or later in a while. Carlos Marmol came on a corrected his woes. Marmol, who was very excited to be an AS, hopefully will use it to boost confidence and regain his former uber- dominating self. The hitters on the other hand did disapoint. Aramis was the only to reach base, before being lifted by pinch-runner Cristian Guzman, who had to replace AmRam at 3rd even though he had never played at 3rd before in his career. The NL ended up losing the 15th from a combination of bad preformences by Clint Hurdle, Edinson Volquez, Billy Wagner, Dan Uggla and Brad Lidge.

Game 2- Coming into the game the Cubs knew they could count on Jim Edmonds to provide offense, having crushing Brian Moehlr in his career. Unfortunately for the Cubs that was the only offense they could record. The team managed only 4 hits, 1 BB and 1 R, a Jim Edmonds 5th inning HR (11). But the Cubs remained in the game with a nice preformence by Ted Lilly (7 IP 6 K 2 BB 1 ER). After a Miguel Tejada leadoff 2b in the 9th of Bob Howry, Hunter Pence ended the game in walkoff fashon. The Cubs lose 1-2

Game 3- I cannot comment much on the game, other than what I can decipher from the box score. But when the only runs come off the bat of your pitcher (Zambrano's 2nd HR on the year) and you draw 0 walks, it's going to be a long day. Unfortunately for the Cubs, their starting pitching couldn't keep them in this game. Z had one of his worst outings of the season, walking 6. Bright spots for the Cubs include a 3-4 preformence by Ryan Theriot and 1.2 scoreless innings by Chad Gaudin, who has allowed only 1 baserunner in his last 4.2 IP. Cubs lose 4-1

Game 4- The offense woke up today, it wasn't the offense of the first half of the season as they still drew 0 walks. 3 RBI days from Derrek Lee and Mike Fontenot, including Fontenot's 8th HR of the season off of Brandon Backe, were plenty for Cubs starter Ryan Dempster. Dempster recorded his first road victory of the season,.going 8 scoreless innings, walking only 1 while striking out 7. Mike in now hitting .371 in Jult with 4 HRs. Carlos Marmol threw a scoreless inning in his first outing since the break.

Deedsy's prediction: Uh well he did get Demp winning, but not much more than that.

The Week that Will Be: The Cubs face 2 teams that they struggle with. First they travel to Chase Field to take on the Diamondbacks. Which of course means that I have tickets. Unfortunately for the Cubs, they struggle in Chase winning only 3 of their last 13 games there, including games 1 and 2 of last year's NLDS, both games I attended. Actually I can't remember the last Cub game I attented that they won. I know I have seen them win before, but my overall record at Cub games is not good. But enough about me, the Cubs get lucky and miss Dan Haren and Brandon Webb, although I'm sure Bob Melvin is just as happy that he misses Carlos Zambrano and Ryan Dempster.

Game 1: Rich Harden vs. Randy Johnson. Something tells me that this game will be a strikeout-fest. Harden is making his 2nd start in a Cub uniform, after throwing a masterful 10-K 0 ER outing, that ended up as a ND. Harden hasn't faced any of the Diamondbacks, other than Orlando Hudson (2-8), more than 3 times. Johnson hasn't faced the Cubs since 2004, having been held out of a rain-delayed start earlier in the season. The Big Unit has been hot and cold all season, including a very nice 10-K outing on July 6th. At one point the Dbacks lost 8 straight starts of his. He has given up 7 runs in 3 out of his last 6 starts and holds a 5.23 ERA. Reed Johnson (.417) will surely get the start, probably holding Kosuke Fukudome out of the lineup.

Game 2: Jason Marquis vs. Micah Owings. I wish we could've have witnessed the Carlos Zambrano vs. Owings matchup for obvious reasons, but I get Marquis instead. Marquis has turned in 3 straight QS on the road. Marquis has had success against all Dbacks except Chris Young (3-6 3 HR). Owings has fallen off since April. He boasts a 5.48 home ERA and has even been implimated in the pen in 2 out of his last 3 outings. No Cub has seen Owings more than 4 times.

Game 3: Ted Lilly vs. Doug Davis. Lilly is coming off a very good preformence against the Astros (see above) and had a 7 IP 1 ER 10 K preformence against Arizona earlier in the year. No Dbacks has hit Lilly well. Davis is right up there with Josh Hamilton and Jon Lester in terms of feel good stories of the year, but the Cubs will look to put another L in his record. Davis is 5-2 with a 3.89 ERA against the Cubs in the last 3 years and Lee, Ramirez and Edmonds have all hit multiple HRs off of him. Alfonso Soriano has probably had the most success against him, and Soriano could be back depending on his workouts at Fitch Park are.

The Cubs then head back to Wrigley to face the Marlins. The Cubs have lost their last 10 against the Marlins, and other bad things have happened against the fish including Adam Greenburg's only ML AB and well you know what else. The Cubs will look to avenge those loses with a 4 game set against the 3rd place yet only .5 GMs out of first surprise Marlins.

Game 4: Carlos Zambrano vs. Scott Olsen. Olsen has been a good starter for the Marlins on the year (3.84 ERA) but has posted a mediocure 4.93 ERA on the road. He's won his last 2 starts, and Aramis Ramirez (4-9 HR) has hit him well. Luis Gonzalez (5-16) and Wes Helms (4-10) both hit Z decently, although neither has ever gotten an Extra base hit against him.

Game 5: Ryan Dempster vs. Josh Johnson. Dempster looks to rebound off his first home loss of the season. The former Marlin all-star will look to shut down Hanley Ramirez and the two Marlins who have had success against him. Ironically those 2 are Gonzalez and Helms (both are hitting .500 or better against Demp). The 6'7" righty of the Marlins has only made 2 starts for the club, both Marlins victories. The only Cub who has had any success against him is Jon Lieber. But then again he's only faced Aramis, Lieber and Soriano (1-7).

Game 6: Rich Harden vs. Chris Volstad.  Harden faced the Marlins earlier in the year, a 5.2 IP 1 ER ND. Volstad is another 6'7" Marlins righy, but is only 21 and only making the 2nd start of his career. His first one was a gem, 8.2 IP 1 ER W against the Dodgers. But they aren't exactly the best offense in the NL, like the Cubs are.

Game 7: Jason Marquis vs. Mark Hendrickson. Marquis, who has struggles at home will look to beat a team he's struggles with in the past. Jermie Hermida and Hanley Ramirez hit him well. Hendrickson, who was demoted from the rotation, is filling in for injured Andrew Miller. He's posted a 6.09 ERA and has been equally bad at home and on the road. Reed Johnson is 12-30 against him. Continuing the trend of tall pitchers, he's 6'9".

Prediction: I like Harden to get his first 2 wins as a Cub, and for Geovany Soto to hit multiple HRs. Alfonso Soriano returns and goes 2-5 in his first game back with a 2b. Cubs take 2 out of 3 from the Dbacks and 3 of 4 from the Marlins, losing the final game in each series.

Posted on: May 5, 2008 12:01 am

State of the Cubs Week 5

18-13 1.5 GB behind Cardinals

The Week that was: Cubs lose both series 1-2, taking the middle game in each set. Cubs changed their pen twice, sending Rich Hill and Kevin Hart to the minors, and bringing up Chad Fox and Sean Gallagher. All 4 loses were within 3 runs, while the 2 wins were blowouts. The Cubs have now dropped 3 straight series.

My last week's predicton: Well I predicted 4 games right. Soriano had 1 homer and 3 RBI if I remember correcty.

The good: Cubs offense scored 3 runs in each game, and dismanteled the Brewers on Wed. Mike Fontenot, Geovany Soto and Kosuke Fukudome all hit well.

The bad: Hart, Wood, Hill and Marquis all didn't throw well.

What to expect this week: The Cubs get to face the Reds, in Cincy. The Reds are tied for the worst record in baseball at 12-20 and have lost 5 straight. Cubs took 2 out of 3 vs the Reds earlier in the season. In the first game the Cubs get to face Johnny Cueto, who has lost 3 out of his last 4 starts, including a 7 R 1.2 IP debacle on Thursday. Cubs counter with Ryan Dempster, who is 4-0 with a 3.16 ERA. He beat the Reds earlier in the year, but that was his worst outing: 4 R 6 IP. In the second game the Cubs get to face the Reds' ace Aaron Harang. Harang is 1-4 with a 2.98 ERA, his worst start of the season was a 5 ER 6 IP outing vs. the Cubs on April 15th. Cubs will have Carlos Zambrano going in that game, Z has been great all year (4-1 2.11 ERA) including a 2 ER 7 IP win against the Reds earlier in the year. In the third game the Cubs get to face Edison Volquez, who's been great 4-1 1.27 ERA including a win against the Cubs. Facing Volquez will be former 20 game winner Jon Lieber, who makes his first start of the season.

Then the Cubs return home to face the Diamondbacks. The Dbacks are playing as the best team in baseball right now, and the Cubs have never been able to do well against them. The pitching doesn't get easy against the Diamondbacks, even though we miss Webb. We'll face Dan Haren, super prospect making his first career start Max Scherzer and future Hall of Famer Randy Johnson. And we get to counter with Lilly, Marquis and Dempster. And not only do the DBacks send out 3 good pitchers, but they happen to have the second best run-scoring offense in baseball, behind only the Cubs.

Prediction: Cubs go 3-3, taking the first 2 from the Reds and the middle game from the DBacks. Dempster, Z and Marmol all get wins. Kosuke Fukudome hits 2 homers.

Category: MLB
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