|CHICAGO CUBS ( VILLANUEVA )|
ATLANTA ( TEHERAN )
|957||CHICAGO CUBS||+145||Ov 8,+100||+160||Ov 7.5,+105|
|958||ATLANTA||-155||Un 8,-120||-170||Un 7.5,-125|
|vs Right-handed Starters||2-0||+2.5||0-2||3.0||0.143||0.194||1.5||0.115||0.182|
|Past 7 Games||2-2||+0.5||0-4||1.7||0.133||0.168||2.5||0.158||0.235|
|vs Right-handed Starters||2-0||+2||1-1||6.5||0.238||0.342||1.5||0.215||0.239|
|Past 7 Games||3-1||+1.8||2-2||5.0||0.216||0.290||2.5||0.239||0.292|
|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)||3-2||W||135||7 ev||U||3||3||1||4||4||0|
|4/5/2013||FELDMAN(R)||@ ATLANTA||MINOR(L)||1-4||L||185||7.5 un||U||5||1||1||6||9||0|
|4/6/2013||VILLANUEVA(R)||@ ATLANTA||TEHERAN(R)|| |
|4/7/2013||SAMARDZIJA(R)||@ ATLANTA||HUDSON(R)|| |
|4/10/2013|| ||MILWAUKEE|| || |
|4/11/2013|| ||SAN FRANCISCO|| || |
|4/12/2013|| ||SAN FRANCISCO|| || |
|4/13/2013|| ||SAN FRANCISCO|| || |
|4/5/2013||MINOR(L)||CHICAGO CUBS||FELDMAN(R)||4-1||W||-200||7.5 un||U||6||9||0||5||1||1|
|4/6/2013||TEHERAN(R)||CHICAGO CUBS||VILLANUEVA(R)|| |
|4/7/2013||HUDSON(R)||CHICAGO CUBS||SAMARDZIJA(R)|| |
|4/8/2013||MAHOLM(L)||@ MIAMI||SLOWEY(R)|| |
|4/9/2013||MEDLEN(R)||@ MIAMI||LEBLANC(L)|| |
|4/10/2013|| ||@ MIAMI|| || |
|4/12/2013|| ||@ WASHINGTON|| || |
|4/13/2013|| ||@ WASHINGTON|| || |
|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).
|ATLANTA: HITTING: The Braves were 27th in the majors in steals last year, but that number should rise with a full season of speedster OF MICHAEL BOURN, who was acquired from Houston last July. OFs MARTIN PRADO and JASON HEYWARD comprise the corner outfield spots, and are both are looking to bounce back after disappointing, injury-riddled 2011 campaigns. 2B DAN UGGLA smacked a career-best 36 HR in his first year with Atlanta, his fifth straight 30-homer season. Steady veterans C BRIAN McCANN and 3B CHIPPER JONES comprise a solid middle of the lineup. McCann has four straight 20-HR, 70-RBI seasons, while Jones, who turns 40 in April, has a career .402 on-base percentage. 1B FREDDIE FREEMAN was the N.L.'s best offensive rookie last year, batting .282 with 21 HR and 76 RBI. The starting shortstop will be one of two highly-touted, 22-year-old prospects, TYLER PASTORNICKY or ANDRELTON SIMMONS. |
STARTING PITCHING: Even with significant injuries to three starters, the Braves rotation still ranked ninth in the majors in ERA (3.73), thanks to TIM HUDSON posting a 3.22 ERA in 215 innings. The right-hander was lights-out at Turner Field again, going 10-4 with a 2.31 ERA and 1.01 WHIP. But he'll be out at least a month because of back problems. JAIR JURRJENS was outstanding through the end of July (12-3, 2.38 ERA), but a knee strain bothered him in August and shut him down for September. Although many teams inquired about Jurrjens in the offseason, it doesn't look like the Braves want to deal him just yet. TOMMY HANSON is another young star (25) that had to be shut down in early August due to a partially torn rotator cuff. His ERA was a career-worst 3.60, but he notched a career-best 9.8 K/9 rate. BRANDON BEACHY, also 25, posted a whopping 10.7 K/9 ratio with a respectable ERA (3.68) and WHIP (1.21). Atlanta is loaded with young pitchers, but expect MIKE MINOR (5-3, 4.14 ERA) and RANDALL DELGADO to start in the majors, with JULIO TEHERAN, who has the most upside of the trio, to begin 2012 in Triple-A.
RELIEF PITCHING: CRAIG KIMBREL exceeded all expectations last year, establishing himself as one of the best closers in the game. He struck out an eye-popping 14.8 batters per nine (127 K in 77 IP), and converted 46-of-54 (85%) save chances. Even though Kimbrel's job as a closer is probably locked down for the next decade, the Braves have two other great relievers, both lefties. JONNY VENTERS posted a 1.84 WHIP and .176 opponents' BA in 88 innings, and is next in line for saves (five in 2011) should Kimbrel suffer an injury. Fellow southpaw ERIC O'FLAHERTY had a 0.98 ERA (8 ER in 73.2 IP) and 32 holds, just three fewer than Venters.
|~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ PA SPORTSTICKER NL PREVIEW (CHICAGO CUBS-ATLANTA) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ |
*Cubs-Braves Preview* =====================
By BRIAN OREFICE STATS Senior Editor
Chicago (2-1) at Atlanta (2-1), 7:10 p.m. EDT
The Atlanta Braves are hoping for a bounceback season from a prized prospect to round out their rotation.
If spring training was any indication, Julio Teheran might yet turn into the pitcher he was once cracked up to be.
With a red-hot Justin Upton on his side, Teheran will try to carry his March exhibition momentum into April regular-season success Saturday night when he takes the ball for Atlanta against the visiting Chicago Cubs.
A year ago, Teheran was seen as the future ace of the Braves staff and, in some circles, was touted as the top starting pitching prospect in all of baseball. But great expectations soon gave way to a disappointing season in Triple-A and he was relegated to just two appearances with the big league club in 2012.
Things turned around this spring, however, when the No. 5 starter pitched more like someone at the top of the rotation. In his final Grapefruit League tune up, the rookie right-hander struck out 10 in six hitless innings, capping an exhibition season that saw him give up just seven hits over 26 innings while striking out 35.
"My first goal was to make the team from spring training and I did," Teheran said. "That was my motivation."
In six spring starts, he had an ERA of 1.04.
"You have to give Julio credit," manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "He had some adversity last year and is the better for it. He's matured."
Of course, if Upton keeps swinging the bat like he has in the season's first four games, Teheran won't need to be nearly that fine.
Upton hit his third home run Friday to back a strong performance by Mike Minor as Atlanta (3-1) won the series opener 4-1. The January trade for the left fielder has paid immediate dividends, adding depth to an already potent lineup.
"It's even fun to see him hit in the cage," said Andrelton Simmons. "You just watch and try to pick up stuff from him. He's really talented, and he has a nice swing. Everything is nice and smooth. He's going to do this all year."
Upton and the rest of the Braves lineup will look to continue their power surge against Carlos Villanueva, who will be making his first start for Chicago (2-2) after coming over from Toronto in another January deal, albeit one a bit less heralded.
The right-hander parlayed a 7-7 season for the Blue Jays into a two-year, $10 million contract with the Cubs. Comfortable both starting and relieving, he finds himself in the rotation as a result of Matt Garza beginning the year on the disabled list with a strained left lat.
Villanueva went five innings in his final spring training start, allowing four hits and one earned run.
"I have been very pleased with the (spring) results. I'm getting a lot more groundballs ... I'm happy and healthy and that's all that really matters," he said.
While Villanueva will likely have his hands full with Justin Upton, big brother B.J. continues to struggle for Atlanta. The elder Upton is 0 for 14 with nine strikeouts batting in the fifth spot.
Chicago's offense has been more productive, but not by much. It has totaled 16 hits, and the top four spots in the order Friday went just 1 for 14.
"Nobody's swinging the bats at all right now," manager Dale Sveum said. "Somebody's going to have to step up now and get hot. Hopefully it's the whole team, but we don't have a lot going offensively now."
|Last Updated: 10/23/2014 12:53:56 AM EST|