|CHICAGO CUBS ( SAMARDZIJA )|
ATLANTA ( HUDSON )
|905||CHICAGO CUBS||+130||Ov 7,-110||+120||Ov 7,+100|
|906||ATLANTA||-140||Un 7,-110||-130||Un 7,-120|
|vs Right-handed Starters||2-1||+1.5||1-2||3.7||0.212||0.261||3.0||0.198||0.260|
|Past 7 Games||2-3||-0.5||1-4||2.4||0.180||0.219||3.2||0.200||0.271|
|vs Right-handed Starters||3-0||+3||2-1||6.3||0.276||0.360||2.7||0.255||0.288|
|Past 7 Games||4-1||+2.8||3-2||5.2||0.244||0.312||3.0||0.257||0.309|
|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)||5-6||L||160||7.5 un||O||13||12||0||12||8||1|
|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|| || |
|4/14/2013|| ||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)||6-5||W||-170||7.5 un||O||12||8||1||13||12||0|
|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|| || |
|4/14/2013|| ||@ 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) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ |
(UPDATES with Freeman out, EDITS)
*Cubs-Braves Preview* =====================
By NOEY KUPCHAN STATS Writer
Chicago (2-3) at Atlanta (4-1), 1:35 p.m. EDT
The Atlanta Braves entered this season surrounded by a palpable level of excitement after acquiring the Upton brothers.
It hasn't taken long for those moves to pay off.
After hitting tying and winning homers, B.J. and Justin look to lead Atlanta to a three-game sweep of the visiting Chicago Cubs on Sunday.
The Braves appeared headed for defeat Saturday, trailing 5-1 in the eighth inning, but stormed back for a 6-5 win. Entering the ninth down a run, B.J. led off with a homer off Carlos Marmol and Justin followed one out later with another home run off the embattled closer, leading to a wild celebration at home plate.
"We'd never dreamed of being on the same team, much less coming out here and doing that," B.J. said. "It's exciting."
The Uptons became the 25th tandem of brothers to homer in the same game, helping Atlanta move to 5-1 for the first time since 2009. The Braves opened 7-1 in 2007.
"Ah, man, I think right now, in my mind, it's No. 1," said Justin, who also homered in the first. "It was exhilarating out there. We had a great time with it."
While B.J. entered Saturday 0 for 14 with nine strikeouts, Justin is batting .389 with five homers and seven RBIs.
The Uptons, though, could have a hard time building on their big night against Jeff Samardzija (1-0, 0.00 ERA), who turned in a masterful performance on opening day. The right-hander allowed two hits with one walk and nine strikeouts over eight scoreless innings of a 3-1 victory at Pittsburgh on Monday.
"That was probably as good of a game that he's pitched in his starting career," manager Dale Sveum said.
Samardzija entered this season with an 11-16 record and a 4.30 ERA in his first 33 career starts.
"He can go to 95-97 (mph), then drop that breaking ball in there at 80," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "It's always a challenge, trying to cover close to 20 mph."
Samardzija's performance shouldn't come as much of a surprise to Atlanta, which hasn't been able to figure him out. He won both his starts against the Braves last year while compiling a 1.29 ERA and striking out 18 over 14 innings.
Dan Uggla and Jason Heyward have gone 2 for 14 and 1 for 6, respectively, against Samardzija, though both have homered off him. Freddie Freeman is 0 for 6, and he won't get a chance to improve that number as the Braves have placed him on the disabled list with a strained right oblique.
While things could be looking up for Samardzija, the same cannot be said for Marmol.
He's allowed five runs, six hits, two walks and hit a batter in three relief appearances spanning 1 2-3 innings, and the Cubs (2-3) could be forced to go in a different direction at closer.
"We're definitely going to talk about it," Sveum said. "I don't know whether it's mechanical, the arm angle or what. When he throws strikes, he's getting hit now, too."
The Braves give the ball to Tim Hudson (0-0, 6.23), who's looking to get on track following a shaky debut. The right-hander gave up three runs, six hits and three walks before being removed with one out in the fifth inning of a 7-5 win over Philadelphia on Monday.
Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons sat out Saturday with a sprained left thumb, and he'll miss this contest as well.
|Last Updated: 10/21/2014 9:03:20 PM EST|