|CHICAGO CUBS ( WOOD )|
PITTSBURGH ( MCDONALD )
|951||CHICAGO CUBS||+135||Ov 7.5,+100||+135||Ov 7,-110|
|952||PITTSBURGH||-145||Un 7.5,-120||-145||Un 7,-110|
|vs Right-handed Starters||1-0||+1.2||0-1||3.0||0.182||0.206||1.0||0.097||0.152|
|Past 7 Games||1-1||+0.1||0-2||1.5||0.131||0.159||2.0||0.150||0.215|
|Past 7 Games||1-1||-0.2||0-2||2.0||0.150||0.215||1.5||0.131||0.159|
|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)||0-3||L||120||6.5 ov||U||2||5||1||6||6||0|
|4/4/2013||WOOD(L)||@ PITTSBURGH||MCDONALD(R)|| |
|4/5/2013|| ||@ ATLANTA|| || |
|4/6/2013|| ||@ ATLANTA|| || |
|4/7/2013|| ||@ ATLANTA|| || |
|4/8/2013|| ||MILWAUKEE|| || |
|4/9/2013|| ||MILWAUKEE|| || |
|4/10/2013|| ||MILWAUKEE|| || |
|4/11/2013|| ||SAN FRANCISCO|| || |
|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)||3-0||W||-130||6.5 ov||U||6||6||0||2||5||1|
|4/4/2013||MCDONALD(R)||CHICAGO CUBS||WOOD(L)|| |
|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 BRETT HUSTON STATS Editor
Chicago (1-0) at Pittsburgh (0-1), 12:35 p.m. EDT
The Pittsburgh Pirates got another solid pitching performance as their season-opening series against the Chicago Cubs continued, but now enter what looks to be a shakier part of their rotation.
James McDonald may be the biggest question mark of all.
McDonald looks to put a disastrous second half of 2012 behind him in Thursday's finale at PNC Park against a Cubs team that was one of many to take advantage of his post-All-Star break struggles.
McDonald seemed like he might be establishing himself as a front-line starter in the first half last season, going 9-3 with a 2.37 ERA that was the NL's fourth-best.
He didn't make the All-Star team, then looked nothing like a budding ace after the break. McDonald went 3-5 with a 7.08 ERA in 12 starts from July 13 until being yanked from the rotation after allowing four runs over 3 2-3 innings in a 7-4 loss to the Cubs on Sept. 14.
He finished the season with one bullpen appearance, allowing three runs without recording an out Sept. 21 at Houston.
"I saw all the bad things that went wrong and the stuff I was thinking, so I'll remember those memories and not have those fill my head when I get into a bad situation," McDonald told the Pirates' official website. "From that, I know how to get out of jams, and if I'm in a slump, I'll know how to get out of that better."
McDonald (12-8, 4.21 ERA) got into plenty of jams against the Cubs (1-1) in three second-half starts, going 0-2 with a 7.04 ERA while allowing 29 baserunners in 15 1-3 innings.
Even with his ugly two-month stretch after the break, McDonald generally pitched well at home, finishing 6-2 with a 2.73 ERA and limiting opponents to a .199 average.
Manager Clint Hurdle seems to like the right-hander's chances of bouncing back.
"We'll know more (Thursday), but I have every confidence in the world that with the lessons he's learned, he'll take the ball and be aggressive, and take us deep into the game," Hurdle said.
McDonald is the first of a trio of uncertainty in Pittsburgh's rotation - Jonathan Sanchez and Jeff Locke will follow - but the Pirates' top two starters pitched well. A.J. Burnett struck out 10 over 5 2-3 innings of a 3-1 loss Monday, then Wandy Rodriguez tossed 6 2-3 two-hit innings in Wednesday's 3-0 victory.
The Pirates (1-1) are 2 for 13 with runners in scoring position, but that's still better than what the Cubs have done. They're 0 for 13 with eight strikeouts.
"We haven't gotten a hit yet with men in scoring position in two games, so we've got to get better at that," manager Dale Sveum said.
Travis Wood (6-13, 4.27) can empathize with McDonald's rough second half. After going 4-3 with a 3.05 ERA in 10 starts before the break, Wood went 2-10 with a 5.07 ERA the rest of the way.
The left-hander also gave up six runs, 12 hits and seven walks over 8 1-3 innings in his final two spring training starts.
Wood might not mind facing the Pirates in his season debut. He had a 2.70 ERA in three starts against Pittsburgh last season, striking out 20 in 16 2-3 innings and holding hitters to a .140 average.
He allowed only Pedro Alvarez's double and three walks over six innings of a 12-2 win Sept. 7 at PNC.
|Last Updated: 9/23/2014 9:23:58 AM EST|