|CHICAGO CUBS ( GARZA )|
PITTSBURGH ( RODRIGUEZ )
|901||CHICAGO CUBS||+130||Ov 7.5,+110||+135||Ov 7.5,+100|
|902||PITTSBURGH||-140||Un 7.5,-130||-145||Un 7.5,-120|
|vs Left-handed Starters||4-8||-3.2||3-9||2.7||0.217||0.255||4.0||0.247||0.317|
|Past 7 Games||4-3||+0.8||4-3||4.9||0.265||0.295||3.3||0.242||0.286|
|vs Right-handed Starters||21-12||+12.2||15-17||4.3||0.251||0.308||3.6||0.224||0.301|
|Past 7 Games||5-2||+1.1||1-5||3.3||0.224||0.281||2.6||0.218||0.282|
|5/7/2013||WOOD(L)||ST LOUIS||LYNN(R)||2-1||W||+120||7.5 un||U||5||4||1||7||9||0|
|5/8/2013||VILLANUEVA(R)||ST LOUIS||WESTBROOK(R)||4-5||L||+110||8 ov||O||11||4||1||11||6||1|
|5/10/2013||SAMARDZIJA(R)||@ WASHINGTON||DETWILER(L)||3-7||L||120||7.5 un||O||10||7||1||9||3||0|
|5/11/2013||JACKSON(R)||@ WASHINGTON||STRASBURG(R)||8-2||W||187||7 un||O||12||6||0||6||6||2|
|5/12/2013||FELDMAN(R)||@ WASHINGTON||GONZALEZ(L)||2-1||W||160||7.5 un||U||7||6||1||5||8||1|
|5/17/2013||JACKSON(R)||NY METS||HARVEY(R)||2-3||L||+130||7 ov||U||6||3||2||8||5||1|
|5/18/2013||FELDMAN(R)||NY METS||HEFNER(R)||8-2||W||-130||8.5 un||O||11||6||1||9||7||1|
|5/19/2013||WOOD(L)||NY METS||GEE(R)||3-4||L||-160||9 ev||U||8||5||0||7||3||0|
|5/21/2013||GARZA(R)||@ PITTSBURGH||RODRIGUEZ(L)|| |
|5/22/2013||SAMARDZIJA(R)||@ PITTSBURGH||LIRIANO(L)|| |
|5/23/2013||JACKSON(R)||@ PITTSBURGH||GOMEZ(R)|| |
|5/24/2013||FELDMAN(R)||@ CINCINNATI||ARROYO(R)|| |
|5/25/2013||WOOD(L)||@ CINCINNATI||BAILEY(R)|| |
|5/26/2013||GARZA(R)||@ CINCINNATI||CUETO(R)|| |
|5/27/2013||SAMARDZIJA(R)||@ CHI WHITE SOX||QUINTANA(L)|| |
|5/28/2013|| ||@ CHI WHITE SOX|| || |
|5/9/2013||LOCKE(L)||@ NY METS||GEE(R)||2-3||L||110||8 ov||U||8||10||0||8||7||0|
|5/10/2013||RODRIGUEZ(L)||@ NY METS||MARCUM(R)||7-3||W||-110||7.5 ev||O||12||6||0||10||7||1|
|5/11/2013||LIRIANO(L)||@ NY METS||NIESE(L)||11-2||W||105||7.5 un||O||16||7||0||7||8||0|
|5/12/2013||GOMEZ(R)||@ NY METS||HARVEY(R)||3-2||W||190||7 un||U||7||9||0||4||6||1|
|5/21/2013||RODRIGUEZ(L)||CHICAGO CUBS||GARZA(R)|| |
|5/22/2013||LIRIANO(L)||CHICAGO CUBS||SAMARDZIJA(R)|| |
|5/23/2013||GOMEZ(R)||CHICAGO CUBS||JACKSON(R)|| |
|5/24/2013||BURNETT(R)||@ MILWAUKEE||ESTRADA(R)|| |
|5/25/2013||LOCKE(L)||@ MILWAUKEE||LOHSE(R)|| |
|5/26/2013||RODRIGUEZ(L)||@ MILWAUKEE||GALLARDO(R)|| |
|5/27/2013||LIRIANO(L)||@ DETROIT||VERLANDER(R)|| |
|5/28/2013|| ||@ DETROIT|| || |
|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* ======================
Chicago (18-25) at Pittsburgh (26-18), 7:05 p.m. EDT
If the Pittsburgh Pirates truly want to contend, they will probably need to improve their the lowly Chicago Cubs.
The Pirates, who dropped their first series against the Cubs, expect to have Andrew McCutchen back in the lineup as they try to spoil Matt Garza's season debut in Tuesday night's opener of a three-game home set.
Pittsburgh (26-18) has won eight of 10 for its best start since beginning 29-15 in 1991. The Pirates are six games better than they were at this point last season in a year in which they led the NL Central at the All-Star break before fading.
One reason Pittsburgh faltered was its 5-8 record after the break against a Chicago team that lost 101 games. The Pirates have now dropped seven of nine at home against the Cubs (18-25) after losing two of three to start 2013 in a series that saw the clubs combine for 12 runs.
Pittsburgh had Monday off after McCutchen was a late scratch from Sunday's 1-0 home victory over Houston due to soreness in his right knee. He expects to play Tuesday.
"After our doctors saw him, he felt better about his situation," manager Clint Hurdle told the Pirates' official website.
McCutchen is 7 for 14 with five runs scored over his last three games, and he's 2 for 6 with a homer against Garza.
Garza (5-7, 3.91 ERA in 2012) will be activated off the disabled list for his first start since July 21. He missed the rest of 2012 with a stress reaction in his right elbow before missing nearly the first two months of 2013 with a strained left lat.
"It was a grind, mentally," he said. "Physically, I could do anything, but the mental part was the tough part. It was one setback after another, and it was, 'Keep going, keep going, keep going.' I'm just happy I'm here at the end of it and can't wait till Tuesday."
The right-hander threw 75 pitches in six scoreless innings in his final rehab outing for Triple-A Iowa on Thursday. Manager Dale Sveum plans to allow Garza to throw between 85 to 90 pitches against the Pirates.
"His durability is fine, he works so hard that that kind of stuff, that's probably the last thing we have to worry about with him," Sveum said.
Garza may have to be at his best to match up with Wandy Rodriguez (4-2, 3.25), who improved to 3-1 with a 1.35 ERA in four home starts after allowing one run over seven innings Wednesday in a 3-1 win over Milwaukee.
Rodriguez earned Pittsburgh's lone victory over Chicago this year with 6 2-3 innings of two-hit ball in a 3-0 win April 3.
The Cubs are 4-8 against left-handed starters. Alfonso Soriano is 6 for 44 with 13 strikeouts against Rodriguez and Starlin Castro is 4 for 22.
Chicago has won five of its last seven on the road, as it starts a challenging week that includes a weekend trip to Cincinnati.
"It's two of the top teams in our division that are playing really well and pitching really well, so it's going to be tough scoring runs," Sveum said.
|Last Updated: 9/22/2014 1:14:23 AM EST|