|CHICAGO CUBS ( JACKSON )|
PITTSBURGH ( RODRIGUEZ )
|903||CHICAGO CUBS||+120||Ov 7,+100||+120||Ov 7,+120|
|904||PITTSBURGH||-130||Un 7,-120||-130||Un 7,-140|
|Past 7 Games||1-0||+1.2||0-1||3.0||0.182||0.206||1.0||0.097||0.152|
|vs Right-handed Starters||0-1||-1.2||0-1||1.0||0.097||0.152||3.0||0.182||0.206|
|Past 7 Games||0-1||-1.2||0-1||1.0||0.097||0.152||3.0||0.182||0.206|
|4/1/2013||SAMARDZIJA(R)||@ PITTSBURGH||BURNETT(R)||3-1||W||115||7 un||U||6||5||1||3||6||1|
|4/3/2013||JACKSON(R)||@ PITTSBURGH||RODRIGUEZ(L)|| |
|4/4/2013|| ||@ PITTSBURGH|| || |
|4/5/2013|| ||@ ATLANTA|| || |
|4/6/2013|| ||@ ATLANTA|| || |
|4/7/2013|| ||@ ATLANTA|| || |
|4/8/2013|| ||MILWAUKEE|| || |
|4/9/2013|| ||MILWAUKEE|| || |
|4/10/2013|| ||MILWAUKEE|| || |
|4/1/2013||BURNETT(R)||CHICAGO CUBS||SAMARDZIJA(R)||1-3||L||-125||7 un||U||3||6||1||6||5||1|
|4/3/2013||RODRIGUEZ(L)||CHICAGO CUBS||JACKSON(R)|| |
|4/4/2013|| ||CHICAGO CUBS|| || |
|4/5/2013|| ||@ LA DODGERS|| || |
|4/6/2013|| ||@ LA DODGERS|| || |
|4/7/2013|| ||@ LA DODGERS|| || |
|4/8/2013|| ||@ ARIZONA|| || |
|4/9/2013|| ||@ ARIZONA|| || |
|4/10/2013|| ||@ ARIZONA|| || |
|CHICAGO CUBS: HITTING: 'Under New Management' is the motto in Wrigleyville, where Epstein, Hoyer, Sveum and Co. aim to turn SS STARLIN CASTRO and a bunch of straw into gold. OF DAVID DeJESUS was an underrated first pick-up. But OFs ALFONSO SORIANO and MARLON BYRD are overpaid and over the hill. C GEOVANY SOTO has lost his mojo. New 3B IAN STEWART has a lousy career OPS of .737 away from Coors Field. 1B BRYAN LaHAIR is tagged as part of a 'youth movement,' but he's almost 30. The other youths'2B DARWIN BARNEY, IF JEFF BAKER, and IF BLAKE DEWITT 'are interchangeable guys with low ceilings. Fourth OF TONY CAMPANA is fast but one-dimensional. And minor-league reinforcements are scarce. OF BRETT JACKSON is solid, but blocked in the lineup. And former uber-prospect 3B JOSH VITTERS has done nothing to justify his third-overall draft status. This rebuilding process will take time. Meanwhile, somewhere in the Chicago suburbs, Jim Hendry quietly sobs into a pile of Cubs-themed stuffed animals. |
STARTING PITCHING: RYAN DEMPSTER should bounce back from an unlucky year in which there was nearly a full-run difference between his ERA and his FIP. He's no ace in good times, but he's an underrated and dependable source of innings and strikeouts. MATT GARZA didn't disappoint in his debut season on the North Side, but he was an odd acquisition to begin with: the Cubs dealt top prospects from a thin system when all signs pointed to a belly-flop of a season. He's already trade bait again. JEFF SAMARDZIJA is moving to the rotation after a strong year in the bullpen (2.97 ERA, 87 K in 88 IP), but he needs to cut down on his walks (5.1 per 9 IP). What killed TRAVIS WOOD in 2011 was uncharacteristic wildness. His walk total spiked by over 50 percent from 2010. He's better than this, though it's hard to say how much. It could be that a 40-inning jump from 2010 to 2011 aided his freefall. Subpar newcomers PAUL MAHOLM and CHRIS VOLSTAD will also compete for rotation spots. The lefty Maholm is coming off his best season in Pittsburgh (3.66 ERA, 1.29 WHIP), but was awful after the All-Star break (0-5, 5.75 ERA, .355 Opp. BA). The 6-foot-8 Volstad was 5-13 with a 4.89 ERA for the Marlins last year, but still has time to figure things out at age 25.
RELIEF PITCHING: Because of his contract and the head-scratching faith in the 'closer mentality' that still pervades even the most enlightened front offices, CARLOS MARMOL will enter the 2012 campaign with a near-ironclad grip on ninth-inning duties for the Cubs. Trading away Sean Marshall, arguably Chicago's best reliever last season, is yet another vote of confidence for Marmol. His lack of command leads to more hittable pitches (along with tons of walks), though his ceiling for strikeouts and saves is sky-high. KERRY WOOD will be the main set-up man again after a triumphant return to Chicago last season (3.35 ERA, 57 K in 51 IP).
|PITTSBURGH: HITTING: The Pirates' two-month casual flirtation with competitiveness was cute while it lasted, before this team fizzled to a 72-win season. This team is still years away. But don't blame OF ANDREW McCUTCHEN, who might be the best all-around player in the division. Of all the ballyhooed outfielders from the 2005 draft, he's the one GMs would most want to build around. OF JOSE TABATA, not so much. He's serviceable and has plus speed, but the six-year extension the Pirates gave him was absurd. 2B NEIL WALKER has settled into a respectable place short of stardom. 3B PEDRO ALVAREZ has a lot of uphill climbing to do if he wants to wake up old expectations. He'll compete with 3B CASEY MCGEHEE for a starting role, but it's most likely that Alvarez moves to first base to back up 1B GARRETT JONES. OFs NATE McLOUTH and ALEX PRESLEY are underwhelming choices for the starting left-field spot. SS CLINT BARMES and C ROD BARAJAS would like to thank the Pirates for wildly overpaying them. |
STARTING PITCHING: JEFF KARSTENS looked pretty decent for much of last year. But that's what happens when you get to log 14 percent of your innings against the lowly Astros. Better teams exposed him for the replacement-level guy he is. Contrary to what a lot of bored, lazy sportswriters wanted you to believe last year, CHARLIE MORTON doesn't pitch like Roy Halladay. At all. JAMES McDONALD could still be special if he cut down his walk rate. ERIK BEDARD was a respectable signing. Even if his shoulder acts up, he cost only $4.5 million for a year. If he's healthy, he's still well above-average. KEVIN CORREIA may only be slightly more effective at striking out hitters than a batting tee, but the Pirates are grateful for the innings he eats. BRAD LINCOLN is the designated fill-in if any of the other starters get hurt (cough, Bedard). In the meantime, he's a swing man.
RELIEF PITCHING: Closer JOEL HANRAHAN has been outstanding since first donning a Pirates uniform in 2009, converting 40-of-44 saves with a 1.83 ERA last season. It makes sense for the rebuilding Pirates to move him, but they'll probably keep the hand they were dealt. There isn't another qualified ninth-inning pitcher in this bullpen though. EVAN MEEK was bit by the shoulder bug. His early season was an unqualified disaster, but he turned it around and regained his form once he came back in September. He should be fully healthy again, and a quiet source of a few saves. CHRIS RESOP is another primary set-up man, but he posted a 4.39 ERA and 1.48 WHIP in 2011. DANIEL McCUTCHEN won't be so lucky with his ERA this year if he doesn't lower his walk rate. He's just not a guy to put much faith in.
|~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ PA SPORTSTICKER NL PREVIEW (CHICAGO CUBS-PITTSBURGH) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ |
*Cubs-Pirates Preview* ======================
By JEFF BARTL STATS Writer
Chicago (1-0) at Pittsburgh (0-1), 7:05 p.m. EDT
When Edwin Jackson left the NL East champions in 2012 to sign with one of the worst teams in baseball, he envisioned helping the Chicago Cubs turn some heads in what is expected to be another tough season on the North Side in 2013.
He'll begin play with his eighth team in 11 years when he takes the mound against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday night at PNC Park.
"I've been on a lot of teams that you look on paper, nobody expected you to do anything and you end up going to the World Series or making the playoffs," Jackson said after finalizing a four-year, $52 million deal with Chicago in January. "It's definitely one of those teams where it's a few pieces away from being where you want to be."
The right-hander went 10-11 with a 4.03 ERA for Washington last year and has pitched in the last two postseasons, including winning the World Series with St. Louis in 2011.
A playoff appearance with the rebuilding Cubs seems unlikely, but Jackson is excited to be a part of the process. This is his second stint in Chicago, having pitched for the White Sox for parts of the 2010 and 2011 seasons.
"The team that we have right now, we can go out and win ballgames and have fun and definitely have the city of Chicago behind us," he said.
Jackson is 4-0 with a 3.03 ERA in six career starts versus the Pirates. He struck out nine in four innings in his final spring training start Friday.
"We've got to get that out of him on a day-to-day basis," manager Dale Sveum told the team's official website.
Jackson will look to help the Cubs begin a season 2-0 for the first time since 1995 after they defeated Pittsburgh 3-1 on Monday. Starlin Castro and Welington Castillo had two hits apiece while Anthony Rizzo hit a two-run homer on the first pitch he saw in the first inning.
"I don't really remember the pitch or where I hit it or whatever," Rizzo said. "It was just kind of blacked out there for a second but it was nice to get the win and get (started) on a good note."
Alfonso Soriano went 0 for 4 with a pair of strikeouts, and he may have a tough time getting going Wednesday. He's 5 for 41 (.122) with 12 strikeouts against scheduled Pirates starter Wandy Rodriguez, marking Soriano's worst batting average versus any pitcher he's faced more than 35 times.
Rodriguez (12-13, 3.76) went 2-1 with a 2.25 ERA in three starts versus the Cubs last season. He made 21 starts with Houston before being traded to Pittsburgh in July.
The left-hander is coming off a solid performance in the World Baseball Classic, going 1-0 with a 0.96 ERA in two starts for the Dominican Republic, which won the championship.
"He definitely got himself prepared for the Classic," pitching coach Ray Searage told the team's official website. "We were keeping track of him, and he got himself ready a month earlier."
Rodriguez has been known for beginning seasons well, posting a 2.95 ERA in 33 career April starts.
"It's very important that you get off to a good start, and it's not surprising at all out of Wandy," shortstop Clint Barmes said. "He's got very good stuff, and when he's on, he's tough to handle."
Andrew McCutchen, who hit .360 with four homers versus the Cubs last season, doubled for one of Pittsburgh's three hits Monday.
|Last Updated: 9/30/2014 7:24:23 AM EST|