|CHICAGO CUBS ( JACKSON )|
PITTSBURGH ( GOMEZ )
|901||CHICAGO CUBS||+125||Ov 8,+100||+120||Ov 7.5,-120|
|902||PITTSBURGH||-135||Un 8,-120||-130||Un 7.5,+100|
|vs Right-handed Starters||14-17||-2||17-14||4.5||0.261||0.311||4.1||0.227||0.295|
|Past 7 Games||2-5||-3.8||4-3||3.9||0.237||0.265||3.9||0.257||0.302|
|vs Right-handed Starters||23-12||+14.2||16-18||4.2||0.248||0.307||3.5||0.223||0.297|
|Past 7 Games||6-1||+3.4||2-4||3.4||0.225||0.287||2.0||0.205||0.269|
|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)||4-5||L||135||7.5 un||O||11||8||1||8||9||0|
|5/22/2013||SAMARDZIJA(R)||@ PITTSBURGH||LIRIANO(L)||0-1||L||125||7.5 un||U||4||8||1||3||5||2|
|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||JACKSON(R)||@ CHI WHITE SOX||SALE(L)|| |
|5/29/2013||FELDMAN(R)||CHI WHITE SOX|| || |
|5/30/2013|| ||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)||5-4||W||-145||7.5 un||O||8||9||0||11||8||1|
|5/22/2013||LIRIANO(L)||CHICAGO CUBS||SAMARDZIJA(R)||1-0||W||-135||7.5 un||U||3||5||2||4||8||1|
|5/23/2013||GOMEZ(R)||CHICAGO CUBS||JACKSON(R)|| |
|5/24/2013||BURNETT(R)||@ MILWAUKEE||ESTRADA(R)|| |
|5/25/2013||LOCKE(L)||@ MILWAUKEE||FIERS(R)|| |
|5/26/2013||RODRIGUEZ(L)||@ MILWAUKEE||GALLARDO(R)|| |
|5/27/2013||LIRIANO(L)||@ DETROIT||VERLANDER(R)|| |
|5/28/2013||GOMEZ(R)||@ DETROIT||PORCELLO(R)|| |
|5/30/2013|| ||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* ======================
By NICOLINO DIBENEDETTO STATS Writer
Chicago (18-25) at Pittsburgh (26-18), 7:05 p.m. EDT
Pitching has been vital to the Pittsburgh Pirates' recent surge, but improvement from the offense may be more important to beating Chicago Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija for the first time.
Francisco Liriano will try to keep the Pirates cruising on the mound as they attempt to finally solve Samardzija on Wednesday night.
Pittsburgh is 9-2 over its last 11 games thanks in large part to a 2.34 ERA while limiting opponents to a .223 average.
The offense is also showing signs of improvement, batting .255 over that span - 10 points higher than the team's season mark.
A big at-bat kept the Pirates (27-18) surging in the opener of this three-game series Tuesday. Travis Snider connected for a pinch-hit grand slam during a five-run sixth inning to power a 5-4 win.
Pittsburgh won for the fourth time in 11 meetings with the Cubs, batting .206 and averaging 3.7 runs over that stretch.
Part of those troubles have come against Samardzija (2-5, 3.49 ERA), who has dominated the Pirates - especially at PNC Park.
The right-hander is 4-0 with a 0.92 ERA in 14 games - three starts - against them. All of the wins - including the three starts - have come in his last four visits to Pittsburgh, compiling a 0.69 ERA.
Samardzija was superb there on opening day, striking out nine and allowing two hits in eight shutout innings of a 3-1 win April 1. However, he hadn't won again until last Wednesday, when he allowed two runs in eight innings of a 6-3 victory over Colorado.
He helped himself with a two-run homer in the second.
"He's a velocity guy who can get carried away with trying to blow people away," manager Dale Sveum told the team's official website. "He's learning the hard way and understanding, 'I still better locate my fastball.' He's going to give up the hanging split (sometimes) - that's just the way that goes with a power split, you're not going to throw every one of them to the earth, you are going to hang them sometime.
"That game against Pittsburgh on opening day, he pitched inside incredibly, and we have to get back to pitching to both sides of the plate and not letting guys get comfortable."
Location has been key for Liriano, who has gone 2-0 with a 1.64 ERA in his first two starts with the Pirates after opening the season on the disabled list while recovering from a broken right arm.
The left-hander's latest effort included seven strikeouts while yielding one run in 5 2-3 innings of a 7-1 victory over Milwaukee in his home debut Thursday.
"I just try to stay calm, not try to do too much, hit my spot and just focus on location," Liriano said. "Pitching is all about location. I'm locating my fastball a lot better and my slider is working for me so far."
Liriano suffered an 8-2 defeat with Minnesota in his only start against the Cubs on June 10, 2012. He gave up four runs and three walks while striking out six in 5 2-3 innings.
Andrew McCutchen had one of the hits off Samardzija on opening day, but he's 2 for 8 with five strikeouts against him dating to last year.
The star center fielder went 0 for 4 in the series opener after missing a game with knee soreness. He was 7 for 14 with five runs over his three previous contests.
|Last Updated: 9/16/2014 8:29:59 PM EST|